Almost 10m people tuned in to watch the return of TV talent show the X Factor.
The ITV1 hit, which was sandwiched between two programmes of Simon Cowell’s gameshow Red or Black?, recorded a peak audience of 9.9m viewers on Saturday night.
Overnight figures showed the average audience was 8.7m with both figures down on the last series.
Red or Black?, fronted by Geordie duo Ant and Dec, did less well with the first instalment getting a peak of 4.1m.
That was beaten by Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on BBC1 which had a peak audience of 4.9m.
The second instalment, which was on after the X Factor, pulled in an extra million viewers at peak.
The X Factor’s launch show was up against the Harrison Ford adventure and the National Lottery, but its main rival Strictly Come Dancing – with which the talent contest was involved in a huge ratings battle last year – is not expected to have its launch programme until midway through the following month.
ITV bosses will be looking for a ratings boost after the BBC dominated recent weeks with extensive Olympics coverage.
Audiences fell last year with the 2011 X Factor final pulling in an average audience of 13.1m, compared with the 17.2m who watched Matt Cardle triumph in the 2010 competition. And it was the lowest average audience for the finale of the series since 2007, when Leon Jackson won the show.
But it still beat Strictly Come Dancing to a higher average audience across the series.
Judges for this year’s series are Louis Walsh, Gary Barlow, Tulisa Contostavlos and former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger.
A rule change means anyone over the age of 16 has been able to enter The X Factor whether they are amateur artists, have had previous deals or currently have a management contract.