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Ashton Kutcher portrays Walden Schmidt, left, and Jon Cryer portrays Alan Harper, right, in Kutcher's debut on Two and a Half Men on Monday. (Danny Feld/CBS/Associated Press)

Ashton Kutcher has bragging rights over Charlie Sheen.

Kutcher's debut in the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men on Monday was seen by 27.7 million people. The Nielsen company says that's more than any other episode in the first eight seasons, when Sheen was the star.

The sitcom's previous best came in May 2005 following the final episode of Everybody Loves Raymond.

Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre introduced Kutcher as a the new star of television's most popular comedy with a plot that gained a measure of revenge against Sheen. 

How Sheen's character Charlie Harper would be killed off was a closely-held secret and it was revealed right away during the season premiere: he slipped on a subway platform in Paris and was hit by an oncoming train.