The first outing of The One Show, fronted by two new presenters, was watched by an average of 4.5m viewers.
The audience that tuned in to see Jason Manford and Alex Jones on the magazine show's sofa was bigger than the programme's 2009 series average.
"It's a terrific figure," said the BBC One show's editor Sandy Smith.
Last year's average audience was 4.3m. The show first aired in 2006, while ex-hosts Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley quit earlier this year.
Bleakley's debut on the show three years ago was watched by an average of 3.4m viewers.
Jones and Manford were joined on the show by star guest Whoopi Goldberg, currently appearing in Sister Act in London's West End.
Stand-up comedian Manford opened the show with the quip: "This could go either way. Really well, or we'll be escorted off the premises after the show."
A long-term presenter on S4C, Jones worked mainly on children's TV in Wales before The One Show's deputy editor spotted her showreel on YouTube.
Stand-up comedian Manford is also a team captain on the comedy panel show 8 Out Of 10 Cats.