Around 6.2 million viewers tuned in to watch contestants enter the Celebrity Big Brother house.
The massive viewing figures made it the biggest show of the day across the terrestrial channels, Channel 4 said.
The average figures for CBB7 – which saw host Davina McCall welcome celebs such as Vinnie Jones, Stephen Baldwin and Sisqo into the house – were up 10 per cent against last year’s launch, which saw around 5.6 million tuning in.
The figures combine those who saw Sunday night’s show on Channel 4 with viewers who watched the programme on its time-shifted Channel 4 +1 channel.
The reality show saw off competition from BBC One’s Wallander, which aired at the same time and drew an audience of around 5.4 million.
ITV1’s Poirot drew an audience of 4.9 million.
BBC Two’s Top Gear attracted around 5.2 million viewers and Antiques Roadshow, which was also broadcast on BBC One earlier in the evening, pulled in viewing figures of around 6.1 million.