Fox News' (FOXA.O) Tucker Carlson averaged 3.2 million viewers in his first show in Bill O'Reilly's former 8 p.m. EDT (0000 GMT) time slot on Monday, according to early numbers from Nielsen.
"Tucker Carlson Tonight" beat out all other programs on U.S. cable news Monday. Bill O'Reilly's "The O'Reilly Factor" averaged nearly 4 million viewers during the first quarter of 2017.
Following a sexual harassment scandal that ended with O'Reilly leaving the network last week, more than 50 advertisers had pulled commercials from "The O'Reilly Factor," leaving only a handful of companies which ran ads.
On Carlson's first night at 8 p.m., major brands including Mercedes-Benz (DAIGn.DE), Honda Motor Co (7267.T), Infiniti (7201.T) and Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) ran ads.
Jenny Craig and menswear company Untuckit, both major advertisers on O'Reilly's show, had commercials Monday night as well.
Carlson's debut helped stabilise Fox News' primetime lineup, which outpaced rivals Time Warner Inc's (TWX.N) CNN and Comcast Corp's (CMCSA.O) MSNBC. Panel show "The Five" drew 2.8 million viewers in Carlson's old 9 p.m. EDT slot; the 2.8 million was similar to what Carlson averaged. "Hannity" averaged 2.6 million at 10 p.m. EDT, up from the week before.
(Reporting by Tim Baysinger; Editing by Nick Zieminski and James Dalgleish)