New ITV programme The Masked Singer won the ratings battle against BBC One’s The Greatest Dancer, pulling in over two million more viewers on Saturday night.
Surreal celebrity guessing game talent show The Masked Singer kicked off with an average audience of 5.5 million when it aired at 7pm, according to overnight ratings.
The Greatest Dancer, which also aired at 7pm, had an average of 3.2 million viewers.
The Masked Singer, with its all-star panel of Davina McCall, Jonathan Ross, Rita Ora and Ken Jeong, peaked with an audience of 6.7 million, and The Greatest Dancer peaked at 3.7 million.
The BBC’s dance competition show, which sees Cheryl, Oti Mabuse and Matthew Morrison return as dance captains alongside newcomer Todrick Hall, has shed more than a million viewers compared to the launch show of the 2019 series.
Last year’s launch episode had an average of 4.6 million viewers.
A BBC source said: “We are thrilled with the viewer response to the new series of The Greatest Dancer, with more tuning in throughout the episode.”
ITV’s other Saturday night show, The Voice UK, returned for a new series with an average of 4.5 million viewers and a peak of 5 million when it aired from 8.30pm.
The overnight ratings for ITV shows include those watching on ITV+1.
The Masked Singer was the biggest TV show of the night in the first weekend of 2019.
The programme features celebrities singing while wearing elaborate costumes, and the series kicked off with the first six unknown stars performing in an array of disguises, including one dressed as a hedgehog, one as a chameleon and one as a unicorn.
The first star to be unveiled after losing her place in the competition was former EastEnders actress Patsy Palmer, who had performed in a butterfly outfit.
Based on a South Korean format, The Masked Singer has been a hit show in the US, where famous contestants have included rapper T-Pain, music stars Donny Osmond, Seal and Gladys Knight, and actress Rumer Willis.
The Hangover star Jeong has been on the panel on the US version of the show.