Mike Rowe just popped a hole in Piers Morgan’s claim that his CNN show was hobbled by its lousy lead-in. Last night’s launch of Rowe’s Somebody’s Gotta Do It drew CNN’s best premiere numbers since Jeff Zucker took over in January 2013. In the news demo, Rowe bagged 507,000 viewers, and his overall haul was 943,000 viewers, in Morgan’s old time slot. And his lead-in Anderson Cooper, who’d also been Morgan’s lead-in, had in fact provided a smaller 282,000 demo crowd and 709,000 total viewers. But Rowe’s show self-started, and the opening represented a 152% hike in the news demo compared with the time slot’s average the prior four Wednesdays (201,000), and a 77% jump in overall crowd (534,000).

Rowe stomped on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show in the demo (143,000) and handily beat Maddow in total crowd (757,000). Somebody’s Gotta Do It was competitive with Fox News Channel in the demo (544,000) but lagged far behind The Kelly File with total viewers (2.77 million).

Rowe’s overall audience came in slightly short of CNN’s July unveiling of The Hunt With John Walsh (989,000), though his demo performance beat Walsh’s  (330,000).