Charlie Sheen’s announcement he is HIV-positive delivered NBC’s Today an outright win in the morning infotainment ratings race. The broadcast drew 5.54 million total viewers and 2.31 mil in the key demo, according to early stats. That topped ABC’s Good Morning America by 803K total viewers and 542K in the news demo.

Today beat CBS This Morning by 1.9M viewers and 1.1M news demo viewers.

“I’m here to admit that I’m in fact HIV-positive,” Sheen told Matt Lauer yesterday morning. He said he was making the announcement now, four years after his diagnosis, because, “I have to stop this onslaught of attacks and sub-truths and very harmful and mercurial stories about the threatening the health of so many others which couldn’t be further from the truth.” His announcement was followed by press reports in which some women with whom he’d had relationships since his diagnosis claims he had not told them he was HIV positive.

The actor claimed to be the victim of betrayal and extortion from people threatening to sell his secret to tabloids.

“I have paid those people. Not that many, but enough,” he said, when asked how many and how much. “I don’t want to guess wrong, but enough to bring it into the millions. What people forget: that’s money they’re taking from my children. I’ve got five kids and a granddaughter.”

Sheen insisted he “always led with condoms and truths” with sexual partners since his diagnosis. “My trust turned to their treason,” he added. Lauer wondered if he still was paying people for their silence. “Not after today I’m not….I release myself from prison today,” the actor declared.