The BBC One series launched at 8PM yesterday evening as the fifteen celebs got their pro partners and performed a first group routine.
The pre-recorded opener also saw Sir Bruce Forsyth hand over the reigns of the show to new hosts Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly.
8.43 million viewers tuned in, the exact same amount that had watched last year's red carpet launch despite going head to head with The X Factor.
Over on ITV and at the same time, an average audience of 7.8 million viewers watched the final instalment of the room auditions, including those who caught up on ITV+1.
It's one of the X Factor's lowest ever figures, down 400,000 viewers on last Sunday and almost 2 million viewers down on the equivalent episode last year, although that saw no Strictly clash.
7.1 million watched The X Factor excluding ITV+1.
Next week sees The X Factor move to its Arena auditions stage at Wembley, but Strictly won't be back until the end of the month.
The fifteen celebs now have three weeks of training with their pro partners before the first live shows on Friday, September 26 and Saturday, September 27.