The 2.63m (12.5%) figure also represented a decrease in comparison to the 5.16m who watched the launch of Celebrity Big Brother on the Richard Desmond-owned channel last month.
Prior to the evening's tentpole event, 1.14m (4.7%) saw a Celebrity Big Brother special on show winner Paddy Doherty. Following the housemates' surprise encounter with Pamela Anderson, 992k (8.6%) stuck around to watch Big Brother's Bit On The Side.
Over on ITV1, Red or Black? limped on with 3.8m (16.8%) in the 8pm hour (+1: 52k, 0.2%), before returning at 9.30pm with an almost identical 3.9m and 16.9% share. The conclusion to the show fared better on timeshift, however, securing 151k (0.9%).
BBC One's primetime offering got off to a good start, with The One Show entertaining 3.71m (18.3%) from 7pm. A Question of Sport (8.30pm), Outnumbered (9pm) and Would I Lie To You? (9.30pm) scored audiences of 3.58m (15.7%), 4.72m (19.5%) and 4m (17.2%) respectively.
A serene evening schedule on BBC Two kicked off with Coast at 7pm, attracting 1.08m (5.5%). Gorillas Revisited with David Attenborough snared 1.45m (6.6%) who wanted to learn about the plight of Rwanda's gentle giants in an hour-long special. Gardeners' World (8.30pm) and Digging For Britain (9pm) improved the channel's fortunes, with audiences of 2.15m (9.4%) 1.82m (7.6%) before QI landed 3.04m (13.7%).
Channel 4's Come Dine With Me registered 1.42m (6.3%) at 8pm, with a further 212k (0.9%) on timeshift. Ratings then declined, with 1.39 (5.9%) staying for The Million Pound Drop (+1: 147k, 0.8%) and just 610k (3.5%) remaining to watch Comedy Showcase at 10.30pm (+1: 54k, 0.5%).
Overall, ITV1 led primetime with 19.6%, closely followed by BBC One with 19%. BBC Two brought in 8.1%, leaving Channel 5 and Channel 4 trailing with 6.3% and 5.1% respectively.