The show averaged a 4.3 rating for its two-hour premiere starting at 9 p.m., according to Nielsen overnights, making it by far the night's top-rated show.
It was also the best rating thus far for any summer show debut, though Fox's So You Think You Can Dance also averaged a 4.3 for its third outing last week.
Talent peaked with a 4.5 average from 9:30 to 10:30, then fell slightly in its last half hour.
The reality TV show's debut was up 23 percent from last summer's season finale, which averaged a 3.5 in mid August. It also rose in total viewers compared with the season one finale, up 9 percent from 11.8 million to 12.9 million.
It was the show's best-ever performance in total viewers and the top premiere of the summer.