Weakest Link is NBC's strongest weapon, easily whipping its competition in its debut and notching NBC's best time-slot numbers in nearly five years.

Link nabbed 15.1 million viewers from 8 to 9 p.m. Monday, according to Nielsen numbers, and whupped its competition by 23 percent as a New Jersey mortician snagged $73,000 by outlasting his teammates. 

Those 15.1 million viewers represent NBC's highest time-slot numbers for original programming since The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air series finale back in May 1996. 

Link also represented a 66 percent improvement over what Dateline had averaged from 8 to 9 p.m. this season. 

Link scored big numbers in the 18-49 demo, notching 5.9 million households to help NBC finish second to Fox for the night in that demographic. 

CBS won the night in total viewers (13 million), with NBC finishing second with 12 million viewers. 

The show settles into its regular 8 p.m. slot next Monday.