The first issue of Rupert Murdoch's new Sun on Sunday tabloid, which arrived with a pledge to meet high ethical standards, sold three million copies, the media tycoon said Sunday.
The 80-year-old took to microblogging website Twitter to pronounce: "Reports early, but new Sun edition sold 3m!"
The first Sun on Sunday -- which means that the tabloid is now published seven days a week -- largely focused on lighter show business news in a similar vein to the daily version.
Murdoch personally supervised production at a printworks in Hertfordshire, north of London, showing his support for what he hopes will become Britain's most-read Sunday newspaper.
Commentators were quick to point out that the Sun on Sunday -- priced at 50 pence ($0.80, 0.60 euro cents) -- lacked the scandal-driven content of the News of the World, which was sunk by a phone-hacking scandal just seven months ago.
The newspaper's front page splash featured an interview with Amanda Holden, a British television personality who nearly died after the birth of her daughter last month.
"My heart stopped for 40 seconds," read the banner headline on the front page, which was accompanied by a picture of Holden, 41, cradling her new daughter Hollie.
The paper featured new columnists such as Michelin-starred chef Heston Blumenthal and former glamour model Katie Price, also known as Jordan.
The tabloid also announced the appointment of a so-called Readers' Champion to deal with complaints and correct errors, while vowing that its journalists would be ethical.
Our journalists must abide by the Press Complaints Commission's editors code, the industry standard for ethical behaviour, and the News Corporation standards of business conduct," it said in an editorial.
"You will be able to trust our journalists to abide by the values of decency as they gather news," adding that the paper would also be "fearless, outspoken, mischievous and fun".
The paper also insisted that ten Sun journalists arrested since November on charges of bribing police and public officials for information were innocent until proven guilty.
And it maintained that The Sun tabloid has been a "tremendous force for good" since it was first launched back in 1969, and described recent events as a "challenging period" for the group.
In July, Murdoch's News Corp. closed its top-selling Sunday tabloid, the News of the World -- which was widely nicknamed The News of the Screws -- amid outrage over the hacking of mobile phone voicemails.
The simmering scandal finally boiled over when it was revealed that a private investigator working for the paper had accessed the voicemail of a missing British schoolgirl Milly Dowler, who was later found murdered.
News International, the British newspaper division of News Corp., has since settled dozens of compensation claims from celebrities and other public figures whose phones were also hacked.
Media experts said the Sun on Sunday was carefully designed to appeal to families and not court controversy.
"We should be clear that this is not a new newspaper," said James Alan Anslow, who worked as a journalist on The Sun and the News of the World for 28 years and now lectures journalism at City University London.
"The Sunday edition has been carefully constructed and publicised to work as a weekend package along with The Sun's Saturday edition. The content itself appeals to the heart of The Sun's weekend family audience.
The paper did not include a fully topless "Page Three Girl" -- a regular staple of the weekday Sun -- but instead carried a less revealing shot of ex-Destiny's Child popstar and X Factor judge Kelly Rowland.
The Financial Times business newspaper described the new Sunday tabloid as "timid, mumbling, joyless and dull".
"The biggest surprise for readers of either the weekday Sun or the old Sunday 'Screws' will be Page Three, which does indeed feature an attractive woman wearing no bra. But she looks horrified, and her arms are coyly covering her breasts," it noted.
Murdoch, the Australian-born founder and head of the US-based News Corporation media empire, flew into Britain earlier this month to take charge of a crisis at The Sun after the most recent arrests.
Shortly afterwards, he announced the surprise Sunday newspaper launch during a visit to The Sun's offices in Wapping, east London.
Murdoch said on Twitter that he would be "very happy" if the Sun on Sunday would sell anything over two million copies.
That would put it comfortably in front of the 1.9 million circulation of The Mail on Sunday, currently the best-selling weekly paper in Britain.