Judging from my own Web stats, more people took the time Sunday night than Saturday to check out the debut of D.L. Hughley’s new hourlong CNN talk show, D.L. Hughley Breaks the News. In fact, that’s when I sat down to watch the full hour myself. And my initial ruling fits with my expectations expressed earlier. The monologue and the first scripted bits felt stilted, as if they were trying too hard (sorry, Donnell Rawlings, but nice try as Freddie Mack the pimp, and the CNN "truth squad" interruption was simply lame) and having Hughley deliver his monologue directly into the camera instead of to the audience lacked the same punch as his stand-up. That said, it was refreshing to hear a comedian acknowledge how the industry can be financially rewarding, as Hughley joked that Obama’s plan to tax those who make more than $250,000 a year would hurt him, too! And after the first few segments, Hughley hit his stride in a series of one-on-one interviews with CNN’s Ali Velshi, scientist Neil Tyson, the woman who beat Sarah Palin for Miss Alaska, and CNN correspondents from India, Russia and China. Also, that taped field piece to a Palin rally in North Carolina must be watched to be believed. So, CNN, stop trying so hard to force the funny, and just, as the sports reporters say, let Hughley be Hughley. Want to see some footage from the debut? Here you go…

UPDATED: Also reviewed the second week’s episode here.

Hughley’s full interview with former Bush White House press secretary Scott McClellan:

Hughley talks to CNN correspondents from Russia, China and India:

Hughley talks to CNN’s Ali Velshi, plus "Freddie Mack":

And if you didn’t watch it earlier, Hughley visits a Sarah Palin rally in North Carolina: