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‘Downton Abbey’ Draws Record Ratings for PBS

If Sunday night was any indication, Downton Abbey is an unstoppable force.

The Season 3 premiere of the British period drama drew a whopping 7.9 million total views, nearly four times the average viewership for PBS. It also almost doubles the 4.2 million who viewed the Season 2 finale, proving that the obsession over the Crawley family is growing rapidly.

Shirley MacLaine

In comparison with primetime network ratings, 7.9 million doesn’t seem like much. But for reference, the Season 5 finale of Mad Men drew 2.7 million views. Clearly a television giant is in the making. And we must remember that the entire season has already aired in the UK, where it continually gobbles up 40% of the total viewership. In total the series airs in over 100 countries, and has enjoyed success in every one.

What does this mean for the future of America’s relationship with British television? Perhaps following Downton Abbey’s success we’ll be able to enjoy more British imports in the future (Misfits, anyone?). But for now, all we can do is marvel at the incredible success of what some call one of the UK’s biggest imports since The Beatles.

You can watch Downton Abbey Sundays at 9pm (8pm central) on PBS.


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