"Downton Abbey" returned this week with big numbers for PBS.
The Emmy-winning historical soap opera averaged 4.2 million viewers for its Sunday, January 8 premiere, doubling PBS' regular primetime average. "Downton Abbey" also improved upon its first-season averages by 18 percent.
"Masterpiece has outdone itself once again," stated PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger. "I’m so pleased that audiences have flocked to their local PBS station and ‘Downton Abbey’ to enjoy some of the best drama on television this season."
Making the "Downton" premiere numbers more impressive was the fact that episodes premiered in the UK months ago and more than a few fanatical fans found alternative ways of viewing the series.
"'Downton Abbey' officially takes its place among the best of Master titles since the series began in 1971," stated executive producer Rebecca Eaton. "It’s beautifully done and draws in millions of viewers — what more could we ask for?"