Isn't it curious that Eaton equates "best" with audience numbers? Official word: PBS announced today that America’s love affair with “Downton Abbey” continues as Sunday night’s premiere of the highly anticipated second season averaged 4.2 million viewers, not including those viewing through station replays, DVRs or online streaming. (Nielsen Fast National data, 2.7 household rating.) The Emmy Award-winning series’ second season premiere doubled the average PBS primetime rating, and exceeded the average rating of the first season of “Downton Abbey” by 18% (based on metered market averages). New episodes of “Downton Abbey” debut each Sunday night through February 19.
“MASTERPIECE has outdone itself once again,” said 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.”
“‘Downton Abbey’ officially takes its place among the best of MASTERPIECE titles since the series began in 1971,” said executive producer Rebecca Eaton. “It’s beautifully done and draws in millions of viewers — what more could we ask for?”
The new season — which rejoins the story of the noble Crawley family and their servants at Downton Abbey during the tumultuous World War I era — will be available on the PBS Video Portal after each national broadcast for a limited time (watch the season premiere here). The first episode of Season 1 garnered more than 400,000 streams in its initial online release, and, to date, the entire first season has accumulated over a million streams. Both seasons can be purchased on shoppbs.org and iTunes.