The phenomenon that is Downton Abbey just keeps getting stronger! Last night on PBS Masterpiece Classic, the fourth season two-hour premiere set a new record for the series airings in the United States bringing in at least 10.2 million viewers who tuned in live (or within a few hours via digital video recorders).
Those numbers are up from 7.9 million at the start of season three and 8.2 million for last season’s heartbreaking finale which saw Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) killed-off!. When all was said and done that’s a 22 percent jump in the ratings, year over year, easily making it the highest-rated drama in PBS history.
In addition to this being a personal best for the British soap opera, it also topped many primetime dramas in the ratings numbers for the night including CBS’ The Good Wife and the return of Revenge on ABC!
Season four of Downton Abbey aired several months ago in the United Kingdom. PBS has received criticism for its decision to delay the episodes in the United States. But they say the sky-high ratings two seasons in a row are proof that their scheduling strategy is a wise one. Paula Kerger, the chief executive of PBS, said in a statement on Monday, “I’m so pleased that millions of viewers have returned to Downton Abbey on their local PBS stations for what has become a post-holiday tradition.”
What do you think of the record breaking numbers from last night for Downton Abbey? Did you get on the bandwagon and watch the show for the first time? Or, did you return to see what happens next after season three? Let us know!