Downton Abbey’s premier rates well for PBS

Downton AbbeyThe second season premier of lavish period drama Downton Abbey, starring Hugh Bonneville and Dame Maggie Smith, had over 4 million viewers on PBS.

PBS announced 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. 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.” – Paula Kerger, PBS president and CEO

“‘Downton Abbey’ officially takes its place among the best of MASTERPIECE titles since the series began in 1971. It’s beautifully done and draws in millions of viewers — what more could we ask for?” – Rebecca Eaton, executive producer

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. 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, iTunes and

Beginning Monday, December 26, “Downton” fans were given the opportunity to watch a sneak preview of the opening minutes of Season 2 on the PBS Facebook page. Available for only two weeks, the preview tab earned more than 100,000 fan views. Overall social media activity around the premiere broadcast episode of “Downton Abbey” grew quickly, as measured by buzz-monitoring services like Dame Maggie SmithSocialGuide, which said that “Downton Abbey” was the “#3 most social broadcast show” on January 8, generating nearly 25,000 comments of all kinds across the Internet. The Trendrr.TV service, which compiles Twitter mentions, public Facebook posts, GetGlue check-ins and Miso check-ins, reported that “Downton Abbey” was one of the most discussed broadcast programs on January 8. In addition, there have been more than 12,000 individual check-ins to “Downton Abbey” using the GetGlue entertainment social network, with a social media reach of 5.5 million people.

Since the premiere of “Downton Abbey, Season 1” on January 9, 2011, the critically acclaimed series has gained popularity across a diverse audience and has been honored with six Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Miniseries or Movie; Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special (Julian Fellowes); and Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie (Dame Maggie Smith). It has also garnered four Golden Globe nominations, a SAG (Screen Actors’ Guild) nod for Supporting Actress (Dame Maggie Smith) and a PGA (Producers’ Guild of America) nomination.{jcomments off}