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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Oh My Stars and Garters

Downton Abbey Brings In Record Numbers For PBS Premiere


The United States had to wait what felt like an excruciatingly long time to see Season 3 of Downton Abbey but boy, did we show up in style. The English drama not only had a record number of viewers on PBS, it demolished last season’s premiere, and it was second only to CBS in its time slot for the night. 

Downton Abbey has often been compared to a drug for how addictive it is, and while it’s not for everyone, these new figures certainly show its market is growing exponentially in the U.S.

Downton Abbey‘s growth comes after spending nearly a year off of U.S. airwaves, though that time saw the period soap burrow into pop culture and nab even more love from the Emmys, Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards,” writes The Hollywood Reporter.

Get this. Viewership was up a whopping 96% from the premiere of Season 2 with the two-hour premiere sitting at 7.9 million viewers Sunday night. PBS said the numbers quadrupled their average primetime showing and the only network that beat them was CBS with their episodes of The Good Wife and The Mentalist airing at the same time. These numbers do not include DVR viewing from the days following.

PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger said, “Downton Abbey continues to enthrall audiences nationwide, and this season is especially riveting with the addition of Shirley MacLaine to the cast and the lively interaction between her and Maggie Smith. I’m so pleased that audiences have returned to Downton Abbey on their local stations to continue to enjoy some of the best drama on television.”

I know why I love it, but what do you think has made Downton Abbey standout?

(via The Hollywood Reporter)

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  • http://twitter.com/thegaf The Gaf

    Oh goody! I can be first to say that this show is terrible. That is all.

  • http://zadl.org/ Captain ZADL

    I was amused that the hashtag #dogbutt is actually associated with Downton Abbey now. Thanks, Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me! (and for those of you who don’t listen to that on NPR, you can find the podcast where they interview Hugh Bonneville on your own.)

    I actually watched it over the air with The Girl™, since all our viewing is Hulu and Netflix streaming these days, and we didn’t want to wait for it to get posted to the PBS website. I wonder how they track that?

    Anyway, it was a great season opener, worth the wait, and I’m glad that piracy didn’t affect the number of people tuning in as much as it could have. So many of my friends have already seen this season.

    As to why I like it… well I’m a history nerd to begin with, and so I’m attracted to the social commentary of how England made its transition to modernity. I’d be just as hooked if it were about the Napoleonic War, or the fall of Rome, or any great tumultuous time. I don’t mind the soap-opera aspects of the show at all. I’m very glad, however, that I don’t have to worry about what coat I’m wearing to dinner.

  • http://twitter.com/AnitaChainsaw Anita Chainsaw

    I hate to be that person, but I have to say it: it’s ADDICTIVE, not ADDICTING. I didn’t expect this site to feed one of my biggest linguistic pet peeves. I was really hoping you were quoting some other blog there.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    If you hate to be that person then…don’t be that person? Just say, “hey, you’ve got ‘this’ here instead of ‘that.’” Or feel free to shoot us a quick email on our tip line. We’re always happy to correct mistakes.

  • Lapin

    Downton Abbey is one of the few shows that have genuinely moved me to tears. Season Two especially. When William died and Daisy sat beside him the whole time. When Matthew saw his mother (Cousin Isabelle) and finally broke down in tears, because sometimes, a child can only cry with their mother. When Edith was finally given some goddamn recognition, because Christ, she needed someone to say she was valued. When O’Brien was comforting Mr. Lane, because she knew what he needed to hear. When poor Thomas was willing to do anything to get the fuck away from the front lines. When Mrs. Pattmore’s nephew was shot for cowardice.

    I don’t care what anyone says about Season 2. WWI made me hurt and empathize in that season.

  • http://twitter.com/suitcasegnome Meg P. W.

    I like that the characters are actually likeable (or deliciously villainous). It seems like so many shows today feature horrible characters treating each other like crap. It’s nice to watch people you’d actually want to hang out with, were they real.

    I’m also a huge history fan and a sucker for soapy dramas. :)