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Numbers Surge for PBS Dramas -- Especially With Delayed Viewing Added In Deadline

One PBS series has firmed up its position as the highest-rated drama in the history of the broadcasting service, and another drama series continues to post sizable gains. Deadline.com reports that both "Downton Abbey" and "Sherlock" benefited from the inclusion of figures for delayed viewing.

"'Downton Abbey‘s' fourth season nabbed an average audience of 13.2 million viewers with the addition of +7 viewing -- up nearly 2 million viewers compared to season 3 -- securing its status as PBS‘s highest rated drama in its history," the story reports. "Meanwhile, 'Sherlock‘s' third-season audience grew to 6.6 million in its new 10 p.m. time slot, compared to 4.4 million viewers in Season 2. That’s great news for PBS’s Sunday night, where prime-time household ratings jumped 30% since the 2012-13 season, and for PBS’s 'Masterpiece' franchise, which, not so long ago, went begging for a corporate sponsor after ExxonMobil bailed."

Said "Masterpiece" executive producer Rebecca Eaton: “The success of 'Downton Abbey' and 'Sherlock' proves again that superb storytelling and first-class acting are an unbeatable combination. If this is indeed a Golden Age of television, we’re proud to be right in the middle of it.”

The report adds: "'Downton’s' eight-week season earned an average national household rating of 8.5 -- up from Season 3’s 7.7 -- and 26 million viewers tuned in over the course of the season. On Sunday nights across its run, 'Downton,' a Carnival Films/Masterpiece co-production, generated more than 280,000 tweets and more than 35.6 million impressions in the face of stiff social media competition, including the Golden Globe Awards, the Olympics, and Super Bowl XLVIII, according to Social Guide Intelligence."

The third season of "Sherlock," meanwhile, "improved upon the second season in all key metrics, including its 4.1 national household rating -- a 46% increase from its 2.8 rating for Season 2," the piece reports. "The average audience jumped 50% to 6.6 million, and its 13.5 million total viewers is up 26% from 10.7 million in 2012. On Sundays across its short three-week run, Sherlock fans generated more than 58,000 tweets and nearly 4 million impressions against programming including the Grammy Awards, NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl XLVIII, according to Social Guide Intelligence."

PBS reported 11.1 million streams of full episodes of the fourth season of "Downton Abbey" and 3.3 million streams of full episodes of season three of "Sherlock" across desktop, mobile and PBS apps on Roku, XBox and Apple TV, the article notes.

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