A program that aired Sunday evening delivered a huge audience — the kind of numbers usually reserved for live sports events or hit programs on the Big 4 broadcast networks.
The program is PBS’s "Downton Abbey," which drew 7.9 million total viewers for its third-season premiere, reports The New York Times’ Media Decoder.
The telecast "quadrupled the average PBS prime-time rating and exceeded the average rating of the second-season premiere of ’Downton Abbey’ by 96 percent," PBS and WGBH, a member station, said in a statement Monday night.
The large audience means that the delay between the British premiere two months ago and the U.S. premiere didn’t hurt the program, and that positive press has helped draw new viewers, the article points out.
While "Downton Abbey” was on air, PBS drew more viewers than Fox, ABC and NBC, although CBS still drew more viewers with episodes of "The Good Wife" (10 million viewers) and "The Mentalist" (10.7 million), according to the piece.