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Downton Abbey Season 4 Highest-rated Drama Premiere in PBS History

Program reaches average audience of more than 15 million people.

Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary sits in an upholstered chair, looking at baby that she cradles in her arms was a woman servant, standing, looks on

Photo: Courtesy of ©Nick Briggs/Carnival Film and Television Limited 2013 for MASTERPIECE

Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary

ARLINGTON, VA (January 27, 2014) PBS and WGBH announced today that the January 5 premiere of Downton Abbey, Season 4 on MASTERPIECE had an average audience of 15.5 million viewers, further solidifying the episode as the highest-rated drama premiere in PBS history. (Nielsen Live+7 data, 9.7 household rating.)

This marks a 52 percent growth in audience compared to the 10.2 million average audience first reported in the Nielsen Fast National data.

The fourth season premiere of the Emmy-, Golden Globe-, and SAG Award-winning series improved upon the average audience of the premiere episode of Season 3 by 39 percent.

MASTERPIECE Executive producer Rebecca Eaton noted that “Downton Abbey has earned a spot in the top 10 most-watched PBS programs of all time.”

Downton Abbey has certainly made Sunday nights on PBS stations a destination for drama,” said PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger. “We are glad that even more viewers are enjoying this beautifully written and produced series.”

The series airs locally on WTIU Sundays at 8 and 9 p.m. through February 23.

Gareth Neame, executive producer of Downton Abbey, added, “I’m thrilled that the new season of Downton has achieved such a high rating, building substantially on the previous season, and proving that our show continues to grow significantly in the United States. I am delighted for all our actors, producers and crew who work tirelessly to bring Downton to audiences throughout the world, and of course for PBS for broadcasting a show with such a big impact.”

Across all PBS online platforms, there were nearly 1.2 million streams of the Downton Abbey, Season 4 premiere episode during the first seven days following the broadcast, a 51 percent increase over the first seven days following the Season 3 premiere.

Downton Abbey, Season 4 is available for free streaming on PBS station websites, the PBS Video Portal, and PBS’ apps on Xbox, Roku and Apple TV for a limited time after each national broadcast. Downton Abbey is a Carnival Films/MASTERPIECE co-production.
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