ARLINGTON, VA (January 6, 2014) PBS and WGBH announced today that the premiere of Downton Abbey Season 4 on MASTERPIECE was the highest rated drama premiere in PBS history.
An audience of 10.2 million viewers tuned in for the January 5th premiere. Between 9:00-11:00 p.m., PBS tied with CBS as the most watched network on Sunday. (Nielsen Fast National data, 6.2 household rating.)
The episode of the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning series enchanted viewers nationwide as the Crawley family faced changes in the wake of last season’s shocking finale.
The international hit can be seen on WTIU Sundays at 9 p.m. to February 23rd. Season 4 finds the aristocrats coping with last season’s shocking finale. Change is in the air as three generations of the Crawley family have conflicting interests in the estate.
Paul Giamatti appears alongside the beloved returning ensemble that includes Dame Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Jim Carter, Joanne Froggatt, guest star Shirley MacLaine and many others.
“As this captivating drama continues, our audiences have been eagerly awaiting this new season to see what’s next for these beloved characters,” said PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger. “Millions of viewers have returned to Downton Abbey on their local PBS stations for what has become a post-holiday tradition.”
The new season will be available for free streaming on WTIU and other PBS station websites, the PBS Video Portal, and PBS’ apps on Xbox, Roku and Apple TV for a limited time after each national broadcast. Online excitement has been building for Season 4 over the past several months, with more than 2.3 million streams of previews and clips across all PBS platforms leading up to the Season 4 premiere.
According to Nielsen SocialGuide, a Twitter TV audience of 2.9 million people sent 97,000 tweets during the premiere evening, generating a total of 15.2 million impressions and making it the #2 telecast across the whole day and excluding sports events.
PBS and MASTERPIECE insiders—as well as moderators from Tom and Lorenzo (@tomandlorenzo), Jarett Wieselman of BuzzFeed (@JarettSays) and special guests including Lesley Nicol (Mrs. Patmore)—will continue to host live discussions during each broadcast to connect directly with fans on social media.
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