Ratings: Downton Abbey Season 3 Premiere Draws Record 7.9 Million Viewers

Downton Abbey Season 3 Premiere RatingsThe backlash over the 36-year* gap between the UK and Stateside airings didn’t put a dent in Downton Abbey‘s ratings.

Sunday’s Season 3 premiere attracted a series high 7.9 million viewers. That’s nearly double the 4.2 million that turned out for the Season 2 opener last year.

RELATED | Downton Abbey Season 3 Premiere Recap: No Money, Mo Problems

PBS also notes that the figure quadrupled its the average primetime rating.

* figure may be slightly exaggerated for comedic effect.

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  1. ktbanks says:

    “Nothing succeeds like excess.”

  2. Samantha says:

    Regardless of how good ratings are this time round, I really wish PBS and iTV could strike a deal so the show could be aired at basically the same time in both locations. It is 2013 after all.

    • Emily says:

      Try living in the UK. We get so many American shows airing here months after they’re aired in America. And even when they’re only a week or two behind, it’s pretty damn hard avoiding spoilers online.

      • Aleksa says:

        And months between US and UK film releases. We Americans have to deal with this so much less, we should probably just be happy it’s seldom.

      • greysfan says:

        I agree. Welcome to the world of international TV. We get so many shows months on delay here in Australia. Avoiding spoilers may be difficult but i do avoid them.

      • Frenzz says:

        Same thing in France.
        With few exceptions, the broadcat is generally one year (sometimes two, if not more) after the U.S. broadcast.
        A recent exemple is Private Practice : a delay of 3 season.

        And I don’t speak about your afternoon soap like The Young and the Restless (“Les feux de l’amour” in French haha).

    • Larc says:

      I agree! Since episodes are usually posted on the Internet within an hour or two of their UK airings, there aren’t many surprises left by January. The world has become too small to justify long broadcast delays.

    • McScotty says:

      we have to wait for a year to get a lot of US shows, do you really want to take this small victory away from us?!*

      *Please note this post was made with tongue firmly in cheek. I hope you enjoyed Downton!

    • Emma says:

      Try living in Italy! Sometimes we have to hope that a tv show actually arrives on our screens! Most of the time it doesn’t or if it does there’s at least a couple of year hiatus between seasons. For NO reason at all. YOU ARE SO LUCKY! Just because one show is not american and it airs only 2 weeks after it ended in the UK you can’t possibly understand what it means to really wait for a show to air. I’m sorry for my bad english but of course I’m italian (unluckily).

  3. pzs says:

    Never seen this show, is it like Mad Man? Completely overrated and boring to the point of unwatchablility?

    • Templar says:

      I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t care for it.

    • Midori004 says:


    • prish says:

      My mother likes it, so I’ve seen some scenes in passing. It appears historically and sociologically accurate. It is a goldmine for such buffs. It would, also, be good for wannabe writers. One never knows when one has to place novels in a time period that is selling. I had to take some trips in the past to get what the show provides for free. Consider it a combination of Titanic and Singing in the Rain, without the music. The acting is superb. I see it as a necklace of brilliant scenes, strung together. I have time, only, for a little watching. The acting is so solid, each scene satisfies, as might a short story.

      • tamim says:

        I like how they are comfortable addressing on one sentence scenes that other shows would feel compelled to devote a scene or an entire story line to allow the audience to experience it. The way they handle passage of time and events that occur off-screen is just so classy and seamless. Often they focus on the emotions and ripples created by a moment, but not a lot of time dwelling on the moment itself. Very classy, which we can probably attribute to its very British and classy roots. Love this show. And, yes, a very good study for potential writers.

    • Drewer says:

      I like Mad Men, but Mad Men is 1,000 times more boring than Downton. The merits of Mad Men lie in the acting and writing, Downton has both of these plus a a wickedly fast plot and it can be really funny (they cover all of WWI in like 5 or 6 episodes). You might not like it anyway (although I introduce friends to shows all the time they don’t like-and no one has yet to not love Downton), but don’t just assume you won’t like it if you don’t like Mad Men, they are not very analogous.

  4. zack says:

    * figure may be slightly exaggerated for comedic effect…. wtf? Then what’s the point of the article. It’s factual in tone, not comedic so putting a footnote that the figures are exaggerated for comedic effect in a non comedic post…well, just bizarre really.

    • Britta Unfiltered says:

      Wow, you are a bit uptight. I’m sorry you are having such a bad day that you have to go and take it out on the TVLine writers and their humorous hyperbole.

    • Hey Zach: He was specifically referring to the line ” the 36-year* gap between the UK and Stateside airings.” The asterisk was referring to that one number, not the entire piece. Cheers!

    • Cindy Hoffecker says:

      Hey Zach: Please be aware that Michael Ausiello has a sense of humor, always has and always will. Plus he is factual!!!!

    • Too Late Kev says:

      The exaggeration was that it wasn’t a 36-year gap. He wasn’t exaggerating about the ratings.

  5. Ah yes, let’s dumb down posts for the simplistic.

  6. Templar says:

    Geez Michael, we’ve asked you a million times not to exaggerate! LOL

  7. Midori004 says:

    I find this interesting because a few months ago I remember watching something that had a man say that PBS doesn’t do ratings like other stations, that there is no way to really tell how popular something is because the station isn’t ratings based. Now I have to go and find that.

  8. Dan Downton says:

    Get a grip over spoilers, people. For once in your little lives, America came 2nd and you found stuff out elsewhere first? Well, welcome to our worlds where TV has been spoiled for years by PI grabbing headlines and the desire to one up your competition. Funny how you don’t care when the shoe is on the other foot.

  9. Rod says:

    You want to avoid spoilers? Stop googling for info about shows and avoid websites like this one and ew.com.

  10. Helen Fussell says:

    I am totally addicted to Downton Abbey. I frankly think it is the love story of Matthew and Mary. However, I was disappointed last night in episode 1 of season 3! Mary was a beautiful bride who came down the stairs as her father watched. She walked up the isle as Matthew adoringly watched and then the ceremony was cut out as well as any reception or romatic connection after the wedding! The next scenes show Matthew and Mary returning from their honeymoon! Where was the passion! Where was the pagentry! Most of the wedding and all of the honeymoon was cut out, not romantic at all – sort of let’s get this over with! Anticlimatic to say the least! It drug a little, – enough said, I was disappointed.

    • Me says:

      I was bored often, and kept falling asleep! And I have LOVED the show, up until this new season. They tried to cover too much, and skipped over things we wanted to see. And it dragged. And I just don’t think the writing was as sharp as it has been Maybe it will get better.

  11. greysfan says:

    Love Downton Abbey and so good to see it get nearly 8m viewers in the US. Season 3 is the best by far.

  12. Shy says:

    Oh, first world problems. It’s really funny how this is so shocking to americans when there is few months gap between UK and US released date for Abbey. How angry everyone in US feels (fans and bloggers). Now you can imagine how it feels for people around the world when they have to wait for 2-3 years sometimes to see news series. Many good and new shows don’t air at all in many countries.
    Now try to avoid spoilers when they will spill everything at you next day on Internet. And then this show will air in your country in 2 years. American fans of Abbey could really feel this when they were finding spoilers for new season in comments. It’s hard to avoid them.
    That’s why online watch became so popular. It’s not about movies when evil pirats take away money from Charlie Sheen or Lindsay Lohan. People watch TV shows that they don’t have the chance to watch in their country.

  13. I am really upset right now. My TiVo couldn’t find Downton so it didn’t record. Sad, SAD panda.

  14. Teresa Hardegger says:

    To replace mathew in season 4/5 my suggestions are:, Edward Norton, Brian Capron, Eric Bana, Dougray Scott or if you want a litlle comedy haha just for fun! Johnny Depp Or Rowan Atkinson!! hehe