"Downton Abbey" season 4 premiere draws record audience

Fom left, Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary, and Joanne Froggatt as Anna Bates, in a scene from season four of the Masterpiece TV series, "Downton Abbey."  AP/PBS

"Downton Abbey" may have gotten off to a gloomy, post-Matthew start, but the ratings are nothing to be somber about.

Sunday's fourth-season debut brought in an average of 10.2 million viewers, up 22 percent from last season's premiere (which netted 7.3 million) and making it the highest-rated drama premiere in PBS history.

"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. "I'm so pleased that millions of viewers have returned to 'Downton Abbey' on their local PBS stations for what has become a post-holiday tradition."

"I'm delighted to see that the Crawley family’s intrigue continues to beguile our viewers," added "Masterpiece" executive producer Rebecca Eaton. "Julian Fellowes has written every word of all four seasons of 'Downton,' and I toss him a huge bouquet on behalf of his American fans."

Those fans can rest easy that this isn't the last they'll see of the Crawleys -- "Downton" has already been renewed for a fifth season

  • Jessica Derschowitz

Comments