Turns out there were people watching something on TV last night besides Super Bowl XLVII. PBS’ Downton Abbey had the second-highest-rated and -viewed show of primetime Sunday. The 4.4 household rating for Sunday’s 9 PM one-hour broadcast of Masterpiece Classic‘s aristocratic British soap soundly thrashed anything else on in primetime except the Super Bowl, according to Nielsen. Down from last week’s 5.1, that household rating was still up a very strong 69% from the Downton that ran last year on Super Bowl Sunday. The series also pulled in 6.6 million viewers; the second-most-watched show on the Big Four last night after the Super Bowl was the 8 PM America’s Funniest Home Videos repeat on ABC, which drew 2.59 million viewers.
The average audience of Downton‘s first five episodes of the third season is up 72% over the five first episodes of Season 2. A total of 11.1 million ultimately watched the Season 3 premiere on January 6, marking the top-rated PBS drama total ever. The season wraps with a 90-minute special February 17.