The third-season debut of Downton Abbey on PBS last night almost doubled the series’ second-season premiere. Sunday’s 9-11 PM broadcast of the aristocratic British soap pulled in 7.9 million viewers. Last year, 4.2 million tuned in for the Season 2 premiere on January 9, 2012. Last night’s Downton premiere made PBS the second-most-watched network in the time slot after CBS. Downton Abbey got a 5.1 household rating on Sunday night, according to Nielsen. Downton Abbey’s third season started out softer than expected in the UK but ended up being higher rated than the show’s first two seasons; the consolidated ratings for Season 3 averaged 11.9M viewers for a 40% share. UK broadcaster ITV ordered a fourth season of Downton Abbey in late November.
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