PBS waited until the morning after issuing Downton Abbey series finale stats to announce it has greenlit a second season of Mercy Street from Scott Free, which the programming service hopes will be Downton’s successor.
PBS noted its first original drama in more than a decade clocked 3.3 million viewers in its unveiling on January 17, following an episode of Downton Abbey‘s final season. PBS said this morning the episode was sampled by 5.7M viewers, and that its first, third and sixth episodes trended on Twitter when they debuted, and its first six episodes have streamed 2 million times (from January 14-February 28) across all platforms.
Its first season took place in the spring of 1862 in Alexandria, Virginia, the longest-occupied Confederate city of the war and which was governed under martial law; the series followed those whose lives collide at Mansion House luxury hotel, which has been taken over and transformed into a Union Army hospital. Season 2 explores the growing chaos within Alexandria, set against the intensifying war, starting with the Seven Days’ Battle and culminating with Antietam.
The first season is executive produced by Ridley Scott (The Martian, Gladiator, Thelma and Louise); David W. Zucker (The Good Wife, The Man in the High Castle) of Scott Free; Lisa Q. Wolfinger (Desperate Crossing, The Untold Story of the Mayflower) and David Zabel (ER).