Downton Abbey Sets PBS Ratings Record

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<i>Downton Abbey</i> Sets PBS Ratings Record

Demonstrating that sometimes critics and audiences can indeed get along, Downton Abbey, the popular British period drama series, can now successfully call itself a ratings juggernaut by PBS standards.

According to The New York Times, the show’s season three premiere—which features a wedding of two central characters as well as the introduction of Oscar-winner Shirley MacLaine as another character’s vivacious American mother-in-law—scored a record-breaking 7.9 million viewers.

This number is nearly double that of the show’s season two premiere, which netted 4.2 million last January.

Created by acclaimed actor/writer Julian Fellowes, the show has earned significant critical and commercial popularity since premiering on PBS back in January 2011. It has earned seven Emmys to date and is nominated for three awards at this year’s Golden Globe ceremony, including a nod for Best Dramatic Series.