Did you watch Downton Abbey on Sunday night when it premiered its fourth season on PBS? I'm gonna go ahead and take a guess that you did, judging solely by the fact that its ratings were so damn high. According to BBC, the Season 4 premiere of Downton Abbey pulled in record ratings for PBS upon its first airing in the states and was reportedly watched by a total of 10.2 million people — which, for a network like PBS, is a lot. Especially when you consider the fact that the episodes have already aired in the UK, so spoilers are literally all over the Internet.
Chances are that these ratings will just rise, since there's still DVR viewings and repeat airings to factor in to the total. Last year's Season 3 finale, for instance, was watched by a whopping 8.2 million people live, but the number was adjusted up to 12.3 million viewers after DVR, on-demand, and other VOD platform viewing totals were factored in.
Even better, though, is this: Not only were the numbers a ratings record for a series premiere on PBS, but it also ensured that the airing of the series won in the ratings for Sunday night, over a new episode of The Good Wife on CBS (9.2 million viewers) and a new episode of Revenge on ABC (6.7 million viewers).