Downton Abbey season 4 breaks new records in the US

The most recent series of Julian Fellowes' period phenomenon has become the highest-rated drama premiere in PBS America's history


It seems Downton Abbey was worth the wait for patient period drama fans across the pond. 


Our American counterparts have been standing by for the fourth series of Downton Abbey, which we devoured before Christmas over here, and a record number of them tuned in when it finally premiered.

The series, which opens with a widowed Lady Mary mourning her beloved Matthew, kicked off on PBS America on Sunday – and 10.2 million viewers settled down to watch it, making it the highest-rated drama premiere in the public service broadcaster’s history. 

The episode also brought in 22% more viewers than the series three premiere, which was watched by 7.3 million Americans. Impressive, no?

Gareth Neame, the show’s Executive Producer and Managing Director of Carnival Films, said: “Yet again we are astonished and delighted that the U.S. audiences continue to love and adore the show as it goes out live.  For a British drama to keep adding millions of viewers to its audience is truly wonderful for us all, both behind and in front of the camera.”

Downton Abbey’s series four premiere peaked at 10.5 million viewers when it aired in the UK on ITV last year, making it Downton’s highest rating series opener over here, too. 

It seems the shock of Matthew’s death and the upset that followed wasn’t enough to put off Downton’s dedicated fan base… 

Downton Abbey has traditionally performed well for PBS America – the show was named the channel’s highest rating TV drama at the end of its third run in 2013.