'Downton Abbey', Season 3 on Masterpiece Classic Finale Ratings End on a High Note With 8.2 Million Viewers

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February 19th, 2013

via press release:

“Downton Abbey, Season 3” on MASTERPIECE CLASSIC
Finale Ratings End on a High Note

Final Episode Averaged 8.2 Million Viewers

ARLINGTON, VA; February 19, 2013 -- PBS and WGBH announced today that the conclusion of the breakout hit “Downton Abbey, Season 3” on MASTERPIECE CLASSIC captivated an average audience of 8.2 million viewers (Nielsen Fast National data, 5.2 household rating). The Season 3 finale’s average audience was 50 percent above the Season 2 finale (5.4 million viewers, 3.5 household Fast National rating) from February 2012.

“Downton Abbey, Season 3,” a Carnival/MASTERPIECE co-production, consistently drew an audience more than quadruple the PBS primetime average. It exceeded the average rating of the second season of “Downton Abbey” by 66 percent (based on metered market averages).

According to SocialGuide, there were nearly 80,000 "Downton Abbey"-related tweets sent out on Feb. 17, making it the 2nd most tweeted-about series (broadcast or cable) on television that night.

Final, Live+7 ratings for the season finale will be available in approximately three weeks.

  • Alan B.

    UK viewers had a Xmas special broadcast on Xmas day which was set in Scotland.Don’t know if that was included as part of the US season 3. Revenge is on it’s way back, past few episodes have been really good and I don’t think anyone would have guessed the outcome of Sundays episode.The Good Wife audience I imagine is similar to Downton Abbey..ie mature viewers

  • Dorothy

    I thought about checking it out on streaming Netflix, but they made a deal with Amazon to solely be the only streaming company so I willl have to figure another way. What is it about? Can anyone compare it to another show? I have started watching great series since last year which I never did before. Including first Breaking Bad, the walking Dead started a month and a half ago and am caught up. Sons of Anarchy 5 seasons in over a month. Right after I was done with TWD. I watched homelands first to seasons 3 mos. Ago. Just got done with all of the Sopranos. I watched those in between the walking dead and Sons. It was my least favorite out of all the shows. I barely got through most of it. I almost stopped watching then Season 6 came and got a lot better, but still my least favorite. About to watch Game of thrones and Mad Men.

  • The 47th

    Woah, 50% better than the previous finale and 66% higher than the S2’s average numbers. You certainly don’t get that every year.

    Plus, the show does really well on iTunes. It’s common to see the three seasons inside the top10.

  • PurpleDrazi


    The best comparison would probably be to another British TV series called Upstairs Downstairs. (look it up on Wikipedia if you don’t know what I’m talking about).

    It is nothing like any of the shows you listed but that doesn’t mean you won’t like it. I watch a lot of those shows too and I still really enjoyed Downton Abbey.

  • networkman

    I still can’t believe this show garners more viewers than Revenge. I really wish dramas on network tv would get more exposure during award season. Maybe Emmys could have a separate category, one for cable dramas and the other for best network drama. So far, these would be my nominees:

    Person of Interest
    The Following

  • Sigourney

    No comparison. “Downton Abbey” is so much better!

  • RachelW

    It was a fabulous, sad, season. Season 4 will be something..to see Robert vs Mary vs Tom…Sad to see Matthew die that just was a shocked when I watched it on Christmas Day let alone rewatched it last night..but the possibilities are endless. Bravo Downton, bravo.

  • BxActor


  • miles silverberg

    Alan B: The Christmas special was what aired this past Sunday. Here is it was simply treated as the season finale.

    The season was bundled in a strange way by Masterpiece: the first two episodes were bundled together as the season premiere, and the last 2 episodes of the season were bundled together as well. I don’t know why Masterpiece was in such a hurry to get Downton over and done with; they could have enjoyed an additional 2 weeks of ratings and postiive media attention if they hadn’t done all this bundling.

  • Marie

    I have 2 favorite shows, this one & Nashville & I also really like Revenge. This show is great & I expected Matthew to die as he did not sign up for next season, like the younger sister which was unfortunate. Even my husband has taken a liking to it.

  • BigBrotherFan

    LOL PBS shouldnt care about 18-49 because I’m pretty sure of those 8.2 million viewers 8 MILLION OF THEM where 50+

  • gerry

    i love downton so much!

    but i didn’t have to watch it live because i bought the discs as soon as they were available.

    anyone wondering why sunday numbers are so low, look no further than downton and walking dead. two huge non-network behemoths. sunday is a busy night for my dvr.

  • KarenM

    I’m not happy about Matthew and Sybil’s death but the actors wanted to leave so good riddance. I can’t wait until season four! Great job and great show!

  • Chuck_T

    Good to see there is still an audience for quality programming instead of the usual junk and reality shows.

  • Bjm

    One of the few shows worth watching these days. Glad to hear it’s doing well.

  • Rebecca

    Season one of Downton Abbey is still on Netflix. I watched it there a few weeks ago and then went to the project-free-tv site (you can Google it) to see season 2. Season 3 is there too but the PBS site also streams it so I caught it there. I only saw the last two episodes “live” on TV. Great show. Enjoy Mad Men…that’s another one I stream and am caught up on it now. Haven’t seen Sons of Anarchy but watched The Sopranos via dvd a while back and am caught up on Breaking Bad. I don’t have cable so I stream everything or rent the dvds when available.

  • cas

    Good thought. Now if ABC would get their programming straight and stop taking random breaks Sunday ratings might hold up. As for Scandal, it would be interesting to see how it would perform with a GA lead in and on a different night.
    My real question is- is this show really that good? I see some people say it is boring and other’s just love it. I just want to know if I should check it out. What show would closely compare to this? And if it is boring like some people say, how come so many people watch it?

  • Rebecca

    It might move slower than most shows, which could be why some find it boring – but it spans several years (starts just after the sinking of the Titanic and so far has gone through WWI and up to maybe 1921 or 1922) and is about a family and their staff. It has some humor now and then, which I think is important for shows to hold interest. Some have already said that the show most like it is “Upstairs, Downstairs.”

  • KarenM

    This show definitely appeals to older viewers. I only know people in their 40s-70s who love it. Nobody younger but I don’t want to make generalizations. ;)

    I would say it’s a slow moving show but it’s got a huge cast and they’re really, really good overall. The cast was what drew me in not the writing. Now though I love it all. It’s like any other show out there though. The writing’s not quite as good as the writing in previous seasons. That’s hard to keep up but it’s compelling TV as long as they can keep the couples interesting. I’m worried about Robert/Cora and Bates/Anna because they’re becoming boring. We’ll see next year…

  • Don

    Hey GG their is Elementary you know. I expect CBS to move the show next season however.

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