'Downton Abbey' Season Four Premiere Delivers 10.2 Million Viewers

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January 6th, 2014

Downton Abbey Season 4

via press release:
Two-Hour Premiere of “Downton Abbey, Season 4” on MASTERPIECE
Highest Rated Drama Premiere in PBS History

– 10.2 Million Viewers Tuned in for Season 4 Premiere –

ARLINGTON, VA; January 6, 2014 -- PBS and WGBH announced today that the premiere of “Downton Abbey, Season 4” on MASTERPIECE enchanted viewers nationwide as the Crawley family faced changes in the wake of last season’s shocking finale. An average audience of 10.2 million viewers tuned in for Sunday’s premiere. (Nielsen Fast National data, 6.2 household rating.)

The fourth season premiere of the Emmy®, Golden Globe® and SAG Award®-winning series, a Carnival Films/MASTERPIECE co-production, improved upon the average rating of the third season premiere of “Downton Abbey” by 22 percent (based on Fast Nationals, both seasons). Between 9:00-11:00 p.m., PBS tied with CBS as the most watched network on Sunday (based on weighted metered market averages).

“As this captivating drama continues, our audiences have been eagerly awaiting this new season to see what’s next for these beloved characters,” said PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger. “I’m so pleased that millions of viewers have returned to ‘Downton Abbey’ on their local PBS stations for what has become a post-holiday tradition.”

“I’m delighted to see that the Crawley family’s intrigue continues to beguile our viewers,” said MASTERPIECE executive producer Rebecca Eaton. “Julian Fellowes has written every word of all four seasons of ‘Downton,’ and I toss him a huge bouquet on behalf of his American fans.”

The new season will be available for free streaming on PBS station websites, the PBS Video Portal and PBS’ apps on Xbox, Roku and Apple TV for a limited time after each national broadcast. Online excitement has been building for Season 4 over the past several months, with more than 2.3 million streams of previews and clips across all PBS platforms leading up to the Season 4 premiere. (Source: Google Analytics 9/8/13 – 1/5/13)
According to Nielsen SocialGuide, a Twitter TV audience of 2.9 million people sent 97,000 tweets during the premiere evening, generating a total of 15.2 million impressions and making it the #2 telecast, ranked by Unique Audience, across the whole day and excluding sports events. PBS and MASTERPIECE insiders — as well as moderators from Tom and Lorenzo (@tomandlorenzo), Jarett Wieselman of BuzzFeed (@JarettSays) and special guests including Lesley Nicol (Mrs. Patmore) — will continue to host live discussions during each broadcast to connect directly with fans on social media.

To engage viewers in the series’ premiere, more than 135 local PBS stations hosted premiere screenings in December and January, collectively drawing tens of thousands of fans nationwide. Member stations created events ranging from high teas to dinners to cruises to involve community members in the excitement of the series.

“Downton Abbey” is a Carnival Films/MASTERPIECE Co-Production.

MASTERPIECE is presented on PBS by WGBH Boston. Rebecca Eaton is Executive Producer for MASTERPIECE. Funding for the series is provided by Viking Cruises and Ralph Lauren Corporation with additional support from public television viewers and contributors to The MASTERPIECE Trust, created to help ensure the series’ future.

About PBS
PBS, with its over 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 120 million people through television and over 29 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its website, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS PressRoom on Twitter.

About WGBH
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur, Curious George, and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH also is a leader in educational multimedia, including PBS LearningMedia, and a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to the 36 million Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or visually impaired. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards…even two Oscars. Find more information at www.wgbh.org.

  • JC

    Wow, great numbers for DA. Love it!

  • John A

    Wow i dont get the appeal of it but 10 million for a british show in the US is outstanding.

  • Evan

    Holy crap 10 million! Downton Abbey must be the 2nd most popular cable television show which is pretty interesting as its on PBS and isn’t even an american show! That’s pretty cool and hope the ratings continue

  • John A

    Didnt this air months ago in the UK too? Thats even more impressive. It probably skews old though as Revenge didnt drop or TGW didnt go down that much.

  • Samunto

    I stopped watching somewhere in season 2. Never been a fan of period dramas really and even struggled to get through HBO’s ‘Rome’.

    I’m considering jumping back on the bandwagon though…

  • BG

    Great numbers for Downton Abbey!!! I’m also thrilled that Revenge did so well in the ratings!! I love both shows.

  • Janet

    That’s insane considering how many people have already seen it.

  • Joseph

    It may be the first time ever that a PBS program beat all broadcast (and maybe cable) competition in it’s time period on a national BASIS!

  • Kissan

    Does anyone know the 18-49 demo rating?

  • gigi

    The first paragraph of the article shows a 6.2 rating. I assume that’s 18-49 but I guess I don’t know that for sure.

  • Barb

    They’d probably get even better numbers if they aired the new season closer to when it came on in the UK. Personally, already saw the entire 4th (and new Christmas special).

  • aj

    pbs doesnt care about 18-49

  • Matt M.

    This made Revenge’s ratings a whole lot more significant. Rose 20 percent to multi-week highs against a hit monster show that hit series highs. Go Revenge!! Oh, and I guess go Dowton, too. Lol.

  • Derrick

    Wow……………Go Downton Abbey!

  • Rebecca

    Cool. It took me most of the daylight hours to stream it online today on PBS’s website but only because I kept pausing the show to go do stuff, lol. The next episode looks to be pretty good.

  • Bob

    I was very happy with Downton Abbey. I know some thought it was boring but I didn’t at all. I watched Revenge last night on Amazon Instant Video and all I can say is….WOW! It is a shame that both share the same audience.

  • Once & Again


    Downton Abbey is great. I have seen some of the other episodes i won’t tell you anything, except be careful at episode 3, some people might be shocked at what happens.

  • Lukes

    Downton will surely fall, this season does not have those hooking moments that keep the general public interested.


    WTG Downton!

  • Herb Finn

    But are these numbers converting into higher pledges to PBS, even “one-time” small gifts of $10-$25?

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