'Downton Abbey' Season Four Premiere Delivers 10.2 Million Viewers

Categories: 1-Featured,Network TV Press Releases

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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.

  • tv_viewer


    That 6.2 rating refers to the household rating, not the 18-49 L+SD rating. Other posters have written that PBS didn’t want L+SD ratings from Nielsen for Downton Abbey. It is probable that the only individuals who know the L+SD numbers are those who work for Nielsen but they won’t make it public.

    The first new episode of Castle in 2014 had a overnight household rating of 6.0 (per Marc Berman). So Downton Abbey is seen in about as many households as Castle this week.

    If one only cares about the total number of viewers, Downton Abbey would be considered a hit in the United States. I can only guess that like Castle, a majority of the “live” viewers are over 49 years old.

  • Rob R

    Downton Abbey is a joint production of PBS and BBC, I believe, so it is a 50 percent “American” show.

  • ENTPgal

    Downton Abbey is a co-production between Carnival Films and Masterpiece(which is partnered with PBS).

    BBC was never involved. It originally aired on ITV.

    P.S. Go PBS!

  • Tim

    To Rob R – Er, no. Downton is made by Carnival Films, a subsidiary of NBCUniversal but a British company itself. It is commissioned and shown by ITV, which is one of several commercial rivals to the BBC (there is more than one British TV network, just as not all US networks are called ABC!).

    Masterpiece/PBS buy the show for the US, and may even put in some production money, but they have no creative input, and it is such a big hit in the UK that it would be recommissioned there even if there were no US sale at all. Its cast, crew and setting are all entirely British, apart from one regular who is American (both as an actress and as a character) and visits from occasional American guest stars in some (a minority of) episodes.

    We Brits are delighted that so many Americans like a British TV show but that does not make it a 50% American show. And we are a little amused that so many Americans protest at having to wait four months after UK transmission to see it, when for years we often had to wait six, nine or even twelve months to see American shows we like. On both sides of the Atlantic, that is a decision of the purchasing network, not the creators or original broadcasters.

  • Dax Jackson

    lol first 5 comments are the same person trying to convince everyone Revenge is good or something?

  • Why Watch

    Now that Downton is on, no more of the ridiculously bad show Revenge for me. Once all the new shows are back, Revenge could suffer.

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