mercy-street-premiere-ratingsThe premiere of “Mercy Street,” the first American drama airing on PBS in more than 10 years, got off to a decent start Sunday night.

PBS says about 3.3 million people watched the premiere, which is set in and around a Civil War-era hospital in Alexandria, Va. Josh Radnor and Mary Elizabeth Winstead star.

The 3.3 million viewers is a fraction of the audience for its lead-in, “Downton Abbey” (which typically draws 8 million to 10 million viewers). PBS CEO Paula Kerger said Monday at the winter TV press tour that the number is about 15 percent higher than the average for Season 3 of “Sherlock.”

An additional 200,000 people streamed the show prior to the premiere, a record for a PBS series debut.

“Mercy Street” will run for six episodes this season. Kerger says PBS hasn’t made a decision on a second season yet but “we have very much left the door open.”

Posted by:Rick Porter

Rick Porter has been covering TV since the days when networks sent screeners on VHS, one of which was a teaser for the first season of "American Idol." He's left-handed, makes a very solid grilled cheese and has been editor of TV by the Numbers since October 2015. He lives in Austin.

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