Downton Abbey: Series 3 breaks US viewing figure records and becomes highest-rating TV drama in PBS’s history!

by Anna Howell

Hit ITV period drama, Downton Abbey, has broken a US record with its series 3 finale by becoming the highest-rating show on American television that evening!

Downton Abbey, based on the plight of the Grantham family maintaining their aristocratic titles and lifestyle in the early 1900’s, took the UK by complete storm, quickly cementing itself in the history book of British TV legends, but it was its conquering of the US audience which really surprised critics across the globe.

Downton, with its very traditionally English ways and themes, seems to have struck a chord with its US audience in a way that no other British TV show ever has, and has equalled it’s few fellow successful UK exports such as the Beatles and One Direction in popularity.

This was proved more than ever when, during the series three finale shown on February 17th in America, it beat all other shows broadcast across the many, many other US cable and satellite channels to become the highest-rated show on American television that evening.

And not only that, reports from Digital Spy reveal that Downton Abbey, which averaged 12.3million viewers during the finale with a 11.5 million viewing figure average for the entire series, also became the highest-rating TV drama in PBS’s history, having reached over 24 million viewers overall.

This huge figure is a whopping 7million increase over last year’s series 2 of the hit show, which stars Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern as Lord and Lady Grantham and has won nine Emmys, three Golden Globes and the SAG Award for ‘Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Drama Series’, as well as holding the record for the highest amount of Emmy nominations for any British show.

Carnival Films’ managing director Gareth Neame said: “The fact that Downton Abbey was the most-watched programme across all networks for the series finale is truly exceptional.

“This has never been done before and it is truly gratifying to see how the US audience’s appreciation grow so much year by year.”

Watch an interview with Gareth at last year’s Emmy awards in the clip below: