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Downton Abbey Season 3's U.S. Debut Earns Strong Ratings
At long last, Downton Abbey made its Season 3 debut stateside, bringing us back into the drama just in time for the anticipated nuptials of two of the lead characters. The wait for the third season seemed especially long, knowing that the series returned over in the U.K. last September. Even with a few leaked spoilers about the current season and recently aired Christmas special, viewers tuned in en masse for last night's PBS Masterpiece airing of Season 3.
TVLine says 7.9 million people tuned in for Sunday night's Season 3 premiere, which is not only a series high but also nearly double the 4.2 million viewers that tuned in for Season 2 last year. We could speculate that it was a combination of word-of-mouth, coupled with the British period drama's availability on streaming video services like Netflix and Amazon Prime that contributed to the show's growing popularity stateside between seasons.
(Spoilers if you haven't watched Season 3's premiere yet!)
The Season 3 premiere was a real treat for fans who have been waiting to see Matthew and Mary tie the knot, at long last. Of course, the actual knot-tying (or ring exchange, more likely) wasn't actually included in the wedding footage. Executive producer Gareth Neame weighed on the reason they limited how much of the wedding was featured in the episode. You can read all about that here. Also featured in the episode was an update on Bates' legal problems, the reveal that Downton Abbey may be in jeopardy with Robert's investments going bad, and the introduction to Shirley MacLaine's Martha Levinson, who may be the perfect match for Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess. The double-episode certainly gave fans plenty to chew on after a year-long wait for the show's return.
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