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Season 2 of Downton Abbey made its U.S. debut this past Sunday. The popular British-turned-PBS series in the Masterpiece franchise has been highly touted by the network. As it turns out, having a solid series and standing behind that solid series can sometimes do wonders for your numbers. The Season 2 premiere of Downton Abbey posted a record 4.2 million viewers on Sunday night.

4.2 million viewers is double the number of viewers PBS normally gets in primetime. According to THR, it’s also 18% more in viewers than the series averaged over its first season, multi-episode arch. Now the numbers are in, it is really no wonder the premiere did excessively well. The buzz behind the show has been high, thanks to numerous Emmy wins last year, and celebrities like Mindy Khaling tweeting about the show.
”Watching Downton Abbey and eating a bag of licorice on a Friday night is the new Studio 54.”

And then there are the multiple Golden Globe nominations, including a best actor in a mini-series nod for Hugh Bonneville, a best actress in a mini-series nod for Elizabeth McGovern, a best supporting actress nod for Maggie Smith, and a shot at best mini-series. While quantifying Downton Abbey as a mini series is a little suspect, it still equals some pretty impressive credentials.

Season 2 begins with a bang, as WW1 has broken out and many of the beloved male characters are off to war. Couple a war plotline with the times they are a-changin’ outlook of the well-to-do and the help alike and you have a pretty juicy drama. Hopefully Downton Abbey will manage to retain its numbers as the series presses on.