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Boston number 2 market in US for 'Downton Abbey' premiere; episode quadruples average PBS rating

Posted by Emily Wright  January 7, 2013 04:58 PM

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Primetime viewers were tuned in to the season three premiere of "Downton Abbey" on Sunday night, and the numbers prove it -- notably showing Boston's dedication to the show. The Hub was the number two market in the country for the episode, WGBH reported. The "Masterpiece Theater" production on WGBH earned a 8.8 household rating, the highest rating for WGBH since 1990 (the year when Ken Burns's "The Civil War" premiered). WGBH also reported today that this season's premiere rated more than 50 percent higher than season two and more than doubled the premiere of season one.

Nationwide, last night's episode on PBS garnered 7.9 million viewers, making it the second-most watched network of the evening, according to the nonprofit station. "Downton Abbey" is the most-watched series in the history of "Masterpiece Theater," and has won numerous accolades, including nine Primetime Emmys.

Veteran actress Shirley MacLaine joined the award-winning cast for the newest season. MacLaine recently talked to the New York Daily News and said she believes that there are supernatural happenings taking place at the 400-year-old castle where the show is filmed. Do you think this helped spike ratings? What were your thoughts on the premiere? Let us know in the comments below.

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Contributors

Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.

Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.

Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.

Sarah Rodman is a TV and music critic for the Boston Globe.

Meghan Colloton is a Things to Do and Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.

Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.

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