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'Downton Abbey' Season Finale Posts Best Ratings for PBS in Years

February 24, 2012 (1:35 am) GMT
With 5.4 million viewers tuning in the season 2 ender, the British period drama becomes PBS' most-watched program since the premiere of Ken Burns' 'National Parks' in 2009.

The positive reviews obtained by "" came in line with big ratings. The Best Miniseries at 2012 Golden Globe Awards drew a total of 5.4 million viewers during the airing of season 2 finale on Sunday, February 19.

It marked the highest ratings for PBS in years, since the premiere of Ken Burns' documentary "National Parks" in September 2009. The number also increased 30% from the season 2 premiere, which pulled in 4.2 million viewers.

The period drama series additionally lured more younger audience than the usual Masterpiece crowd, with a 251% increase in female viewers aged 18-34. "PBS and our member stations are so pleased that such a large audience is enjoying this great work from Masterpiece," PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger commented on the show's performance.

"From viewing parties to Twitter mentions, 'Downton Abbey' is riding a wave of public enthusiasm, and it's been wonderful to see so many people discovering public television as a destination for programming that's smart, distinctive and entertaining."

The third season of "Downton Abbey" will begin filming this spring and is expected to premiere in the U.S. in early 2013.

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