‘Downton Abbey’ season 3 off to strong start

If you care about the business of TV ratings and are a major fan of “Downton Abbey,” you really have to celebrate the performance of the hit ITV drama series in Britain on Sunday. The numbers are in, and while they are not as strong as they were for the season 2 premiere a year ago, they are still the sort of figures that television stations in America would dream to have.

Overall, the series drew nine million viewers for its 90-minute premiere on Sunday, including a peak audience of 9.6 million viewers. These figures are indeed very impressive, but what we love to do here is compare┬áproportions. If ┬áthe same percentage of people in America watched “Downton Abbey” as they do in Great Britain, the show would have a stellar audience of around 45 million viewers. By comparison, the most-popular scripted series in America is “NCIS,” and it draws roughly 20 millio viewers for its new episodes.

In actuality, “Downton Abbey” episodes drew around 5-6 million viewers here in America on PBS, but they do not air tragically here until early 2013. Another thing worth noting when it comes to the weekend ratings? The success of “Downton Abbey” also helped to lift “The X Factor” to a season-high viewing audience of over 11 million. However, this was also down versus the competition show of the same stage last year.

What do you think about the ratings for the “Downton Abbey” premiere, and is there any reason why you think a greater percentage of British audiences choose to tune in for their own programming than here in America? We want to hear your thoughts below! To check out a first-look promo for next week’s episode, be sure to visit the link here.

Photo: ITV

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