January 10, 2012

THE SKED: “Downton Abbey” – The Rich Get Richer

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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PBS had to dust off its forms and sharpen the quill pens it uses to announce big ratings news, because DOWNTON ABBEY came back strong in its Season 2 debut.

The network announced that Downton‘s premiere was watched by 4.2 million viewers.  Apart from doubling PBS’s usual primetime average–which is no surprise–it was up 18% from the Season 1 average.  (That doesn’t count reruns, DVR viewing or online streams.)  As a basis for comparison, that’s a big enough number to put it in the broadcast network Top 15 for the week among all viewers (PBS didn’t report the 18-49 numbers, and one assumes the show skewed on the old side.) That’s more viewers than Desperate Housewives and Hawaii 5-0 had last week, and not far below NCIS LA.  If you consider PBS a niche network more akin to cable, it crushes the 1 million or so viewers Showtime had for its launches of Shameless and House of Lies that same night.   
So, jolly good show!  In all senses of the phrase.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."