The recent U.S. popularity of the mega-hit, Downton Abbey, brings to mind not only the obvious, Upstairs Downstairs, but also the likes of PBS’ Jewel in the Crown, Brideshead Revisited and, oddly, Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City broadcast from a water cooler popularity standpoint. With Downton Abbey, there’s a new sheriff in town at the top of the popular pile.
While only just several days removed from Sunday’s premiere of the second series Downton Abbey, America is waking up daily to the phenomenon that swept the UK back in the Fall of 2011. Don’t feel too bad for UK telly watchers. They are currently in the middle of their own broadcast euphoria over the return of the Steven Moffat/Mark Gatiss bit of brilliance known as Sherlock.
Recently, NBC’s Stephanie Gosk attempted to decode the DA phenomenon that has “taken America by storm” with Brian Williams referring to the series as: “…simply the best television program in the history of television”.
According to the New York Times, live viewing for the Sunday series 2 premiere of Downton Abbey on PBS drew an average of 4.2 million total viewers. While this doubled the average prime-time rating for PBS, according to Nielsen data, and the show experienced an 18 percent jump in the 18-to-49-year-old demographic when compared with the average rating for series one, the overall figure will undoubtedly increase once delayed viewing via the DVR and on-line streaming viewing is added.