PBS: Guys did watch 'Downton Abbey'

Posted: March 28, 2012

Turns out dudes did watch "Downton Abbey."

We knew it all along, thanks to the guys who spoke with Daily News reporter Molly Eichel last month about what the hit "Masterpiece Theater" costume drama meant to them.

And now PBS finally has some numbers to back it up.

Ratings for "Downton's" Season 2 were up at least 100 percent among female and male 18- to 34-year-olds above the previous season's average for the "Masterpiece" series, the network reported Wednesday, citing Nielsen's finale ratings. (Viewership among women 18-34 was 278 percent above the "Masterpiece" average.) Among men 35-49, viewership was also 100 percent higher than the previous season's "Masterpiece" average, while among women of the same age, the increase was 173 percent.

When all the heads were counted - an increasingly complicated process in the age of the DVR - the season averaged 7 million viewers, some 2 million more than the first season and twice the 3.5 million "Masterpiece" averaged last season. (For perspective, Sunday's fifth-season premiere of "Mad Men," the most-watched episode of the series ever, averaged 3.5 million viewers in the preliminary Nielsens, a number likely to rise when the ratings that account for delayed viewing over the following seven days finally come in.)

Some other "Downton Abbey" stats:

- With an estimated cumulative audience of 17 million for the season, "Downton Abbey" "now ranks as the most-watched 'Masterpiece' miniseries on record," said PBS. (Trivia alert: Runner-up "The Buccaneers" had 14.9 million cumulative viewers in October 1995.)

- The Feb. 19 Season 2 finale averaged 8.1 million viewers, making it PBS' most-watched show since theSeptember 2009 premiere of Ken Burns' "National Parks" series.

- Online, episodes from Season 2 were were streamed 7.1 million times through PBS' and "Masterpiece's" sites and more than 12 million times across all platforms, said PBS, citing Google Analytics.

Contact Ellen Gray at 215-854-5950 or graye@phillynews.comor follow on Twitter @elgray.Read her blog at EllenGray.tv.

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