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9M watch U.K. premiere of 'Downton'

  |   Sept. 17, 2012 at 9:13 AM
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LONDON, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- About 9 million people tuned in for the Season 3 premiere of "Downton Abbey" on British television Sunday night, ITV said.

The show, which is a huge ratings hit in the United States, won't be seen on American television until January.

Set in the early 20th century, the series follows the lives of a wealthy British family and the loyal employees who serve them in their country mansion.

Hollywood actress Shirley MacLaine joins the cast this season as a wealthy family member from the United States.

Starring Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Brendan Coyle and Michelle Dockery, the series was nominated for 16 Primetime Emmy Awards this year. The winners of the prizes are to be handed out Sunday.

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