ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 6 (UPI) -- An average audience of 10.1 million viewers tuned in for Sunday's U.S. premiere of the costume drama Downton Abbey, PBS and WGBH announced.
As the new season began, the wealthy Crawley family and those who serve them at their country estate returned to face the changing tides of England in 1924. The show stars Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith and Brendan Coyle.
"We're incredibly excited that Downton Abbey's fans came out in force for the premiere of what has become a cultural phenomenon. We'll also be looking at time-shifted and online viewing over the next few weeks as the season progresses," Beth Hoppe, chief programming executive and general manager of general audience programming for PBS, said in a statement. "We'd like to thank our partners at Carnival and Masterpiece, the fans who have made Downton Abbey a post-holiday treat, and the many PBS stations around the country who helped make Sunday night a success."
"Downton Abbey has great 'legs,' as they say on Broadway!," added Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton. "We are proud and grateful to be part of a series that is so impeccably acted, scripted, and produced. No wonder it has won the hearts of millions of viewers."