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'Downton Abbey:' 8 million (almost)

"Downton Abbey" began its third season with a bang last night -- nearly 8 million viewers, or to be a bit more precise, 7.9 million. A record for PBS? Beats me, and even PBS seems uncertain, though this has to be close to the highwater mark, if not exceeding it. Needless to say, these sorts of things don't happen often on PBS and the network can be forgiven its excitement. The PBS line...

The season premiere "exceeded the average rating of the second season premiere of “Downton Abbey” by 96 percent (based on metered market averages). Between 9:00-11:00 p.m., PBS was the second-most watched broadcast network on Sunday. Highest local-market ratings were at member stations KCTS-Seattle (9.6 rating, 17 share), WGBH-Boston (8.8/14), KLRU-Austin (8.1/13) and WNET-New York (8.0/12).

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