TV Ratings: 'Downton Abbey' Series Farewell Draws Biggest Finale Audience Ever

An average of 9.6 million viewers tuned into the series finale of the period drama Sunday.
Nick Briggs

Downton Abbey went out with a bang Sunday on PBS.

The series finale of the period drama drew an average of 9.6 million viewers — the biggest ever finale audience for the series throughout its six-season run. That was up 14 percent from the season-five finale (8.4 million). However, viewership was down slightly from the season-six opener, which drew an average of 9.9 million viewers on PBS back in January.

The series, which hailed from executive producers Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame and producer Carnival Films, peaked with 7.4 million viewers across the pond when the series finale first aired in the U.K. on Christmas Day.

“These six seasons of Downton Abbey have truly been a fantastic ride for all of us in the public television family,” PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger said in a statement. “A sincere thank you to Carnival Films, Masterpiece, Gareth Neame and Julian Fellowes, and all of our member stations for their part in this tremendous success. Most of all, thank you to all of the loyal viewers whose enthusiasm and engagement with the show made Downton Abbey a global sensation.”

Added Neame: “So that’s it. The TV journey for Downton has come to an emotional end, but what amazing ratings. We’re thrilled that a show no one could have predicted would have been such a huge hit in the U.S as well as a global phenomenon went on to become so beloved and garner such a huge audience for its final season. On behalf of all the actors, producers and crew I would like to thank our many millions of fans in America for coming with us on this remarkable adventure.”

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