TV Ratings: 'Downton Abbey' Wins Super Bowl Runner-Up Race For Third Year
UPDATED: The PBS airing of the British drama, which saw a big promotional push as counterprogramming against the big game, improved its haul from 2013 with 6.8 million viewers.
The race for second place again goes to Downton Abbey. PBS' ratings darling, which has gone head-to-head with the Super Bowl for three years running, again topped all non-NFL offerings on U.S. TV Sunday night.
Masterpiece Classic's outing of Downton Abbey, which it plugged alongside Sherlock with the promotional hashtag #DramaBowlPBS, averaged 6.8 million viewers during its 9 p.m. ET premiere. That makes it a touch bigger than last year's Super Bowl night haul of 6.6 million viewers.
Each year Downton Abbey has aired against the Super Bowl, it has enjoyed runner-up status on all of TV in both total viewers and adults 18-49 -- though demographics mean little to the ad-free public broadcaster.
At 10 p.m., PBS closed the third season of Sherlock. The drama averaged 3 million viewers in its third and final episode. That's shy of its U.S. series high -- 4 million viewers on Jan. 19 -- but up from last week's 2.9 million viewers.