February 03, 2014 12:21pm PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: 'Downton Abbey' Wins Super Bowl Runner-Up Race For Third Year
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.