TV Ratings: 'Sherlock's' U.S. Audience Grows After Long Break -- Still No 'Downton Abbey'
Thanks in no small part to the rising profiles of stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, the U.K. series grows 25 percent from 2012 in its PBS return.
Sherlock jumped 25 percent after a nearly two-year absence from PBS. The Masterpiece Mystery debut of the U.K. hit, airing on just a three-week delay, averaged 4 million viewers on Sunday night.
That's up 800,000 from the season-two launch in May 2012, easily marking a stateside series high for the show. The lapse between the second and third season has seen both stars, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, become increasingly familiar to U.S. audiences -- thanks to roles in blockbuster franchises Star Trek and The Hobbit, respectively.
Sherlock also had an enviable lead-in from Downton Abbey. Three weeks into its U.S. run, which is on a much bigger delay from the U.K., the drama averaged 8.4 million viewers. That's down quite modestly from the Jan. 5 record-setting premiere of 10.2 million viewers.
Downton Abbey remains a much bigger British import. The recent premiere was up 22 percent from a year ago. And the 2013 return marked an unprecedented 96 percent surge from 2012.