'Downton Abbey' Ends Fourth Season in U.K. With Highest Drama Ratings of 2013

"Downton Abbey"

An overnight average of 9.8 million viewers meant a season high for the ITV show, which has been renewed for a fifth season.

Downton Abbey ended its fourth season on U.K. network ITV Sunday night with a season-high ratings performance.

ITV said Monday that the season finale drew an average audience of 9.8 million, giving it a share of 40 percent of people watching TV in Britain at the time.

The performance makes it the highest-rated drama on U.K. TV this year based on overnight ratings, ITV said.

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The season finale's ratings peaked with 10.5 million viewers, according to the overnight data.

On Sunday, ITV and production firm Carnival Films, part of NBCUniversal, had announced the renewal of Downton Abbey for a fifth season.

The costume drama had drawn an average U.K. audience of 11.8 million viewers this season before the finale. That data is based on consolidated viewing, meaning it includes some delayed viewing.

In the U.S., Downton Abbey has been a hit on PBS.

U.K. audiences will once again get to see a special year-end episode of the drama written by Julian Fellowes on ITV. It will feature Paul Giamatti.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai