'Downton Abbey' Draws Lowest U.K. Season Finale Ratings Ever

The ITV drama, which airs on PBS in the U.S., averaged 8.29 million viewers in the overnight ratings

Downton Abbey finished its fifth season on British network ITV Sunday night with an average of more than 8 million viewers, its lowest-ever U.K. audience for a season finale to-date.

The overnight ratings showed the drama's audience was down from past season finales, but the finale's viewership is expected to get a boost once catch-up viewing over the coming days is included.

The final episode of the hit show from Julian Fellowes, which in the U.S. airs on PBS, drew an average audience of 8.29 million, giving it a share of 35.8 percent of people watching TV in Britain at the time, according to ratings consultancy Attentional. That was the season's second-highest overnight rating behind the season opener. That compared with 9.8 million and a share of 40 percent for the fourth-season finale in the overnight figures and 10.1 million and a 39.1 percent share for season three.

The second-season finale averaged 10.5 million viewers in the overnight data, and the first season finale had drawn 10.1 million in the overnights.

An ITV spokeswoman said the show is still ITV's highest-rated drama. It has been averaging 10.4 million viewers for the latest season in consolidated data for the live airings and the following week, according to ITV.

Read more 'Downton Abbey' Star: Dog Isis Not Being Killed Off Because of Name

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

The first episode of the fifth season on ITV had drawn 8.4 million average viewers, which marked the show's lowest season start since its first-season launch in 2010 with 7.7 million viewers.

U.K. audiences will once again get to see a special year-end holiday episode of the drama, and the team has shot a one-off charity film, which will feature George Clooney.

Nov. 10, 3:45 a.m. Updated with confirmation of lowest-ever season finale ratings.

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai‎