“Downton Abbey” Premiere: Viewers Down

The hit drama’s return last night in the U.K. drew a big audience for ITV, but was down slightly from the average of 9 million hit in live viewership last year. Has the arrival of Shirley Maclaine on the show spooked the ratings? Hardly: her character hasn’t turned up yet. What’s more, even with a slight ratings downturn the premiere was still watched by 34 percent of Brits who had the telly on last night. No regular series captures that kind of percentage in the U.S., where “Downton” will premiere on PBS in January.

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