'Downton Abbey' premiere biggest drama ratings in PBS history

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The rumblings from the UK fans and U.S. critics had braced us: Downton Abbey season 4 gets off to a slooow start.

But there’s nothing slow about last night’s ratings! Sunday’s two-hour U.S. return of the crunchy-gravel drama on PBS Masterpiece delivered a whopping 10.2 million viewers, up 22 percent from last year’s debut. This marks the highest-rated drama premiere in PBS history.

“As this captivating drama continues, our audiences have been eagerly awaiting this new season to see what’s next for these beloved characters,” said PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger. “I’m so pleased that millions of viewers have returned to Downton Abbey on their local PBS stations for what has become a post-holiday tradition.”

Check out our recap (titled “The Walking Dead”) and here’s what to expect from each character this season (something, we hope). Without giving away any spoilers, let’s just say the show gets more dramatic next week.

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