Yep, Downton Abbey fever isn't dying down anytime soon!
The period drama's season three premiere on Sunday, Jan. 6, attracted 7.9 million viewers. Impressive, right? Prepare to be even more impressed? Downton's premiere ratings quadrupled PBS' average primetime ratings.
"Downton Abbey continues to enthrall audiences nationwide, and this season is especially riveting with the addition of Shirley MacLaine to the cast and the lively interaction between her and Maggie Smith," PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger said in a statement. "I'm so pleased that audiences have returned to Downton Abbey on their local stations to continue to enjoy some of the best drama on television."
Masterpiece Classic's executive producer Rebecca Eaton added, "The well-loved characters that made Season 2 the most-watched series in Masterpiece history continue to delight us. I'm thrilled to see so many viewers return to the Crawley family's delicious drama and intrigue."
The Twitter conversation for Downton Abbey garnered nearly 100,000 tweets during the premiere evening, according to SocialGuide Intelligence, and Downton Abbey was a worldwide trending topic.
Downton's ratings win comes a few weeks after the shocking news that—major spoiler alert!—fan favorite Dan Stevens, who plays Matthew Crawley, would not be returning for season four.