Nuzhat Naoreen
September 30, 2011 AT 04:00 AM EDT

As sitcoms ruled week 1 in the U.S., more regal fare made waves across the pond. Season 2 of recent Emmy winner Downton Abbey — a period drama about a household of aristocrats and servants — premiered on the British network ITV1 Sept. 18 and pulled in an impressive 9.3 million viewers, about 2 million more than the season 1 premiere. (The ITV website even suffered some problems, reportedly due to the number of people who tried to watch the episode online.) Whether the ratings surge will translate when that season debuts here on PBS in January remains to be seen, but Masterpiece exec producer Rebecca Eaton is cautiously optimistic. ”We have every expectation that the second season will do even better than the series’ first. But I wouldn’t jinx it with [a specific] number.”

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