TV | Inside TV

'Downton Abbey' finale posts biggest PBS rating in years

Downton Abbey

(Carnival Film & Television)

The second season finale of PBS’ Downton Abbey posted the network’s biggest audience in nearly three years.

A total of 5.4 million viewers tuned into Sunday night’s two-hour closer. It was PBS’ most-watched program since the premiere of Ken Burns’ National Parks in 2009. For some perspective, PBS’ period drama delivered more first-run viewers than FX receives for successes like American Horror Story and Justified, or AMC gets for favorites like Mad Men and Breaking Bad (though not as much as The Walking Dead).

Overall, the second season Abbey audience was 25 percent larger than the first round. The show is also delivering a much younger audience than the usual Masterpiece crowd, with female viewers 18-34 up 251 percent.

Originally posted February 23 2012 — 11:22 AM EST

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