Downton Abbey’s final season debuted in the UK last night (Sept. 20) to its lowest ever season premiere ratings.
The show, which has just entered its sixth season, was viewed by an average audience of 7.6 million. Despite the drop in ratings, though, it was still the most-watched programme of the day in the UK. It is also very likely that the figures will see a substantial increase through on-demand viewing.
The ratings are the lowest for a Downton Abbey season premiere since the first season, which launched with an average of 7.7 million in 2010. The fourth gained the highest viewership with 9.5 million, closely followed by 9.3 million for the second season opener. The third season debuted with 9 million viewers, while last year’s fifth season attracted 8.4 million.
The opening episode was in its usual 9 pm slot on ITV, running for 90 minutes, and gaining a 36% share in total viewers of that time slot; this figure is in line with both the 2011 and 2012 launches.
Season 6 begins in 1925 and the first episode covered blackmail, blossoming romance, and big changes at the Abbey.
The final season of Downton Abbey will arrive on PBS on January 3, 2016 at 9/8c.