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Downton Abbey’s popularity continues to grow, with PBS’ airing of the season three finale drawing a record audience.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Sunday’s episode drew an astonishing 8.2 million viewers, easily beating the 5.4 million viewers who tuned in for the season two finale. It also shows that viewership has grown over the season. The season three premiere drew 7.9 million viewers.
USA Today reports that PBS boasted that the episode was quadruple that average primetime audience. The network also stated that season three’s average numbers were up 66 percent over season two.
You can check out our recap of the episode here. The season featured several changes, with Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) dying in a car accident, while Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) had just given birth to their son.
Fans will get a fourth season of the show, which was created by Julian Fellowes. It is produced by NBCUniversal’s Carnival Film & Television and airs on ITV in the U.K.
In an interview with The New York Times, Fellowes confirmed that the fourth season will star six months following the season three finale.
“I didn’t want [Matthew’s] death to dominate the Christmas special, so that’s why we killed him at the very, very end,” he explained. “In a way I think it works quite well because we begin Series 4 six months later. We don’t have to do funerals and all that stuff. That’s all in the past by then.”