The dramatic third-season finale of Downton Abbey on PBS Sunday night was up 50% over the series’ second-season end. The February 17 broadcast of the aristocratic British soap pulled in 8.2 million viewers. Last year, 5.4 million tuned in for the Season 2 finale on February 19, 2012. Downton Abbey got a 5.2 household rating on Sunday night, according to Nielsen. That’s also up from the 3.5 household national rating the series’ Season 2 end received. The third season of Downton debuted on January 6 to 7.9 million viewers, up from the 4.2 million who watched the second season start on January 9, 2012. Downton’s third season bested the average rating of the second season by 66% based on metered market averages. UK broadcaster ITV ordered a fourth season of Downton Abbey in late November of last year.

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