“Downton Abbey” gave its fans — and PBS stations — the English version of a happy ratings ending.
The British period drama about intrigue in a grand aristocratic family early in the 20th century delivered 9.6 million total viewers for Sunday’s series finale, according to Nielsen.
That makes it the most-watched finale of all six “Downton” seasons. The Season 5 closer in March 2015 drew 8.4 million.
“The TV journey for ‘Downton’ has come to an emotional end, but what amazing ratings,” executive producer Gareth Neame wrote in a statement.
As it happens, “Downton” ratings were actually down a bit this year. January’s season opener reached 9.9 million, a tumble from the all-time high of 10.2 million who turned up for the Season 4 premiere.
Even so, the show was far and away the biggest scripted hit ever for PBS and a boon to the member stations that ran it, which are heavily dependent on viewer support for fundraising.
Times critic Mary McNamara called the finale “complete rot,” adding: “If there has ever been a more wantonly happy-ending finale in the history of television, I have never heard of it.”
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