01/06/2014 06:19 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

'Downton Abbey' Season 4 Premiere Breaks PBS Ratings Record

Even the rolling hills of the Crawley estate couldn't contain all of the viewers who tuned in for last night's season premiere of "Downton Abbey."

According to Entertainment Weekly, the fourth season debut of the beloved Masterpiece series garnered 10.2 million viewers (up from last year's 7.9 million), making it the highest-rated premiere for a drama in PBS history.

"As this captivating drama continues, our audiences have been eagerly awaiting this new season to see what’s next for these beloved characters,” said PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger of the record-breaking ratings. “I’m so pleased that millions of viewers have returned to 'Downton Abbey' on their local PBS stations for what has become a post-holiday tradition,” she added.

Ratings like this would even make the Dowager Countess crack a smile.


"Downton Abbey" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on PBS.

"Downton Abbey"