The debut of “Mercy Street,” the first PBS original drama in more than 10 years, drew 3.3 million viewers Sunday night, according to Nielsen estimates provided by the pubcaster. Numbers were not available for “Downton Abbey,” which served as its lead-in and returned earlier this month with nearly 10 million viewers.
“Mercy Street” drew more viewers than typical 10 p.m. programming on PBS, including about 15% more than the third season of “Sherlock,” according to the network. PBS announced the early ratings results at the Television Critics’ Association Press Tour in Pasadena on Monday.
PBS had made the “Mercy Street” premiere available for digital streaming ahead of Sunday’s broadcast debut. The early release helped build interest by generating nearly 200,000 streams from Jan. 14-17, making it the No. 1-rated digital premiere ever for PBS. The digital premiere included all PBS station digital platforms such as PBS.org, PBS apps for iOS, Android, Fire TV, ROKU, Apple TV, Xbox 360 and Windows 10, as well as through partners including Amazon, iTunes, Google Play and Vudu.