‘Downton Abbey’ scores high on A3

Spanish network nabs second season from NBC U

Tuesday’s Spanish premiere of NBCU’s period drama “Downton Abbey” scored the highest-rating foreign fiction bow for private web Antena 3 in recent years, prompting the web to pickup free-to-air TV rights to the second season.

“Abbey” notched up a 17.1 share and 3.2 million viewers in its primetime slot, besting local skein “Angel o demonio” on rival web Telecinco, which nabbed a 9.7 share and 2 million eyeballs. It also beat Imagina-Televisa’s LaSexta new primetime slot for movies, which nabbed 1.4 million and an 8 share with “The World Is Not Enough.”

As usual for Spain, soccer won the night. The Bayern-Inter Milan European Champions League match on pubcaster RTVE’s commercial web La 1 scored a 20.9 share and 4 million viewers.

“Abbey” is produced by NBCU-owned Brit shingle Carnival Films.A ratings hit in the U.K. via ITV1, “Downton Abbey” is set in pre-WWI England, centering on the lives of the Crawley family and their servants. PBS broadcast the series Stateside in January.

The opening of “Downton Abbey” follows other standout fiction perfs at DeAPlaneta’s Antena 3, whose co-production with NBCU’s Telemundo, “La reina del sur,” bowed Monday primetime, punching a healthy 15.5 share (3.2 million).