How social media helped make ‘Downton Abbey’ a hit PBS show

I’m willing to wager that many Dappled Things readers are also fans of Downton Abbey, the deliciously proper period drama that has taken the US by storm. Heiresses! Amnesia! Wheelchairs! Getting up out of wheelchairs! Pheasants!

How did you first hear about the show? I saw it mentioned on a friend’s Facebook status and checked it out via Netflix, and my husband and I were soon hooked. Despite the second-season descent into soap opera shenanigans, we remained faithful visitors and were parked in front of PBS Sunday night for the Series 2 finale.

I thought you might enjoy this article about how the show’s success came about via word of mouth,  particularly through social media. Nathan Edelsburg of Lost Remote spoke with executives Olivia Wong and Kevin Dando about how PBS helped boost the profile of the show via Facebook, Twitter, and other social media applications. An excerpt:

LR: When did you start to see how passionate the fans were? Where are they most passionate on social media?

OW: We’ve always known that our Masterpiece fans have been extremely passionate (via direct e-mail feedback and on Facebook and Twitter). The real moment when we crossed over from a cult hit to a main-stream phenomenon was when we began to see celebrity devotee comments and all the fan mash-ups and tributes online. It suddenly went to another level.

Read the full interview: How social media helped make ‘Downton Abbey’ a hit PBS show. And, if you haven’t already, check out PAPERMAG’s spread of Downton Abbey stars out of costume. I’m a particular fan of Mr. Carson in bicycle-riding attire.


  1. says

    While in the past I have watched a number of British shows via PBS mostly such as As Time Goes By or the old Dr. Who, I have yet to watch Downtown Abbey although I have heard about it on Social media and even from some CPAs in our small CPA firm. Perhaps after tax season I will have time to check it out! –Mike M.