'Downton Abbey' Is Bigger Than Ever

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Today in showbusiness news: The UK is totally bonkers for Downton Abbey, America is not at all into 666 Park Avenue, and CBS hopes everyone will like Elementary

Hit period soap Downton Abbey wrapped up its third season across the pond last night, and boy was it a big. Averaging nearly 10 million viewers (for a nearly 40 percent share), Abbey's third season was its most popular one yet. And there's a 2-hour Christmas special yet to air, plus, y'know, the American run on PBS in January. So chances are this will be an overall gigundo season for the canny little hit, which has defied lots of expectations and basically turned PBS into a viable television network. (Well, until Mitt Romney turns the lights off and sends everyone to the salt mines.) We decided not to watch this season until it airs in the U.S., but given these numbers we're guessing that some big crazy things happened. Shirley MacLaine seduces a young valet! Thomas joins a drag queen musical revue! Elizabeth McGovern figures out what to do with her accent! Lord only knows what surprises await us Yanks, but if the Brits liked it, you'd better believe that a few annoying coastal Americans who work in media will love it. As for a fourth season, well it's probably guaranteed with these kinds of numbers, but lots of cast members have expressed interest in moving on, so who knows what might happen. So long as they don't get rid of Thomas, we'll be fine. [Deadline]

On the other end of the ratings spectrum, ABC's high-profile dud 666 Park Avenue continued its ratings slide last night, sputtering in at 10pm with 4.1 million viewers (and a 1.4 rating). That's a 6 million-viewer drop from 8pm's Once Upon a Time and a three-million drop from 9pm's Revenge. That doesn't bode well for the show's future, which ABC ought to be deciding very soon. Ah well. Having seen every episode for some bizarre reason, I can say there were glimmers of something cool and mysterious and maybe even a little spooky somewhere around episode two or three, but since then it's gotten incredibly stupid incredibly fast. So, adios, most likely, little show. May some of your way-too-good-for-this cast members find better work soon. [Entertainment Weekly]

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CBS, on the other hand, has great faith in a new show, the modern day, New York-set Sherlock Holmes procedural Elementary. They like it so much that they've decided to make it their post-Super Bowl show next year. That's a plum spot, as more people watch the Super Bowl than like every other show of the year combined, like a million 666 Park Avenues basically, so well done, Elementary. As far as CBS shows go, it probably deserves it most. The deduction and sleuthing often oscillates between too easy and nonsensical, but that's OK. Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu are totally charming, and there's Aidan Quinn, who's always welcome, so yeah, why not. Everyone watch Elementary after the Super Bowl and see if you like it. That's CBS' great hope, of course. So why not give CBS what it wants. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Oh dear god. It seems that thousand-year-old shaman warrior Nicolas Cage will be part of the cast of The Expendables 3. Yes, Sylvester Stallone, the mastermind behind this whole miserable series, has written a Facebook message saying "We have confirmed Nicolas Cage, a master actor who gives a veneer intellectual group." Not exactly sure what he means by "who gives a veneer intellectual group," but I'm guessing he was talking in backwards speak and was saying "who gives the group an intellectual veneer." Which, hm, calling Nicolas Cage "intellectual" is like calling a wild witch trapped in a cage shooting off spells in anger "spirited." Nicolas Cage is beyond an intellectual. His mind transcends mere words and encompasses all the cosmos. Intellectuals ponder with futility the nature of Nicolas Cage. If anything I'd say, using Stallone's parlance, that Nicolas Cages gives a veneer astrophilotheological group. [Vulture]

Here is a picture of Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, Robert De Niro, and Michael Douglas in Las Vegas. It would be fun if they were all just on a trip together and someone took this picture for them with Michael Douglas' disposable camera, but alas it's for a movie called Last Vegas, about old people having a bachelor party. It's yet another in the old people doing crazy things genre that is sweeping the nation like barber shops getting requests for "the Paul Ryan." ("Sir I can't in good conscience give you a widow's peak...") This movie will be silly and dumb most likely, but this picture is anything but. It is a very serious desert dream, a coyote spirit quest, the answer to a riddle that a cactus never asked. Study it and learn it. It will come to help you later in your journey. [Deadline]

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.