Today in show business news: PBS had a real ratings bonanza last night, Ryan Lochte has officially been given his own show, and One Direction unveils their latest filmic masterpiece.
Last night's imperfect but undeniably entertaining third-season premiere of Downton Abbey earned the show its highest American ratings to date. The two-hour broadcast bowed to a whopping 7.9 million viewers, coming in behind only CBS for the night. That 7.9 million number marked a whopping 96% increase over last season's premiere, so the past year in Downton praise certainly did the show some good. And y'know what? That is great. Sure the show isn't quite as intelligent or complexly crafted as it's sometimes made out to be, but it is smarter and subtler than lots of stuff on television, and it's set in an interesting historical time, so, well done, Americans! Not everything has to be terrible urban murder or goofy doctors. Some things can be quiet looks between two stifled people and details about Canadian railway companies and drama about broken ovens. We don't require hokey special effects or wine-soaked cat fights in mansions. Sometimes we can like small(-ish) and mostly serious stuff, and Downton Abbey reminds us of that. Jolly good job all around. [The Hollywood Reporters]
Back to the sad dumb regular world of American television: Ryan Lochte, swimbo hunk of the London Olympics, has landed a reality show on E!. The show, called What Would Ryan Lochte Do?, was hinted at a while ago, but now E! has officially confirmed its existence at the TCAs. The six-episode series "will feature the swimmer partying and training as he prepares for the 2016 Rio Olympics while building his fashion line, making media appearances, dealing with his close-knit and outspoken family and friends and looking for the right girl." So... basically every reality show on E! plus Olympics. The other stuff — fashion line, media appearances, looking for love, wacky family/awful friends — is pure E!, from Keeping Up to Pretty Wild. Welcome to the family, Ryan. No, no honey, not really, it's just an expression, you're still part of your real family. Don't worry. It's fine. Shh, shh, sweet boy, it's OK. Here's a glass of milk, why not go play with your toys in the living room and we'll make you a grilled cheese. There's a lad. Go on now. [Deadline]