Downton Abbey Downton Abbey

But did Downton Abbey cover the spread? The PBS series finished second to Super Bowl XLVI among TV viewers.

The Emmy-winning program attracted 4 million viewers at 9 o'clock Sunday, outpacing reruns of CBS' CSI Miami (3.13 million), Fox's animated tandem of Family Guy (2.41 million) and American Dad! (2.29 million) and ABC's The Middle (1.76 million) as the broadcast networks virtually forfeited the night. Those were paltry numbers for those shows, while Downton Abbey wasn't off by much (its first three episode averaged 4.3 million and the fourth 4.8 million before Sunday's 4 million).

Ratings: Super Bowl is most-watched TV program in history

"PBS and our member stations are thrilled that so many people are enjoying Downton Abbey," Paula Kerger, PBS' chief executive office, told on Tuesday, adding that " public television viewership is on the upswing, and Downton Abbey is just the crest of that wave."

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So, some people don't want to tune into the nation's most-watched prime-time offering even for the commercials apparently—although it makes sense they would be PBS viewers.

Of course, the big game broke a viewership for the third year in a row, pulling in 111.35 million people—meaning that Downton Abbey lost by a margin of only 107 million-plus.