Seven wins Sunday with news and Downton

Seven ruled the roost on Sunday night with its news and current affairs coverage and popular British period drama Downton Abbey.

Downton Abbey was the fifth most-watched program for the evening with 1.37 million metro viewers, according to preliminary overnight figures from OzTam.

While the ratings for the critics' and viewer favourite are still commendable, it's failed to meet the dizzying heights of between 1.5 million and 1.9 million viewers the series enjoyed in its first season last year. Seven waited until May to air the second season of Downton Abbey despite its availability on region-free DVD and Blu-ray since late late year.

Seven News was on top of the ratings ladder while Sunday Night was second. Billy Connolly's Route 66 climbed back to its debut audience numbers with 1.23 million people tuned in.

Ten's MasterChef was the third most watched program for the night with 1.46 million viewers as the cooking competition embarks on its final two weeks for the 2012 series.

On Nine, a charity special with contestants from The Voice performing for the Reach Foundation pulled in 1.00 million viewers.

Other programs in the top 20 were Nine News, 60 Minutes (Nine), ABC News, New Girl (Ten), The Mentalist (Nine), Ian Thorpe: The Swimmer (ABC), The Graham Norton Show (Ten), Last Man Standing (Ten), AFL (Seven), Wallander (ABC), NRL (Nine), Ten News and Castle (Seven).

Across the main channels, Seven won the night with 26.4% of audience share, followed by Nine with 19.5%, Ten with 15.8%, the ABC with 9.2% and SBS had 5.9%.

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