News Briefs: A Lot of People Watched Downton Abbey

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THE BRITISH ARE STAYING NEWS

... The Season 3 premiere of Downton Abbey on PBS kicked some ass (or as the British say, "foot-nobbled me arse!") last night, convincing 7.9 million viewers to figure out which channel is PBS in their cable packages. The audience almost doubled that of Season 2's first episode, and quadrupled the average PBS primetime audience. This is what we call The Netflix Effect. All this despite the episodes having already aired in the U.K. and presumably pirated by Anglophiles ever since. [PBS via press release]


BUSINESS TIME

... The same good fortune did not fall upon Happy Endings and Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, which made their Sunday debuts last night and quickly hit series lows, with 2.6 million viewers and a 1.0 rating for the gang in Chicago and 2.2 million and a 0.9 for the -ITCH. Did anyone know those two shows were on last night? Does ABC care? No it does not, and both of them will be canceled, which sucks because they're not bad. [TV Guide]

... Ahhhh, summer camp. Where young boys and girls forge friendships, get murdered by a knife-wielding maniac, and catch their first sexually transmitted disease. It's also the setting for a new NBC series called... Camp. The network has announced a 13-episode order for the one-hour drama and will appropriately target summer for its run. Not much is known about the series other than it will be set at a summer camp and follow both the parents and children. Camp was created by Deception's Liz Heldens and Peter Elkoff, so they'll have at least one show at NBC in a few weeks. [NBC via press release]

... USA Network has renewed Necessary Roughness for a third season after much deliberation. The episode count is a little lower, though, with only a 10-episode order. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Remember when the soaps All My Children and One Life to Live were yanked from television, supposedly to live on in an online format? Well it's finally happening. Business guys Prospect Park have finally signed all the deals they need to sign to air the sudsers on The Online Network. Can't wait to hear all the dial-up modems chime as thousands of housewives across the country dust off their Dells to catch some stories. [EW]

... E! has given Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte a reality show. What Would Ryan Lochte Do? will follow the man-fish as he does just about everything but swim. [The Wrap]


CASTING NEWS

... How I Met Your Mother will honor Canada with a future episode (February 4) detailing more about Robin Sparkles and featuring tons of Canadian celebrities. Among the guests will be Alan Thicke, Paul Shaffer, Jason Priestly, Alex Trebek, Luc Robitaille, Geddy Lee, and K.D. Lang. Non-Canadian James van der Beek will also return as Robin's ex-boyfriend. [TV Line]

... Hot off proving his burning love for Sister Mary Eunice in American Horror Story, actor James Cromwell will join the cast of NBC's upcoming schizo drama Do No Harm. In the new series, which stars Steven Pasquale as a surgeon with a split personality, Cromwell will play a mentor to the two dudes who share a body. [TV Line]


POOP NEWS

... Al Roker shit his pants at The White House. [TMZ]


SAD NEWS

... TV personality Huell Howser has passed away at the age of 67. Howser was known as the enthusiastic host of the long-running California's Gold travel program, which saw him tour all the landmarks of California, from Yosemite to Coachella. You the man, Huell. We'll miss you. At least we still have James Adomian's spot-on impression of Howser to keep the legend going. [KCET]



Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom