PBS - Downtown Abbey and Sherlock airings | Vox

Probably not, no. PBS is moving into the future in cool ways, and it has a great streaming site, for instance. But the status quo is only going to change if it becomes untenable, and the status quo works just fine for PBS here. Downton and Sherlock have brought PBS the kind of attention it hasn't had for decades, and that means more consistent corporate sponsorship, as well as more money coming in at pledge drives.

IOW, it would hurt PBS to air the shows the same time they air in the UK. America is unique. ;-)

What boggled my mind were the actual show audiences - * Downtown Abbey - 8MM * Sherlock - 4MM (premiere); 2.9MM (2nd episode).

That's a paltry amount. This also puts another newspiece in perspective.

New episodes of Sherlock are being offered to mainlanders before anyone outside Britain, as the BBC tries to satisfy Chinese demand for the popular series and thwart internet piracy.

The first episode of the show's third season was made available for free streaming on Youku – China’s version of YouTube – only a few hours after its BBC premiere on Wednesday night (British time). The episodes come complete with official Chinese subtitles.

Youku has a 300MM strong subscription base and the shows were made available immediately after the British airing.