Nightly News   |  January 06, 2013

Downton Abbey debuts third season

Cheers! Downton Abbey debuts its third season on Sunday with promises of more romance and drama. NBC’s Michelle Franzen reports.

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>>> back now with a reason a lot of folks across the country are dressed to the 9s tonight, party guests on the list, dinner in the dining room , tea and drinks to poll low on the couch, all to celebrate the return of a tv favorite. we get more now from nbc's lady michelle franzen .

>> what should we call each other?

>> well, we could always start with mrs. crawly and lady grantham.

>> reporter: down ton be a bill, the british series where the old world of privilege and place collides with the new, casual society.

>> when i'm with her, i'm reminded of the virtues of the english.

>> but isn't she american?

>> exactly.

>> reporter: fin nal love season two drew nearly 5.5 million viewers here in the u.s., one of the top-rated shows for pbs. and tonight, in season three, grandmama, martha levinson, played by shirley maclaine , is the latest dose of american influence to cross the pond.

>> oh, dear, i'm afraid the war has made old women of us both.

>> oh, i wouldn't say that but then i always keep out of the sun.

>> reporter: in an interview with rock center, creator julian fellows.

>> what is marvelous, you have the figure of violet, you know, maggie smith , who place the dow badger and she essentially is nostalgic for the old world, whereas shirley maclaine 's character, martha leavenson, thinks all this change is great.

>> reporter: all of this change will be watched closely by fans and in some cases, a "downton abbey"-themed parties around the country where dress egg the part is just as much a part of the fun. natalie blake searched for a '20s-style hat at a new york vintage store for a party tonight.

>> is so difference the prim and properness of it.

>> reporter: the show has created a demand for vin damage frocks from the jazz era.

>> a huge boom for us.

>> reporter: along with the costumes, the sweeping scenery and epic love stories .

>> will you do met honor of becoming my wife?

>> yes.

>> reporter: are what keep fans of this upstairs/downstairs drama coming back for more. michelle franzen , nbc