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'Doctor Who' 50th Anniversary Sets BBCA Ratings Marks

The hoopla surrounding the simultaneous global telecast of the 50th anniversary special celebrating sci-fi series Doctor Who helped BBC America set network viewing records on Saturday.

Doctor Who: The Day of The Doctor, seen in the United States at 2:50 p.m. ET on Nov. 22, drew 2.4 million total viewers and 1.2 million viewers in the adults 25-54 category, according to live plus same day Nielsen figures the network cited. That was the most ever for the American version of Doctor Who's ancestral TV home, the BBC. Adding in a primetime encore, the special drew 3.6 million viewers on a L+SD basis, the 80-million-subscriber network said.

Various highwater marks were set by the network on social media. BBC America was the top network on Twitter on Saturday, Doctor Who was No. 1 on Twitter in all of television "and the series set a record on Tumblr with the highest level of activity of any televised event ever, surpassing the Super Bowl and MTV’s Video Music Awards," BBC America said in a release.

The special also played to sold-out 3D simulcast screenings in 11 cities on Saturday. (The 11 is in honor of the 11 Doctors that have appeared in the series; the lead character has the ability to regenerate.)

The network said Doctor Who "earned the Guinness World Record for the largest ever simulcast of a TV drama following a massive global campaign which saw the episode broadcast in 94 countries across 6 continents."

“The fan response on-air, in social media and in theaters across the country has been nothing short of incredible. The 50th anniversary of this extraordinary program has cemented its iconic status for millions of American viewers and we can't wait for the Christmas Special,” Perry Simon, general manager for BBC America, said in the release.

The network debuted a new fantasy series, Atlantis, Saturday night, after the Doctor Who replay, and it was the highest-rated series premiere ever for the network's "Supernatural Saturday" block, with 838,000 total viewers. The 13-part series from the creators of Merlin and Misfits "brings to life the vast store of Greek myths and legends re-imagined for a new generation."