We’ve learned so much about how the First Family loves watching “Modern Family” (TV Guide) and Malia and Sasha are not allowed to watch television on school nights (Washington Post), etc. that we were a bit surprised when the First Lady's office declined to comment on a report they’d pulled some strings to get the third season of “Downton Abbey” before its Jan. 6 launch on PBS in the United States.

“Downton Abbey” (Nick Briggs/PBS)

Still, it's not like it's any secret the First Family count among “Downton’s” fans — stars Hugh Bonneville and U.S. expat Elizabeth McGovern, who play the Earl and Countess of Grantham in the crunchy gravel drama, were invited to the White House dinner for Prime Minister David Cameron last March.

And an early screening would only put the First Family in the same boat as, well, EVERYONE in the U.K., where the third edition debuted back in September, and had already aired its three-hankie season finale.

(We won't reveal the big development, for all those readers not familiar with the Internet.)

Anyway, the show confirmed the press report, in which an ITV1 source told British tabloid The Sun, “We’d heard the Obamas liked to watch it, but we were very surprised when someone from the First Lady's office got in touch asking for the [third season].”

BTW, The Sun is owned by Rupert Murdoch's New Corp. — also proud parent of Fox broadcast and cable news networks here in the U.S.

In that report, the First Lady's office was said to have been “very polite” and the network “more than happy to sort out some DVDs for them to send over,” only adding they hope the First Family keeps the spoilers to themselves.