Downton Abbey has generated plenty of fans for PBS’ Masterpiece, which has rejuvenated the franchise with two stellar seasons and a Best Movie/Miniseries Emmy win last year. But PBS said today that the Masterpiece franchise has one really big fan: San Diego philanthropist Darlene Shiley is giving $1 million to the Masterpiece Trust, an initiative that launched last year to aid in funding after the series lost its main sponsor Exxon Mobil in 2004 (Masterpiece since has found a new sponsor). Shiley previously gave $250,000 to the cause. Season 3 of ITV’s Downton Abbey is shooting now, though it won’t appear on PBS in the U.S. until January 2013. The series about the lives of a wealthy family and the servants who work for them will compete in the Best Drama Series Emmy category this year.
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