Mild Spoiler Alert…
Although Downton Abbey‘s fourth season doesn’t begin airing in the U.S. for another few weeks, the regular UK season wrapped last month and the Christmas special is now nearly here. As is custom, the episode will air over two hours on Britain’s ITV on December 25th. It will air Stateside at the end of S4′s Masterpiece run which begins January 5th. The teaser below offers a glimpse of Shirley MacLaine in her return as Cora’s mother Martha Levinson, and of Paul Giamatti as Cora’s brother Harold. While not terribly spoilerish, those who’ve seen nothing of the fourth season may want to think twice before clicking play.
Mild Spoiler Alert…
EXCLUSIVE: Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens has been cast as Lancelot in Fox‘s Night At The Museum 3. This is a pivotal role in the film, which is set in London. Ben Stiller is expected to return as museum security guard Larry Daley and Robin Williams is in talks to return as Theodore Roosevelt. Shawn Levy is expected to return to the director’s chair in his signature franchise which has grossed north of $1 billion. Production is expected to begin early next year.
Stevens was just seen in The Fifth Estate, and next stars in Adam Wingard’s The Guest. He’s co-starring with Liam Neeson in A Walk Among The Tombstones for director Scott Frank.
Listen to (and share) episode 12 of Deadline’s audio podcast Global Showbiz Watch, with Nancy Tartaglione. Deadline’s international editor talks with host David Bloom about Tom Hanks in London and Quentin Tarantino in Lyons; the trial of the century, for London journalists at least, as the phone-hacking case that killed The News of the World gets underway; a couple of big Shanghai surprises from Disney and DeNiro; and a classy and smart Spanish mini-series that might make a worthy successor to Downton Abbey.
UPDATED, 9:30 AM: Benedict Cumberbatch, fresh off his feature film flop The Fifth Estate, will return in the better-reviewed Sherlock starting January 19 in the 10 PM time slot following Downton Abbey, PBS announced this morning. In the UK, BBC has not yet announced Sherlock’s return date, but promises the three episodes will launch there before the PBS debut. PBS also confirmed Downton Abbey’s January 5 return. Scheduling Sherlock’s three 90-minute episodes to follow Downton, PBS said in its first-quarter scheduling news, “reinforces PBS’ move into 10 PM programming on several key nights.”
In this morning’s flurry of PBS announcements, the network made a special fuss over “Cumberbatch (The Fifth Estate, Star Trek Into Darkness) and Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, The Office UK) returning as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson in the contemporary reinvention of the Arthur Conan Doyle classic, created by Steven Moffat (Doctor Who) and Mark Gatiss. In a separate announcement, Masterpiece exec producer Rebecca Eaton cooed, “The genius Sherlock team has done it again,” adding, “These people are GOOD!” The Fifth Estate, in which Cumberbatch received good reviews playing WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, has nonetheless gone into the books as having the worst opening weekend this year to date.
PBS also said it was announcing a number of new programs, though we’ve known for ages that American Masters had gotten its hands on the much-ballyhooed biopic Salinger. Anyway, in this morning’s announcement, PBS also says per Nielsen that its 2012-13 primetime programming saw an overall average ratings increase of 7% over the previous season and that PBS now ranks eighth among all broadcast and cable networks “in overall general audience content.” We’ll get back to when we figure out what PBS is talking about, and we advise you not to hold your breath while you wait for numbers. PBS also claimed this morning it is now surpassed, in this PBS metric, by only the four major broadcast networks, USA, Univision, and Disney — overtaking ESPN, History and TNT in the ratings. Previously, PBS says, it ranked No. 11.
PBS’s upcoming primetime schedule is, per usual, thick with Brit on Sundays, science and nature shows on Wednesday, and arts and performance programming on Fridays:
Global Showbiz Briefs: PBS Giving U.S. Peek At ‘Downton Abbey’ Season 4; Last Of ‘The Office’ Coming To Comedy Central UK; More
PBS To Air ‘Downton Abbey’ Recap/Preview Special Ahead Of Season 4
In an effort to appease anxious U.S. viewers, PBS is planning a behind-the-scenes special sneak peek at Downton Abbey‘s upcoming Season 4. The period drama is pulling record ratings on the UK’s ITV but doesn’t bow Stateside until January 5. So, on December 1, PBS will air Return To Downton Abbey, a recap of previous seasons and a look at the upcoming trials and tribulations of the Crawley clan. Susan Sarandon will host the special that’s set around three themes: The Changing World of Downton Abbey, The Women of Downton Abbey and Love and Other Relationships at Downton Abbey. Cast members interviewed include Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, Joanne Froggatt, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter, Shirley MacLaine, Sophie McShera and Laura Carmichael. Creator Julian Fellowes and exec producers Gareth Neame and Rebecca Eaton also take part.
Final Seasons Of U.S. ‘The Office’ Coming To Comedy Central UK
Comedy Central UK is bringing the final two seasons of the U.S. version of The Office to Britain. Under a deal with NBCU International TV Distribution, Seasons 8 and 9 will air on Comedy Central starting this month. The series, based on Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s original UK version, has been a staple of Comedy Central UK’s schedule and a strong performer.
Mipcom Briefs: Keshet’s ‘Rising Star’ In Russian Redo; ‘Dining With The Enemy’ In Canada; UK TV Exports Reach £1.2B; More
Keshet International‘s hot format Rising Star is headed to Russia. Broadcaster Rossiya 1, part of media group VGTRK, will air a local version of the interactive primetime show which France’s M6 acquired earlier this week. Keshet DCP, a joint venture with DC Media, is also shopping a U.S. version to American broadcasters. Keshet debuted a live screening of Rising Star from Israel last night in Cannes. The singing competition integrates home viewers who vote in real-time via an app that also posts their photos to the TV screen. The app has now been downloaded more than 1.2M times. The show is a big hit at home where it’s produced by Tedy Productions for Keshet Broadcasting.
Canada’s TV5 is prepping war-zone/foodie hybrid A Table Avec L’Ennemi, an adaptation of Norwegian format, Dining With The Enemy. The six-part series will be hosted by journalist and author Frédérick Lavoie and chef Charles-Antoine Crête. It will travel to conflict areas around the world including Mexico, Rwanda and Afghanistan, and see two representatives from opposing factions share a meal and discuss their views and vision of ongoing strife. “We forget that, in war zones or risk areas, life goes on. People try to live a normal life and their main concerns are much like ours… We hope the dinner table will serve as a meeting place, a place for dialogue and hope between two cultures”, says TV5 Programming Director Pierre Gang. Media Ranch president Sophie Ferron will produce with the series to air in fall 2014. Canadian production and distribtion outfit Media Ranch has an option to produce local adaptations of Dining With The Enemy in English-speaking Canada and the UK, and is in discussions on a Canada-U.S. co-production.
Listen to (and share) episode 3 of Deadline’s audio podcast Global Showbiz Watch With Nancy Tartaglione. Deadline’s international editor talks with host David Bloom about what the creators of Downton Abbey have planned for Season 4; the record-breaking Bollywood hit Chennai Express and where it might roll next; whether Simon Cowell is truly ITV’s X factor; and last-minute dealmaking over the lucrative TV rights for the most important thing in Britain as English Premier League football kicks off.