‘Downton Abbey’s’ Crowd Climbs To 13.2 Million, ‘Sherlock’ To 6.6 Million With Delayed Viewing Added

By | Wednesday March 26, 2014 @ 8:20am PDT

DOWNTON ABBEY S 3 DEBUTDownton Abbey‘s fourth season nabbed an average audience of 13.2 million viewers with the addition of  +7 viewing — up nearly 2 million viewers compared to season 3 — securing its status as PBS‘s highest rated drama in its history. Meanwhile, Sherlock‘s third season audience grew to 6.6 million in its new 10 PM timeslot, compared to 4.4 million viewers in Season 2. That’s great news for PBS’s Sunday night, where primetime household ratings jumped 30% since the 2012-13 season, and for PBS’s Masterpiece franchise which, not so long ago, went begging for a corporate sponsor after ExxonMobile bailed. “The success of Downton Abbey and Sherlock proves again that superb storytelling and first-class acting are an unbeatable combination,” Masterpiece exec producer Rebecca Eaton crowed Wednesday morning. “If this is indeed a Golden Age of television, we’re proud to be right in the middle of it.”

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‘Downton Abbey’ Scores Another Personal Best In Fourth Season Finale: 8.5M Viewers

By | Monday February 24, 2014 @ 1:25pm PST

downton-abbeyAn average of 8.5 million viewers tuned in for Downton Abbey‘s fourth season finale last night. That’s a personal finale best for the period drama on PBS. The Season 3 finale drew 8.2 million viewers on February 17 last year, a 50% surge from the Season 2 ender in 2012.

This season  opened on January 5 with 10.2 million tuned in – up 22% compared to the Season 3 debut of 7.9 million which, in turn had been a leap from the series Season 2 launch crowd of 4.2 mil. Even before this latest cycle started, Downton Abbey has been the highest-rated drama in PBS history. Read More »

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Richard E. Grant, Anna Chancellor Among ‘Downton Abbey’ Season 5 Additions

Richard E. GrantCarnival Films and ITV have set a handful of new names to join the cast of Downton Abbey as it heads into its 5th season. Richard E. Grant will play Simon … Read More »

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‘Downton’ Celebrates Third Super Bowl Runner-Up Finish

While an estimated 111.5 million viewers watched the Seattle Seahawks pulverize the Denver Broncos on Fox on Sunday (up from last year’s 109 DOWNTON ABBEY S 3 DEBUTmillion Super Bowl viewers) , 6.8 million viewers opted instead to watch some actual … Read More »

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UPDATE: Benedict Cumberbatch Sentimental About ‘Sherlock’ But Mum About More Seasons After Season 3 Premiere Scores In Ratings

sherlock-season-3-finaleUPDATED WITH TCA PANEL, 4:24 PM: Moving Sherlock has paid off for PBS. Last night’s third-season debut clocked an average audience of nearly 4 million viewers — the franchise’s biggest audience yet, according to Masterpiece exec producer Rebecca Eaton. That’s compared to the 3.2 million who’d watched the Season 2 launch. Sherlock’s move also boosted Downton Abbey last night — the drawing-room drama’s third episode of its fourth season reached an average audience of 8.4 million, up compared to the second episode’s audience of 7.9 million.

Star Benedict Cumberbatch ducked a question as to how many more three-episode seasons of Sherlock he thinks he can handle while appearing this afternoon at the TCA Winter TV Press Tour. Someone with him onstage noted BBC reportedly has said they’ll continue making them until Cumberbatch gets too famous and refuses. “Why is it always me,” Cuberbatch complained/simpered. Masterpiece chief Rebecca Eaton asked PBS chief Paula Kerger to commit to taking as many seasons as Cumberbatch thought he could handle. Kerger, seated in the audience, agreed. Read More »

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TCA: PBS Chief Paula Kerger Announces ‘Vicious’ Premiere Date, Teases Ken Burns Country Music Docu, Talks ‘Downton Abbey’

By | Monday January 20, 2014 @ 12:19pm PST

TCADeadlinePBS has announced the premiere date of the Britcom Viciousstarring Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as a gay couple who have been together nearly half a century. The six-part series, which PBS acquired from Shine International in October, will air on Sundays and premiere July 6 at 10:30 PM. Meanwhile, Jacobi’s drama Last Tango In Halifax has been ordered for a second season, returning June 29, PBS chief Paula Kerger2014 Winter TCA Tour - Day 12 announced this morning at TCA. Also unveiled: Ken Burns is working on a a documentary series about country music — though it won’t air until 2018, Kerger said this morning. Country Music will follow its evolution of over the course of the 20th century as it “eventually emerged to become America’s music,” PBS claimed in its announcement.

And, PBS will never, ever air Downton Abbey seasons closer to its UK run, Kerger indicated — hopefully putting a stake in that debate for press tours ever after. Kerger cited this month’s Season 4  debut audience –  10.2 million viewers, which was a 22% jump compared to the Season 3 opener (7.9 million), which 2014 Winter TCA Tour - Day 12itself had been a leap from the series Season 2 launch crowd of 4.2 mil. Downton is PBS’ highest rated drama ever. ”It’s become a bit of tradition after the holidays to come together to watch Downton,” Kerger said happily. “The audience build over the years…argues to keep the January time frame,” she said.  And, of course, a fall launch coinciding with the UK’s Downton season would put it in the teeth of the commercial broadcast network’s fall-season rollout, which, she noted, TV critics in the room had criticized PBS for doing in the past. Not to mention that the series’ UK broadcaster determines its debut date not terribly long before it actually happens — no weeks and weeks of promotions, as is the norm in the U.S. PBS cannot upstage the show in the UK. Read More »

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TCA: ‘Black Sails’ Star Toby Stephens Not A Big Fan Of Mom Maggie Smith’s ‘Downton Abbey’

By | Friday January 10, 2014 @ 12:31pm PST

Black SailsStarz‘s new swashbuckling pirate adventure series/Treasure Island prequel from Michael Bay goes 24 full minutes without nudity, which is a record for the pay cable network, a TV critic announced during the Black Sails Q&A session at  TCA where Starz also released a new trailer for the new series. (watch below) The critic then asked Starz if being the “boobs and blood” network is something it embraces. To their credit, everyone from Starz who was in the rTCADeadline__140109155905__140109183154oom resisted the urge to hit the critic over the head with a blunt instrument. Instead, they explained that it’s “part of the possibility of pay TV” that Starz can tell stories without ad breaks, and without broadcast or even basic cable TV content restrictions. And, of course, Not Gratuitous.

Related: TCA: Starz’s Chris Albrecht On 2014 Plans, ‘White Queen’ Sequel, ‘Magic City’s Demise

Show creator/exec producer Jonathan Steinberg told the TV critics he’d never felt pressure to make this show sexier, or more violent. The show is violent, and the violence is sudden “the way violence feels in real life,” he explained. And, in re sex, he noted the pirates “almost certainly had sex in a world where none of them had job and they can kind of do what they will. I don’t think it ever gets gratuitous.”

Related: TCA: “They Want To Lick Him” ‘Starz’s Outlander’ Author Says Of Fans And Her Hero

Starz_logoStar Toby Stephens, Maggie Smith’s son, who has done his share of drawing-room period dramas, was asked if he watched his mom on Downton Abbey and if he prefers drawing room dramas or Black Sails. “I would any day of the week prefer to do the show I’m doing now,” he said. “I appreciate Downton for what it is. I have to say I don’t regularly tune in. It’s not the kind of show that I enjoy. I appreciate what my mom does in it, and she’s great in it. It’s not what I enjoy watching. This kind of thing is like going on an exotic vacation,” he said of Black Sails. In the UK, he said, “we do a lot of  that the kind of stuff like Downton, and a lot of detective stuff. For me, that’s kind of like ‘Seen that, done it’. I don’t want to do it for the rest of my life.”

Related: Starz Pulls Out Of Sky Atlantic Series ‘Fortitude’, To Fast Track Internal Projects
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Global Showbiz Briefs: Mongrel Media Picks Up ‘100-Year-Old Man’ For Canada; Gareth Neame Reacts To Julian Fellowes’ ‘Downton Abbey’ Comments; More

Mongrel Has Date With ’100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out A Window’
The-Hundred-Year-Old-Man-Who-Climbed-Out-of-the-Window-and-Disappeared-Cover-via-Sincerely-AnnaCanada’s Mongrel Media has acquired the Swedish hit The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out A Window And Disappeared. Felix Herngren’s film is an adaption of Jonas Jonasson’s best-selling novel. It’s scored big in Scandinavia so far, earning $11.4M in 12 days of release in Sweden, and has been the top movie from the region at the box office in Norway and Denmark. The film is the lighthearted story of a healthy centenarian who decides it’s not too late to start over. When Allan (Robert Gustafsson) lands in a nursing home, he refuses to celebrate his 100th birthday and instead escapes out a window to embark on a journey that involves a suitcase of cash and a gang of criminals. Flashbacks reveal that Allan also played a key role in 20th century history when he was pals with U.S. presidents and Russian tyrants. Mongrel, which acquired all Canadian rights from StudioCanal, will release it in summer this year.

Downton Abbey’ Creator Responds To Julian Fellowes Remarks
Earlier this week, I noted there had been some breathless reporting about comments made by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal. Queried by the paper on Downton, Fellowes said he didn’t “know yet if there is a season 6, but it’s not going to go on forever. It won’t downton-abbey-season-4-cast-photobe Perry Mason.” This led to rampant headlines about the possible demise of the hit Brit period drama that just debuted its 4th season in the U.S. The response prompted Downton executive producer Gareth Neame to release a statement today to calm things down. “I can confirm that there are no plans to end the show after the fifth series,” he said. “ITV commission each series on a year-by-year basis. In an interview given to The Wall Street Journal, Julian Fellowes stated that the show would not go on forever (inevitable of course and something both he and I have been on the record for previously). For now ITV have commissioned series five, and that is what we are busy preparing,” Neame said. It’s long been known that Fellowes is signed on for NBC drama The Gilded Age with a script commitment and significant penalty attached. He’s previously said that if NBC picks up the show, he’ll be writing it when Downton “finishes.” Neame will be collaborating with Fellowes on The Gilded Age.

Related: ‘Downton Abbey’ Gets Fifth Season Order
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Global Showbiz Briefs: China Lifts Video Game Console Ban; Fox Turkey Appointment; News Corp Commits To London; Sports Rights; ‘Downton’

chinaflag2__130403012941China’s State Council has temporarily repealed a ban on selling foreign video game consoles, Reuters reports this morning. The move had been expected and will open up a path for the likes of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo … Read More »

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‘Downton Abbey’ Hits Series High With Season 4 Debut

By | Monday January 6, 2014 @ 1:43pm PST

Downton Abbey Ratings Season 4 Premiere PBSThere was mourning, the expected intrigue, dancing and  looming change both upstairs and downstairs last night on the Season 4 premiere of Downton Abbey on PBS. There were also a lot of people watching: Airing at 9 PM, the two-hour episode, which is set in 1922 and takes place six months after the sudden death of Downton heir Matthew Crawley, pulled in 10.2 million viewers. That’s up 22% from the Season 3 debut and a series high for the show, eclipsing the previous record of the Season 3 finale on PBS last February. The third season of the British aristocratic period drama debuted on January 6, 2013, to 7.9 million viewers, which was a strong leap from the 4.2 million who watched the second-season launch on January 9, 2012. Even before this latest cycle started, Downton Abbey has been the highest-rated drama in PBS history.

Related: ‘Downton Abbey’ Gets Fifth Season Order

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Repeat Wins Thursday For CBS

By | Friday December 27, 2013 @ 9:37am PST
Nellie Andreeva

highclere_castleCBS’ The Big Bang Theory showed off its incredible ratings strength Thursday with a repeat on a dead night, drawing a 2.6 in adults 18-49 and 11 million total viewers — numbers that would be considered great for any original. … Read More »

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‘Doctor Who’ Is UK’s Most-Watched Drama On Christmas Day With 8.29M Viewers

By | Thursday December 26, 2013 @ 2:29am PST

time of the doctorThe BBC‘s Doctor Who Christmas special, The Time Of The Doctor, was the most-watched drama, and the second most-watched program, in Britain yesterday. The show, which saw Matt Smith’s departure as the 11th Doctor, … Read More »

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Hot TV Teaser: ‘Downton Abbey’ Christmas Special

By | Saturday December 7, 2013 @ 5:35am PST

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 … Read More »

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‘Downton Abbey’ Season Four Finale Hits Ratings High

By | Monday November 11, 2013 @ 5:29am PST

Season 4 of Downton Abbey went out with a bang on the UK’s ITV on Sunday night. Not only was the hit period drama renewed for a fifth season, the final episode … Read More »

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‘Downton Abbey’ Gets Fifth Season Order

By and | Sunday November 10, 2013 @ 2:35pm PST

UK network ITV has commissioned a fifth season of hit period drama Downton Abbey from producer Carnival Films, which also has been picked up by PBS in the U.S. Production on a new set … Read More »

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‘Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens In Lancelot Mode For ‘Night At The Museum 3′

By | Friday November 8, 2013 @ 5:23pm PST
Mike Fleming

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. Read More »

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Deadline’s Global Showbiz Watch With Nancy Tartaglione, Episode 12

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.

Deadline Global Showbiz Watch, Episode 12 (MP3 format)
Deadline Global Showbiz Watch, Episode 12 (M4a format) Read More »

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Hot Teaser: ‘Downton Abbey’ Season 4

By | Wednesday October 30, 2013 @ 8:01pm PDT

PBS has unveiled a new peek at Downton Abbey‘s fourth season, teasing returning characters and new faces alike following Season 3′s network-high ratings. The Golden Globe-winning drama returns January 5:

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PBS Makes It Official: ‘Sherlock’ Returning January 19 At 10 PM, Following ‘Downton Abbey’

By | Wednesday October 23, 2013 @ 9:30am PDT

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: Read More »

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