‘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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How Did That ‘Salinger’ Docu Do On PBS? 2 Million Views

By | Tuesday March 11, 2014 @ 4:46pm PDT
Mike Fleming

THIRTEEN/WNET NEW YORKAfter all the twists and turns on the Shane Salerno-directed docu Salinger that began with a January 2010 Deadline reveal that the film had been shot, how did the documentary do? The American Masters version totaled 2 million viewers, including repeat broadcasts and DVR viewers. This was strong considering the film had been released by The Weinstein Company and was in the top 10 of the year’s theatrical docus, and that it was viewable on Netflix at that time. The Simon & Schuster companion book  written by David Shields and Salerno hit both the New York Times and LA Times bestseller lists. And Salerno more than made back the $2 million he invested to make the film, after he made three 7-figure deals with TWC, S&S and American Masters. It didn’t hurt the Salinger estate either, as Catcher In The Rye hit the bestseller charts again, 62 years after its publication in 1951.

“When combined with the incredible sales figures and national social media conversation, it demonstrates the true impact of public television,” said Stephen Segaller, the WNET programming veep in charge of Salinger. “The fact it was the 200th episode of American Masters makes the accomplishment even sweeter.” Read More »

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Jeremy Piven Series ‘Mr Selfridge’ Gets Season Three Order From ITV

By | Thursday March 6, 2014 @ 3:51am PST

mr selfridgeIn a move that was expected, ITV officially announced today that it has ordered 10 new episodes of period drama Mr Selfridge. The Jeremy Piven-starring series is currently in its 2nd season … Read More »

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PBS Names Ira Rubenstein New Digital GM

By | Friday February 28, 2014 @ 7:55am PST

Ira RubensteinPBS has named Ira Rubenstein new general manager of PBS Digital. He will report to PBS chief operating officer Michael Jones and serve as a member of PBS’ senior leadership team, starting March 24. Rubenstein will lead … Read More »

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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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‘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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TCA: Valerie Plame Says ‘Homeland’ Jumped The Shark, Astronaut Peggy Whitson Critiques Sandra Bullock’s ‘Gravity’ Undies

By | Wednesday January 22, 2014 @ 2:47pm PST

2014 Winter TCA Tour - Day 14TCADeadline__140109155905“He ‘stood by me’ even though our ratings were blockbuster and we kicked Fox’s ass? Thank you for ‘standing by me’,” Kathy Griffin snarked at Winter TV Press Tour 2014 when asked about CNN chief Jeff Zucker saying at the tour he was committed to having Griffin back with Anderson Cooper to host CNN’s New Year’s Eve show.

Griffin came to the final session of Winter TV Press Tour 2014 to participate in a Q&A for PBS’s second round of Makers: Women Who Make America documentaries. She was joined by former CIA agent Valerie Plame, and NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson — all three women are part of the next batch of six one-hour documentaries looking at women’s roles in war, comedy, space, business, Hollywood and politics.
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TCA: ‘Antiques Roadshow’ Expert Says Fans Emptying Wallets For TV Series Sets, Props

By | Tuesday January 21, 2014 @ 1:13pm PST

TCA Among the ancillary markets for producers of TV series with rabid followings: selling props and scraps of sets to fans. “It was not surprising to me Sony sold off a number of Breaking Bad props, and they did … Read More »

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TCA: PBS Orders More ‘Women Who Make America’, Interviews Lena Dunham, Sarah Silverman, Shonda Rhimes

By | Tuesday January 21, 2014 @ 8:27am PST

PBS is partnering with AOL for six new one-hourTCA Deadline documentaries as part of its Makers: Women Who Make America franchise. Scheduled to premiere in June and August 2014, the docus build on the multi-platform initiative founded by filmmaker Dyllan McGee, which launched in 2012. The new series expands on the three-hour PBS documentary  of same name, which premiered in February 2013 and told the story of the American Makers: Women Who Make Americawomen’s movement over the last half-century. Kathy Griffin, former CIA agent Valerie Plame, former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and the producers of Makers are scheduled to discuss the project at the press tour tomorrow. Among those profiled in the docu-series are Lena Dunham, Chelsea Handler, Shonda Rhimes, and Sarah Silverman. Each of the new documentaries tackles a different sphere of influence, including business, war, space, Hollywood, politics and comedy. Read More »

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TCA: PBS Orders New Math Show From Canadian Kids TV Producer Sinking Ship

By | Tuesday January 21, 2014 @ 7:16am PST

TCA PBS Kids has ordered a new live-action series, Odd Squad, in which two agents, Olive and Otto, are on a mission to save the day using math. Odd Squad is created by Tim McKeon (Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, Adventure Time, The Electric Company) and Adam Peltzman (The Electric Company, The Backyardigans, Wallykazam!), and PBSKids_logoproduced by Canadian kids TV producer Sinking Ship Entertainment and The Fred Rogers Company. The new series is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Each episode of Odd Squad includes two 11-minute cases in which the agents use math to recapture a gallon-sized blob that has separated into smaller pieces, deal with a slew of unicorns, dinosaurs and wizards that have escaped from books, etc. Read More »

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TCA: Ken Burns’ 10-Year Plan Includes Roosevelts, Cancer, Jackie Robinson, Ernest Hemingway and Vietnam

By | Monday January 20, 2014 @ 8:29pm PST

2014 Winter TCA Tour - Day 12“I’m a pig in shit,” Ken Burns said of his quantity of documentary films in the pipeline. First up: The Address is extremely short by Burns’ standards – under two hours long. It follows a school in TCADeadline__140109155905Vermont that has students each year memorize the Gettysburg Address, delivered by President Lincoln on November 19, 1863 at the dedication of a cemetery on the site of the bloodiest battle ever fought on U.S. soil. It was, Burns noted, not universally embraced at the time – a Chicago newspaper’s review said, “The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat, dishwatery utterances of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the President of the United States.” The Address airs April 15 at 9 PM on PBS. 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: Britcom ‘Vicious’ Retro But Very Contemporary Says Creator & Stars

By | Monday January 20, 2014 @ 1:09pm PST

PBS‘ Britcom Vicious is retro in form, contemporary in subjectTCADeadline__140109155905 matter and could not have been made on a U.S. network owing to the age of its actors, the creator and stars said today at TCA. Vicious stars Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as Freddie and Stuart, a gay couple who have been together for nearly 5 decades. 2014 Winter TCA Tour - Day 12The comedy, which already has aired its first season in the UK on ITV, would not have been done in the U.S. at this time, because both stars are in their 70s, all parties discussing the show at the Winter TV Press Tour agreed. This came the morning after NBC announced it was developing a sort of Golden Girls update — because, NBC Entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt said, it’s something he’s not seeing on the primetime TV landscape. While TV critics marveled at the show getting made at all — and PBS’ courage in broadcasting it, starting in July — McKellen, appearing via satellite, insisted it’s still much easier for actors in their 70s to get work than for actresses. Jacobi, also via satellite, said the public is clamoring for programming about older characters, without elaborating. He did say how good it is to be in his 70s and still be asked to perform (he also stars in the British  series Last Tango In Halifax, also airing on PBS, which earlier today made official its second-season pickup). 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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‘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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‘Sherlock’ Makes Explosive Return To BBC In Series’ Most-Watched Episode Ever

By | Thursday January 2, 2014 @ 2:14am PST

SherlockBenedict Cumberbatch came back to life as Sherlock Holmes in The Empty Hearse, the first episode of Season 3 of Sherlock which aired on BBC One on New Year’s Day. The 90-minute installment was the … Read More »

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BBC Teases New ‘Sherlock’ Series With Mini-Episode ‘Many Happy Returns’ (Video)

By | Tuesday December 24, 2013 @ 10:50am PST

Sherlock returns to the BBC on New Year’s Day and to PBS on January 19 for three new 90-minute installments of the detective drama. As a pre-holiday treat, the BBC has posted a seven-minute mini-episode that provides some exposition for the new go-round. (The … Read More »

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BBC One Orders Third Season Of Derek Jacobi Starrer ‘Last Tango In Halifax’

By | Monday December 23, 2013 @ 4:01pm PST

Last Tango In HalifaxThe BAFTA-winning drama has been renewed a day ahead of the December 24 sophomore-season finale on BBC One. Last Tango In Halifax stars Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid as widowed seventy-somethings who rekindle a passion … Read More »

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Hot TV Trailer: Jeremy Piven In ‘Mr Selfridge’ Season Two Preview

By | Thursday December 19, 2013 @ 3:49am PST

Earlier this year, ITV and PBS both ordered a second season of the Jeremy Piven-starring department store drama Mr Selfridge. The promo below for the much-anticipated new 10-episode series has aired on British TV in the past few weeks, but had somehow … Read More »

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