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November 26, 2014

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PBS Confirms Season Premiere Dates for 'Downton Abbey' and 'Sherlock'

by Catherine Lawson, posted Nov 17th 2011 8:50AM
Restive 'Downton Abbey' fans need fret no more: PBS has confirmed that Season 2 will (finally!) premiere in the US on Sunday January 8, 2012. The AP reports Paula Kerger, PBS president, as saying that the abrupt ending to Season 1 and the paucity of episodes -- there were only four -- led to angry phone calls from fans, many of whom worried that PBS might not even air a second season.

PBS also has good news for 'Sherlock' fans. The 21st-century twist on Conan-Doyle's deerstalker-wearing detective will start its second season on PBS on Sunday May 6, 2012. Alas, it's only three episodes long, but fans can be assured that it should be a case of quality triumphing over quantity.

Other gems from the PBS spring lineup include a two-part examination of Bill Clinton's presidency, a look at some celebrity family trees by Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, and a series on American infrastructure, 'America Revealed,' hosted by winner of 'Survivor: Cook Islands,' Yul Kwon. More on these after the jump.

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'Downton Abbey' Criticized for Using Historically Incorrect Language

by Catherine Lawson, posted Oct 21st 2011 8:50AM
Who knew that PBS period drama 'Downton Abbey' could be so controversial? Viewers in the U.K. are halfway through Season 2 right now and there has been criticism that the storylines are moving along too fast. Now some viewers have complained that the use of anachronistic language is marring their enjoyment of the series.

Hot on the heels of a recent debate over a character saying "as if" (the horror), John Simpson, of the 'Oxford English Dictionary,' told 'The MailOnline' that some other expressions used, such as "get knotted," "logic pills" and "shafted" were not in use until much later than 'Downton Abbey's World War I time-frame.

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'Upstairs Downstairs' Star Jean Marsh Suffers Stroke, Will Miss Filming

by Catherine Lawson, posted Oct 3rd 2011 8:00AM
Jean MarshMore drama offscreen at the rebooted PBS drama 'Upstairs Downstairs.' It's been announced that star and co-creator Jean Marsh will miss the first few episodes of Season 2 due to illness.

The BBC reports that Marsh has suffered a minor stroke and that scripts are being rewritten to accommodate her absence before filming starts next week.

Marsh, who plays maid Rose Buck, is the only cast member from the 1970s original series to appear in the rebooted version. She won Emmy nominations for her work in the role in 2011, 1974 and 1976, winning the award in 1975.

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Alex Kingston Joins 'Upstairs Downstairs'

by Catherine Lawson, posted Sep 26th 2011 5:15AM
Alex KingstonThe runaway success of 'Downton Abbey' has led to big shakeups at rival PBS period drama, the rebooted 'Upstairs Downstairs.'

Following news that co-creator Eileen Atkins has quit the series, comes the announcement that 'ER' and 'Doctor Who' star Alex Kingston has signed on for a major role in the upcoming season.

The BBC announced that Kingston will play the younger sister of Atkins' character, Lady Holland, the racy-sounding archaeologist Blanche Mottershead.

"I simply couldn't resist the opportunity to get inside the iconic 165 Eaton Place," said Kingston, adding that Blanche is "a wonderfully, intriguing character ... who will over time reveal some secrets of her own."

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PBS Triumphs at the Emmys With 'Downton Abbey'

by Catherine Lawson, posted Sep 19th 2011 7:00AM
'Gosford Park' Emmy winnersLast night PBS period drama 'Downton Abbey' bagged four Emmy Awards, making it one of the biggest winners of the night, and helping PBS land the coveted spot of top broadcast network at the awards.

Together with the Creative Arts Emmys, which were held last week, PBS scooped 14 Emmys in total, making it the most successful broadcast network. HBO was the top cable network, with 19.

'Downton Abbey' won the Emmy for Outstanding Made For Television Movie/Miniseries, in what creator Julian Fellowes called a David and Goliath story, "except in this case Goliath was wonderful, some wonderful shows that we were up against, and it seems perfectly extraordinary that we've won."

The Masterpiece drama was victorious in a strong field dominated by Emmy powerhouse HBO, which had three nominations -- 'Mildred Pierce,' 'Too Big to Fail' and 'Cinema Verité.'

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Cast Announced for New PBS Masterpiece Drama, 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood'

by Catherine Lawson, posted Sep 5th 2011 1:00PM
Masterpiece logoIt's been announced that Masterpiece on PBS is set to mark the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens' birth by producing an ambitious two-part drama based on his final, unfinished novel.

Described as "a strange, disturbing and modern tale about drugs, stalking and darkness visible," 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood' is a is a psychological thriller about a provincial choirmaster's obsession with a young woman, and the lengths to which he'll go to attain her.

Matthew Rhys ('Brothers & Sisters') has signed on to play the troubled, opium-addicted choirmaster John Jasper, with Tamzin Merchant ('The Tudors') playing the object of his affections, 17-year old Roza Bud.

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'Downton Abbey' Cast Talks Season 2: Love, War and More

by Maureen Ryan, posted Aug 1st 2011 11:30AM
Members of the media who attended Sunday's 'Downton Abbey' panel at the Television Critics Association press tour were treated to several minutes from the second season of the period drama, which takes place during World War 1.

The staples of the series were still there -- the gorgeous interiors and exteriors of the stately home gleamed, the starchy butler Carson disapproved of something being done by one of the aristocratic Crawley sisters, the snippy ladies' maid O'Brien looked down her nose at a cheeky new member of the below-stairs staff, and the relationship between Matthew Crawley, the man set to inherit Downton Abbey, and Lady Mary, an aristocrat with a scandal in her past, looked as complicated as ever.

But in interviews conducted before the panel, members of the 'Downton' cast said the war lent a new sense of urgency to the country house drama, which returns Jan. 8.

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Ray Winstone to Star in 'Great Expectations' for PBS

by Catherine Lawson, posted May 31st 2011 7:55AM
Ray WinstoneIt's been announced that Ray Winstone ('Sexy Beast,' 'The Departed') has signed on to star in a new TV version of Charles Dickens' novel 'Great Expectations.'

The three-part miniseries is a BBC/PBS Masterpiece co-production, and filming's slated to start in London in July. Producers describe it as "Part thriller, part mystery, with a powerful love story at its heart and Dickens' trademark wit and characterisation throughout.

Winstone will play the pivotal character of Abel Magwitch: "'Great Expectations' is my favourite novel, and I'm thrilled to be playing Magwitch. I've wanted to play him for ages ... and I can't wait to get stuck in."

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The Classy, Wonderful 'Downton Abbey' Starts 2011 in Style

by Maureen Ryan, posted Jan 4th 2011 11:15AM

The year has barely begun but I already have a candidate for 2011's Top 10 Shows list.

'Downton Abbey,' which debuts 9 PM ET Sunday on PBS (check local listings), is a handsome period drama about an English upper-class family facing an inheritance crisis. At least that's the shorthand description for this terrific drama, which was a huge hit when it aired in the U.K.

No doubt 'Downton Abbey' did well is because it is, in part, an enthralling, lively soap opera about the secrets and heartaches that lurk in the elegant drawing rooms and the busy servants' wing of a very grand house. It also allows Dame Maggie Smith -- who is just one member of an exceptional cast -- to steal a number of comedic scenes as a doughty dowager countess straight out of a P.G. Wodehouse novel.

But this energetic and emotionally engaging drama has another agenda, one that makes 'Downton Abbey' much more than just a pretty period piece about lords and ladies and their harried maids and butlers.

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An Old Favorite Gets a Makeover and Returns to PBS

by Catherine Lawson, posted Aug 5th 2010 7:30AM

The Bellamy family and their servantsTell the parlormaid to bring some tea, dust off the antimacassars and stiffen those upper lips: 'Upstairs Downstairs' is coming back! The perennial PBS favorite is the latest '70s classic to get a 21st-century reboot, and new details have been released.

A co-production from PBS and The BBC, there will be three all-new, hour-long episodes to be broadcast in the U.S. next year as part of Masterpiece's 40th anniversary celebrations. Filming is due to start in Wales later this month.

The original 'Upstairs Downstairs' aired on PBS from 1971-5 and followed the fortunes of the aristocratic Bellamy family and their servants from the turn of the century to 1930. The final episode saw their iconic mansion in Belgravia being shuttered up for the last time as the remaining family members and servants moved out.

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What's On Tonight: Superstars Of Dance, Ultimate Recipe, The Unit

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 4th 2009 4:02PM
  • 60 MinABC Family has a Secret Life of The American Teenager marathon all night.
  • At 7, ABC has a new America's Funniest Home Videos, followed by new episodes of Extreme Makeover, Desperate Housewives, and Brothers & Sisters.
  • CBS has a new 60 Minutes at 7, then new episodes of Million Dollar Password, Cold Case, and The Unit.
  • At 8, Food Network has a new Challenge, followed by the premiere of Ultimate Recipe Showdown and a new Iron Chef America.
  • Style has a new Ruby at 8.
  • Also at 8: VH-1 has the premiere of Confessions of a Teen Idol.
  • At 9, NBC has the premiere of Superstars of Dance.
  • PBS has a new Masterpiece Classic at 9.
  • Showtime has the movie Running The Sahara at 9.
  • At 11:30, Cartoon Network has a new Robot Chicken.
  • At 12:15, Cartoon Network has a new Drinky Crow Show.

Check your local TV listings for more.

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What's On Tonight: 24, American Music Awards, A Colbert Christmas

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 23rd 2008 4:02PM
  • 60 MinAt 7, ABC has the American Music Awards Red Carpet, followed by the American Music Awards.
  • CBS has a new 60 Minutes at 7, then new episodes of The Amazing Race, Cold Case, and The Unit.
  • NBC has Football Night In America at 7, followed by the Colts/Chargers game.
  • At 8, FOX has 24: Redemption.
  • Disney has a new Hannah Montana at 9, then the movie Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds.
  • Showtime has a new Brotherhood at 8, followed by new episodes of Dexter and Californication.
  • At 9, PBS has Masterpiece Special: The Unseen Alistair Cooke.
  • HBO has a new True Blood at 9, followed by new episodes of Entourage and Summer Heights High.
  • Lifetime has the movie Wisegal at 9.
  • At 10, Comedy Central has A Colbert Christmas.
  • Food Network has a best of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives at 10.
  • There's a new Skins on BBC America at 10.
  • At 11:45, Cartoon Network has a new Superjail.
  • At 12:15am, Cartoon Network has a new Drinky Crow Show.

Check your local TV listings for more.

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What's On Tonight: Football, True Blood, Robot Chicken

by Bob Sassone, posted Sep 14th 2008 4:06PM
  • Tim and EricAt 7, NBC has a new Football Night in America, then the Steelers vs. the Browns.
  • At 8, CBS has a new Big Brother.
  • FOX repeats the Fringe pilot at 8, if you missed it.
  • At 9, PBS has a new Masterpiece.
  • G4 has the pilot of Lost at 9, with new trivia and facts.
  • HBO has a new True Blood at 9, then a new Entourage.
  • Also at 9: GAC has the Academy of Country Music Awards.
  • At 10, AMC has a new Mad Men.
  • Food Network has a new Feasting on Waves at 10.
  • BBC America has a new Skins at 10.
  • At 11:30, Cartoon Network has a new Robot Chicken.
  • At 12:30am, Cartoon Network has a new Tim and Eric's Awesome Show, Great Job.

Check your local TV listings for more.

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What's On Tonight: U.S. Open, Samurai Girl, True Blood

by Bob Sassone, posted Sep 7th 2008 4:02PM
Entourage
  • At 7 (or after the Men's U.S. Open Men's Semi-Final), CBS has a new 60 Minutes, followed by new episodes of Big Brother and the U.S. Open Women's Final).
  • NBC has a new Football Night in America at 7, followed by the Bears vs. the Colts.
  • At 8, FOX has the premiere of Hole in the Wall.
  • ABC Family has a new Samurai Girl at 8.
  • Food Network has a new Challenge at 8, then a new episode of Iron Chef America and the premiere of Feasting on Waves.
  • At 9, ABC has the special America United: In Support of Our Troops.
  • PBS has a new Masterpiece at 9.
  • MTV has the 2008 MTV Music Video Awards at 9.
  • HBO has the series premiere of True Blood at 9, followed by the season premiere of Entourage.
  • At 10, Lifetime has a new Army Wives.
  • There's a new Mad Men on AMC at 10.
  • At 11:30, Cartoon Network has a new Robot Chicken.
  • At midnight, Cartoon Network has a new Metalocalypse, then a new Tim and Eric's Awesome Show, Great Job.

Check your local TV listings for more.

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What's On Tonight: Hurl, Mad Men, Tim and Eric's Awesome Show

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 31st 2008 4:04PM
  • Jerry Lewis MDA TelethonHallmark Channel has a Murder, She Wrote marathon all night.
  • At 7, CBS has a new 60 Minutes.
  • USA has more of the U.S. Open at 7.
  • G4 has a new Hurl! at 7.
  • At 8, CBS has a new Big Brother.
  • TV Land has the series finale of M*A*S*H at 8.
  • Also at 8: Cartoon Network has a new Ben 10 Action Force.
  • At 9, various stations have The Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon (check local listings).
  • PBS has a new Masterpiece at 9.
  • History Channel has a new Ice Road Truckers at 9.
  • At 10, AMC has a new Mad Men.
  • There's a new Skins on BBC America at 10.
  • At 10:30, E! has a new Sunset Tan.
  • At midnight, Cartoon Network has a new Metalocalypse.
  • At 12:30am, Cartoon Network has a new Tim and Eric's Awesome Show, Great Job.

Check your local TV listings for more.

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