PBS' Masterpiece Viewership is Up Nearly 45% Season-to-Date
-- Premiere Broadcast of “Upstairs Downstairs” Reached 6.4 Million Viewers --
Arlington, VA, April 12, 2011 – PBS’ MASTERPIECE audience has increased by nearly 45% over last year. In addition, PBS’ most anticipated highlight of MASTERPIECE’s 40th season, “Upstairs Downstairs,” was watched by an estimated 6.4 million viewers, based on Nielsen data from 53 metered markets.
“With the most famous address in MASTERPIECE’s history, PBS couldn’t wait to bring the next story from 165 Eaton Place back to viewers, and it’s great to see millions of PBS fans turn out for its premiere,” said John F. Wilson, PBS SVP and Chief Programming Officer. “MASTERPIECE is a vital hallmark of what makes PBS member stations unique in the media landscape, and everyone should continue to have access to these classic tales.”
More than three decades after its last episode on PBS, Sunday night’s episode, now available on PBS.org/video, opened in 1936, six years after the Bellamy family moved out of 165 Eaton Place at the end of the original series. Recently inherited by young Sir Hallam Holland, the house has been long vacant, and Hallam’s vivacious wife, Agnes, takes its considerable needs in hand. The film airs in three one-hour episodes on MASTERPIECE Classic, Sundays, April 10, 17, and 24, 2011, at 9 pm ET on PBS (check local listings).
“We knew viewers would appreciate this charming, romantic ‘not-to-be-missed’ 2011 version, and we hope that audiences continue to grow throughout this successful season,” says WGBH Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton. “From ‘Sherlock’ to ‘Downton Abbey’ and ‘Upstairs Downstairs,’ we’re proud that MASTERPIECE continues to bring such high-quality, first-rate, award-winning dramas to the small screen.”
The cast includes the original series creators Dame Eileen Atkins (“Cranford,” “Murder on the Orient Express”) and Jean Marsh (“Sense and Sensibility,” “Willow”), with Marsh reprising her Emmy Award-winning role as Rose Buck, now promoted from parlor maid to housekeeper, and Atkins appearing as the aristocratic Lady Maud. With a script by acclaimed screenwriter Heidi Thomas (“Cranford”), the sequel also stars Keeley Hawes (“Wives and Daughters”), Ed Stoppard (“Brideshead Revisited”), Anne Reid (“Bleak House”), Claire Foy (“Little Dorrit”), Adrian Scarborough (“Cranford”), Art Malik (“The Jewel in the Crown”), and Ellie Kendrick (“The Diary of Anne Frank”). “Upstairs Downstairs” is a coproduction of the BBC and MASTERPIECE on PBS.
Special note: Masterpiece Madness, a 3-week tournament bracket on PBS’ Facebook page, pitting 40 classic Masterpiece characters against each other in daily matches, ends today with a “Pride & Prejudice” faceoff between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Results will be posted at facebook.com/pbs.
Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI, NPower, Live+7 HH/P2+ AA%/AA(000), Masterpiece program average, 9/27/09-3/7/10 (unduplicated AA) vs. 9/20/10-1/30/11 (unduplicated AA) & 1/31/11-2/27/11 (duplicated AA). Source: National persons 2+ projection based on Nielsen NTI Masterpiece cumulative audience averages 9/20/10 to 2/27/11, 6 minute qualifier.
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About MASTERPIECE and WGBH Boston
MASTERPIECE, celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2011, is presented on PBS by WGBH Boston. Rebecca Eaton is executive producer. Funding for the series is provided by public television viewers with additional support from contributors to The MASTERPIECE Trust, created to help ensure the series future. WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster, producing such celebrated national PBS series as Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur, Curious George and more than a dozen other award-winning primetime, lifestyle and children’s series.
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