With a majority of the commercial networks setting their Fall schedules this week with their respective upfront presentations to advertisers, PBS announced Tuesday at their annual meeting in Miami Beach the date of January 5, 2014 for the long-awaited return of Downton Abbey and the premiere of series 4.
Approximately 8 million viewers tuned in last January for the premiere of series 3 on PBS, which aired a full three months after the UK premiere on ITV1. With a double digit increase in audience for series 3 over series 2, there seemed little reason to break something that isn’t broken and premiere the program closer to the UK premiere which should, again, be in September of 2013.
With the series set for a 2-hour premiere on January 5, it will run for 8 weeks, ending on February 23. With the Oscars now pushed back a week to avoid the closing ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics, the final episode of Downton Abbey will take its chances against the Olympics rather than taking on the Academy Awards.
Other announcements made Tuesday that would be of interest to readers of Tellyspotting were almost too numerous to mention. In a nutshell…
- Masterpiece Mystery! “Foyle’s War” – new episodes of the highly anticipated detective series will premiere on Sunday, September 15 with three episodes set in post-war 1946-47. Michael Kitchen and Honeysuckle Weeks return for more secrets, intelligence and security.
- Masterpiece Classic “The Paradise” – Emile Zola’s rags to riches story of seduction and the dangerous charms of the modern world set against the Victorian splendor of a British department store (sound familiar?) premieres Sunday, October 6 through November 17.
- How Sherlock Changed the World – airing Tuesdays, November 19 and 26, this two-part series follows forensic scientists, crime historians and Sherlock experts as the reveal some astonishing insight into the impact that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s consulting detective creation had on the development of real-life criminal investigations and forensic techniques. Of particular interest, obviously, will be comments from Sherlock himself, Benedict Cumberbatch.
Still on the table is what to do with the upcoming third series of Sherlock. Of particular note, however, is the expressed desire to get the PBS broadcast to align as closely as possible to the UK premiere which is still yet to be determined. That news made the entire trip worthwhile for the some 950+ people in attendance, including Tellyspotting.