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MORE MASTERPIECE COMING TO PBS IN 2015

MASTERPIECE and PBS today announced exciting news for fans of British drama: more hours of MASTERPIECE are coming to PBS stations nationwide. In 2015, viewers can continue to tune in to the series during its longstanding Sunday at 9pm time slot, and also enjoy at least 20 additional hours of new programming—with some shows at 8pm, others at 10pm—throughout the year.
Guaranteed to satisfy the US audience’s ever-increasing appetite for great British drama, MASTERPIECE’s expanded schedule is funded by an exclusive corporate sponsorship with Viking River Cruises. Viking has been a sponsor of the series at 9pm on Sunday evenings since 2011.
“The generosity and vision of all our funders creates the potential for a fantastic 50 percent increase in the number of new hours in 2015,” said executive producer Rebecca Eaton. “This is truly a golden
age of British drama and we’re very proud of this affirmation of the MASTERPIECE brand.”
MASTERPIECE, which is produced by WGBH/Boston and has aired on PBS since 1971, has seen a surge in popularity in recent years. The audience for the 2014 season is up over 100 percent from 2010, and according to a 2014 public television survey, over 70 percent of members cited MASTERPIECE as their favorite show.
“PBS and MASTERPIECE are at the forefront of a global resurgence of quality drama,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, PBS. “MASTERPIECE has been the place for quality costume drama and intriguing mysteries for more than 40 years, so we are glad to bring viewers more of what they love to our schedule.”
“Our partnership with MASTERPIECE is successful in large part because of the similarities between our audiences. Many of our guests are MASTERPIECE viewers, and we often hear that they discovered the Viking way of travel from watching MASTERPIECE,” said Richard Marnell, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Viking River Cruises. “Our guests and MASTERPIECE viewers enrich their lives through history, culture and exploration, so we are proud to offer them additional opportunities to do so through an expanded partnership.”
The enlarged MASTERPIECE footprint kicks off with Grantchester, a six-part mystery premiering Sunday, January 18, at 10pm, following new episodes of Downton Abbey. Already a hit in the UK, Grantchester stars James Norton (Happy Valley) as a charismatic young clergyman and Robson Green (Wire in the Blood) as a down-to-earth cop who team up to fight crime in the beautiful
hamlet of Grantchester in 1953. Based on the acclaimed mystery novels by James Runcie, the young vicar is styled after Runcie’s late father, who was Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1980s.
On April 5, three-time Tony® Award-winning actor Mark Rylance (Twelfth Night) and Emmy® Award-winner Damian Lewis (Homeland) star as Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII in Wolf Hall, a highly anticipated adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. The six-part series charts the shrewd and brilliant rise of Cromwell in the Tudor court — from a blacksmith's son to Henry VIII's closest advisor.

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