PBS' 'Masterpiece' gets $1 million gift from donor

March 28, 2012 - 8:36 PM
TV-PBS-Masterpiece

In this image released by PBS, from left, Elizabeth McGovern as Lady Cora, Hugh Bonneville as Lord Grantham, Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess and Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary are shown in a scene from the second season of "Downton Abbey." PBS' drama series "Masterpiece," which includes the hit "Downton Abbey," has received a $1 million gift from a philanthropist in California. (AP Photo/PBS, Carnival Film & Television Limited 2011 for MASTERPIECE, Nick Briggs)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Even the landed gentry of "Downton Abbey" would be impressed: A philanthropist is giving $1 million to PBS' "Masterpiece," U.S. home of the British upstairs-downstairs drama series.

The gift is the largest yet for the Masterpiece Trust, a fund-raising initiative started last year, PBS said Wednesday. The donor is Darlene Shiley of San Diego, who previously gave $250,000 to support "Masterpiece."

The drama showcase scored a hit with the second season of "Downton Abbey," which drew a total of 17 million viewers to make it the most-watched "Masterpiece" miniseries on record, PBS said.

"Masterpiece," from WGBH Boston, began searching for new funding sources after losing longtime sponsor Exxon Mobil in 2004. The series finally gained a new corporate supporter last year when Viking River Cruises came aboard.

___

Online:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece