How do “Downton Abbey” fans celebrate this PBS Masterpiece TV show earning a record 16 Primetime Emmy nominations – why taking a cruise ship holiday of course.
Not only has Viking River Cruises decided that it’s a good idea to continue sponsoring the PBS “Masterpiece” series, but the cruise line’s website recently revealed how its offering a cruise destination to England’s famed “Highclere Castle,” where many scenes from the Emmy Award-winning “Downton Abbey” were filmed during seasons 1 and 2; while the much anticipated season three is now in production. Also, Academy Award nominee Rebecca Eaton – who’s served as the “Masterpiece” executive producer for 25 years, announced this week that she’s “proud to have Viking River Cruises as our sponsor.”
In turn, what this means for both “Downton Abbey” - and fans of other Masterpiece TV programs on PBS - is a major corporate sponsor that’s willing to not only back future Masterpiece television shows, but also taking the plunge into marketing cruise line destinations for fans wanting to experience “a sense of place” when it comes to where in England their favorite PBS TV programs are filmed.
In addition to the “Masterpiece” Downton Abbey series, Viking is also sponsoring other recent PBS programs such as “Sherlock” and “Inspector Lewis” with special tours of London where Sherlock is filmed and tours of Oxford, England, where Inspector Lewis is filmed; while such tours can be included in Viking Cruise deals that link travelers with their favorite TV shows filmed in the U.K.
Viking picks up the PBS tab for “Downton Abbey”
Thanks to Viking River Cruises continued sponsorship of the PBS “Masterpiece” TV series – that includes the hit program “Downton Abbey” – season three of this Emmy-award winning show will return in early 2013, states PBS on its website and via a recent Viking press release that details both its sponsorship and new cruise destinations for fans to visit Downton’s Highclere Castle.
Viking, which is launching eight new ships in 2013, is trying to capitalize on “Downton’s” popularity with both its PBS TV sponsorship and with package deals so fans can visit Highclere Castle where much of “Downton” is filmed.
Also, PBS announced that Viking has joined Franklin Templeton as a top-line “Masterpiece” sponsor.
In turn, TV viewers may not be aware that unlike most television programs that feature loads of commercials – as a means to pay for the programming – PBS receives federal funding that’s now being threatened by the GOP.
Thus, PBS chief Paula Kerger said in recent AP and other media reports how PBS gets more than 15 percent of its budget from the feds; while Kerger stated that new cuts from Republican lawmakers could force some PBS stations to end airing such programming as Masterpiece.
Downton Abbey in the news thanks to 16 Emmy nominations
While the good news for “Downton Abbey” fans is the show received a lot Emmy attention last week; the down side is some Republicans said they would like to shut PBS and its Masterpiece series down by cutting the governments’ financial support of public television.
Also, the website philly.com reported July 24 that "Downton Abbey," whose second season on "Masterpiece" last week received 16 Emmy nominations, including one for outstanding drama and lead actors, “is giving once-staid PBS plenty of moments these days, none perhaps more anticipated than the one in which Maggie Smith, as the dowager countess, comes face to face with Shirley MacLaine for the first time on-screen in Season 3, which won't air here until next winter. PBS ran a teaser reel for critics and let's just say that despite some hard times ahead for the Grantham family, hilarity does ensue between the formidable women.”
In addition, when philly.com asked MacLaine - who's playing American Martha Levinson, Cora's brash mother - whether she and Smith had ever met before, she started to laugh.
"Oh, God. Should I tell this story?" MacLaine said during the philly.com interview.
"Well, we were lovers in another life," MacLaine joked.
PBS enjoying “the Masterpiece effect”
At the same time, fans have noted how PBS is almost obsessed with all things British right now thanks to the “Masterpiece series being up 107 percent from three years ago,” explained “Masterpiece” executive producer Rebecca Eaton on the PBS website stating: "This is not just the Downton effect. This is the Sherlock effect, the [Inspector] Lewis effect, the [Miss] Marple effect and the Wallander effect."
In turn, with the Queen’s recent Jubilee celebrations, Kate Middleton expecting a heir to the British throne at any time and the Summer Olympics starting on Friday in London; it does seem true that American TV viewers simply can’t get enough of the British “Masterpiece” series with Downton Abbey viewed as one of the top shows on television for Americans right now.
Currently, the "Masterpiece" TV series "Inspector Lewis" is completing season five on July 29; while other Masterpiece British imports are on tap to entertain PBS viewers both during the summer and into a new fall season with "Downton Abbey" season three set for airing during the holiday season.
Image source of Highclere Castle in England that’s used for both interior and exterior filming of the PBS “Masterpiece” TV series Downton Abbey that’s now filming season 3; while Viking River Cruises has recently announced that it will continue to sponsor the “Masterpiece” TV series and also create unique destinations for fans of Downton to visit Highclere and other locations in England where this Emmy-award winning series is filmed. Photo courtesy Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downton_Abbey
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