'Downton Abbey': In-laws not in Cupid's eyes
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- "Downton Abbey" will be back for its fifth season Jan. 4, but the return date for another hit PBS series, "Sherlock," is up in the air, PBS chief executive Paula Kerger said Tuesday.
"We will have to wait to know when it's finished and available," Kerger said of the mystery starring Benedict Cumberbatch. "Whenever it comes, we'll put it in a wonderful place."
PBS is making its shows available for flexible viewing, using both digital platforms and creative scheduling on public TV stations, she said. All episodes of Ken Burns' "The Roosevelts," for instance, will be available for streaming the day after the first episode airs on Sept. 14.
Don't expect the same treatment for stately manor soap opera "Downton Abbey."
"'Downton Abbey' will have some surprises in it. But Michelle Dockery and Allen Leech of "Downton Abbey" say Cupid's arrow is not headed for their characters.
While talking to a TV Critics' panel, the actors said they find it "very funny" some fans are hoping for a romantic pairing for in-laws Lady Mary Crawley and Tom Branson.
Both characters are widowed and have become confidantes in their grief.
"Their friendship has really grown," said Dockery, who reminded that at one point her aristocratic TV alter ego couldn't fathom the idea of having a chauffeur marrying her sister.
In season five, that bond will strengthen as they work to preserve their country estate.
"You definitely get the idea they get together on a united front with the idea of making sure ‘Downton' is going to be around," said Leech.
It's not all business though, says Dockery, who says they're also "both looking for love."
"But not with each other," quipped Leech.
Meanwhile, other PBS announcements from Kerger:
n "Walt Disney," a four-hour, two-night film about the life and legacy of the entertainment groundbreaker, will air in fall 2015 as part of the "American Experience" series.
n Kristin Chenoweth will serve as host of PBS' fall arts festival featuring theater and music on Friday nights starting Sept. 29. Productions include "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess," Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga performing on "Great Performances," and the special "Kristen Chenoweth: Coming Home."
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