Next month millions of Americans are going to feel acute withdrawal pains -- as it will be the first post-holiday season in six years in which PBS will not offer a new season of Downton Abbey on Masterpiece, and starting a new year off without the Granthams and the Crawleys just doesn’t seem right. “Critics always gave us such a hard time about Downton, even to the end, saying that we should move it into the fall, without really understanding the rhythm of the post-holiday schedule,” PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger told Jack Myers and me over a recent lunch at Michael’s restaurant. "Downton would have done well wherever it landed, but it did exceptionally well because of the fact that it was right after the holidays. It’s cold and dark and people are in more.” Now, with Downton in the rear-view mirror, Paula told us that the upcoming series about Queen Victoria, titled Victoria and set to debut in January on Masterpiece, should help comfort those longing for mid-winter period drama.
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