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It's Finally Here! Downton Abbey Season 3 Begins Sunday on WSRE

Pensacola, Fla. — On the heels of the re-broadcast of seasons 1 and 2, Downton Abbey season 3 has finally arrived for U.S. fans of the series. The Great War is over and the long-awaited engagement of Lady Mary and Matthew is on, but all is not tranquil at Downton Abbey as wrenching social changes, romantic intrigues, and personal crises grip the majestic English country estate for a third thrilling season. The all-star cast, including Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess of Grantham, returns and welcomes guest star Academy Award®-winner Shirley MacLaine. Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey season 3 is a seven-part mini-series airing Sundays at 8 p.m. More information about Downton Abbey is available at wsre.org/downton.

Broadcast Schedule on WSRE
Episode 1 – Sunday, January 6, 2013 at 8-10 p.m.
Episode 2 – Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 8-9 p.m.
Episode 3 – Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 8-9 p.m.
Episode 4 – Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 8-9 p.m.
Episode 5 – Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 8-9 p.m.
Episode 6 – Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 8-10 p.m. 
Episode 7 – Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 8-10 p.m.

Written and created by Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey Season 3 is a Carnival Films and Masterpiece coproduction. Seasons 1 & 2 have won a total of nine Primetime Emmy® Awards and a Golden Globe® for Best Mini-Series.

Executive Producer Gareth Neame remarks, "What a rollercoaster it has been to be part of this truly global phenomenon. We couldn’t be more thrilled by the way American critics and audiences have taken Downton to their hearts and I’m so excited to be showing them season 3."

The press loved the second season, with USA Today marveling, “Lightning can strike twice.” The Hollywood Reporter called the series “one of the great melodramas of the modern television age.” And The Los Angeles Times styled it “big, beautifully acted, and romantic.”

Viewers were no less passionate, with 17.1 million tuning in across the seven episodes, making Downton Abbey, Season 2 the most-watched MASTERPIECE series on record. It was also the most talked-about. “What sets Downton Abbey apart,” wrote Reuters, “is the buzz the show is creating on new social media websites like Twitter and Facebook.”

And with today’s multitude of viewing options, a younger audience is being seduced by Downton Abbey’s sumptuously spread-out plot, notes MASTERPIECE Executive Producer
Rebecca Eaton.

“In the excellence of its writing, acting, and production, Downton Abbey arrives at a perfect time,” says Eaton. “Long-form episodic drama is the ideal fit for the way people watch television today. With time-shifting, DVDs, and streaming, viewers have rediscovered the joys of luxuriating in a sweeping story.”

“MASTERPIECE has been committed to superb long-form drama since the beginning,” she adds. “We've never lost our audience, and now we're attracting new and younger viewers, too.”

The returning cast includes Hugh Bonneville, Dame Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern, Dan Stevens, Michelle Dockery, Jim Carter, Penelope Wilton, Joanne Froggatt, Brendan Coyle and a host of others, joined by Shirley MacLaine (Oscar® for Best Actress, Terms of Endearment), who plays Martha Levinson, the very American mother of Cora, Countess of Grantham (McGovern).

Years earlier, Cora rescued Downton Abbey with her New World riches by marrying Robert, Earl of Grantham (Bonneville). Now, New World and Old World are about to clash as Cora’s mother locks horns with Robert’s redoubtable mother, Lady Violet, played by Maggie Smith.

Last season closed with the reluctant heir to Downton, Matthew Crawley (Stevens), recovered from his war wounds and ready to tie the knot with the eldest of Lord and Lady Grantham’s daughters, Lady Mary (Dockery). Meanwhile, Mary’s youngest sister, Sybil (Jessica Brown-Findlay), has eloped to Ireland with the political-minded chauffeur, Branson (Allen Leech), and is expecting a child.

A tantalizing glimpse ahead: Lovebird servants Anna (Froggatt) and Bates (Coyle) face new ordeals in their star-crossed marriage. Downton’s impeccable butler, Carson (Carter), breaks in a new footman, who happens to be the nephew of the scheming lady’s maid O’Brien (Siobhan Finneran). Following Matthew and Mary’s engagement, Robert sticks to his duty to maintain Downton more firmly than ever—even as other great houses are crippled psychologically and financially in the wake of World War I.

In this changing landscape nothing is assured, and could it be that even the war-weary Crawleys must fight a new battle to safeguard their beloved Downton?

Downton Abbey Season 3 is a Carnival/Masterpiece Co-production. It is written and created by Julian Fellowes. Gareth Neame and Julian Fellowes are Executive Producers. The Producer is Liz Trubridge. The first episode is directed by Brian Percival. Other episodes are directed by Andy Goddard, Jeremy Webb, and David Evans.

MASTERPIECE is presented on PBS by WGBH Boston. Rebecca Eaton is Executive Producer for MASTERPIECE. Funding for the series is provided by Viking River Cruises and Ralph Lauren Corporation with additional support from public television viewers and contributors to The MASTERPIECE Trust, created to help ensure the series’ future.

pbs.org/masterpiece

Press Contacts
Ellen Dockser, ellen_dockser@wgbh.org, 617-300-5338
Olivia Wong, olivia_wong@wgbh.org, 617-300-5349
Heidi Schaeffer, heidi.schaeffer@pmkbnc.com, 310-854-4800

About WSRE, PBS for the Gulf Coast
WSRE is a PBS member station that is locally owned and licensed to the Pensacola State College Board of Trustees operating as a service of Pensacola State College. The public broadcasting station has been serving the needs of the Gulf Coast community through programming, educational services and outreach since 1967. WSRE produces, acquires and distributes programs that address local interests and reflect the diverse cultural, political, geographic and demographic characteristics of its audience. The Educational Services unit for WSRE serves as the connection to teachers, parents, caregivers and children to extend the rich resources found in public television. For more information about WSRE, its services, programs or available resources, visit wsre.org.
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