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[05/31/11 - 10:36 AM]
PBS Announces "Masterpiece" Fall Programs
Among its offerings: "Page Eight" and "The Song of Lunch," featuring Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Michael Gambon, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson.

[via press release from PBS]

PBS Announces MASTERPIECE Fall Programs

- MASTERPIECE CONTEMPORARY Programs Feature Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson and More -

- Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton Previews Upcoming Films in Special Video Interview -

ARLINGTON, VA; MAY 31, 2011 - At PBS' Annual Meeting for member stations, MASTERPIECE executive producer Rebecca Eaton unveiled the series' fall season, which features all-star casts in new MASTERPIECE CONTEMPORARY presentations and the return of a MASTERPIECE MYSTERY! favorite.

After a season that showed a 54 percent growth in viewership* and new hits in MYSTERY! and CLASSIC with "Sherlock," "Downton Abbey" and "Upstairs Downstairs," this fall, MASTERPIECE CONTEMPORARY welcomes Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Michael Gambon, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson to its line-up in two new films: "Page Eight" and "The Song of Lunch."

In a special video interview from the PBS Annual Meeting (http://to.pbs.org/lcGCk1), Eaton, a 2011 TIME "100 Most Influential People in the World" honoree and PBS "Be More" Award winner, previews these films and introduces this summer's "Zen," MASTERPIECE MYSTERY!'s newest detective, played by Rufus Sewell (MASTERPIECE "Middlemarch," "The Pillars of the Earth"), premiering Sundays, July 17-31, 2011.

Spy-thriller "Page Eight," by Oscar-nominee David Hare (The Reader, The Hours), features Nighy as Johnny Worricker, an MI-5 officer who becomes wrapped up in an elaborate conspiracy after the death of his best friend, Benedict Baron (Gambon). The film also stars Weisz as Johnny's neighbor and Ralph Fiennes and Judy Davis and premieres this fall on MASTERPIECE CONTEMPORARY. Also, this fall on CONTEMPORARY, Rickman and Thompson star in "The Song of Lunch," based on Christopher Reid's acclaimed narrative poem, about a book editor and his former lover who reconnect 15 years after their original affair.

MASTERPIECE MYSTERY! favorites Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox are back as Inspector Lewis and DS Hathaway in four new Oxford University-based whodunits, which have them solving cases at an all-female college, investigating the poisoning of a bishop, looking into a clinical trial and examining a sinister blackmail plot, but will their personal lives wrap up as neatly as their cases? MASTERPIECE MYSTERY! "Inspector Lewis, Series IV" airs Sundays, September 4, 18 and 25 and October 9, 2011, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET.

"Inspector Lewis, Series IV" is a coproduction of ITV Studios and MASTERPIECE. "Page Eight" is a Carnival/MASTERPIECE coproduction. "The Song of Lunch" is a coproduction of the BBC and MASTERPIECE.

Visit MASTERPIECE online at pbs.org/masterpiece.

About MASTERPIECE and WGBH Boston

MASTERPIECE on PBS, celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2011, is presented by WGBH Boston. Rebecca Eaton is executive producer. Funding for the series is provided by public television viewers with additional support from contributors to The MASTERPIECE Trust, created to help ensure the series future. WGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcaster, producing such celebrated national PBS series as MASTERPIECE, ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, FRONTLINE, NOVA, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, ARTHUR, CURIOUS GEORGE and more than a dozen other award-winning primetime, lifestyle and children's series.

About PBS

PBS, with its nearly 360 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches 124 million people through television and 20 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front-row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS' broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry's most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS' premier children's TV programming and its website, pbskids.org, are parents' and teachers' most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile devices.





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