PBS’ ‘Masterpiece’ Gets $1 Million Gift From Donor

"Downton Abbey." (PBS)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Even the landed gentry of “Downton Abbey” would be impressed: A philanthropist is giving $1 million to PBS’ “Masterpiece,” U.S. home of the British upstairs-downstairs drama series.

The gift is the largest yet for the Masterpiece Trust, a fund-raising initiative started last year, PBS said Wednesday. The donor is Darlene Shiley of San Diego, who previously gave $250,000 to support “Masterpiece.”

The drama showcase scored a hit with the second season of “Downton Abbey,” which drew a total of 17 million viewers to make it the most-watched “Masterpiece” miniseries on record, PBS said.

“Masterpiece,” from WGBH Boston, began searching for new funding sources after losing longtime sponsor Exxon Mobil in 2004. The series finally gained a new corporate supporter last year when Viking River Cruises came aboard.

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