Downton Abbey Season 5 debuts this Sunday
San Diego– Local philanthropists and drama lovers Conrad Prebys and Debbie Turner have increased their support for KPBS and the MASTERPIECE Trust to the tune of $1 million. The gift is the couple’s fourth and largest since 2012. The announcement comes as audiences nationwide await this Sunday’s season five debut of Downton Abbey on MASTERPIECE.
Prebys’ first gift to the Trust was made in 2012 in the amount of $500,000. Two additional gifts of $500,000 were made in 2013 and 2014. This most recent gift of $1 million brings their total giving to $2.5 million. Half of the funds will go directly to the Trust while the other half will remain in San Diego, where it will support the production and presentation of local programming across KPBS’ multimedia platforms.
“KPBS is a favorite place for me and Debbie,” said Prebys. “And MASTERPIECE is one of our longtime favorite programs. We are delighted to support their future both locally and nationally, so that everyone can enjoy its superior storytelling.”
The MASTERPIECE Trust is a fundraising collaboration with PBS stations across the nation in which both MASTERPIECE and the member stations are supported by their contributors. Since its launch in 2011, the MASTERPIECE Trust has raised more than $12 million, with nearly $8 million coming from San Diego contributors. Additional Trust supporters from San Diego include Carol Vassiliadis and Darlene Shiley, who made an unprecedented $3 million gift earlier this year in the name of Donald and Darlene Shiley.
“We feel both humbled and honored to have the support of Mr. Prebys and Ms. Turner, who are enriching our community through their generosity,” said KPBS General Manager Tom Karlo. “Thanks to their increased support and that of Mrs. Shiley and Mrs. Vassiliadis, San Diego and KPBS is on the national stage when it comes to providing culturally relevant and enriching content for all audiences.”
MASTERPIECE, which is produced by WGBH in Boston, is the longest running drama on American television. It has been enjoying unprecedented popularity in the U.S. in recent years. Earlier this year, the series announced that the audience for the 2014 season is up over 100 percent from 2010. In addition, over 70 percent of members cited MASTERPIECE as their favorite show according to a 2014 public television survey.
In addition to this Sunday’s season 5 debut of Downton Abbey, MASTERPIECE will present several new dramas in 2015. Already a hit in the U.K., Grantchester debuts January 18 and stars James Norton as a vicar who turns investigator. A new adaptation of the 1970s blockbuster Poldark is scheduled for 2015, starring Aidan Turner (The Hobbit, Being Human) as the dashing squire Ross Poldark; actor Robin Ellis, who starred in the original production, plays Reverend Halse. Wolf Hall will debut later this spring featuring Damian Lewis (Homeland) as Henry VIII and Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell in the adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novels. Fans can also anticipate a third season of Mr. Selfridge this spring, starring Jeremy Piven as the American entrepreneur and department store mogul. MASTERPIECE is also expected to debut Indian Summers, a new drama set in the waning years of British colonial rule in 1930s India.
KPBS serves the San Diego region with news and entertainment programming that respects our audience with inspiring, intelligent and enlightening content. KPBS will deliver this content via multiple outlets, including television, radio, and digital media and will adapt and remain relevant in a rapidly changing world. KPBS values integrity, truth, transparency and lifelong learning. We strive to engage with our citizens and showcase the unique neighborhoods and people that make our community thrive. As a public service of San Diego State University, education is a core value – from our children’s programming to our local news coverage. KPBS is committed to being a reliable source for in-depth, thoughtful, and high quality content.
MASTERPIECE is presented on PBS by WGBH Boston. Rebecca Eaton is the Executive Producer for MASTERPIECE. Funding for MASTERPIECE 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.
Exclusive corporate funding for Grantchester and Wolf Hall is provided by Viking River Cruises. More information about MASTERPIECE, including limited online streaming beginning the day after broadcast, at pbs.org/masterpiece. Follow MASTERPIECE on Twitter and Facebook.
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur, Curious George, and more than a dozen other primetime, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH also is a leader in educational multimedia, including PBS LearningMedia, and a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to the 36 million Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or visually impaired. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards…even two Oscars. Find more information at www.wgbh.org.