Friday, January 24, 2014

‘Sherlock’ scores; PBS reveals its time-slot follow-ups

Originally published Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 12:53 PM

PASADENA, Calif. — “Sherlock” (10 p.m. Sundays) returned to “Masterpiece Mystery!” Jan. 19 with an average audience of 4 million viewers, a 25 percent increase from the 3.2 million viewers who tuned in for the season-two premiere in 2012.

(Episode three of the fourth season of “Downton Abbey” reached 8.4 million viewers, up from 7.9 million who tuned in a week earlier for episode two — football on Sunday was probably less competition for “Masterpiece” than the “Golden Globes” a week earlier.)

The halo effect of “Downton” and now “Sherlock” has resulted in sold-out underwriting for “Masterpiece” this year, a far cry from just a few years ago when the program could not attract a single underwriter.

Some published reports earlier this month suggested a fourth season of “Sherlock” could go into production and be ready to air late in 2014. Executive producer Sue Vertue said such a scenario is technically possible but no schedules have been set.

“We’re still checking our diaries,” she said, presumably meaning schedules. “It’s like a Venn diagram (with everyone’s schedules).”

Benedict Cumberbatch said he chatted with Robert Downey Jr. Sunday night and traded notes about playing Sherlock Holmes, but he’s never had “a proper sit down about it yet” with fellow Brit-playing-Sherlock Jonny Lee Miller of CBS’ “Elementary,” an old friend. “The last thing we want to do is talk shop.”


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