Breakout hit Downton Abbey and the Masterpiece Mystery! presentation of Sherlock, Series 2 are among the programs anchoring PBS’s winter/spring schedule, which was announced today.
The network also announced a number of new programs, including a miniseries, called Clinton: American Experience, a two-part special that will chronicle the presidency of William Jefferson Clinton.
Abbey will run for seven weeks and premiere Jan. 8 at 9 p.m., while Sherlock will premiere May 6 at 9 p.m. John Wilson, senior vice president of TV programming for the network, tells EW that the network believes Abbey’s return specifically will help it capitalize on the critical praise earned during its four-episode first season.
“Having it on in the early new year when audiences are at their peak in terms of television viewing and starved for new content, I think we’ve got it on at a really great time of the year and hopefully we’re going to do some things that will get the fans of Downton Abbey revved up, but hopefully get some of those who haven’t seen it yet,” he says. “There’s always room for growth. It’s a show that absolutely works for our core audience – who have known and love Masterpiece and the classic dramas it has provided over the years, but is also seems to work for people who can proudly claim to have discovered this great jam on PBS.”
The Clinton program will premiere on President’s Day 2010 (Feb. 20) and the net’s other show, Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, a 10-part series that will dissect the family history of stars like Barbara Walters, Kevin Bacon, and Tyra Banks, will premiere March 25.