WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) today announced that the first award from the CPB and PBS Opportunity Fund will go to one of PBS' best-known series, MASTERPIECE THEATRE. CPB and PBS will allocate approximately $4 million over two years toward an expanded offering of MASTERPIECE THEATRE programming and station outreach.
The Opportunity Fund was initiated and funded with $27 million by CPB to ensure the continued vitality of key PBS primetime series that were found to be particularly meaningful to PBS audiences in a recent CPB strategic research study. "Over the years, MASTERPIECE THEATRE has been appointment television for millions of viewers," said Pat Harrison, CPB president and CEO. "I am delighted that it will be receiving the inaugural grant from our Opportunity Fund, which we hope will strengthen both MASTERPIECE THEATRE and public television's connection to its primetime audience."
"MASTERPIECE THEATRE is beloved by PBS audiences as a unique treasure in the television landscape," said Jacoba Atlas, PBS co-chief program executive. "We're extremely pleased to collaborate with CPB to ensure the vitality of key series such as MASTERPIECE and others."
MASTERPIECE THEATRE has been a Sunday night staple since 1971, offering iconic miniseries such as "Upstairs, Downstairs," "The Forsyte Saga," "Prime Suspect," and "The Lost Prince," which recently won three Emmy Awards, including one for Outstanding Miniseries. The series is presented on PBS by WGBH Boston.
"We're grateful to CPB and PBS for this generous grant, which acknowledges MASTERPIECE THEATRE's enduring value to PBS stations and their members," said MASTERPIECE THEATRE executive producer Rebecca Eaton. "This money comes at a particularly critical time because it will help broaden our search for a corporate funder."
CPB, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,000 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television, and related on-line services.
PBS is a private, nonprofit media enterprise that serves the nation's 348 public noncommercial television stations, reaching nearly 90 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is the leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of educational services for adult learners. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (pbskids.org), continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet, averaging more than 30 million unique visits and 380 million page views per month in 2004. PBS is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.