PBS president Paula Kerger today defended the often bemoaned American broadcast delay of Downton Abbey, which in past seasons has completed its run in the U.K. before premiering in the U.S, saying the network is hesitant to change a method that has worked well for them so far.
“I think as we have looked at this whole issue of spoilers and thought about how best to steward the property and also think about the viewership, we considered a number of factors in the scheduling of Downton,” she said during a panel at the Television Critics Association press tour, which concludes this week in Los Angeles. Those include, she said, attempting to avoid clashing with the slew of network premieres in the fall and harnessing the opportunities for word-of-mouth promotion. “The fact that word-of-mouth travels after it airs in the U.K. has actually benefited us … we kind of don’t want to mess with that if it’s working so well.”
That said, she admitted, “I will say to you … I think that as we look at scheduling programs that we are acquiring, particularly dramas, what I just described to you is not a hard and fast rule. … We’ll continue to look at each program as it comes up and then try to figure out if it makes sense to try to bring it very close to the broadcast window where it is seen everywhere else or does it make sense to schedule it at a different point and time.”
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