“Downton” Dumbed-Down For U.S.

downton460_1755730cIn spite of the fact that the best American television over the past decade has been streets ahead of programs on the British telly, apparently we’re still too stupid to be able to figure out the details of the stately-home drama “Downton Abbey.” The series, which was a hit in Britain, begins airing on PBS’s “Masterpiece” this Sunday, but it has been “downsized” — read “dumbed-down” — for American audiences. Explains “Masterpiece” executive producer Rebecca Eaton: “American audiences are used to a different speed when it comes to television drama and you need to get into a story very quickly.” It’s funny: whenever PBS is fundraising (more often than when it isn’t), the need to get into — or back to — the story doesn’t seem to be very important.

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