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“Downton” Has Game-Changing Episode Sunday

 

Lady Mary, her husband Matthew, Mr. Bates, the Earl of Grantham, Carson  and the others in the cast of thousands (I’m only slightly exaggerating) of “Downton Abbey” were expected to have a tough go of it last Sunday in football-mad Buffalo because the AFC title game and a post-game show was being played opposite the start of it at 9 p.m.

But even Baltimore’s 28-13 AFC title win over the New England Patriots Sunday didn’t interfere much with the local success of the PBS soap opera on WNED-TV.

Last Sunday’s “Abbey” episode – which ran as the Ravens-Pats game ended and CBS carried a post-game report — still had a very healthy 5.8 rating and beat ABC’s “Revenge” (5.4) on Channel 7.

To be perfectly honest, it was by far the dullest episode of the season. But things really pick up this Sunday.

The fourth episode of the season is must-see TV for “Downton” fans and packs an emotional toll that is bound to lead to water cooler talk Monday among those viewers who don’t read spoilers.

Lord Grantham and Carson: Tough Times Ahead for Men

Lord Grantham and Carson: Tough Times Ahead for Men

I won’t spoil anything but will say you should have plenty of Kleenex handy as the episode has a profound impact on several relationships on the show.

I’ve seen every episode of the third season except the finale and can report that the men in the series, now set in the 1920s after World War I, have trouble adjusting to a changing world in which women get more opinionated and don’t accept the notion that men – especially rich men — should control everything.

The patriarch of the series, Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville), is particularly in for a very difficult time as all the ladies around him become more outspoken, more assertive and more willing to adjust to the times.  And the butler Carson (Jim Carter) isn’t going to have it much easier.

Now it can be told: Vic Baker, the Hall of Fame news producer at Channel 4, has landed as the senior news producer at cable’s Central Florida News Channel 13 that is based in Orlando and serves nine counties in Florida. Baker said the staff includes 100 people in the newsroom. “It has the most beautiful facility I have ever seen and is mission driven,” said Baker. He likens it to a much better version of YNN. The Bright House Network cable news channel is owned by Newhouse.

The Buffalo-area newlyweds, Max and Katie Bichler, participating in the next edition of the CBS reality series “The Amazing Race” understandably are getting a lot of local press. I carried their picture twice on Wednesday, once to note that Katie is the niece of Buffalo Sabres spokesman Mike Gilbert.

Channel 4 carried a clip of the couple at Niagara Falls at the end of its 10 p.m. Wednesday newscast on WNLO-TV. That was the day CBS announced the cast of 11 different teams. Then anchor Don Postles said the season premieres on Feb. 22.

Wrong. It is a Sunday night series and it premieres Feb. 17. I’m not saying Postles is responsible for the error since he often reads copy written by someone else. But you would think Channel 4 would get the date right concerning one of its own network’s series.

pergament@msn.com

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