If you’re deep into “Downton Abbey,” you’ve probably noticed the name Rebecca Eaton as executive producer in the credits. Eaton, the force behind PBS’ “Masterpiece” programming, is a woman of great charm and determination, and makes no bones about her lifelong Anglophilia. She has brought so much great English television to this country to air on PBS’ “Masterpiece,” we’re guessing she has a very special place at the Crawley table, right next to the Dowager Countess.
Tonight Eaton discusses her 25 years of producing “Masterpiece Theatre” and its successors, “Masterpiece Classic” and “Masterpiece Mystery” on “Well Read,” the books-and-authors interview program on state public affairs network TVW. It airs at 7 and 10 p.m. on TVW (in Seattle, Comcast channel 23). Eaton’s memoir, “Making Masterpiece: 25 Years Behind the Scenes at Masterpiece Theatre and Masterpiece Mystery” is an utterly fascinating look at the highs and lows of this great series, and a poignant look at the influences and sacrifices that shaped her career as its head.
If you can’t watch it on tv, you can watch it here. For more information, here is my Q&A with Eaton that ran in November, where she discusses everything from the hot new “Masterpiece” programs that have given PBS a boost (“Downton Abbey,” “Sherlock!”, “Mr. Selfridge”) to the long-term challenges faced by PBS in the digital age.