Rebecca Eaton: The Mistress of 'Masterpiece'

The woman behind PBS's 'Masterpiece' shares the secret of the program's success

by Margy Rochlin
rebecca eaton image
Photograph: Anthony Tieuli for Masterpiece

AFTER 26 years on the job, Rebecca Eaton still has her guns blazing. In 2008 she reinvented the PBS mainstay Masterpiece, dividing it into Masterpiece Classic, Mystery and Contemporary. Then, by importing U.K. hits such as Sherlock and Downton Abbey, Eaton raised overall viewership by a third. We asked her the big question: Why do the best period dramas all come from Britain? Her answer: money. “In order to have a television in England, you have to pay a fee, which goes directly to the BBC to pay for programming,” says Eaton. “They are a very rich corporation.”


Click here for an interview with Downton Abbey star, Elizabeth McGovern.

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Originally published in the April 2012 issue

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