'Downton Abbey' season 3: Lady Mary's marriage and money troubles?
When "Downton Abbey" returns to PBS in January 2013, viewers can expect to see Lady Mary's wedding to Matthew Crawley and a lesson in the power for the pound and the penny.
That was just a taste of the upcoming season of PBS' monster hit, set during the early 20th century in England. "Masterpiece" executive producer Rebecca Eaton was recently in Florida and gave a sneak preview of the new season to supporters of WUCF, the new PBS affiliate in Orlando.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the new season opens with the Crawleys waiting for the arrival of Lady Cora's mother, played by Shirley MacLaine, in the hopes she'll provide a cash infusion into the family coffers.
Of course, the Dowager Countess, played by Maggie Smith, detests feeling needy to an uncouth American. There will be some decidely testy scenes between Smith and MacLaine in the upcoming season, but according to Eaton, that may not be too far from real life.
"Maggie Smith is a handful, it's true," Eaton said. "She's very difficult. She knows her worth, and she's tricky on the set, but she delivers when the time comes."
The third season will be set during the Roaring 20s and is expected to be a ratings bonanza for PBS, which saw huge ratings for the show's second season finale in February, with 5.4 million viewers.
Eaton has also said that a prominent character on the show will die in the new season: "Somebody will be born, and somebody will die, somebody pretty key in the cast, unfortunately is not going to make it. It's the 1920s now."
Who's going to kick the bucket? No word, but the British press reported that two actors, Smith and Dan Stevens, who plays Matthew Crawley, were reportedly holding out from signing contracts for Season 4.
Photo: Maggie Smith in "Downtown Abbey." Credit: Nick Briggs / PBS