According to a press release from PBS’s Masterpiece Classic division, the ratings success of the ITV / PBS collaboration Mr. Selfridge, starring Jeremy Piven as the retail magnate, has lead to the series’ renewal. In my review of the show’s first season, I found it to be frothy and good-hearted entertainment that was a welcome relief during a spate of otherwise very serious dramas. Though many were turned off by an overly bombastic Piven in the title role, it’s really the women who steal the show and illustrate a changing world, with Piven’s Selfridge along for the ride. The new season will also see the return of the Season One cast, along with new additions Polly Walker (John Carter), Cal Macaninch (Warriors) and Aidan McArdle (Jane Eyre).
The series is currently filming in the UK, and will pick up in 1914, which will mark the store’s fifth anniversary. But just like Downton Abbey, the time frame means that the characters (and the business) are all about to be greatly affected by the impending world war. Hit the jump for the full press release.
Mr. Selfridge Season II to Air on MASTERPIECE on PBS
Jeremy Piven Returns in Highly-Rated Drama
Boston, MA, July 22, 2013—Following its ratings success in the U.S., MASTERPIECE and
PBS have announced a second season of Mr. Selfridge, starring Jeremy Piven as the flamboyant American entrepreneur who founded the famous Selfridge’s department store. Season II will air on MASTERPIECE Classic in 2014.
The first season of Mr. Selfridge reached nearly 15 million viewers over its eight episodes, with an average viewing audience of 4 million people an episode. An ITV Studios/MASTERPIECE coproduction, the season also had strong online viewing numbers, totaling over 1.1 million views during the season’s run. In addition, Mr. Selfridge was recently honored with an Emmy® nomination for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series.
Mr. Selfridge marked Jeremy Piven’s return to television after his Emmy® and Golden Globe®-winning performance in the hit series Entourage.
“I’m absolutely delighted that MASTERPIECE viewers welcomed Mr. Selfridge into their homes,” said Piven. “Mr. Selfridge is a true ensemble piece, and audiences can look forward to seeing the return of their favorite characters and some intriguing new faces.”
MASTERPIECE executive producer Rebecca Eaton said, “It is clear from our audience’s reaction that they want more of Harry Selfridge, his family and department store shopping! We’re happy to have Jeremy and the rest of the talented Mr. Selfridge cast in the MASTERPIECE family.”
Currently filming in the UK, the second season picks up the story in 1914, as the store celebrates its fifth anniversary in business. With World War I imminent, the lives of everyone at Selfridge’s will inevitably be affected.
“We are very excited to bring a second season of Mr. Selfridge to PBS stations nationwide,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, PBS. “This department store drama has charmed audiences with wonderful performances, intriguing plots and beautiful costumes–bringing a sparkle of glamour to our Sunday night lineup.”
In addition to Mr. Piven, the returning cast includes Frances O’Connor as his wife Rose, Aisling Loftus as Agnes Towler, Katherine Kelly as Lady Mae, Grégory Fitoussi as Henri Leclair, Trystan Gravelle as Victor Colleano, Amanda Abbington as Miss Mardle, Tom Goodman-Hill as Roger Grove, and Ron Cook as Mr. Crabb. Additions to the ensemble include Polly Walker (John Carter), Cal Macaninch (Warriors, Wild at Heart) as Mr Thackeray and Aidan McArdle (Jane Eyre, Einstein’s Big Idea).
Mr. Selfridge is a Co-Production of ITV Studios and MASTERPIECE and based on “Shopping, Seduction & Mr. Selfridge” by Lindy Woodhead. Kate Brooke heads-up the writing team on the second season working alongside Kate O’Riordan, Dan Sefton and Andrew Davies.
The season will be produced by Cherry Gould (Lightfields, Above Suspicion), and executive produced for ITV Studios’ by Kate Lewis alongside Kate Brooke, Kate O’Riordan, Andrew Davies and Rebecca Eaton for MASTERPIECE. Jeremy Piven is Producer. The director of episodes 5, 6 and 7 of season one, Anthony Byrne (Silent Witness, Single Handed) will return to direct the first two episodes.
MASTERPIECE on PBS is presented by WGBH Boston. Rebecca Eaton is executive producer. Funding for MASTERPIECE is provided by Viking River Cruises and Ralph Lauren Corporation with additional support from public television viewers and contributors to The MASTERPIECE Trust, created to help ensure the series’ future.