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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

David Tennant to host PBS’s ‘Masterpiece Contemporary’? really?

Everyone’s been emailing me about this, and I gotta say, I’m mystified. Sez The Hollywood Reporter:

NEW YORK — David Tennant is the new host of PBS’ “Masterpiece Contemporary.”

Tennant will make his debut on the long-running public TV anthology this fall, its producing station, WGBH, announced Wednesday.

The 38-year-old Scottish actor, who follows past “Masterpiece” hosts such as Alan Cumming and Laura Linney, played the title role in the long-running BBC sci-fi series “Doctor Who.” His screen credits include “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”

“Masterpiece Contemporary” returns on the Public Broadcasting Service in October with “Endgame,” a drama about the final days of apartheid in South Africa starring William Hurt and Jonny Lee Miller. It premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

If someone had asked me to guess what Tennant would do after leaving Doctor Who, I don’t think this would have crossed my mind as even the wildest of remote possibilites. Now, I’m sure we’ll be seeing Tennant doing lots of other things besides introducing new TV dramas, but I gotta wonder: What’s in it for him with this job? If he’s hoping to gain some name recognition in the United States, well, this certainly can’t hurt, but don’t the 12 Anglophiles still watching PBS already know who he is? Okay, I’m exaggerating, but even if it’s a different million or so viewers watching Masterpiece than the million or so who saw Tennant on Doctor Who in the U.S. on the Sci Fi Channel, is this really the best way to build the Tennant brand? Surely actually appearing in one of the dramas Masterpiece will air would be better for that.

It can’t be about money: PBS is hardly known for lavish spending. It can’t be about creative satisfaction: how much of that can there be in this kind of job?

Maybe this is a case for Masterpiece Mystery to solve…



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