- - Thursday, March 29, 2012

Even the landed gentry of “Downton Abbey” would be impressed: A philanthropist is giving $1 million to PBS’ “Masterpiece,” U.S. home of the British upstairs-downstairs drama series.

The gift is the largest yet for the Masterpiece Trust, a fundraising initiative started last year, PBS said Wednesday. The donor is Darlene Shiley of San Diego, who previously gave $250,000 to support “Masterpiece,” the Associated Press reports.

The drama showcase scored a hit with the second season of “Downton Abbey,” which drew a total of 17 million viewers to make it the most-watched “Masterpiece” miniseries on record, PBS said.

There’s life away from the ‘Shore’ for Pauly D

Paul “DJ Pauly D” DelVecchio admits he felt a little odd when he got a deal for his own show, “The Pauly D Project,” on MTV.

“I felt a little strange,” he said, adding that his “Jersey Shore” co-stars were happy for him.

“I got a text from everybody when they heard,” the 31-year-old from Providence, R.I., said in a recent Associated Press interview. “They were all happy for me, and so I’m glad that they’re happy.”

Cast mates Jenni “JWoww” Farley and Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi are filming their own spinoff for MTV, but the entire cast will return to the shore this summer for season six of “Jersey Shore.”

Pauly isn’t completely alone on his new show, which airs Thursdays. His longtime friends from home also are featured as cameras follow his busy schedule of DJ’ing, personal appearances and other ventures.

He’s been a DJ since he was 16. His first gig was at a Sweet 16 party, where he says he “killed it” and knew “this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

Still, working as a DJ at clubs in Rhode Island didn’t pay the bills. Pauly said he “lived paycheck to paycheck,” working as a car salesman during the day and a DJ at night.

Now money is one less thing he has to worry about, he said.

50 Cent signed him to his music label, and Britney Spears tapped him to open for a few dates on her Femme Fatale Tour. She even famously pulled him onstage for a lap dance, which Pauly describes as the coolest thing that’s happened to him.

“They’re still rock stars in my eyes. I’ve been playing their music since before they ever knew I existed,” he said.

Couric returns to morning with one-week ‘GMA’ gig

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