- - Monday, September 10, 2012

PBS’ “Masterpiece” drama showcase is getting a fashionable new supporter.

The public TV program said Monday that the Ralph Lauren Corp. will become a national sponsor, marking the company’s first TV sponsorship.

“Masterpiece” executive producer Rebecca Eaton called Mr. Lauren’s support a tribute to the program, home of the hit British period drama “Downton Abbey.”

During last February’s New York Fashion Week, Mr. Lauren presented his fall 2012 collection to music from “Downton Abbey,” telling the Associated Press that he’s “always loved the heritage and romance of England.”

Mr. Lauren’s first on-air display of sponsorship begins Sept. 30 with the series “Upstairs Downstairs,” which the company called another source of fashion inspiration.

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Mr. Lauren joins current “Masterpiece” corporate funder Viking River Cruises. Viewer donations and the Masterpiece Trust also help fund the program.

‘Saturday Night Live’ adds three cast members

“Saturday Night Live” is launching a youth movement.

The NBC stalwart announced Monday it will add three featured players to its cast for its 38th season, all of whom have experience with the longtime comedy feeding ground, Second City.

Deals for Aidy Bryant and Tim Robinson, rumored late last week, were made official, while sketch veteran Cecily Strong will also join the cast.

Miss Bryant is a Second City E.T.C. Stage alum, and performed at Chicago’s Annoyance Theater. Mr. Robinson, who also has a role in Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s CBS’ midseason comedy, “Friend Me,” performed with Second City’s Mainstage and National Touring Company. Miss Strong also worked with the Touring Company, and trained at iO Chicago, where Miss Bryant received her training.

“SNL” is facing a bit of a reboot, as longtime favorite stars Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg left the show after last season. It recently was announced that Abby Elliott is exiting the show, as well. Miss Wiig and Mr. Samberg have moved to film full time, while Miss Elliott has an arc on “How I Met Your Mother.”

“SNL” premieres Saturday with Seth MacFarlane as host and Frank Ocean as musical guest. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Daniel Craig will serve as the season’s next two hosts.

Probst’s new talk show tries to break the mold

As Jeff Probst planned his new talk show, he test-drove variations of the typical daytime program — an hour on the couch talking about social issues.

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