Hugh Bonneville Hugh Bonneville

It's awfully early for the summer TCA press tour — which began over the weekend, and continues through next week — to have peaked. It's even more rare for an entity like PBS to steal the bigger, richer, more hype-heavy broadcast networks' thunder.

But it's hard to imagine any single event, or show, generating a more enthusiastic, jubilant vibe during the annual gathering of the Television Critics Association than the opening night party in honor of Downton Abbey, perfectly timed to celebrate the period drama's astounding 16 Emmy nominations. (More than one PBS executive button-holed me to speculate on the show's chances of snagging the Best Drama prize away from Mad Men — and the more I think about it, the better I think its odds are, although I'm torn between these shows and Showtime's Homeland.)

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