A tempest in a “Downton” teapot?

Britain’s Daily Mail reports that producers of the ITV drama — and current Masterpiece smash hit — Downton Abbey “are less than happy after an American TV network launched a collection of somewhat tasteless themed jewelry.” PBS had featured several items similar to what Downton characters wear on its ShopPBS website.

Supposedly, producers Carnival Films “were forced to call in lawyers” in an attempt to stop PBS “from naming jewelry after the show’s most famous character, Lady Mary Crawley.” Carnival, “which has approved an official range of Downton DVDs and books, was horrified to find that PBS, its broadcast partner, was cashing in on the show’s popularity,” the paper wrote.

“The ‘Lady Mary knotted pearl necklace and earring set,’ available for £102 ($159.99), was doing a roaring trade until Downton producers complained,” it noted. The Daily Mail also showed a screen grab of the ShopPBS page with the jewelry.

PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler tackled the topic in a column today (Jan. 24). PBS told him in a statement: “ShopPBS obtained jewelry from a number of third-party vendors and placed them within a collection of products dedicated to Downton Abbey. An email from the business affairs office of NBC/Carnival was received requesting that we remove these items. PBS complied immediately and the products are no longer being offered.”

UPDATE:  “There is no dispute,” a Carnival Films rep tells Today.com, the online home of NBC’s Today show, adding that the request to remove the jewelry from the PBS shopping site “was part of an ongoing conversation with PBS. It isn’t a big issue. We didn’t want viewers to think this was the jewelry that the characters wore.”

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