PBS series kicks off on Jan. 4

Laura Linney has been tapped to host the 2009 season of the “Masterpiece Classic” telepic series on PBS.

Linney succeeds Gillian Anderson as host of the series, which bowed last year when the “Masterpiece Theater” franchise was broken up into three distinct series: “Masterpiece Classic,” “Masterpiece Contemporary” and “Masterpiece Mystery!”

Next year’s lineup of “Masterpiece Classic” costume dramas includes an adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s “Tess of the d’Urbervilles,” “Wuthering Heights” and “The Incomplete Charles Dickens.”

“Masterpiece Classic” will run January to May, kicking off Jan. 4 with “Tess of the d’Urbervilles.”

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