Downton Abbey is among the most-talked-about and acclaimed dramas on television, and in addition to its Emmy and Golden Globe recognition, the British produced series has seen its stateside fanbase expand considerably from season to season, thanks to its airings as part of PBS's Masterpiece Classic anthology. Today, it was announced the the series will be returning for season 5, set to premiere in 2014.
Here's what executive producer Gareth Neame had to say about the Downton Abbey season 5:
"Audiences have enjoyed their regular Sunday evening visits back to Downton once again this autumn and we are thrilled to produce a new series of the show next year. We promise all the usual highs and lows, romance, drama and comedy played out by some of the most iconic characters on television. All the actors and makers of the show continue to be humbled by the extraordinary audience response and want to take the show from strength to strength next year."
Written and created by Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park), the series has established itself an international smash capable of attracting proven talent in both the UK and the U.S. alike, with Oscar nominated American actor Paul Giamatti joining the cast in season 4. Furthermore, Fellowes has deservedly seen his career flourish in the wake of Downton Abbey's success. He's currently developing a period drama for NBC entitled The Gilded Age, set in 1880s New York.
It's little surprise then that PBS is anxious to keep Downton Abbey alive. After all, the series has brought them record-high ratings and, as a result, a higher profile than public television has had in many years. Perhaps in a few seasons, Downton Abbey will be past its creative prime, but as it stands, this appears to be a win-win scenario for everyone involved.
Are you excited that Downton Abbey will continue (at least) through season 5? Sound off in the comments section below with your thoughts and hopes for the show's future.
Downton Abbey season 4 will premiere in the U.S. on Sunday, January 5 on PBS.