Michelle Dockery Joanne Froggatt

Ahead of season-four premiere, season-five renewal announced

Two months from its season-four premiere in the U.S., “Downton Abbey” earned a renewal for a fifth season on PBS’ “Masterpiece,” the pubcaster announced.

“Like millions of other ‘Downton’ fans, I can’t wait to see what’s next for the Crawley family,” said Paula Kerger, President and CEO of PBS. “We’re proud to be the home of this
extraordinarily entertaining series, and, along with our stations, we look forward to sharing season five with U.S. audiences.”

The most-watched drama in PBS history, “Downton” just completed its fourth season in the U.K. and averaged 11.8 million viewers there to become Britain’s highest-rated TV drama of the year.

“We are thrilled to produce a new series of the show next year,” said Gareth Neame, exec producer of “Downton” and managing director of Carnival Films. “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.”

“Downton” averaged 11.5  million viewers (L+7) for its third season on PBS, with 12.3 million tuning in for the season finale. Season four will run from Jan. 5 through Feb. 23 in 2014.

“As American audiences ready themselves for the Jan. 5 premiere of season four, our devoted Downton fans will rest easy knowing that a fifth season is on the way,” said “Masterpiece” exec producer Rebecca Eaton.

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