Is “Downton Abbey” ending after Season 6?
According to a U.K. report, the period drama will come to a close after next season, prompted by creator and showrunner Julian Fellowes’ new TV project, “The Gilded Age,” which he’s set to write and exec produce for NBC’s 2015-16 slate.
Exec producer Gareth Naeme responded to the “endless speculation,” telling Variety, “We plan the show from year to year, and right now I just want the cameras rolling next month.”
Joking, “If I had a dollar for every time, every day this comes up,” Naeme said, “We are entirely focused on Season 6 right now, and getting scripts ready for production in a couple of weeks.”
Questions about the future of “Downton” were first raised earlier this month at the Television Critics Assn. press tour, when NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt announced that “Gilded Age” — which was previously in development for the 2012-13 season — was finally moving forward. Fellowes, who writes all of “Downton’s” episodes himself, had expressed in the past that he could not work on other projects while still working on “Downton.”
“I think he’s at a point now where he’s able to start developing and writing our new show,” Greenblatt said. “Hopefully this show will be coming to life sometime in the next season.”
Asked at TCA if Fellowes’ work on “Gilded Age” was going to affect “Downton,” PBS prez Paula Kerger said it wouldn’t, and that “Downton” would premiere Stateside in January 2016. “We’re planning on Season 6,” she said. “After the holiday when everyone is depressed, and it’s cold and dark…we are happy to bring the Crawley family back to the American public.”
The show’s U.K. broadcaster, ITV, said in a statement, “We wouldn’t comment on speculative stories about our programs.”
The sixth season of “Downton Abbey” is set to start filming in the U.K. this spring. Season 5 is currently airing Sunday nights on PBS.