LONDON — Gareth Neame, exec producer of “Downton Abbey,” has sought to dampen speculation that the show will end after season five. Season four bowed Stateside on Sunday to a record average audience of 10.2 million.
Neame, who is managing director of the show’s production company Carnival Films, which is owned by NBC Universal, issued a statement Tuesday that the end is not in sight.
This follows mounting speculation about the demise of the show sparked by its creator Julian Fellowes, who told The Wall Street Journal recently: “I don’t know yet if there is a season six, but it’s not going to go on forever. It won’t be ‘Perry Mason.’ “
Fellowes has been commissioned to write American drama “The Gilded Age,” and said that it would be impossible for him to work on both. “It’s for NBC Universal and it will happen when ‘Downton’ finishes because I just couldn’t do both at once,” he said.
Neame said that “Downton’s” U.K. network, ITV, only greenlights one season — or “series” in U.K. biz parlance — at a time.
“I can confirm that there are no plans to end the show after the fifth series. ITV commission each series on a year-by-year basis,” Neame said.
“In an interview given to The Wall Street Journal, Julian Fellowes stated that the show would not go on forever (inevitable of course and something both he and I have been on the record for previously).
“For now ITV have commissioned series five and that is what we are busy preparing.”