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‘Downton Abbey’ Masterminds See Future for Franchise Beyond New Sequel

Julian Fellowes Gareth Neame
AP

When “Downton Abbey: The New Era” arrives in U.S. theaters this week, it will represent just the latest iteration of a franchise more than a decade in operation.

Julian Fellowes, the Emmy-winning writer of the period-drama megahit, and Gareth Neame, executive chairman of Carnival Films, discuss their collaboration on six TV seasons and two films on the latest episode of the Variety podcast “Strictly Business,” including their hopes that there is still more to come for their beloved period drama.

“We can go on with these people as long as the audience wants to go on seeing them and as long as they enjoy them,” said Neame of the “Downton” characters. “And we can, you know, do that in all sorts of different ways. We’ve got to be wise to the future and think of those possibilities and any number of things could happen in the future.”

Listen to the podcast here:

Fellowes and Neame are also optimistic that the “New Era” sequel will help bring adults back to movie theaters, which have proved to be a more challenging venue for movies that aren’t of the superhero or horror genres. Said Neame, “Those of us who love the moviegoing experience, I really hope will pull the stops out and come out and and return to theaters like we used to.”

“Strictly Business” is Variety‘s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of media and entertainment. A new episode debuts each Wednesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and SoundCloud.