A fifth season of "Downton Abbey" has been commisioned. The British hit drama series, which has yet to air its fourth season in the U.S., will return on PBS' Masterpiece Classics in the States and on ITV in the U.K..
"With Julian (Fellowes) writing and Gareth (Neame) and Liz (Trubridge) producing, we know it will be as warm, witty, romantic and dramatic as previous series and we can't wait to catch up with our favourite characters again," said ITV's director of drama commissioning, Steve November, on Sunday, November 10.
Executive producer Gareth Neame added, "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."
"Like millions of other 'Downton' fans, I can't wait to see what's next for the Crawley family," PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger chimed in. "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 fourth season of the period series has concluded in the U.K., raking an average audience of 11.8 million viewers. It will bow in the U.S. on January 5, 2014. A 2-hour Christmas special has also been prepared, with Shirley MacLaine reprising her role as Martha Levinson and Paul Giamatti joining the cast as Cora's playboy brother, Harold.
The fifth season is expected to premiere next fall in the U.K. and January 2015 in the U.S..