ITV Renews ‘Downton Abbey’ For Fifth Season

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ITV has renewed their hit period drama series Downton Abbey for a fifth season of 8 episodes and a Christmas Special for 2014.

The fifth season pick up comes as Downton Abbey just wrapped its fourth season on ITV, with a two-hour Christmas special set to air in late December. PBS Masterpiece will again co-produce the new season alongside NBCUniversal’s Carnival Films. The show’s fifth season will be written by Julian Fellowes, with Fellowes, Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge set to executive produce.

The fourth season of the drama series has been averaging an audience of 11.8 million viewers for ITV, which the channel notes, makes it the highest rated drama on UK television for 2013. The series has also proved to be a global success with Downton Abbey having been sold into more than 220 territories and the season 3 finale pulling in 24 million viewers when it aired on PBS in the United States, beating all competition on both cable and broadcast television.

“We are enormously happy to have Downton Abbey on ITV and we are delighted to be announcing this new series”, said ITV’s Director of Drama Commissioning Steve November, who ordered the show’s fifth season. “With Julian writing and Gareth and Liz 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.”

While Gareth Neame, Executive Producer and Managing Director of Carnival Films, added: “Audiences have enjoyed their regular Sunday evening visits back to Downton once again this autumn and 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”.