ITV’s ratings hit Downton Abbey is not going anywhere.
The commercial broadcaster has ordered an eight episode sixth season of the period drama from NBCUniversal’s Carnival Films, TVWise has learned.
Downton Abbey‘s sixth season, which will be co-produced by PBS for their Masterpiece strand, will air on ITV in Autumn 2015 and will be followed by a Christmas Special. Julian Fellowes will return as head writer, while Carnival Films’ MD Gareth Neame and PBS’ Rebecca Eaton will again executive producer.
Across its fifth season, the series has been averaging a consolidated audience of 10.4 million viewers – making it ITV’s highest rated drama. The renewal comes ahead of the fifth season finale, set to air on ITV this Sunday, and the Christmas Special which will go out in December. In addition to being a hit for ITV, the show is also a big seller for international distributor NBCU, who have licensed Downton Abbey in more than 250 territories.
“It is fantastic that Downton continues to be such a phenomenon – still the most popular drama on ITV in its fifth series – and we are thrilled to have commissioned a sixth series”, said ITVs Director of Drama Steve November. “We don’t know yet what Julian has planned, but we are looking forward to working with him, the fantastic cast and Carnival again and have no doubt series six will be unmissable.”
While Executive Producer Gareth Neame added: “We have had an amazing reaction to the story lines, acting and production values of Downton Abbey this year and the whole team is thrilled to be moving ahead with a new season of the show. This will provide audiences with a fresh opportunity to see what will befall our much loved characters.”