UK network ITV has commissioned a fifth season of hit period drama Downton Abbey from producer Carnival Films, which also has been picked up by PBS in the U.S. Production on a new set of trials and tribulations for the Crawley family and below stairs staff will begin in 2014 for later air on ITV and PBS’ Masterpiece. Masterpiece is a co-producer with Carnival Films. Season 5 will again be written by Julian Fellowes and exec produced by Carnival chief Gareth Neame, as well as Liz Trubridge and Fellowes. The news comes just as the final episode of the regular fourth season of Downton concluded in the UK tonight (there’s still the Christmas episode to come). Season 4 debuted on ITV this year on September 22nd, and grabbed its best-ever premiere ratings. It went on to average 11.8M viewers making it Britain’s highest-rated TV drama in 2013. The U.S. will see Season 4 starting on Masterpiece on January 5th. Coming off of the demise of Dan Stevens’ Matthew Crawley at the end of Season 3, Season 4 is set in the Roaring Twenties and adds a bevy of guest stars and new regulars. There’s no word yet on air dates for Season 5, but if the show sticks to tradition, it will go first in the UK next fall, followed by Masterpiece in January 2015. Neame promised “all the usual highs and lows, romance, drama and comedy” for Season 5. PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger said, “Like millions of other Downton fans, I can’t wait to see what’s next for the Crawley family.”
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