It's Official: Downton Abbey renewed for 4th series!

As the United States braces for the Downton Abbey arrival of Shirley MacLaine in the premiere of series 3 (January 6, 2013 on PBS’ aptly named Masterpiece), word from the UK on Friday was that Christmas was to come early to all around the planet. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!

ITV has given us all reason to be thankful this holiday season by announcing that there will be a series 4 of Downton Abbey. Gareth Neame, executive producer of the series, promises there will be “…more drama, comedy, love, hatred, jealousy, rivalry, ambition, despair and romance” in the fourth season. Sounds like creator/writer, Julian Fellowes, is just starting to get revved up for another can’t miss season with the Crawleys. With this years Christmas special plot line just announced yesterday, I’m guessing the only plot line for series 4, at this point, is in Julian Fellowes’ mind palace. Could the Dowager Countess finally learn what a weekend is by this time? Hey, it could happen.

The fourth series will be comprised of eight episodes, in addition to another stellar Christmas special. Filming will begin in February 2013 with the series, again, targeting a fall premiere in the UK on ITV. No word yet as to PBS’ plans for a scheduled broadcast date and time, but here’s hoping that there’s a way to close the interminably lengthy gap between the UK premiere and the US premiere.

Given that this year’s Call the Midwife Christmas Special will be seen on Christmas Day on the BBC and then turned right around and broadcast on Sunday, December 30 on PBS, there’s a good chance of this happening with Downton’s 4th series in the Fall of 2013. Who knows, maybe Christmas will come early again in 2013.

Downton Abbey Revisited. Set. DVR. Now. PBS. 8pET/7pCT.

U.S. fans of Downton can settle in tonight for the PBS broadcast of Downton Abbey Revisited knowing that there will be a fourth series of Downton Abbey! Tonight’s program, which airs at 8pET/7pCT on PBS, will serve as not only a look back at series 1 and 2 but will also feature cast interviews, rare behind-the-scenes footage and a sneak peek at what’s in store for the Crawleys as they enter the Roaring Twenties in series 3 which is a mere six weeks away!

In: Drama