Downton Abbey: US viewers have at least two more seasons to come

Downton Abbey: PBS announces that Downton Abbey, the popular drama about the wealthy Crawley family, will return for a 5th season. The 4th season is currently airing on in Britain and will come to PBS January 5.

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    'Downton Abbey' stars Hugh Bonneville (l.) as Lord Robert Grantham and Jim Carter as butler Charles Carson (r.).
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    A new survey of 166,000 Britons found that instead of the three traditional classes – upper, middle, and working – that are prominent in shows like 'Downton Abbey,' shown at left, now there are seven distinct strata.
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    'Downton Abbey' stars Maggie Smith.
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    'Downton Abbey' will feature a guest turn by actor Paul Giamatti.
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Fans of "Downton Abbey," rejoice! There will be another season yet of period romance and upstairs-downstairs drama at the country estate.

"Masterpiece" executive producer Rebecca Eaton says Downton fans in the US and Britain can "rest easy knowing that a fifth season is on the way." The fourth season is already airing overseas, and will return to PBS in January.

The British channel ITV announced Sunday that it has commissioned a fifth season of the popular television show, a costume drama about a British aristocratic family and their servants in the 1910s and 1920s. As before, the new series will be written by Julian FellowesMichelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, and Jim Carter are among its stars.

Recommended: Tea with the Dowager: Recipes for Downton Abbey fans

ITV said the fourth season's holiday special, which will air in Britain on Christmas Day, will feature Paul Giamatti, who joins the cast as Cora's playboy brother, Harold, and Shirley MacLaine, who will reprise her role as Cora's mother Martha Levinson.

The show, which debuted in 2010, has won millions of fans in Britain, the US and beyond. 

Earlier this year, more than 24 million viewers watched the third season of the series in the US, making it the most-watched drama in PBS history.

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