Season 4 hasn’t even premiered yet in the United States, but that’s not stopping PBS from looking ahead to 2015. The network has renewed Downton Abbey for season 5.

It was not revealed how many episodes will be produced, but there will most likely be nine (including the Christmas special) if the past three seasons are any indication.

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“As American audiences ready themselves for the January 5th premiere of Season 4, our devoted Downton fans will rest easy knowing that a fifth season is on the way,” Masterpiece Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton said in a press release.

Downton Abbey Executive Producer Gareth Neame 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.”

And the President and CEO of PBS, Paula Kerger “can’t wait to see what’s next for the Crawley family. PBS is proud to be the home of this extraordinary entertaining series and, along with our stations, we look forward to sharing Season 5 with US audiences.”

Downton Abbey originally airs on ITV in the UK. The upcoming fourth season has already aired there (with an average of 11.8 million viewers), having just wrapped up on November 10, with the Christmas special still scheduled to air on December 25. It has the distinction of being Britain’s highest-rated drama of this year.

The upstairs-downstairs period drama that follows the lives of the Crawley family and their servants stars, among many others, Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael and Maggie Smith.

Downton Abbey season 4 premieres Sunday, January 5 at 9pm on PBS, and concludes on February 23.

(Image courtesy of PBS)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.