'Downton Abbey' Renewed For Fourth Season By ITV

Todd Rigney

The popular British melodrama Downton Abbey has been renewed for a fourth season by ITV, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The series, which airs on PBS in the United States, will be back for at least one more season. The drama starring Jim Carter, Hugh Bonneville, Brendan Coyle, and Maggie Smith just wrapped up its third season towards the beginning of November.

"We’re thrilled to welcome back a drama series that has become a much anticipated part of all our lives every autumn and achieved success around the globe," explained Laura Mackie, director of drama at ITV.

Gareth Neame, managing director of the NBC-Universal label Carnival Films, was equally as ecstatic about the arrival of the fourth season of Downton Abbey.

"Viewers can look forward to more drama, comedy, love, hatred, jealousy, rivalry, ambition, despair and romance," he explained.

Deadline reports that production on the next season of the incredibly popular costume drama will begin in February. The fourth season will reportedly contain eight new episodes and a two-hour Christmas special.

This year's Downton Abbey Christmas special will air on December 25 on ITV.

Fans of the drama who live in the United States have yet to feast their eyes on the third season. PBS will reportedly bring all seven episodes to the small screen beginning this January. The show turned out to be a surprise hit for network when it debuted in US.

"In the excellence of its writing, acting, and production, Downton Abbey arrives at a perfect time," explained Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton. "Long-form episodic drama is the ideal fit for the way people watch television today. With time-shifting, DVDs, and streaming, viewers have rediscovered the joys of luxuriating in a sweeping story."

Are you excited that Downton Abbey has been renewed for a fourth season? Are you looking forward to the series' return this January?