'Downton Abbey' Will Return for a Fifth Season

British drama renewed as fourth season heads toward U.S. premiere

'Downton Abbey'
Nick Briggs/ITV for MASTERPIECE
'Downton Abbey'
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Downtown Abbey fans have had a rough year, but the future is looking bright. The show's UK network ITV announced today that it has commissioned a fifth season for the show, the New York Times reports.

The news arrives as the show's American audience is getting a few early hints of the fourth season, which recently finished its run in Britain and is set to air on PBS in January 2014. According to the Times, the most recent season drew an average of 11.8 million viewers in Britain to become the year's highest rated television drama, while 8.2 million viewers watched the third season finale in the United States.

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"We promise all the usual highs and lows, romance, drama and comedy," executive producer Gareth Neame said in a statement regarding the fifth season.

There was even a little good news this weekend for bereft fans of cousin Matthew Crawley. According to Variety, actor Dan Stevens has signed on to play Lancelot in the upcoming Night at the Museum 3.