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'Sherlock' and Benedict Cumberbatch to Return in January

The drama's third season will be paired with 'Downton Abbey'

Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes on 'Sherlock.'
Robert Viglasky
October 23, 2013 4:45 PM ET

Benedict Cumberbatch is the coolest Sherlock Holmes since Peter Cushing, and the Cumberbitches (yes, that's a real thing) have not-so-quietly been craving a new season since "The Reichenbach Fall" premiered last January. Now, according to reports widely circulated today, they finally have satisfaction: PBS has scheduled new seasons of Sherlock and Downton Abbey to air on Sunday nights beginning January 19th.

"To be able to have two things at the same time that are both incredibly buzzy is exciting for us," PBS programming chief Beth Hoppe told The Hollywood Reporter. "The Sherlock audience is a crazy loyal audience," Hoppe added. "We certainly expect that loyal viewership back. If it grows from there, it will be gravy."

See the 10 New TV Shows That Might Survive Past Christmas

Cumberbatch, whose TV credits include To the End's of the Earth and Parade's End, has been focusing on movies lately, with recent credits including Star Trek Into Darkness, The Fifth Estate and 12 Years a Slave. Earlier this year, he got philiosophical about Trek during his Rolling Stone interview, saying Into Darkness is "about the nature of existence, what it means to belong and what future democracy could be." While critics lauded his turn as the villanous John Harrison — the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch plays him in a tour de force to reckon with, wrote Peter Travers— oscarologists were unimpressed by The Fifth Estate, dismissing it as a clunky, confusing, hagiography.

In other Cumberbatch news, Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro told Indiewire that he wants the Englishman for a new version of Frankenstein. Cumberbatch played both Dr. Victor Frankenstein and his creation in stage adaptations; Del Toro was test shooting with Hellboy's Doug Jones as the monster in 2009. And like many top talents, including Daniel Day-Lewis, Ryan Gosling and Michael B. Jordan, his name is circling around J. J. Abrams' new Star Wars film.

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