Crawley family saga to continue in Season 5 of Downton Abbey

By Dru Sefton

Masterpiece announced on Sunday that a fifth season of the megahit Downton Abbey is heading into production.

The Edwardian drama just completed its Season 4 run in the United Kingdom, drawing an average of 11.8 million viewers — the highest-rated drama this year in Britain. PBS said more than 24 million viewers saw the third season on PBS, making it the most-watched drama in the network’s history.

Downton is also bolstering PBS’s bottom line: The public television network closed out fiscal 2013 with a $24.5 million surplus, thanks in large part to Downton distribution deals.

Season 4 airs on PBS Sundays Jan. 5 through Feb.23.

“Like millions of other Downton fans, I can’t wait to see what’s next for the Crawley family,” said Paula Kerger, PBS president.

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