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'Downton Abbey': Dan Stevens' fate confirmed

SPOILER ALERT! If you’re a Downton Abbey fan who hasn’t seen season 3, you may want to stop reading now.  READ FULL STORY

'Downton Abbey' season 4 might be here sooner than you think

Good news Downton Abbey fans. Though U.S. viewers have to wait until Jan. 6—that’s more than four months after the U.K. premiere date—to catch the series’ third season, they may get to see season four much sooner than expected. PBS is weighing broadcasting the fourth season, which starts shooting in February, close to the U.K. debut this fall.

“Obviously, spoilers and piracy are two key reasons supporting the case to air Downton closer to the UK broadcast,” MASTERPIECE publicist Olivia Wong told EW in an e-mail. “On the other hand, there are technical hurdles and financial considerations (we’d have to pay more to speed up the cost of post-production).”

Ratings are also a factor in determining Downton‘s return date.

“One big reason to air in January is that it’s an optimal time to schedule a program like Downton — viewership is high and it’s out of the way of the barrage of September premieres. These are on-going scheduling considerations as we look to Season 4,” says Wong.

Now if we could just convince Dan Stevens, who plays Matthew Crawley, to stick around for the season…

Read More:
‘Downton Abbey’ writer Julian Fellowes on the possibility of re-casting Matthew Crawley
Would you watch ‘Downton Abbey’ without Matthew Crawley? POLL
‘Downton Abbey’ renewed for fourth season
‘Downton Abbey’ season 3 UK premiere ratings solid

'Downton Abbey' writer Julian Fellowes on the possibility of re-casting Matthew Crawley

Downton Abbey may have been picked up for a fourth season by British channel ITV, but rumor has it not all the residents will return.

Dan Stevens, who plays the dashing Matthew Crawley, hasn’t yet signed on for the next installment, and the U.K.’s Daily Mail reports he’s planning only appear to in the premiere episode before leaving to pursue other projects.

“Sometimes actors feel they want to move on. Initially, for the first two or three [seasons] you can contract them, but after that, every season, you have to re-contract them,” said writer Julian Fellowes, who was recently named one of EW’s Entertainers of the Year.  “If they don’t want to come back, there’s nothing we can do.”

READ FULL STORY

'Downton Abbey' renewed for fourth season

British broadcaster ITV announced that cross-continental hit Downton Abbey has been renewed for a fourth season.

Season three of the Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning drama hasn’t yet premiered in the United States, but has aired in the UK (and garnered its best ratings yet). PBS will debut season three on Jan. 6. Season four will start shooting in February and will bow in the UK in the fall.  READ FULL STORY

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