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'Downton Abbey' looks to bounce back from season 4 (Updated)

Downton Abbey had a disappointing fourth season. While its 12 Emmy nominations—including one for Outstanding Drama Series and one for Michelle Dockery for Outstanding Lead Actress—suggest otherwise, many complained of lackluster storylines that fell flat compared to previous seasons.

Looking ahead to the show’s fifth season, however, Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith), Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary), Joanne Froggatt (Anna Bates), Allen Leech (Tom Branson), Gareth Neame (executive producer, Downton Abbey), and Rebecca Eaton (executive producer, Masterpiece) spoke at the Television Critics Association, addressing season-four criticism and what fans can look forward to in season five.

Neame spoke to the validity of the show’s criticism, saying that he respects the process, but ultimately couldn’t base the show on someone else’s words. In fact, he felt quite contrary to the critical opinion. READ FULL STORY

'Downton Abbey' casts 3 actors including 'Doctor Who' alum

International sensation Downton Abbey is adding three cast members, including veterans of Doctor Who, Four Weddings and a Funeral and 24.

The period drama has enlisted for its fifth season … READ FULL STORY

'Downton Abbey' star Lesley Nicol to guest on 'Raising Hope' -- EXCLUSIVE

If you’ve always enjoyed Mrs. Patmore’s comedic timing on Downton Abbey, you’ll like this news: Lesley Nicol is set to guest on an upcoming episode of Raising Hope. She’ll play Eleanor, Nana’s (Tippi Hedren) former maid, who comes back after major surgery to fulfill her contract. The episode, #419, will air later this spring.

Raising Hope airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on Fox.

'Downton Abbey' premiere biggest drama ratings in PBS history


The rumblings from the UK fans and U.S. critics had braced us: Downton Abbey season 4 gets off to a slooow start.

But there’s nothing slow about last night’s ratings! Sunday’s two-hour U.S. return of the crunchy-gravel drama on PBS Masterpiece delivered a whopping 10.2 million viewers, up 22 percent from last year’s debut. This marks the highest-rated drama premiere in PBS history.

“As this captivating drama continues, our audiences have been eagerly awaiting this new season to see what’s next for these beloved characters,” said PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger. “I’m so pleased that millions of viewers have returned to Downton Abbey on their local PBS stations for what has become a post-holiday tradition.”

Check out our recap (titled “The Walking Dead”) and here’s what to expect from each character this season (something, we hope). Without giving away any spoilers, let’s just say the show gets more dramatic next week.

'Downton Abbey' preview: What to expect for each character in season 4


Six months have passed since Matthew’s death when Downton Abbey returns tonight for a new season, and while Lady Mary — and much of the house — are still mourning the loss, life must also go on. And for some characters, 1922 and beyond will prove to be tough.

For details, click through our handy guide below where we tease the action you’ll see in season 4.

Robert and Cora
Cousin Rose
Tom Branson

Bates and Anna

'Downton Abbey' stars tease new season on EW Radio: Sneak peek!


Season 4 of Downton Abbey finally begins in the U.S. on Jan. 5, and to celebrate, Entertainment Weekly editor Jess Cagle sat down with stars from the show for a SiriusXM Town Hall chat that will premiere Dec. 24 at 6 p.m. ET on EW Radio (SiriusXM Channel 105). It will be available on demand immediately after it airs and will also replay throughout the week. Below are two sneak peeks with Hugh Bonneville (the Earl of Grantham) discussing how Matthew’s death affects both Mary and the family’s estate, and Laura Carmichael sharing what’s ahead for Lady Edith. READ FULL STORY

'Downton Abbey' teaser for U.K. Christmas special

Those English folks sure know how to torture we Downton Abbey fans!

Though the fourth season of the hit period drama won’t return to Masterpiece on PBS until Jan. 5, the UK’s ITV has already finished airing the latest batch of episodes and is now promoting the annual Christmas special. This trailer, which features the return of Shirley MacLaine as Cora’s mum, was released to help whet appetites for the two-hour holiday extravaganza.

Kind of spoiler-y if you haven’t seen the fourth season — not that anything will stop us from watching it or the new season.  READ FULL STORY

'Downton Abbey' renewed for a fifth season

This comes as no surprise, but it’s now official: Downton Abbey will be back for a fifth season.

Americans have yet to set their eyes on the fourth season of Downton Abbey, which is set to debut on PBS on Jan. 5, but across the pond, the season premiere scored massive numbers — 9.5 million viewers — for its UK network, ITV, back in September.

“We are thrilled to produce a new series of the show next year,” executive producer Gareth Neame said in a release. “We promise all the usual highs and lows, romance, drama and comedy played out by some of the most iconic characters on television. All the actors and makers of the show continue to be humbled by the extraordinary audience response and want to take the show from strength to strength next year.”

The fifth series will once again be written by Julian Fellowes and executive produced by Neame, Liz Trubridge and Fellowes.

For a peek of what’s in store in season 4, check out  the latest trailer here.

New 'Downton Abbey' trailer gives Edith her moment -- VIDEO


As Downton Abbey fans learned last season, what was supposedly a light U.K. drama could get dark — very dark.

But it’s always darkest before the dawn — and in a new teaser trailer for the upcoming fourth season, that appears to be true as the Dowager Countess gives Mary a pep talk about continuing on. “You have a straightforward choice before you,” she declares. “You must choose either death, or life.”

Matthew may be gone, but romance continues in the castle as the new clips show Anna and Bates together, as well as Edith kissing her married editor. With one sister dead and another in mourning, is it finally time for Edith to have her shot at love?*

Watch the new clip below: READ FULL STORY

'Downton Abbey' scores its highest U.K. premiere numbers


And so the temptation to look at online spoilers begins. Downton Abbey‘s fourth season debuted in Britain Sunday night and averaged 9.5 million viewers, according to ITV. That’s a huge 39.7 percent share, The Guardian reports, nearly twice the percentage of American audiences that typically tune in to watch the U.S.’s top program, NBC’s Sunday night NFL game.

The season 4 premiere was up half a million from the 9 million viewers who tuned in for the start of season 2 and season 3. The series premiere averaged 7.7 million in 2010.

Season 4 debuts Jan. 5 in the U.S. on PBS.

'Downton Abbey': Lady Mary calls her son a 'poor orphan'

When Downton Abbey returns, a grieving Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) finds herself uninterested in her son George — or wearing anything that isn’t black — despite Anna’s (Joanna Froggatt) attempts to cheer her mistress up. Watch the short clip below.


Dan Stevens set to voice iconic 'Tomorrow People' character -- EXCLUSIVE

The Tomorrow People‘s artificially intelligent mentor now has a famous voice behind it.

EW has learned exclusively that Downton Abbey alum Dan Stevens will lend his voice to the Greg Berlanti-produced Tomorrow People, voicing biological computer TIM, a character first established in the ’70s British version of the show and originally voiced by Canadian actor Philip Gilbert.

Romance, careers, and moving on at 'Downton Abbey': 10 things we learned about season four

It’s 1922 and all is not well at Downton Abbey. But how could it be? Still reeling from the loss of a few significant characters, season four picks up months after that fateful car wreck to find a house in mourning.

After airing a season four promo and some character specific clips, executive producer Gareth Neame took the stage at TCA alongside Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crawley), Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith Crawley), Phyllis Logan (Mrs. Hughes), Joanne Froggatt (Anna), and Sophie McShera (Daisy) to tease season four and beyond. The notoriously tight-lipped cast didn’t give too much away, but we were able to glean a few key takeaways about what is in store for both the upstairs and downstairs crew in this time of transition.



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