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Downton Abbey’s Final Season Promises Surprises

| December 1, 2015

Series Is Most-Watched Drama In PBS History

Fans of Downton Abbey know all too well: Season 6 will be the final one of the hit drama series, which is co-produced by Carnival Films and MASTERPIECE and is shown in the Houston area on Houston Public Media TV8.

Millions of people worldwide have followed the journey of the Crawley family and those who serve them for the last five years. “Inevitably there comes a time when all shows should end and Downton is no exception. We wanted to close the doors of Downton Abbey when it felt right and natural for the storylines to come together and when the show was still being enjoyed so much by its fans,” said Gareth Neame, Carnival’s managing director and executive producer of Downton Abbey. “We can promise a final season full of all the usual drama and intrigue, but with the added excitement of discovering how and where they all end up.”

A runaway hit since it debuted on PBS in 2011, Downton Abbey is widely credited with reigniting American viewers’ passion for British drama. It is the top PBS drama of all time, the most popular series in MASTERPIECE’s 44-year history, and one of the most-watched dramas on American television, frequently beating the competition in its Sunday night time slot.

“PBS and our member stations have been so proud to be the home of Downton Abbey on MASTERPIECE in the United States,” said Paula Kerger, president and CEO, PBS. “We, like the fans, simply cannot wait to see what will happen to the Crawley family and their beloved staff as this incredible series culminates in Season 6.”

With 51 Emmy nominations — more than any other British show in Emmy history — Downton Abbey is one of the most honored series on television. It has won 11 Emmys, three Golden Globes, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Producers Guild Award, and three BAFTAs.

“Downton Abbey has been a television executive’s dream come true: a beautifully-made, returning series that captures a nation’s attention and becomes a household name,” said Rebecca Eaton, MASTERPIECE executive producer. “We are indebted to our UK partners for making a show which will go down in television history, not just for its impeccable writing, acting and production values, but most importantly, for its enormously warm-hearted audience appeal.”

Season 5, which concluded on March 1, was seen by 25.5 million people, with a weekly average audience of 12.9 million viewers over its nine-week run, an audience nearly even with that for Season 4 (13.3 million). Season 5 had impressive online streaming numbers as well, with over 12.6 million streams of full episodes across all PBS and station digital platforms, 13 percent more streams compared to Season 4.

Downton Abbey was also a huge presence on social media, setting records for tweets of a PBS show, with Season 5 generating more than 190,000 total tweets and more than 24 million impressions. During Season 5’s nine-week run, it placed in Nielsen Social’s Daily Top 5 for series and specials seven times.  (Sources: Nielsen and Google Analytics.)

Downton Abbey has become an indelible part of the popular culture, parodied by Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert, and on Sesame Street and Saturday Night Live. It has been the topic of countless discussions on Twitter and Facebook, and has garnered as much publicity as any series on television, with the acclaimed cast gracing the covers of Entertainment Weekly and TV Guide and appearing on TODAY, Good Morning America, The View and other popular TV shows.

Julian Fellowes, writer and creator of Downton Abbey, said, “The Downton journey has been amazing for everyone aboard. Exactly why the series had such an impact and reached so many people around the world, all nationalities, all ages, all types, I cannot begin to explain. But I do know how grateful we are to have been allowed this unique experience.”

Downton Abbey is a Carnival Films/ MASTERPIECE co-production written and created by Julian Fellowes. Executive producers are Gareth Neame, Julian Fellowes, Liz Trubridge and Nigel Marchant. Chris Croucher is the producer. Executive producer for MASTERPIECE is Rebecca Eaton. MASTERPIECE is presented on PBS by WGBH Boston.

Each episode on Public Media TV8 is followed by Manor of Speaking hosted by Ernie Manouse and his trusty manservant Mr. Rodgers, who lead a studio audience and a rotating cast of celebrated super fans and cultural experts through all things Downton Abbey.

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