“Millions of people around the world 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 andDownton is no exception," Executive Producer Gareth Naeme said in a statement. "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. 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."
"The Downton journey has been amazing for everyone aboard. People ask if we knew what was going to happen when we started to make the first series and the answer is that, of course we had no idea. 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," said creator Julian Fellows. "But I do know how grateful we are to have been allowed this unique experience. I suspect the show will always be a principal marker in most of our careers as we set out from here, and if so, I consider that a blessing and a compliment.”
News of the series' end probably won't surprise any fans who've been following the wild rumor mill that's been in full effect since Season 5 wrapped in America. Back in early March, Dame Maggie Smith herself said she couldn't see staying on the show past Season 6, and a slew of entertainment outlets have been reporting scoops from varying levels of "trusted sources" claiming that Fellowes was planning to wrap the show up with its next outing due to contract issues and a desire to focus on his upcoming NBC project The Gilded Age.
The show has been a runaway hit on both sides of the pond, and has actually screened in over 250 countries.
“PBS and our member stations have been so proud to be the home of Downton Abbey on Mastepiece in the United States," said Paula Kerger, President and CEO of 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."
Downton is one of the highest rated series in the UK, has racked up 51 Emmy nominations - winning 11 of them -over the past five seasons, and is the most watched series in PBS history (25.5 million people saw Season 5 here in the US, per PBS figures).
In a way, it's good to have official confirmation about Downton's future - but this news is, at best, bittersweet. There's something to be said for going out on top though, and building toward a satisfying conclusion for all the characters involved. (Which had better include a big ol wedding for Carson and Mrs. Hughes is all I'm saying, just to put that out there.)
How do you feel about this annoucement, folks? Are you heartbroken over the prospect of Downton saying goodbye? Excited to see the conclusion of these characters' stories? Relieved? Let us know in the comments.