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Downton Abbey Ending After Season 5? Not So Fast Says Executive Producer

Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey Giles Keyte/Carnival Film & Television

Will the doors of Downton Abbey be coming to a close sometime soon? The hit series is currently airing season four in the US and has already been renewed for a fifth season, but is that it for the Crawleys?

Series creator Julian Fellowes told The Wall Street Journal there will be a fifth season of Downton Abbey, but maybe not more after that. "I don't know yet if there is a season six, but it's not going to go on forever. It won't be Perry Mason," he said.

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In 2012, executive producer Gareth Neame told The Hollywood Reporter that an end date would likely come after five or six years.

"We have to balance between continuing to make it for audiences around the world that adore it and making sure that we don't take it too far … which is not now and not next year, but likely five years or six years, not 10 years," he said.

Responding to Fellowes' most recent comment, Neame said ITV, the British home of Downton Abbey, only orders one season at a time.

READ: Viewers react to Downton Abbey's return

"I can confirm that there are no plans to end the show after the fifth series," Neame said in a statement released to E! News. "ITV commission each series on a year-by-year basis. In an interview given to The Wall Street Journal (published December 31, 2013), Julian Fellowes stated that the show would not go on forever (inevitable of course and something both he and I have been on the record for previously). For now ITV have commissioned series five and that is what we are busy preparing."

Downton Abbey went through a bit of a cast shakeup during the third season. Jessica Brown-Findlay and Dan Stevens both decided to depart the series—their characters were killed off. Siobhan Finneran did not reprise her role of O'Brien for the fourth season. The character's exit has created drama for the staff during the current fourth season.

The show returned to American airwaves on Sunday, Jan. 5 to record ratings for PBS. More than 10 million viewers tuned in to rejoin Mary (Michelle Dockery) Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) and the rest of the Crawley family as they adjusted to life in the 1920s.

Downton Abbey airs Sundays, 9 p.m. on PBS.

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