'Downton Abbey' to end run after sixth season

'Downton Abbey' to end run after sixth season
A scene from Season 5 on "Downton Abbey." ((Nick Briggs / Carnival Films for Masterpiece/TNS)

The time has come to bid adieu to the Crawley family and their mostly humble servants as "Downton Abbey" prepares to end its run after its upcoming sixth season.

After months of rumors, Carnival Films and Masterpiece on PBS, the co-producers of the show, along with ITV, the show's British network home, confirmed the news Thursday morning.

The drama, about dignified aristocrats and their servants, made its U.S. debut on PBS in 2011 and is largely credited with reigniting American fascination with British culture.

During it's run, it has racked up 51 Emmy nominations and has earned kudos as the top PBS drama of all time, and held its own in the ratings against its Sunday night competition. And it has often drawn heat for its roll-out process -- with British viewers getting first rights in the fall before the show makes its way to the U.S. in winter.

"Millions of people around the world have followed the journey of the Crawley family and those who serve them for the last five years," said Gareth Neame, Carnival's managing director and executive producer of "Downton Abbey." "

He continued: "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 story lines 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 drama wrapped its fifth season -- stateside -- on March 1. Production for the sixth season will get underway later this year.

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