‘Downton Abbey’ Season 6 US Premiere Date Announced

It’s official: The countdown to the end of Downton Abbey is underway.

It’s not like we didn’t know that the show was ending, of course – but it certainly feels more real now that we know, officially, when we can expect to see it.  

During PBS’ session at the annual Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, it was officially announced that Downton Abbey Season 6 will premiere in the US beginning Sunday, January 3 on Masterpiece

The final season will span nine episodes.

It was also announced that Downton will have a celebratory float in the annual Tournament of Roses parade in honor of the show’s final season.

Interestingly, according to Variety, there continue to be rumblings about a potential sequel or prequel Downton spinoff series, but nothing firm seems to be officially in the works as yet. Personally, I’d be very surprised if we didn’t return to the world of Downton at some point in the not too distant future – the show’s such a massive hit all around the world that it seems terribly unlikely that a network won’t be willing to at least take a gamble on a connected property, provided that the appropriate behind-the-scenes folks can be brought aboard.

Executive producer Gareth Naeme, on the subject of a possible spinoff, told Variety: “I can’t guarantee it’s even going to happen. Julian [Fellowes] and I would be very happy to do it if that opportunity comes along. Now that we’re at the beginning of the end of the TV show, we can start to think about it.”

Downton will officially wrap filming later this August, and Season 6 will likely bow in the UK in September on ITV, if tradition is anything to go by in this instance.

In the meantime, just remember: As of this writing, there are 151 days to go until Downton Abbey Season 6. (Double check to see how long we’ve got to go here.) Are you excited?