Downton Abbeywill return to PBS on Sunday, Jan. 5, the network announced Tuesday. The period drama will run for eight straight weeks, with Season 4 concluding on Feb. 23.
"Masterpiece fans will not be disappointed: Julian [Fellowes] has done another brilliant job, this time, portraying the Downton family moving on from the tragedies of last season," Masterpiece Classic executive producer Rebecca Eaton told The Daily Beast.
Check out the new fall shows
The tragedies Eaton referenced include the deaths of both Downton's heir Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens
) and the family's youngest daughter Sybil (Jessica Brown-Findlay
). Siobhan Finneran
, who played the scheming maid O'Brien, will also not return for Season 4.The series is making up for these losses by adding a slew of new cast members, including Tom Cullen as a new love interest for Mary (Michelle Dockery
); Dame Harriet Walter
as Lady Shackleton, an old friend of the Dowager Countess; Nigel Harman
as a visiting valet Green; Julian Ovenden
as aristocrat Charles Blake; Joanna David
as the Duchess of Yeovil; and Gary Carr
as Downton's first black character
, a young jazz singer. Shirley MacLaine
will also reprise her role as Martha Levinson, Lady Crawley's fiercely American mother.Are you excited for more Downton