After weeks of speculation and rumors, Carnival Films and MASTERPIECE on PBS have finally confirmed that Season 6 will be the final season of the hit drama series “Downton Abbey.” Carnival’s Managing Director and Executive Producer of “Downton Abbey,” Gareth Neame said, “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 and ‘Downton’ is no exception. 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 show began back in 2011 and since then it has become the top PBS drama of all time, the most popular series in MASTERPIECE’s 44-year history, and one of the most-watched dramas on American television. The series often beat the competition in its Sunday night time slot.

“PBS and our member stations have been so proud to be the home of ‘Downton Abbey’ on MASTERPIECE in the United States,” said Paula Kerger, President and CEO, 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. The series has enjoyed such success over the past five seasons and we’ll certainly be working alongside Carnival, MASTERPIECE and PBS member stations to make Season 6 the biggest yet. Until then, Sunday nights on PBS continue to offer fans a full slate of ‘must view’ British and, soon, American historical drama.”

The show already has 51 Emmy nominations, more than any other British show in Emmy history, and has won 11 Emmys in total. The series has also won three Golden Globes, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Producers Guild Award, and three BAFTAs.

“‘Downton Abbey’ has been a television executive’s dream come true: a beautifully-made, returning series that captures a nation’s attention and becomes a household name. It’s been a game-changer for MASTERPIECE,” said MASTERPIECE Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton. “We are indebted to our UK partners for making a show which will go down in television history, not just for its impeccable writing, acting and production values, but most importantly, for its enormously warm-hearted audience appeal.”

Julian Fellowes, writer and creator of “Downton Abbey,” said, “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. 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.”