'Downton Abbey' Season 4 Premiere Date Announced ... Pass the Smelling Salts!

downton abbey pbs press tourExciting news, Downton fans! We have an official date for the premiere of Downton Abbey season 4. For months we've been catching little spoiler crumbs about the new season. We've seen photos, we've scoured actors' interviews for revealing details. And it seems like the show's premiere is just around the corner. I think they may even be finished filming, or nearly finished. I can't wait -- you? All right then, the premiere date is September ...


Oh Goddammit, no. That's when it's premiering in the UK. Here's the US premiere date: Sunday, January 5, 2014. It will run for eight consecutive weeks, and the finale will air February 23, 2014.

WTF, why am I even writing about this show? In Internet time that's like a millennium. I'll have forgotten how to spell "Downton" by January. Wait this long and I'll end up writing something like, "Downtown Abbie, a TV series (or was it a movie?) from the days when I was just a young'un, is making its return. I hope we've all brushed up on our Middle English. What is this show about, again? Something about a doctor traveling through time and space in a phone booth?" I will be traveling via rocket jet shoes by the year 2014, that's all I know.

Well at least the show will run for eight consecutive weeks, unlike the third season. Remember that? We got hit with a mere handful of two-hour episodes that were all over way too quickly. No more doubling up. And I'm assuming that by "consecutive," they mean we won't have to suffer through any Downton Abbey-less weekends. Good thing, because those can really kill your spirits and leave you in a despondent funk for the rest of the week.

You may ask yourself: WHY? Why are they doing this? Don't they know everyone on the other side of the pond is going to go and spoil all the details? Is this revenge for the Revolutionary War, or for copying every successful TV show you've ever had? Tell me!

Actually, we can't blame the British. This is on us or, more specifically, on PBS. Yesterday PBS chief Paula Kerger told exasperated fans, "We look carefully at the [competition] in the fall schedule with that in mind. We look at how we get promotion and buzz about it -- and that word of mouth has actually benefited us. We don't want to mess with that if it's working so well." In other words, making us wait is good for ratings, apparently. Well fine! See if I still care by then.

Oh who am I kidding? She's right. I'll be plastered in front of my TV come January 5 just like all the other fans.

Do you think Downton Abbey should air at the same time in the UK and the US?


Image via pbsofficial/Instagram

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