American audiences are still months away from getting to see the second season of the Emmy-winning drama "Downton Abbey," but fans can already start looking forward to a third season as well.
 
Britain's ITV announced on Thursday (Nov. 3) that it has commissioned a third "series" of "Downton Abbey," with eight new episodes [stop reading if you don't want to be spoiled on the timeframe] set in 1920-1921.
 
The renewal announcement came just days after the second season's penultimate "Downton Abbey" episode drew 10 million viewers to ITV1.
 
PBS will begin airing the second "Downton Abbey" season on American TV -- for viewers who haven't already watched episodes through a variety of illegal options -- on January 8, 2012. Note, of course, that PBS has yet to commit to airing the third "Downton Abbey" series, though it would seem to be a foregone conclusion.
 
The first "Downton Abbey" season was somewhat inexplicably treated as a Movie/Miniseries by Emmy voters and pulled off a string of upsets over HBO's prohibitively favored "Mildred Pierce," winning for Julian Fellowes' script, Brian Percival's direction and landing the big prize as Outstanding Miniseries or Made for Television Movie.