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'Downton Abbey' season 4 to premiere on PBS in January 2014

No UK premiere date yet, but expect the U.S. to again be several months behind

<p>Michelle Dockery and the rest of the &quot;Downton Abbey&quot;&nbsp;gang will be back next&nbsp;January.</p>

Michelle Dockery and the rest of the "Downton Abbey" gang will be back next January.

Credit: PBS

Americans will once again have to wait for their "Downton Abbey," as PBS has announced that the fourth season of the English costume drama will premiere here on Sunday, January 5 of 2014.

In the U.K., ITV hasn't announced a premiere date for the new season, but the show's official website says it'll return in 2013, and the show's previous seasons all aired in the fall, followed by a Christmas special.

Though many American "Downton" viewers have complained about the delays — particularly when they result in being spoiled on major events (like last season's two big character deaths) months ahead of time — ratings for the show remain strong for PBS, so their decision to stick to this air pattern is not a surprise.

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Alan Sepinwall
Sr. Editor, What's Alan Watching
Alan Sepinwall has been reviewing television since the mid-'90s, first for Tony Soprano's hometown paper, The Star-Ledger, and now for HitFix. His new book, "The Revolution Was Televised," about the last 15 years of TV drama, is for sale at Amazon. He can be reached at sepinwall@hitfix.com
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