British media report that it’s an ‘open secret’ that ‘Downton Abbey’ will end next season

Season 6 could be the last for “Downton Abbey.”
Season 6 could be the last for “Downton Abbey.” TNS

This is not a headline we like: “Downton Abbey WILL end this year as cast look for job offers in America.”

But that’s the premise of an “exclusive” reported Wednesday by the London tabloid, The Daily Mirror.

“It’s an open secret that Downton is ending this year,” said one anonymous source.

If that’s true, next season, Season 6, would be the show’s last. The “final” season is expected to start filming in the spring and wrap up over the summer before starting its run on British TV in September.

While the news might disappoint, it should be no surprise to ardent “Downton” fans because the show’s creator and writer, Julian Fellowes, had already hinted that Season 6 would be the last.

He’s eager to get started on his next project, a new drama for NBC about 19th-century New York called “The Gilded Age.”

Rumors of the the show’s demise picked up steam last fall when sources with NBC Universal started dropping hints.

Sources now tell the Mirror that agents for some of the show’s stars – including Joanne Froggatt (Anna Bates), Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith) and Allen Leech (Tom Branson) – were busy looking for TV and movie work for their clients while they were in Los Angeles last week for the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

“Some of the actors are keen to let it be known they will be available for work after the summer,” said one source. “Some are interested in the U.S., where ‘Downton’ is as popular as it is in the U.K.”

“Downton Abbey” won a SAG for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama series.

We’re going to miss it.