Reports of the imminent demise of Downton Abbey are greatly exaggerated, the executive producer of the hit British period drama said after its record-setting return to US public television.
Gareth Neame said "there is no plan to end the show" after production of season five wraps up later this year.
"It won't go on forever. No show does ... (but) the show - first telecast in Britain in 2010 - will live to an age of somewhere between five and 10 years," Neame told AFP by phone from London.
Season four, already seen on Britain's ITV, premiered on Sunday on PBS in the United States where it pulled in a record 10.2 million viewers, compared to 7.9 million at the start of season three.
But in London, weekend news reports suggested the end was nigh for the Emmy-winning post-Edwardian saga after creator Julian Fellowes told the Wall Street Journal that "I don't know yet if there is a season six."
That's because ITV and PBS, the two lead broadcasters of the series that is seen in 250 markets worldwide, have yet to sign on the dotted line for additional seasons.
"We don't know beyond season five because that's the order (from ITV and PBS) that we've got and that's the season that we're making," Neame said.
Preparations for season five are underway, with filming due to start in February.
When the time does come to end Downton Abbey, it will be a creative decision with no question of stringing out the plot just for the sake of doing so, the producer said.