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'Downton Abbey' final season; 'Finding Your Roots' returns

Ben Affleck was the subject of a controversial

Ben Affleck was the subject of a controversial “Finding Your Roots” edition last season, which lead to PBS suspending the series. Credit: AP / Jordan Strauss

"Downton Abbey" -- as much as I sincerely regret to inform you — will be coming to an end, and sooner than anyone would like. Also: “Finding Your Roots” is returning.

PBS has announced “Downton's” final season dates and they are: Jan. 3 through Feb. 21, with the series finale on March 6. Aired as usual Sundays, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, “Finding Your Roots' -- the Henry Louis Gates Jr. series that was shelved by PBS after reports that Ben Affleck had prevailed upon Gates to withhold information about a Civil War-era slaveholding ancestor — will also return in January. PBS had held it up pending an internal review and assurances from Gates that he would maintain editorial independence from subjects. 

Per PBS: 

“The third season continues its exploration of America’s family tree to reveal how our diverse racial, religious and ethnic backgrounds challenge many of our long-held national myths. Hosted and written by Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., this new season features 28 new guests, including Julianne Moore, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Senator John McCain, Norman Lear, Shonda Rhimes and others.”

The series comes back on Jan. 5. 

Here's the brief line from PBS's mournful farewell note on “Downton:"

"The year is 1925. Momentous changes threaten the great house, and its owners and its servants, while past scandals loom. The beloved ensemble is back for the farewell season, closing the book on a television legend."


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