'Downton Abbey' Season 4

"Downton Abbey" will return to PBS on Jan. 5 with several new faces to replace those from Season 3 (pictured). (HANDOUT / MCT / January 18, 2013)

Downton Abbey” fans, start polishing the silver and dusting off those morning suits: The dishy costume drama will return to PBS on Jan. 5.

That means devoted viewers will have to wait 235 days to find out how the Crawley family is coping in the wake of dear Cousin Matthew’s death -- that is, assuming they’re able to avoid the rampant online spoilers that are destined to follow the series’ broadcast this fall in the U.K.

 “Masterpiece” executive producers announced the return at the network’s annual meeting Tuesday. The series, written and produced by Julian Fellowes, will run for eight weeks.

Following the departure of cast members Dan Stevens, Jessica Brown Findlay and Siobhan Finneran, the new season will feature a host of new faces, including Gary Carr as the the series’ first black character and Tom Cullen as Lord Gillingham, a potential new suitor for the widowed Lady Mary.

Even though it left many fans  irate (or at least deeply depressed), the Season 3 finale of “Downton Abbey” was a ratings winner, drawing 8.2 million viewers and beating all other shows in prime time when it aired Feb. 17.

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