'Downton Abbey' Back on Jan. 4 for Season 5

July 22, 2014 - 8:05 PM

Downton Abbey Portrait Session

Michelle Dockery of the PBS Masterpiece TV series, "Downton Abbey," poses for a portrait during press day at The Beverly Hilton on Tuesday, July 22, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Season five of the period drama debuts this fall in the United Kingdom, and this winter stateside. (Photo by Casey Curry/Invision/AP)

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — "Downton Abbey" will be back for its fifth season on Jan. 4, but the return date for another hit PBS series, "Sherlock," is up in the air, PBS chief executive Paula Kerger said Tuesday.

"We will have to wait to know when it's finished and available," Kerger said of the mystery starring Benedict Cumberbatch. "Whenever it comes, we'll put it in a wonderful place."

PBS is making its shows available for flexible viewing, using both digital platforms and creative scheduling on public TV stations, she said. All episodes of Ken Burns' "The Roosevelts," for instance, will be available for streaming the day after the first episode airs on Sept. 14.

Don't expect the same treatment for stately manor soap opera "Downton Abbey."

"'Downton Abbey' will have some surprises in it. I think you know what's going to happen to the Roosevelts," Kerger said.

Other PBS announcements from Kerger:

— "Walt Disney," a four-hour, two-night film about the life and legacy of the entertainment groundbreaker, will air in fall 2015 as part of the "American Experience" series.

— Kristin Chenoweth will serve as host of PBS' fall arts festival featuring theater and music on Friday nights starting Sept. 29. Productions include "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," ''The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess," Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga performing on "Great Performances," and the special "Kristen Chenoweth: Coming Home."

— Drama series "Call the Midwife" will return for a fourth season on March 29.

— "The Brain with Dr. David Eagleman," described as a "visually spectacular journey" into the human brain, will air as part of the "Think Wednesday" lineup of science and nature programming in 2015.