Comings and goings at 'Downton Abbey' next season

NEW YORK (AP) - Shirley MacLaine will be returning to "Downton Abbey" next season, and opera star Kiri Te Kanawa will be joining the cast.

Carnival Films and "Masterpiece" on PBS say MacLaine will be reprising her role as Martha Levinson, Lord Robert Crawley's freewheeling American mother-in-law.

The world-renowned soprano will sing.

Meanwhile, the producers are confirming that villainous housemaid Sarah O'Brien won't be back. Siobhan Finneran, who played her, is leaving the series.

These announcements on Saturday follow the third season's recent airing in the United States. It concluded last month with the death of popular character Matthew Crawley, thanks to departing cast member Dan Stevens.

Lady Sybil Branson also died. She was played by the exiting Jessica Brown Findlay.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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