BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Here's a roundup of news Saturday from the Television Critics Association summer meeting, at which TV networks and streaming services are presenting details on upcoming programs:
'DOWNTON ABBEY,' THE MOVIE?
With "Downton Abbey" coming to an end, its executive producer is offering hope that a follow-up movie is at least a possibility.
By ending the TV drama several years shy of the 1929 stock market crash, producer Gareth Neame said rich territory is left to be mined if a film is made.
There's no script or a firm plan, he said, but a "Downton Abbey" movie could be a "wonderful thing." Afterward, he told The Associated Press that such a project could be made as a big-screen theatrical release but reaffirmed it was speculative at this point.
However, it's time for the series itself to end while it's still popular and acclaimed, Neame said.
Its sixth and final season will begin airing in September in the U.K. and in January on PBS in the United States. Neame said the last season will bring back some faces from the past, but the focus of the final season is to wrap up story lines for the main cast.
The high-toned soap opera about the upstairs and downstairs occupants of a stately English mansion dealing with early 20th-century social change will end production Aug. 15.
Studio scenes remain to be shot, but production at Highclere, the estate that stood in for Downton Abbey, wrapped recently.
"That was a sort of interesting day," Hugh Bonneville, who plays Lord Grantham, said of the final taping at Highclere. The cast and crew marked the occasion by taking a "team photo" in the dining room, where the longest scenes were filmed.
'DOWNTON ABBEY,' THE PARADE FLOAT
Maggie Smith's character on "Downton Abbey" might find the pomp and circumstance uncomfortable, but the PBS show is getting its own float in the Rose Parade, two days before the premiere of its sixth and final season Jan. 3.
"It's just a beautiful send-off to the series and I think it's fun," said PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger.
In an interview with the AP, series star Michelle Dockery said she had never heard of the Rose Parade but joked there would be a lookalike of her riding the float.
Funding for the float will come from PBS' marketing budget, unless a sponsor can be found, a PBS spokeswoman said.
The Rose Parade is held every year on New Year's Day in Pasadena, California.
"Sherlock" fans have grown familiar with the waiting game between TV seasons, but they may be encouraged that show-runner Steven Moffat says he could see it "going on for a long while."
Moffat said he and co-executive producer Mark Gatiss are game to keep going.
"I don't think it will be us that switch it off. I imagine it'll be down to Benedict (Cumberbatch) and Martin (Freeman). Obviously we can't do the show without them, and they've always said they're happy to carry on so long as it's good."
Production on new episodes is expected to begin in the spring of 2016, but Cumberbatch and Freeman filmed a one-off episode set in the Victorian-era that has been rumored to air this Christmas in the U.K.
"We've never said it's a Christmas special," said Moffat's wife and "Sherlock" producer Sue Vertue.
"It's probably Christmas-ish," added Moffat. "We don't actually know. We're not making this up."
They decided to jump back in time for an episode because "We checked the books and discovered we got it wrong," joked Moffat. "We should have read them first. No, just because we can, really."
Viewers should not expect an explanation for the time jump. "We never bothered explaining what they were doing in modern London, so why bother explaining what they're doing in Victorian London, when that's where they're supposed to be?"
Moffat also commented on the British government potentially yanking public funding from the BBC.
"It staggers me that we got a government that got elected and decided the main problem with Britain is our national broadcaster... There must be something more important to do," he said.
TV'S LEAR JET
Veteran TV producer Norman Lear of "All in the Family" fame is looking ahead to his next groundbreaking series.
Lear, 93, is working on a Hispanic version of his single-parent comedy "One Day at a Time."
"I love the idea because I don't see enough of that representation on the air," said Lear, who is the subject of a PBS' "American Masters" documentary planned for 2016.
The original series aired from 1975 to 1984 and starred Bonnie Franklin as the mother of two girls, played by Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips. The reboot would focus on a Latino woman with perhaps a boy and a girl, Lear said, and a grandmother.
He wants to show three generations of Latinas, he said.
Does he have actors in mind? "Yes, but I'm not going to share," Lear replied, his tone as jaunty as his trademark white hat.
Lear, known for his social activism, was asked if he found much to laugh at in today's politics.
"It's so hard," he said. While he's labeled a progressive, a liberal or a lefty, "I think of myself as a bleeding heart conservative" who is intent on seeing the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights protected.
Americans are patriotic, he said, but "I don't need their flag pins to prove it. I would like them to go back to civics lessons."
"Finding Your Roots" will return for season three, but whether the celebrity genealogy series that buried an uncomfortable fact about Ben Affleck's ancestor continues after that remains in doubt, PBS' chief executive said.
PBS conducted a "very thorough investigation" and is working with the show's producers to ensure that its content is accurate, PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger said. The third season has yet to be scheduled.
The public TV service launched a review after it was reported that Affleck requested the program not reveal his ancestor's slave-holding history in a 2014 episode. The AP examined historical documents and found that Affleck's great-great-great-grandfather owned 24 slaves.
Affleck's request came to light last spring in hacked Sony emails published online by whistleblower site WikiLeaks.
PBS' review found that co-producers violated standards by allowing improper influence on the show's editorial process and failed to inform PBS or then-producing station WNET New York of Affleck's efforts to affect the program's content.
Series host and executive producer Henry Louis Gates Jr. has issued an apology, saying he regretted forcing PBS to defend the integrity of its programming.
PBS hasn't been tarnished by what occurred, Kerger said, and it reinforced the importance of applying stringent standards to all its programs.
PBS is taking time to weigh what occurred with "Finding Your Roots" to ensure that there was a clear understanding of what happened and what oversight needed to be added, she said.
"But we want to be fair and not punitive," she said, adding she hopes that the series will continue.