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Sherlock Season 3 Premiere Date REVEALED: Episode 1 ‘The Empty Hearse’ To Air On January 19 In US, When In UK? SPOILERS

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“Sherlock” Season 3 finally has an official air date – for the US.

Entertainment Weekly writes that “Sherlock” will return to PBS Masterpiece on January 19 at 10pm and air back-to-back with “Downton Abbey,” which will return on January 5.

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This means that the UK air date will air sometime before January 19. It’s the first time the US air date has been announced before the UK air date. The BBC has “first window” rights to air the show, so it will certainly begin airing before January 19.

Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton says that this is the best season of “Sherlock” yet.

“They’re fantastic,” she said of the new episodes. “They are jaw dropping. They are like small movies. Benedict and Martin are so in their Sherlock-Watson groove. They are so comfortable with that relationship it’s like being in the room with them."

“This is about as quickly as we could have possibly got them on the air once they were made,” Eaton said, explaining that Cumberbatch’s and Freeman’s rocketing careers – both are in “The Hobbit” films and Cumberbatch stars in “Star Trek,” “The Fifth Estate” and other movies – delayed production.

“The first holdup was the boys, of course, and getting all of them together — not just Benedict and Martin but also [creators] Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss,” Eaton said. “They had to break up the production to accommodate all the movies they wanted to make.”

“Sherlock” executive producer Sue Vertue said in a statement, “We are hugely excited about this next series of Sherlock, and have worked closely with our partners, Masterpiece and PBS, to bring these episodes to U.S. audiences in January. We promise our fans that Season 3 is worth waiting for."

PBS chief programmer Beth Hoppe said in a statement, “We love that Sherlock fans are so passionate and eager to see Season 3. The pairing of Downton Abbey and Sherlock in January offers a blockbuster night of British drama only on PBS stations.”

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Reporter's Photo Oct 23, 2013 05:10 PM EDT

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