DOWNTON ABBEY: Shirley MacLaine Joining The Cast! Get Ready Maggie Smith!

Best TV news of the day: Shirley MacLaine is joining Downton Abbey! And she’s taking on Maggie Smith!

MacLaine will join the British TV series, airing on PBS, next month when it begins filming. She’ll play Martha Levinson, mother of American-born Lady Grantham.

In a news release issued by the show’s U.K. production broadcaster, an exec said, “It is so exciting to have an actress of Shirley MacLaine’s stature joining our brilliant Downton Abbey cast for series three and a tribute to the show’s success on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Another exec also dropped hints about her character: “Martha Levinson..will be a wonderful combatant for Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess and we are excited at the prospect of Shirley MacLaine playing her.”

Bring it on!