Whether or not you yourself have gotten into the award-winning cultural phenomenon of 'Downton Abbey,' you've likely heard someone raving about all the scandalous, uptight period drama.  Provided the gossip hasn't been enough to get you into the series, what might new viewers do if the show's most famed attraction opts to be written out?

Where earlier today, reports surfaced from UK magazine The Daily Mail that esteemed actress Dame Maggie Smith had asked to be written off of 'Downton Abbey' following the upcoming third season, it seems now that production house Carnival Films is eager to bury the news.  The initial report suggested that an inside source claims Smith, who plays the Dowager Countess, "has asked Julian [Fellowes, head writer] to write her character out.  She is filming until August and then wants to leave, going out on a high. She thinks that three series is enough.”

But is the report accurate?  Today Jessica Morris, a press representative for Carnival Films, said that the Daily Mail report was “complete nonsense,” adding that “We never comment on future story lines but it’s not true that she’s leaving.”  Ellen Dockser, a press representative for Masterpiece was similarly tight-lipped about any future storylines, and even Smith's own representation declined to comment on any rumors of the famed actress' departure.

In any case, losing the actress would be a strong blow to the admittedly-established series, given Smith's notoriety for her Oscar for 1969 movie 'The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie' and a supporting actress Oscar for Neil Simon’s 1978 'California Suite.'   Plus, she was totally in 'Harry Potter,' in case you missed that.

What say you?  Are the rumors of the 77 year-old Smith's departure unfounded, or is 'Downton Abbey' better off with the actress moving on?  Can the series handle as much exterior scandal as within the show itself?  Sound off in the comments below!