“We are really pleased,” executive producer Gareth Neame tells PEOPLE after the announcements were made on Thursday. “We’ve been well represented for all six seasons of the show now, but, in fact, our number of nominations has gone up for the final season. We’re very happy about that indeed.”
PBS’s beloved British series, which concluded in March, received a total of 10 nominations, including outstanding drama series, outstanding directing for a drama series and with outstanding supporting actress in a drama series for Dame Maggie Smith.
“The Television Academy recognized this show right in the beginning,” says Neame. “They were aware of it before many members of the audience were. I mean, the Emmys was a very big part of spreading the word about the show and raising its profile. It’s been recognized every single year and has stayed true to the show all the way to the end. I couldn’t be more grateful and thrilled about it.”
Though the series has received a total of 69 nominations throughout its run, Neame admits that this year’s nominations were not expected.
“Once a show is off the air, maybe it’ll be forgotten about a little bit,” he says. “The competition in terms of new entrance coming into these categories is so enormous.”
Adding, “There are seven shows and in their previous times, they would all have been winners in their own right. The completion is extraordinary. There are some amazing shows. We’re in a fortunate time with such great content they made.”
As fans continue to marvel over the success the show has brought to viewers, Neame admits that his experience with the Downton cast and crew has been more than fulfilling.
“It’s been one of the best professional experiences, if not the best,” he says. “To have a show that was not only successful in the U.K. but one of the highest-rated, most beloved shows in America and then to go to every single territory on the planet, it really is the sweet spot. It’s had the award success, it’s had loyal fans around the world and it’s been very commercial. It’s made money and it’s really achieved what you set out to do. The experience of making it is joy with such wonderful actors and crew. And then, just to see how it’s really touched a lot of people very profoundly. Some people watch it and it’s just their piece of entertainment but it’s had a really profound impact. It’s been a great journey for everyone involved.”
Julian Fellowes, the show’s creator, sole writer and executive producer, was also nominated for outstanding writing for a drama series.
“I’m thrilled and amazed and honored that the show has been so generously recognized in its final year,” Fellowes said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. “It’s a wonderful goodbye for everyone involved.”
Jimmy Kimmel will host the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sept. 18, with the ceremony simulcasting on ABC.