Shameless fans are getting a little anxious as they await Season 8 of the Showtime comedy of the dysfunctional Gallagher family. One of the biggest questions Shameless fans have at this point is when are we going to have to say goodbye to the Gallagher family? Does Showtime have a plan for the series finale?

While Showtime has yet to confirm anything beyond Season 8, Inquisitr revealed earlier this week that – with a significant piece of evidence – fans could rest easy knowing there would likely be at least four more seasons of the series.

William H Macy [Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]

According to Deadline, it was William H. Macy – known for his role as Frank Gallagher – who revealed the Showtime series would continue for four more years. It was during a Showtime panel when Macy was opening up about Frank and what it was like to take on the head of dysfunctional family that he revealed the series would likely continue for another four years.

Macy was discussing the fact that he would have several more opportunities to direct another episode of Shameless – which he revealed was pretty challenging work – because the series would continue for another “four years or so.” Macy also noted that this was a piece of information Showtime was not aware of yet.

Based on what William H. Macy said during the panel, Shameless fans can assume there will likely be a Season 8, Season 9, Season 10, and Season 11. The question is – will the Showtime series continue beyond Season 11 or could Season 11 be the series finale?

‘Shameless’ stars William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum [Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]

As a large portion of the Shameless fanbase knows, Shameless is not really an original idea. It is technically just an adaption of a series by the same name – Shameless U.K. The only difference (other than the obvious) is the fact that Shameless U.K. is no longer airing or filming new episodes. According to Digital Spy, Season 11 was the series finale for Shameless U.K. Given the fact that Shameless U.S. has followed pretty closely to the Shameless U.K. a lot of fans of the series have drawn the conclusion that the Showtime series will also likely come to an end in Season 11. Season 11 being the series finale would line up perfectly to what Macy said about the Showtime series having “four or so more years.”

Can Shameless fans expect the Showtime series to end the same way Shameless U.K. did or could Showtime decide to continue the series beyond the timeline of the series that it was originally adapted after? Unfortunately, only time will tell.

‘Shameless’ Season 8 Spoilers: Will The Series End With Frank’s Death? https://t.co/MpAU5nhq84 via Jackie Villegas

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Whether or not Shameless is actually able to continue for the next four years – or to continue beyond the timeline of the original series it was adapted from – will depend on a number of different factors. First, there is the actors and actresses. When contracts come to an end actors and actresses could choose to walk away from the show even if the network wants to continue to film additional episodes. While there have certainly been some characters who have walked away in the past and their certainly could be more in the future – there are some characters that may steer Shameless fans away from continuing to watch the series if they left the show. It, for example, would be difficult for the network to continue the series without the core members of the Gallagher family. This would result in a matter of whether or not the series could continue if a character such as Lip, Frank, Fiona, Ian, Debbie, Carl, or Liam walked away. The bigger question would be: whether or not the current fanbase would continue to watch the show if that were to happen?

The other big determining factor in whether the series gets another four years – as Macy claimed it would – or goes beyond the four years is ratings. Even with the proper contracts in place, the network is only going to continue to renew a series that is actually making money. If people were to stop watching Shameless it may not survive another four years, let alone exceed them.

At this time, the only thing Shameless fans can really do is wait and see what happens. At this time, we know William H. Macy is claiming the series will continue for at least another four seasons. We know this will put the series up to the Season 11 – which is the same season that Shameless U.K. ended. And, we know that filming for Season 8 starts next month. What are your thoughts on Shameless continuing for four years? Do you think Season 11 could be the series finale?

[Featured Image by Jason Kempin/Getty Images]