10:45am PT by Michael O'Connell
'Downton Abbey' Creator Julian Fellowes Developing 1880s New York Drama at NBC
Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has a new stateside project. Fresh off the season-four renewal of his U.K. hit, which airs on PBS in the U.S., Fellowes has signed with NBC and Universal Television to develop a period drama.
He'll write and produce The Gilded Age, a Downton Abbey-esque series about the millionaires of 1880s New York.
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“We at the network are all so thrilled to be working with the immensely talented Julian Fellowes, who is universally admired for his critically and commercially appealing productions,” said NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke. “Having him on our team represents a major creative coup, and everyone is looking forward to his first NBC project in The Gilded Age.”
Salke announced the news with Universal Television executive vp Bela Bajaria.
“Having been thoroughly impressed by Julian’s wit, eloquence, vast historical knowledge and collaborative nature in my past development experience with him, I’m thrilled to be continuing our relationship at Universal Television,” said Bajaria. “The opportunity to work with him again was a goal of mine at Universal Television, and I’m very excited about this potential new series.”
"This was a vivid time," Fellowes said of the project, "with dizzying, brilliant ascents and calamitous falls, of record-breaking ostentation and savage rivalry -- a time when money was king."
Downton Abbey, which airs on ITV in its native Great Britain, has been an international success since its 2010 debut. In addition to his duties on the series, Fellowes penned the recent Titanic miniseries and wrote the screenplay to the upcoming movie adaptation of Romeo and Juliet starring Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfeld.
Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes had a similar New York period drama, Gilded Lilys, in contention at ABC earlier in the year. It went to pilot, but the network ultimately took a pass.
If The Gilded Age goes to series, it will be Fellowes first original in the states.