'Downton Abbey' Creator Julian Fellowes' 'Gilded Age' Drama Picked Up to Series at NBC

julian fellowes - Getty - H 2016
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julian fellowes - Getty - H 2016

Following a years-long development process, NBC is moving forward with The Gilded Age, a period drama from Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes.

The project — which was first put in development in 2012 — has received a 10-episode order for a 2019 debut. The series is written by Fellowes, who executive produces alongside Gareth Neame for Universal Television.

Here is NBC's description of the series: "The Gilded Age in 1880s New York City was a period of immense social upheaval, of huge fortunes made and lost, and of palaces that spanned the length of Fifth Avenue. In the series, Marian Brook is the wide-eyed young scion of a conservative family who will embark on infiltrating the wealthy neighboring family dominated by ruthless railroad tycoon George Russell, his rakish and available son Larry, and his ambitious wife Bertha, whose 'new money' is a barrier to acceptance by the Astor and Vanderbilt set. Marian is about to experience a whole new world springing up right outside her front door."

“To write The Gilded Age is the fulfillment of a personal dream,” Fellowes said in a statement. “I have been fascinated by this period of American history for many years and now NBC has given me the chance to bring it to a modern audience. I could not be more excited and thrilled. The truth is, America is a wonderful country with a rich and varied history, and nothing could give me more pleasure than be the person to bring that compelling history to the screen.”

The Gilded Age marks Fellowes' follow-up to Downton Abbey. Fellowes is an Oscar-, Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning writer (he won an Oscar in 2002 for his Gosford Park screenplay). Downton Abbey ran for six seasons in more than 250 territories worldwide, and is the most-nominated non-U.S. show in Emmy history, with 69 nominations and 15 wins.

“Julian Fellowes has the peerless ability to create complex characters and relationships set against a fantastic backdrop,” said Jennifer Salke, president of NBC Entertainment. “We’re thrilled that NBC and Universal Television will bring you his delicious new take on both the emerging rich and the working class who were intricately entwined in opulent New York in 1882. It’s an addictive new universe of fabulous people with the same signature style, wit and emotional resonance for which Julian is famous.”

All told, this is NBC's 12th order for the 2018-19 television season and its fourth drama overall — and first new series pickup. A formal premiere date has yet to be determined.