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HBO is returning to the Gilded Age.
The WarnerMedia-backed premium cable network has handed out a second-season renewal for Julian Fellowes’ The Gilded Age. The speedy pickup comes just three weeks after the New York-set period drama launched following nearly a decade of development that started at NBC.
“Julian Fellowes and the entire Gilded Age family have thoroughly captivated us with their tale of late 19th century New York City extravagance. Along with our partners at Universal Television, we couldn’t be prouder to embark on a season two journey with this extraordinarily talented team,” said Francesca Orsi, exec vp programming at HBO Max.
The series was originally bought by former NBC entertainment president Bob Greenblatt, who wound up buying the show a second time during his tenure at WarnerMedia as it moved from NBC to HBO.
“The first season of The Gilded Age is the beginning of an epic story that introduced a fascinating world full of intriguing characters. The scope of Julian’s vision is ambitious, and we’re thrilled to continue to explore the depths of this fascinating era with HBO,” said UTV president Erin Underhill.
The nine-episode series launched as HBO’s best Monday night debut since the Emmy-winning limited series Chernobyl and streams on HBO Max. Starring Carrie Coon, Morgan Spector, Louisa Jacobson, Denée Benton, Taissa Farmiga, Blake Ritson, Simon Jones, Harry Richardson, Thomas Cocquerel and Jack Gilpin, with Cynthia Nixon and Christine Baranski, season one will wrap March 21.
“It was the same idea,” Fellowes told THR podcast TV’s Top 5 of the show he pitched NBC versus what’s airing on HBO ahead of its January premiere. “[NBC] chose to announce it years before I was free to actually write it.” As for the move to premium cable, Fellowes — who also discusses the differences in developing a series for a U.S. distributor and the notes process that comes with it — says he’s happy that it ultimately landed at HBO.
It was “unreasonable” to ask a broadcast network to devote a sizable budget to cover period sets and costumes and, “if I’m honest, it seemed a very natural fit when we arrived at HBO,” he says. The 40-minute interview also addresses the sprawling cast, the painstaking research Fellowes did to explore New York in the 1880s, and if there’s a world in which The Gilded Age and Downton Abbey could ever connect. “I never saw the series as connected because The Gilded Age starts 30 years before Downton Abbey,” he explains. “I’m not saying I would never have a character from Downton Abbey at some point, but these are two completely separate shows.”
Listen to Fellowes describe the long road to the screen for the show and his hopes for its future in an interview with TV’s Top 5 here.
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