Pilot Scoop: Torchwood's John Barrowman to Star in Shonda Rhimes ABC Pilot Gilded Lilys

John Barrowman Gilded LilysCaptain Jack is going back in time again.

John Barrowman — best known as immortal time traveller Jack Harkness in Doctor Who and its spinoff Torchwood — has joined Gilded Lilys, ABC’s period drama pilot being exec-produced by Grey’s Anatomy boss Shonda Rhimes.

To be penned by K.J. Steinberg (The NineGossip Girl), Lilys is set in 1895 and promises to deliver an epic love story, a vicious rivalry and a scandalous secret unfolding against the backdrop of the opening of New York’s first luxury hotel. Barrowman will play a member of the show’s central family, the Lilys.

The news was first reported by TVGuide.com.

The cast also includes Blythe Danner, Matt Lauria, Sarah Bolger and Madeline Zima.

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  1. Briana says:

    Is it too early to set my DVR?

  2. Clarissa says:


  3. madhatter360 says:

    So many feelings. I’m happy for John Barrowman but I can’t help but feel like this means Torchwood is pretty much kaput. Also, can his character secretly be Captain Jack Harkness in disguise? Please?

    • Amanda says:

      Completely agree. Torchwood is pretty clearly over, which makes me sad. But I can’t imagine John as anyone but Jack, so he this character should ABSOLUTELY be Jack in disguise. Not a person on the planet would protest.
      (Could we somehow find a way to stick some Ianto in there, too, please?)

    • Mel says:

      Yes! I would love this. And since Captain Jack goes back and forth in time anyway, hey, could work. Also wondering if this means Torchwood is history. If it goes on without Barrowman, it goes on without this fan.

    • Tarc says:

      Have no doubt that fanfic will be written by someone.

    • Dot says:


  4. Betty says:

    Excited to see John Barrowman & Matt Lauria together in a project, BUT it sounds like a Downton Abbey rip off.

  5. Jeff Stockwell says:

    PREDICTION #1: This show will be canceled before the pilot finishes airing.

    PREDICTION #2: Barrowman’s character will be a very homosexual.

  6. unicornwasp says:

    whoa! i already thought this sounded interesting, but with captain jack i will definitely watch.

  7. Espy says:

    …I have such a slasher smile on my face right now.

  8. Kelly says:

    Augh, but I have a NO MORE SHONDA policy. First Matt Lauria, and now John Barrowman? IT IS SO UNFAIR!

  9. Molly says:

    I am tired of Shonda Rhimes but CAPTAIN JACK!!!! Must see.

  10. pv says:

    So we’re going to have John Barrowman in period clothing. Pretty sure that’s the formula for fangirl explosion.

    This is fantastic! I was excited for this series already and now its just even better!!

  11. Liz says:

    The only thing better than just plain Barrowman is Barrowman acting in a period piece. Seriously, I am wayyy too excited for this!

  12. Jennifer says:

    Yea!!!!!!! I think I will watch this man in anything!!

  13. Lizzie says:

    WoooooHoooooo!!!!! Alright!

  14. Sara says:

    I don’t know I love JB and like SR but I think Downton Abby is more of a fluke then the usual. Americans are not a big fan of period pieces, I do but most…And primetime soaps can be either really good or just plain bad. But if the pilot gets picked up I will of course tune in. .

    • Tess says:

      True that period pieces can go wrong more than they go right but what it comes down to is execution. If the writing is solid and fairly accurate to the period it is trying to portray (no noticeable gaffs in the language, settings, costumes, et al.)and the acting is good then it could work. I’m no fan of Shonda Rimes but she comes with a bit of a following from her other shows and certainly having Barrowman in it will bring the very loyal Torchwood/Doctor Who fanbase in at least to start with. I for one got very excited to see this bit of news and now am interested in the show (which I wasn’t before, so that says something about the power of JB) and it sounds like I’m not alone there. I’m not concerned about the affect this has on Torchwood; if it ever does return it’s probably a ways off (like the delay between COE and MD) since Russell T. Davies hasn’t even started to think about doing another series of it but from what I’ve read Starz would still be interested and JB and Eve Myles would go back gladly whenever that does happen. Nothing says this show takes off (or even makes the schedule yet) so nothing says this effectively cancels out Torchwood – plus they can always work a new season of Torchwood around his hiatus with this new show if that happens to be an issue down the road.
      Might be a Downton knockoff but like I said, if it’s good, who cares…and all us Downton fans who are going through withdrawl might enjoy having something to occupy us while we wait for season 3 of it…an extra incentive to watch this show now! Hope it makes the schedule.

      • theschnauzers says:

        The last I heard Russell T Davies had out his projects in L.A. aside in order to deal with a serious illness of a family member; and I have not seen or heard anything further in the last several months. I would assume this means that things are still up in the air with RTD and it doesn’t mean there won’t be more Torchwood; but I’ll bet the plan is to wait until after the Doctor Who 50th anniversary in late 2013.

      • white wolf says:

        I hope if they do make Torchwood again it goes back to BBC America. I couldn’t afford the STARZ channel. I would watch it on Comcast on demand late at night went I got home from work. At least now I can see JB in a show if I can tape it and find out WHEN it will air.

  15. Dan says:

    I’m really happy for John Barrowman, but I fell bad for his Hubby left to set alone back in Scotland.

  16. Leslie says:

    Captain Jack comes (heh) pre-slashed for your convenience !

  17. Michelle says:

    @madhatter360 & @Amanda
    Torchwood is dead. Russell T. Davies has indefinitely stopped working to take care of his partner who has brain cancer. :-(

    • theschnauzers says:

      I disagree that Torchwood is dead; I just don’t expect a new series really soon, and as I posted above, my guess is that it won’t be until after the Doctor Who 50th anniversary.

    • maggie says:

      I didn’t know about RTD’s partner having brain cancer. That’s so sad. :(

  18. Mikaylah says:

    Completely guaranteed that I will love this show.

  19. Merlin says:

    JB’s partner lives in London with him – but they have other homes in the USA and Scott usually accompanies John for work-related things in the States. He was certainly here for Miracle Day and Desperate Housewives

  20. Summer says:

    I have avoided Shonda Rhimes stuff like the plague for a long, long time, but man. John Barrowman and Blythe Danner? That’s too hard to say no to.

  21. maggie says:

    I’m not a Shonda Rhimes fan, but I love John Barrowman, so I’ll have to give it a try.

    This sounds like a Downton Abbey rip off. I love Downton Abbey, so I know I’ll be hard comparing the two. But I will give it a chance.

    Does this mean that John is done with Torchwood for good? I disliked the last season of Torchwood, and would hate to see that as the final memory of an otherwise great show.

  22. hatorl says:

    I’m happy to see John Barrowman in a new project, and I’m sure that he will be amazing.

  23. Dawn says:

    Doesn’t really sound like my bag of tea, but I will follow John Barrowman anywhere!!!

  24. Jess says:

    on one hand, the plot sounds awful; on the other hand, it’s BARROWMAN!!! At least this might mean they won’t continue the terrible downward spiral of my beloved torchwood. RTD, stop, step away, and return Captain Jack to Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary show!

  25. Pam says:

    Add me to the Captain Jack bandwagon. I am not a huge fan of Shonda Rimes’ stuff but I will have to check this out.

  26. KD says:

    Ugh the thought of watching a Shonda Rimes show annoys the crap out of me but I just can’t say no to John Barrowman. But it makes me sad to realize that Torchwood is done.

  27. James says:

    Just because John Barrowman is in this doesn’t mean he won’t be doing another Torchwood, or that Torchwood is dead. There was a two-year gap inbetween Miracle Day, and it’s previous season (Children of Earth) so just because there’s no more Torchwood on at the minute doesn’t mean there wont be at all. Besides, with the cliffhanger ending of Miracle Day I can safely say that another season of this British-American hybrid Torchwood is definitely on the cards.

    Plus JB is a busy busy man anyway, in the UK he frequently hosts programs which take up months of his time, as well as doing Musicals, TV and other stuff. So he’s just fine.

  28. alyssa897 says:

    I think this is the best news I’ve heard all week! I need John Barrowman on my tv every week. Hopefully this show will be good. America needs to fall in love with John. I remember when he was on Desperate Housewives. His character was kinda creepy, but I was still like “Who is this gorgeous man?!?!” Then, when I started watching Doctor Who I recognized him and found out he was gay, but I don’t care. I still crush on him!!

  29. lisa says:

    Noooo. My Tv doesn’t get Abc and I wanna see it

  30. saxyroro says:

    Captain Jack = SOLD

  31. Olivia Giles says:

    I love captain jack!! yey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. Alexis says:

    The pilot episode is currently filming at Boston University!

  33. JustSomeDude says:

    Free hint: period pieces set on clubs, hotels, ect. do not work! NBC’s the Playboy Club cancelled at the starting line and STARZ Magic City (still alive, but they released the 1st three episodes all at once OnDemand, and that smells like desperation to me).

    Luckily, STARZ is talking more Torchwood, so John will have a place to go, once this is cancelled.