Scoop: NBC Orders Period Drama From Downton Abbey Creator Julian Fellowes

The Gilded Age NBC Julian FellowesAmerica is getting its very own Downton Abbey!

NBC is developing The Gilded Age, a period drama centered on the millionaire titans of 1880s New York written and produced by Abbey creator Julian Fellowes.

“This was a vivid time,” said Fellowes, “with dizzying, brilliant ascents and calamitous falls, of record-breaking ostentation and savage rivalry; a time when money was king.”

News of the project, which NBC describes as “an epic tale of the princes of the American Renaissance, and the vast fortunes they made – and spent,” comes just months after ABC passed on Shonda Rhimes’ similarly-themed drama pilot Gilded Lilys.

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45 Comments
  1. Candice says:

    why NBC of all networks. i can see this failing.

    • iMember says:

      Or you can see it succeeding if people stopped thinking “Oh why this network…” and just gave the show a shot regardless of the network it airs on.

      • mawhi says:

        But it matters tremendously, with how they’re going to promote it and where they’ll place it in the lineup. Network has far more to do with just what channel # you turn to, and I agree – I can’t see a Julian Fellowes melodrama playing well on NBC.

        • Robert Taylor says:

          Everyone said the exact same thing about “West Wing.”

        • BL says:

          Isnt it NBC that is devolping the Dracula period show with JRM? If so, that may pair well with this. What are Sundays like on NBC? I’d watch two period dramas on Sundays…even if it were on NBC ;)

          • Someone says:

            Sundays on NBC are filled with Football in the fall, and The Apprentice in the Spring. I wouldn’t want their schedule going up against OUAT and Revenge.

      • lechatnoir says:

        Too many shows about filthy rich people. This is NOT good AT ALL .

  2. Ella says:

    Sweet! However, this could mean that the quality of Downton Abbey itself will go down–Fellowes might find himself in too many directions. We shall have to see….

    • Midori004 says:

      He writes eight episodes of Downton Abbey every year. I’m sure the 13-22 in American won’t kill him.

      • C says:

        He also writes those episodes alone (without a creative team) which is virtually unheard of for most American shows. Here’s hoping they don’t try and follow a 22 episode format or the show will be doomed before it even begins. Part of the success of Downton (and the high level of detail it gives each episode) has to do with the short format, uninterrupted airing that it receives. Stretched over 22 episodes – with breaks – at a lower quality due to budget and shooting schedule…I dunno. Plus, very few non-serialized shows succeed outside of cable (which is horribly sad) and NBC isn’t exactly a network that can afford to float a well crafted, but under-rated show.

        Either way, I’d give it a shot and tune in…but I’m not convinced it will succeed.

  3. Michelle says:

    Well, there’s another show I won’t be watching.

  4. paula says:

    Well, It could be good, but I hope it won’t be a DA copy/paste thing. And anyhow, in any time in history the King was money in america.

  5. gary says:

    If Dan Stevens is really leaving Downton to stay in New York then Fellowes should try to get him to be the lead in this

  6. Joe says:

    Period drama, aka “we only have white people in our cast”.

    • mawhi says:

      BASICALLY I mean especially since it’s the 1880s in NYC ugh gross.

    • ben says:

      As much as people would have you believe it is, a lack of diversity on one show is not a failing. Across a whole network, you’d have an issue. I wouldn’t have needed any white people on the wire to think it was a good show.

    • Templar says:

      I’m sure there will be plenty of diversity in the downstairs staff.

    • Ajs0503 says:

      Oh great another comment about political correctness and a lack of diversity… Blah,blah. The fact is that that in the 1880s New York was primarily white and Christian. During that time, African Americans still largely remained in the South and Jewish immigration wouldn’t for begin for another 40 or so years. Harlem in the 1880s was in fact an upper middle class white neighborhood.

  7. jlcamarero says:

    This series sounds like had planned the ABC. The Gilded Lillys, i think produced by Shionda Rhymes.

  8. Nate says:

    Hahaha..i just gotta laugh. What makes NBC think this will be a hit with the 18-49 demographic??? Leave stuff like this to cable.

  9. Eli says:

    what’s with the Gilded thing? (I know it is referred to as the gilded era but couldn’t the title they chose be more creative and different from that of a passed on project?)

  10. Kathleen says:

    They better have British accents — otherwise I’m not interested!

  11. bkwrm says:

    After watching History Channel’s The Men who Built America, I wished they would do an actual show about that time period. I am so looking forward to this.

  12. L2u9 says:

    I have hope because this is the same network that had ER and Julian Fellowes does magic, I mean he’s british.

  13. Joebb says:

    NBC will hire a bunch of 26 year olds and turn it into a dumb soap opera.

  14. cjeffery7 says:

    so this is like Boardwalk Empire meets Downton Abbey on network tv?? okay…

  15. Laura says:

    Julian Abele was an African American architect during the Gilded Age – he worked with Horace Trumbauer, another famous architect of the time. I was excited when I read Shonda Rhimes was working on a show about this time period because I assumed she would try to work in some story lines about successful black people of the time (there was also a black hairdresser who worked in Newport, Rhode Island, who had loads of gossip about the billionaires who summered there) – so I’m sorry ABC passed on her show. But I’ve always hoped someone would write a miniseries about the Gilded Age, and though I’d hoped the writer would be an American historian with a specialty in this area, I think Julian Fellowes will do a great job. I know Downton Abbey has become a bit soapy, but I love that Fellowes gives equal time to below stairs as he does to upstairs, and he often gives us a lot of detail about this time in history. I wish this was going to be on PBS or cable, because I’m sure NBC won’t allow him to do the time period justice, but it should be entertaining and maybe Fellowes will add some characters of color based on real life figures of thetime.

  16. AngD says:

    While I enjoy Downton Abbey, it’s not very good at continuity based upon the 2 seasons I’ve watched – probably because it has so few episodes and he’s trying to cram in too much. I’d check out a series about America’s Gilded Age – it’s different from DA because ‘we’ are ‘brash’ and don’t have titles.

  17. Salty says:

    Wrong century, genius.

  18. AngD says:

    Before I give the guy too much credit, I almost forgot that he produced the recent Titanic mini-series, which was abysmal IMHO.

  19. Patricia says:

    Sounds like something I would be bossed with. Was really looking forward to gilded Lilly’s . But the fact that is going to be on NBC is not promising. I currently don’t watch anything on NBC right now. Was looking forward to the Frontier but they passed on that, hopefully this will get picked up.

  20. aurelia1993 says:

    Reblogged this on aurelia1993 and commented:
    If Thanksgiving existed in Belgium, I’d be grateful for Julian Fellowes. (among other things, of course)

  21. Wow, I hate NBC and now I’m going to have to watch something on it. Julian Fellowes is amazing and maybe not everything he produces is perfect but when he is inspired by something he is genius. Plus this will probably be the wittiest and best dialogue that NBC has ever had on a show. I’m excited

  22. Britta Unfiltered says:

    I’m not getting attached to this show. I have very little trust in NBC to keep high-quality shows on the air long-term. I kinda go back and forth with Julian Fellowes too. First season of Downton: Good. Second season of Downton: Not so good. The Young Victoria: Very good. The Tourist: So bad, I’m guessing Johnny Depp still hasn’t seen it. Two Brothers: Awesome. Gosford Park: I am probably the only elitist d-bag in the world that was horribly bored by that movie.

  23. Loni says:

    Sounds great to me! I’ll take all the period dramas I can get! :)

  24. EveatEden says:

    I’m interested in checking this out, loving Downton!

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