Julian Fellowes Takes Us Back To The Gilded Age In A New NBC Drama

The Telegraph/Paul Grover

Good news for fans of period drama, especially Downton Abbey; the series creator, Julian Fellowes, has got a new show in the works and it sounds wonderful.

The Gilded Age, set in New York at the end of the 19th century, will follow the lives of New York millionaires. According to Deadline, the project was “put on the back burner, with NBC and Universal TV executive giving the Oscar and Emmy winner carte blanche to come work on the NBC series when he is ready/done with Downton”.

Speculation is rife that Downton Abbey will end after the next season, and indeed Fellowes himself confirmed that the show didn’t have long left to run. While it may seem that the only thing The Gilded Age has in common with Downton Abbey might be time frame and the wealthy, in fact the American super-rich of the late 19th and early 20th centuries had a tremendous impact on the British aristocracy.

Much like Downton Abbey chatelaine the Countess of Grantham, played by Elizabeth McGovern, many American industrial heiresses married into the landed families of Great Britain. They brought desperately needed funds, as well as a spiritedness that was often shocking to aristocratic formalities.

However, Downton Abbey fans looking forward to The Gilded Age shouldn’t feel conflicted; Fellowes has hinted that some of the cast might follow him to the new series. Speaking to RadioTimes.com at the National Television Awards Wednesday, he said, “They can’t be the same people because Gilded Age is much earlier. It’s in the 1870s, so none of them would be born”.

“But I’d love to work with them again”, Fellowes continued, “What a good idea. One or two familiar faces just to make [American viewers] feel at home”.

So we may see Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery or even Dame Maggie Smith on the other side of the Atlantic? That’s definitely worth waiting for.


Despite his obvious love for Downton Abbey it seems Fellowes is ready to move on to The Gilded Age. “I’d never done an open-ended series. Now I feel I know much more about the game. I suppose there is something interesting about the idea of going on and using it somewhere else”.

NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt is certainly keen that Fellowes start on the new show; it’s not surprising that he wants the Downton Abbey success for his own network. “I think he’s at a point now where he’s able to start developing and writing our new show…hopefully this show will be coming to life sometime in the next season”.




Sara Hunter Smith