Fans of Downton Abbey have been waiting excitedly for the new Julian Fellowes series, The Gilded Age, which has been dubbed the American Downton Abbey. Fellowes started the project in 2012, and though it has had many delays, it is now slotted to be on the NBC schedule in 2019. Once again Fellowes will be teaming up with executive producer Gareth Neame, who served in the same role on Downton Abbey. It’s unclear if any of the actors from Downton Abbey will be on The Gilded Age.
Julian Fellowes Has Been Working On The Gilded Age Since 2012
Earlier this year, Julian Fellowes told the fans of his costume dramas and period pieces that he had cleared his desk to work on The Gilded Age. Fellowes says he is creating characters with inspiration from writer Edith Wharton and her novels. Julian Fellowes says that, through her novels, Wharton explains who his characters in The Gilded Age are.
“They lived in largish, simple houses in Washington Square. And into that culture came this torrent of money after the civil war. These people decided to come and spend their fortunes in New York and they started to build palaces up Fifth Avenue. Park Avenue became a great boulevard of New York. If you go up to the 80s, 90s addresses you can still see these palaces.”
Fellowes Says The Gilded Age Is An American Downton Abbey
NBC has ordered 10 episodes of The Gilded Age, which is scheduled to be on the network in 2019, says The Hollywood Reporter. NBC has released a description of the series written by Fellowes.
“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 fans of Edith Wharton, the description sounds a lot like The Age of Innocence, published by Wharton in 1920. Julian Fellowes explains that he has been fascinated by that period of American history for some time, and he’s very excited that NBC is allowing him to bring The Gilded Age to the small screen.
“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.”
Writing a drama set in America will be a switch for Julian Fellowes, who has scored hits with Gosford Park and Downton Abbey.
Julian Fellowes Is Basing The Gilded Age On The Work Of Edith Wharton And Henry James
The New York Times says that Julian Fellowes is fascinated by the period in America after the Civil War, and that is the time that is inspiring The Gilded Age. Fellowes says that in addition to Edith Wharton, he enjoys the work of Henry James, and is intrigued by families like the Vanderbilts and the Whitneys.
The Gilded Age will also be Julian Fellowes’ first endeavor into commercial television in the United States, as Downton Abbey aired exclusively in America on PBS.
Neither NBC, nor Julian Fellowes have given an official date for the premiere of The Gilded Age, or word on whether the Fellowes series will be part of the regular NBC line-up or as a fill in.