'Downton Abbey' Creator Hired To Make Something Like That with More American People

November 27, 2012


Imagine all the period melodrama of Downton Abbey transplanted across the Atlantic, and filled with the scowls of whoever is the closest American equivalent of Maggie Smith (Ellen Burstyn? Cloris Leachman?). You've just imagined The Gilded Age, the drama NBC is going to pay Julian Fellowes to make!

Looking to topple the ratings monolith that is PBS, NBC has turned to the Downton Abbey creator to give their network their own version of something like that show, but set in postbellum New York instead of old un-relatable England. They described the series pitch as "an epic tale of the princes of the American Renaissance, and the vast fortunes they made - and spent"; Fellowes reportedly added, "This was a vivid time, with dizzying, brilliant ascents and calamitous falls, of record-breaking ostentation and savage rivalry; a time when money was king." In keeping with NBC's recent declaration to remain "committed to the multi-camera form," assumedly many of these "calamitous falls" will be followed by a crashing sound effect and the eruption of audience laughter.

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