If you’ve been clutching your pearls Dowager Countess-style from Downton Abbey withdrawal, your prayers have been answered.
Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes is returning to television with a long-gestating period drama, The Gilded Age, which has been picked up to series by NBC and is slated for a 2019 debut. The network has ordered 10 episodes.
Fellowes is re-teaming with Downton Abbey executive producer Gareth Neame for the series, which takes place in the glittering world of the wealthiest families in 19th-century New York.
“To write The Gilded Age is the fulfillment of a personal dream,” Fellowes said in a statement. “I have been fascinated by this period of American history for many years and now NBC has given me the chance to bring it to a modern audience. 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.”
Set in New York City in 1882, the series will follow Marian Brook, the young heiress of a conservative family who is tasked with infiltrating the world of their wealthy neighbors, ruled by railroad tycoon George Russell. Complications arise amid a wide cast of characters including the rakish young Russell son Larry and matriarch Bertha, whose new money presents a social barrier to acceptance by the upper set. Fellowes will probe many of the same issues of an ordered world facing upheaval that made Downton Abbey a hit.
“Julian Fellowes has the peerless ability to create complex characters and relationships set against a fantastic backdrop,” said Jennifer Salke, president of NBC Entertainment. “We’re thrilled that NBC and Universal Television will bring you his delicious new take on both the emerging rich and the working class who were intricately entwined in opulent New York in 1882. It’s an addictive new universe of fabulous people with the same signature style, wit and emotional resonance for which Julian is famous.”
We just know we’re ready for the next “What is a weekend?”