Downton Abbey may be jumping across the pond. NBC is starting a similar tv series focusing on the princes of “The Gilded Age” set in late nineteenth century New York City. The show, produced by NBC universal studios, may air as soon as fall 2013.
NBC has signed Oscar winning creator Julian Fellowes to write an American period drama called ‘The Gilded Age.’ The show will follow the big names of the period - J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and the Astor family. Mr Fellows said in a statement about the period, “This was a vivid time with dizzying, brilliant ascents and calamitous falls, of record breaking ostentation and savage rivalry.” Details on the plot of the show are still scarce.
Jennifer Salke, President of NBC Entertainment said, “We at the network are so thrilled to be working with the immensely talented Julian Fellowes, who is universally admired for his critically and commercially appealing productions. Having him on our team represents a major creative coup and everyone is looking forward to his first NBC project in ‘The Gilded Age.’”
Downton Abbey is currently in the middle of its third season after its first two seasons accumulated numerous fans on both sides of the pond. The period show set in the early nineteenth century centers around the lives of the Crawley’s, an aristocratic British family, and the servants employed by them.
NBC passed up on Downton Abbey when the show first appeared two years ago, because they did not think Americans would enjoy a period drama. Period pieces have a history of being hit or miss with American viewers, Brad Adgate, senior vice president of research at Horizon Media told the New York Post.
Bankers Morgan, Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Vanderbilt became the first millionaires of America and they showed it. Lavish mansions popped up along Fifth Avenue in New York City and Newport, Rhode Island.
Where there are mansions, there are servants to run the house, which should provide some familiar ground for “Downton Abbey” fans.
The millionaires of the Gilded Age made their money by pioneering in finance and the steel and oil industries. During the second half of the nineteenth century, the United States experienced an economic boom caused in part by the adoption of the factory system, improvement of the railroads, and the arrival of many immigrants, including Irish escaping the Famine, who often ended up in the factories.
Fellowes, who has won two Emmys for his work on “Downton Abbey” will continue to work on the show, which has already been renewed for a fourth season, while he works on “The Gilded Age.” Besides its immense commercial success, “Downton Abbey” has won six Emmy awards and Dame Maggie Smith has won two for her role as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham.