Julian Fellowes To Create 'American Downton'

Julian Fellowes To Create 'American Downton'

The man behind the hit period drama Downton Abbey has signed a deal to create a new series for the United States.

NBC and Universal Television said Julian Fellowes would write and produce a "sweeping epic" that will be set in America in the 1880s.

The Gilded Age is billed as "an epic tale of the princes of the American Renaissance and the vast fortunes made and spent in late 19th century New York".

Fellowes said of the period: "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."

Fellowes introduced an American millionairess to Downton this year in the form of Martha Levinson, played by Shirley MacLaine, whose husband had built up a fortune as a merchant.

There is no word yet on when The Gilded Age will be broadcast, but it has been confirmed that Fellowes will write the new series and act as executive producer at the same time as concentrating on a fourth series of Downton Abbey.

ITV confirmed the hugely popular period drama will run for another series, and it is expected to appear on the small screen in late 2013.

Ratings for the whole of the third series of Downton Abbey averaged 11.9 million people.

NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke said the network was "thrilled to have the immensely talented Julian Fellowes on board".

"Having him on our team represents a major creative coup," she said.

US broadcasters are believed to have been trying for some time to work with Fellowes following the success of Downton Abbey in the States.

Downton was nominated for a record 27 Emmy Awards, eventually taking home the Outstanding Miniseries prize.