We're getting our own "Downton Abbey": Julian Fellowes to create "The Gilded Age" for NBC
Is your main quibble with Downton Abbey that you have never been to Downton Abbey? You're in luck: NBC is developing a spinoff of the show set right here in the U.S. of America. And Julian Fellowes, the Fellowes behind Downton, is writing and producing it.
Unfortunately, the show's title has not been translated into American English, either as "Church from out Around the Way" or the perennially typo'd "Downtown Abbey." Instead, it will be called The Gilded Age and it will take place a couple decades before the beautifully costumed dramas of Downton Abbey, in the 1880s. Think less, "Is this Lady Mary's fiancé-cousin, Patrick Crawley? I thought he drowned with the Titanic," and more, "Is this Lucretia Rudolph's president-husband, James Garfield? I thought he was assassinated."
The Telegraph quotes Fellowes as describing The Gilded Age's setting as "a vivid time with dizzying, brilliant ascents and calamitous falls; of record-breaking ostentation and savage rivalry; a time when money was king." So expect lots of TENSE DISCUSSIONS conducted in LOW VOICES.
The show will take place in New York City, making it a natural replacement for Gossip Girl, which is wrapping up this year.
If this were being done on HBO or even PBS I would say there was hope for it. But NBC? No way.
NBC? It'll be cancelled in it's third week.
It's not gonna fly with American audiences. We love to watch English people lord it over the lower classes, but we hate to see Americans do it, especially now.
I am sure there will be a lot of "borrowing" from Edith Wharton. She trod that territory much better than Julian could ever hope to do.
Agree with R1. The average audience size for DOWNTON ABBEY is fine for PBS or cable, but it won't cut it with a commerical network, even with the diminished viewership the networks get now.
Watch them cast a bunch of Brits and Aussies instead of American actors in 95% of the roles.
Send Cora packing, for the love of Marmite.
Wasn't this project originally associated with Shonda Rhimes (seriously)? I think we even had a thread about it here somewhere...
Martin Scorcese gave this to us already in "The Age of Innocence".
[quote]Martin Scorcese gave this to us already in "The Age of Innocence".
We can only have this entire culture of the late 19th-century Gilded Age depicted once and once only? Please explain your reasons for this somewhat startling claim.
Back when Upatairs Downstairs was successful, one of the networks tried to copy it with a show called Beacon Hill.
Like everyone here can see, but network programmers cannot, Americans don't like this sort of thing if it's not an import.
HBO or PBS would do this right. Maybe AMC would.
But the fact the fact one of the big four networks is doing it spells disaster. They'll be very itchy to have high ratings to justify the production costs. When it doesn't get such ratings immediately, they'll start moving it around to different nights, which will only cause the ratings to go down further.
Plus, there's not a large audience for this type of show on broadcast network to begin with.
I'd say it will be canceled by the 8th or 9th episode.
Just fucking wonderful. Fellowes to become more insufferable.
Debra Messing will be cast as the Matron of Madsion Avenue and she will provide her own bustle.
R1 R5 TOTALLY agree with both of you.
I totally agree that NBC will ruin it. They'll put some "modern" touches in that have nothing to do with the period to attract a young audience but it will still flop. The kids are not going to watch a tv show set in the fucking 1880s. They probably would be bored with a tv show set in the 1980s for fuck's sake.
PBS, HBO or possibly AMC would be the way to go with this subject matter.
It's hard to see it done as an ongoing series. British television tried to do this partially with "Copper" and bombed big-time.
I could see something like a 6-part series (based on something like Gore Vidal's "1876"); but an ongoing series? And on NBC???
"From the network that brought you Supertrain . . .!"
Starring Taylor Momsen as Edith Jones Wharton.
Ashton Kutcher as Ward McAllister.
Chace Crawford as William K. Vanderbilt.
Jennifer Love Hewitt as Alva Vanderbilt.
And Beyonce Knowles as Mrs. Caroline Astor.
Prepare for a lot of green-screen action.
If Julian Fellowes could write there might be some hope for this. But Downton is pretty much a triumph of production values over lazy, soap operatic writing. There's very little attention to period details and only a vague historical accuracy.
I can't imagine Fellowes writing about something that is completely foreign to him.
I bet Linus Roache will be in it. He lives in NY but was in Fellowes' feeble Titanic miniseries.
R3, said it all
"We love to watch English people lord it over the lower classes, but we hate to see Americans do it, especially now."
Oh, pish-posh. Don't WATCH. . .DO! There's no better national pastime than lording it over the underclasses. It's simply scrumptious! And it's our God-given right!!!
No matter how good or bad it will be, it will be cancelled because of budgetary reasons after 3 episodes