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'Downton Abbey' creator teams with NBC for 'Gilded Age' drama

November 27, 2012|By Scott Collins
  • Julian Fellowes at the 63rd annual Emmy Awards Show on Sept. 18, 2011, at Nokia Theatre, L.A. Live, in Los Angeles.
Julian Fellowes at the 63rd annual Emmy Awards Show on Sept. 18, 2011, at… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

Julian Fellowes is going to repaint "The Gilded Age" for NBC.

Fellowes, the writer-producer behind PBS' smash period drama "Downton Abbey," will team with NBC for a series about the robber barons who monopolized American business in the 1880s.

"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 said in a statement. 

Sounds a bit like today, doesn't it? But viewers should expect the typical Fellowes flourishes, including careful attention to period detail, allusions to historical events and juicy arch-villains.

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“Having been thoroughly impressed by Julian’s wit, eloquence, vast historical knowledge and collaborative nature in my past development experience with him, I’m thrilled to be continuing our relationship at Universal Television,” said Bela Bajaria, executive vice president of Universal Television, which will help develop the series.  “The opportunity to work with him again was a goal of mine at Universal Television, and I’m very excited about this potential new series.”

The project, which would be Fellowes' first U.S.-produced TV series, is not guaranteed to go to series. However, NBC would be obliged to pay a "significant penalty" if it does not move forward, according to a source familiar with the situation. Such penalties are common on projects involving top-tier talent.

Meanwhile, Fellowes will continue his writing and producing chores on "Downton Abbey," which has been picked up for a fourth season.

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@scottcollinsLAT

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