Last Updated on May 2, 2019

Period drama fans have been wondering about the fate of “The Gilded Age.” Now we have news: the project has been taken on by HBO, who has ordered 10 episodes of the British period drama, created and scripted by Julian Fellowes.

Julian Fellowes, courtesy HBO

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“Downton Abbey” creator / writer Julian Fellowes, producer Gareth Neame and director Michael Engler reunite for the “The Gilded Age.”

Originally, NBC, who greenlighted the series in 2018, was going to premiere “The Gilded Age” after Fellowes had completed his work on the “Downton Abbey” movie. When Fellowes started work on the “Gilded” scripts, it became clear that the project would need more money behind it than available through the network.

Paul Telegdy and George Cheeks, Co-Chairmen, NBC Entertainment said that “after a highly competitive bidding process, (we) ultimately came to the conclusion that HBO is the perfect network for this epic story. We can’t wait to partner with them to bring Julian’s majestic drama to audiences all over the globe.”

Fellowes is fascinated by the American Gilded Age, what he calls a “brutal and intensely glamorous period of America’s history.” 1885 in the US was a period of immense economic change, of huge fortunes made and lost, and the rise of disparity between old money and new money, which is being reflected again today.

According to Fellowes, the historical drama “will be about ambition, of course, and envy and hatred and, perhaps most of all, about love.”

Against this backdrop comes young Marian Brook, the orphaned daughter of a Southern general, who moves into the home of her rigidly conventional aunts in New York City. Accompanied by the mysterious Peggy Scott, an African-American woman masquerading as her maid, Marian gets caught up in the dazzling lives of her stupendously rich neighbors, led by a ruthless railroad tycoon and his ambitious wife struggling for acceptance by the Astor and Vanderbilt set.

Marian will have to decide if she will follow the established rules of society, or forge her own path in this exciting new world that is on the brink of transformation into the modern age.

Casey Bloys, president, HBO Programming said that “Given the opulent scope and scale of this richly textured character drama, HBO is the perfect home” for “The Gilded Age.”

Producer Gareth Neame, who is responsible for the global television phenomenon “Downton Abbey” said “This is a compelling part of the American story and has remarkable parallels with the world we live in as these people set many of the wheels in motion that drive us today.”

There’s no news yet about the cast, or possible release date for “The Gilded Age,” so stay tuned. If you don’t have HBO, there’s always the free trial of the HBO Video Channel

Neame also executive produces the upcoming ITV/Epix series Belgravia as well as Netflix show “The Last Kingdom” currently in its fourth season.

Director / Executive Producer Michael Engler helmed multiple episodes of “Downton Abbey,” including the series finale, and directed PBS Masterpiece’s first feature film The Chaperone.

Fellowes, Naeme, and Engler most recently reunited for the Downton Abbey film, in theaters September 20. 

“The Gilded Age” is a co-production between HBO and Universal Television.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to see The Period Films List, with the best historical and costume dramas sorted by era. You’ll especially like the Best Period Dramas: Victorian Era list, and want to read about Belgravia.