The Gilded Age is on the move. Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes’ long-gestating period drama has landed at HBO with a ten episode series order, the premium cable network announced on Thursday.
The project had been in the works at NBC since as far back as 2012 and ultimately earned a series order in early 2018 at the peacock, which was then under the reins of Bob Greenblatt. Notably, the show’s move to HBO mirrors Greenblatt’s recent move from NBC to HBO parent WarnerMedia.
The Gilded Age is set during the American Gilded Age in 1885, which 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. 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. Will Marian 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? The drama series, created by Fellowes, is a co-production between HBO and Universal Television. Gareth Neame, Julian Fellowes and Michael Engler executive produce.
“Given the opulent scope and scale of this richly textured character drama, HBO is the perfect home for ‘The Gilded Age”, said Casey Bloys, President of HBO Programming. “We’re all huge fans of Julian and I know I speak for Bob Greenblatt – who was involved in the development of this series while at Universal Television – when I say we’re thrilled to bring his undeniable genius to our viewers.”
“I feel very privileged to be making The Gilded Age with HBO and Universal Television. It has been a dream of mine for some time, as I am fascinated by this brutal and intensely glamorous period of America’s history”. commented Julian Fellowes. “It will be about ambition, of course, and envy and hatred and, perhaps most of all, about love. I hope people will enjoy the series. I know I will enjoy making it.”
While Gareth Neame added: “I’m thrilled that HBO and Universal Television will be bringing The Gilded Age to life. 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.” Owing to the fact that it is a co-production between HBO and Universal Television, it is not immediately clear if The Gilded Age will be covered by Sky’s HBO output deal or if the satcaster would need to strike a new deal with NBCU.