Gilded Age hasn't cometh: Julian Fellowes to postpone 'American Downton' until British one concludes


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The Independent Culture

Those awaiting what has been dubbed the "American Downton" will have to be patient. The Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has said he is prepared to postpone writing The Gilded Age until the much-loved British series concludes - but there is no end in sight for the Crawley family just yet.

The Bafta-winning screenwriter hinted at an Emmys event in Los Angeles that he would not abandon Downton Abbey if it were to overlap with The Gilded Age.

“The newspapers keep saying we [have an end date for Downton], but we don’t. The question is how long they will wait for Gilded Age and when will Downton finish up, and we just don’t know those answers right now,” he said.

He added he was tired of American journalists speculating about the end of Downton. “We’re always reading in the papers when it’s ending, but we don’t know when it’s ending ourselves so how can some journalists know? I think it’s still got some legs to it.”

Asked if he had to choose between the two shows which would get the nod, he said: “Oh, I couldn’t answer that.”

Fellowes was commissioned by US network NBC in February to create The Gilded Age which will be set in late 19th century New York and focus on the rise and fall of the “princes of the American Renaissance”.

NBC was previously offered Downton Abbey, but turned it down. The drama was picked up by PBS instead and has become the highest-rated drama in the channel’s history, attracting 8 million viewers by the end of series three and winning six Emmy awards.

The fourth series of Downton Abbey is due to return to ITV in the autumn, and will be broadcast on PBS in January next year.

Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Shirley MacLaine and Jim Carter will return for the new series. They will be joined by new cast members Tom Cullen, Julian Ovenden, Nigel Harman, Joanna David, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Dame Harriet Walter.