‘Downton’ writer’s follow-up ‘The Gilded Age’ will launch with movie-length special

Julian Fellowes’ first original TV series since Downton Abbey will open with a two-hour first episode.

The Downton Abbey creator’s new period drama series was picked up by NBC earlier this year with a 10-episode order for the first season.

Set in in 1880s New York City – “a period of immense social upheaval, of huge fortunes made and lost, and of palaces that spanned the length of Fifth Avenue” – The Gilded Age is executive produced by Downton boss Gareth Neame.

The Hollywood Reporter has now revealed that the pilot will be a feature-length two-hour special.

Downton Abbey director Michael Engler will begin filming the opening episode of The Gilded Age next spring.

Engler has previously directed episodes of Sex and the City, The Affair, Nashville and Six Feet Under, as well as the final episode of Downton in 2015.

The series’ lead character will be Marian Brook, the wide-eyed young scion of a conservative family who embarks on infiltrating the wealthy neighboring family dominated by ruthless railroad tycoon George Russell, his rakish and available son Larry, and his ambitious wife Bertha, whose ‘new money’ is a barrier to acceptance by the Astor and Vanderbilt set.

Casting announcements are expected very soon and it looks like The Gilded Age will premiere on NBC in autumn 2019.

NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke has described the series as “an addictive new universe of fabulous people with the same signature style, wit and emotional resonance for which Julian [Fellowes] is famous.”

Downton Abbey: The Complete Collection is available to buy on Amazon here.

The Downton Abbey movie is filming now and will arrive in cinemas in September 2019.