In an interview with the New York Times' Dave Itzkoff following last night's (spoiler: tragic) season three finale of Downton Abbey, series creator Julian Fellowes explained that his commitment to create a period piece for NBC may mean he has to step away from the Abbey.
Back in November it was announced that Fellowes signed a deal with NBC to create The Gilded Age, a drama about New York City in the era of Astors and Vanderbilts. When asked about that show, Fellowes told Itzkoff that he hasn't started writing it: "I’m going to, when Downton finishes," he said. "But there are many hurdles that have to be cleared. You have to write the pilot, they have to decide they’re going to make it, they have to decide whether they want to pick it up. So it’s a line of ditches that lies between me and the series." Makes sense. But then things get tricky:
But if it goes, and if I’m doing a series at NBC, I would not be able to write all of Downton and all of that series at the same time. I would hope that by the time all the hurdles have been cleared, the timing makes it so I can then concentrate on the new series. And if Downton goes on – of course that’s not my decision – then it would be with other writers. Perhaps with me supervising, but with other writers.
Fellowes skirted around the follow-up question as to whether he could imagine Downton carrying on without him, but said: "The only thing is, I know I would not be able to write 11 hours of Downton and 10 hours of The Gilded Age, or whatever it is, side by side."
While we're certain that type of move is necessary for Fellowes' sanity, we're not sure if we in America actually getting the best deal in that scenario. Zombie Downton Abbey would continue in Britain, while we here in America would get an untested show on a network that hasn't been making very good choices recently. Given our established obsession with Downton something doesn't quite work out in that equation. That said, perhaps Downton, in its aged state, could use some new blood if it decides to trudge along: Complaints about plot and character development have been issued for the past two seasons, and reissued upon viewing this season's conclusion.
On the other hand, leave Britain for America? That just seems ghastly.