‘Downton Abbey’ Creator Explains How NBC Could Get in the Way of His Work Continuing on the PBS Series

Feb 21, 2013  •  Post A Comment

The creator of the critically acclaimed ITV/PBS period drama “Downton Abbey” says he might have to cut back his work writing the series.

Julian Fellowes, who won an Oscar for his screenplay for “Gosford Park,” tells The New York Times he wouldn’t be able to continue writing the PBS “Masterpiece” series full time if NBC picks up another of his projects, "The Gilded Age." (Please note: the interview with Fellowes includes spoilers about the ending of "Downton’s” third season.)

Fellowes said he hasn’t yet written “Gilded.” “I’m going to, when ‘Downton’ finishes,” he said in the interview. “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. 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.”

Fellowes says he’s hoping the timing will enable him to focus on the new series. “If ‘Downton’ goes on — of course that’s not my decision — then it would be with other writers,” he said. “Perhaps with me supervising, but with other writers.”

Asked whether he could imagine "Downton Abbey" continuing without him, he said: "I think it would be funny. But in life, you no sooner say ‘Oh, I’d never do such and such’ than you find yourself strapped into a chair, doing it. There’s no point, really, in making pronouncements of absolutes. 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."

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