PBS greenlights California style 'Downton Abbey' set in the 1800's


Looking to capitalize on Downton Abbey mania, PBS has commissioned a multi-generational American drama with all the hallmarks of the hit British drama — an arranged marriage, class conflict, sweeping vistas and history. Leave it to the New York Post to call it Downton Abbey…with flava.

The PBS pilot, which carries the working title “Alta California”, will be set in 1800s California and revolves around merging family fortunes, one rich Mexican, the other European American. Those themes include class conflict and history as well as great landscapes. “Alta California” will tell the story of an arranged union between two families – one Mexican-Californian and the other European-American.

The proposed series is to be created by Dennis T. Leoni, whose series “Resurrection Blvd” tells the story of three generations of boxers within the East Los Angeles Santiago family. It aired for three seasons on Showtime making it the longest-running Latino dramatic series in the history of American television and starred Tony Plana and Nicholas Gonzalez.

More news throughout the week as Tellyspotting files reports from the PBS Annual Meeting in Miami. Lots of upcoming Masterpiece programming news for 2013-2014 including, hopefully, a hint at possible broadcast plans for Sherlock 3, Downton Abbey 4, Mr. Selfridge 2 and Call the Midwife 3. Stay tuned…..