Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has moved on from that period drama and has on deck the ITV adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s Doctor Thorne as well as the long-gestating NBC drama The Gilded Age. But the busy Lord isn’t stopping there. He’s also penning a serialized novel fresh with its own app. Grand Central Publishing has acquired rights to the prologue and 10-part Belgravia, which it will release beginning in April. Modeled along the lines of Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers, it will be available week-by-week and delivered in text and audio versions directly to consumers’ devices. The app will launch with the free prologue; each of the 10 installments then will cost $1.99. The 1840s-set story centers on a secret that unravels behind the doors of London’s grandest postcode. But it really begins on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, at the Duchess of Richmond’s now-legendary ball, where one family’s lives will change forever. Fellowes is joined on the project by Mr Selfridge author Lindy Woodhead as historical consultant. Fellowes says he’s “very intrigued” by marrying “the traditions of the Victorian novel to modern technology.” Belgravia will be published as a hardcover in July.
Speaking of Fellowes, Downton Abbey got some posthumous good news in the new year. The final episode, which aired on Christmas Day in the UK, saw its consolidated ratings spike much higher than the overnights originally announced December 26. The episode had averaged 6.9M viewers on the night but added 4M more with delayed viewing. It already was the most-watched program on Christmas and now has a consolidated audience of 10.9M, setting a new high in British television for overnight-to-consolidated gain. Episode 1 of Downton’s sixth and final season aired Sunday night on PBS in the U.S.