Jeremy Piven to Star in 'Lavish Costume Drama' About Selfridges

With an ensemble of British accents, ornate period costumes, high production value and lots of drama, we're pretty sure the new PBS series Mr. Selfridge is going to fill the hole Downton left in our TV watching schedule when it ended (now if only someone could do something about the hole that finale left in our hearts).
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With an ensemble of British accents, ornate period costumes, high production value and lots of drama, we're pretty sure the new PBS series Mr. Selfridge is going to fill the hole Downton left in our TV watching schedule when it ended (now if only someone could do something about the hole that finale left in our hearts).
Photo By John Rogers/ITV via WWD

Photo By John Rogers/ITV via WWD

In its piece about Mr. Selfridge, a new costume drama airing March 31 on PBS, WWD tries really hard to dispell the notion that it is anything like Downton Abbey--which it mentions six times in the article.

But with an ensemble of British accents, ornate period costumes, high production value and lots of drama, we're pretty sure it's going to fill the hole Downton left in our TV-watching schedule when this past season ended (now if only someone could do something about the hole that finale left in our hearts).

According to the trade, "lavish costume drama" Mr. Selfridge is "a world away from" everyone's favorite Masterpiece Classic, as it follows Harry Gordon Selfridge, played by Ari Gold Jeremy Piven, on his mission to shake up British retail. It promises "showgirls, shopgirls, brash businessmen and lots of snazzy merch." Yes, snazzy.

The show boasts a budget of £1 million an episode, or $1.51 million at current exchange, which is similar to Downton's. According to the trade, ITV re-created the original Oxford Street Selfridges flagship from the ground up, to every last detail. Costume-wise, we'll see bespoke suits made from original period fabrics on the men and "furs, hats like wedding cakes and acres of lace" on the women.

One area in which it sounds like Mr. Selfridge will differ from Downton is in its depiction of the ladies. Executive producer Kate Lewis tells the trade, "We’re also looking at what happened to women: Retail was the one place where a woman could have a high-powered career, and that is fascinating.” Its characters, it sounds like, won't be as stubborn and stuck in the past as Downton's.

And it's pretty impossible to imagine fast-talking Jeremy Piven, who describes Selfridge as "an incredibly colorful character. The guy loved nightlife, gambling and women!" interacting with the Crawleys. The Dowager Countess wouldn't know what to do with herself. Actually, that would be amazing. Crossover special, please?

Watch a trailer below!

Watch Mr. Selfridge Preview on PBS. See more from Masterpiece.