DANIEL Day-Lewis is tipped to make his US TV debut in a historical drama from the creator of 'Downton Abbey'.
The 55-year-old, who has won rave reviews from critics for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in his latest film, has been offered one of the most lucrative deals in small-screen history to take the lead in American TV series 'The Gilded Age'.
It is loosely based on the rise of the Vanderbilt family in late 19th Century New York.
The NBC network has hired award-winning writer Julian Fellowes to create a drama telling their story and believes that Day-Lewis would be perfect to play the lead role of railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt.
An NBC spokesman said: "Daniel Day-Lewis is currently the only name in the hat. He is an absolute natural for a role which we believe would garner a huge audience and win big awards, as well as giving 'Downton Abbey' a run for its money in America."
But a spokesman for the Wicklow-based actor, who won Oscars for 1990's 'My Left Foot' and 2008's 'There Will Be Blood', said only: "Daniel never discusses projects in advance."
NBC passed on 'Downton Abbey' two years ago believing US audiences didn't want period dramas. But after six Emmy Awards for the ITV series, including two for creator Fellowes, US networks are now seeking rival period dramas.
However, NBC claims to be "well ahead of the pack" with 'The Gilded Age' – whose name is taken from an 1873 novel by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner which satirises greed and political corruption in post-Civil War America. Other big names of the period, including JP Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, and John D Rockefeller, will be characters in the drama.
- Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor