After years away from the game, PBS is throwing itself full-force into original scripted programming. First, no longer content with borrowing Downton Abbey to fill whatever slots in its schedule Ken Burns hasn’t called dibs on, PBS struck a deal to co-produce shows with the BBC. Now the network has announced its own original series about the Civil War, promising at least the historicity of Downton, if not so much the elegance and grandeur.
According to ComingSoon.net, the as-yet-untitled series will follow Mary Phinney and Emma Green, volunteer nurses for the Union and Confederacy respectively, whose worlds collide when the Green family’s hotel is taken over and converted to a Union hospital. If the show is to be a worthy replacement for Downton—which could likely end following its forthcoming sixth season—Green will learn about the siege by eavesdropping on a conversation that’s unusually loud for one containing such sensitive information. Then her fiancé will be killed by a stray mortar shell, bringing her tally of dead fiancés to 17.
The show will mark PBS’ first original scripted program since 2002’s American Family, as well as the network’s most in-depth exploration of the Civil War since Ken Burns’ 1990 documentary. Ridley Scott will produce the as-yet-untitled series, which is scheduled to premiere the first of its six episodes in winter 2016.