John Barrowman may be heading back to television – but potentially not in the way fans hoped. Barrowman has been cast in a new ABC drama from Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes called Gilded Lilys – creating questions about the fate of Torchwood.

Barrowman, who is best-known for his role of rogue Time Agent Captain Jack Harkness, will play Julius Ashford Lily, the charming favored son of the Lily family. According to writer K.J. Steinberg (Gossip Girl), the series is an epic love story set in 1895, and will revolve around the Lily Family and the opening of the first luxury hotel in New York City. The Lilys have reigned over New York’s elite for decades, but in the wake of a recent family scandal, their fortunes have shifted, both financially and socially.

Friday Night Lights Matt Lauria, Matt Long (Jack & Bobby), Blythe Danner (Meet the Parents) and Madeline Zima (Californication) have all previously signed on to the pilot, with Rhimes and her Shondaland partner Betsy Beers exec producing for ABC Studios.

The burning question on the minds Barrowman’s fans concerns the fate of popular sci-fi hit, Torchwood. As it turns out, Barrowman’s potential new series is not the immediate threat to the future of the Doctor Who spin-off.  With both Barrowman and co-star Eve Myles ready and hopeful that the series will return for a fifth season, the ball remains in series creator (and Doctor Who rejuvenator) Russell T Davies’ court.

Unfourtunatly, in late 2011 Davies had to suddenly return to the United Kingdom after his partner, Andrew Smith, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. The sudden illness and subsequent jump back across the pond put all of Davies’ current US projects on hold – including production on his new Showtime series Cucumber and any possible plans for Torchwood season 5.

Torchwood may be on hold for the time being, but fans of Captain Jack might get to see the much-beloved character return to its parent show, Doctor Who. Current Doctor Who executive producer and writer Steven Moffat is looking to possibly have the immortal captain appear again on the series – potentially for the show’s upcoming 50th anniversary next year.

More info on Gilded Lilys and the future of Torchwood as it comes up.

Source: Entertainment Weekly