Fox News host Stuart Varney insisted on Monday that the increasing popularity of the British television show Downton Abbey posed trouble for liberals because of its portrayal of rich people, Mediaite reported.

"They're nice people," Varney told the hosts of Fox & Friends. "They create jobs, for heaven's sake. They're classy, they've got style. And we love them. That show is wildly popular. It poses a threat to the left, doesn't it?"

Nowadays, he said, rich people are usually depicted as "fat cats who don't pay their fair share," fueling a common perception that the wealthy are evil. When host Gretchen Carlson interjected that some people might also like the show because it offers an alternative to "stupidity on reality tv," however, Varney dismissed her.

"You can say all of that, but you miss the point," he said. "You can dismiss it as high-class soap opera -- and I agree, it is a soap opera, no question about it -- but that misses the point. The politics of Downton are very important, and it's important that they are popular in America today."

The show, which earned 27 Primetime Emmy Award nominations in 2011, follows an aristocratic family's life in the early years of the 20th century. Host Steve Doocy, an avowed Downton fan, spoke up in defense of Varney's theory, citing the depiction of the Earl of Grantham, Robert Crawley (played by Hugh Bonneville).

"The entire town loves the rich guy who lives in the abbey," Doocy said. "He provides the jobs. He looks out for everybody, he has free medical care for everybody. Without him -- and spoiler alert, two weeks ago, it looked like he was gonna lose the joint -- without him, the place would go belly up."

Watch Varney make his case for Downton as a positive reflection of conservatism, posted by Mediaite on Jan. 21, 2013, below.

[Image of cast member Dame Maggie Smith via ITV's YouTube channel]