C-W Sees That U.S. Won’t Miss ‘Behaving’

The Carsey-Werner Co. has struck a deal to create an American version of the hit British sitcom “Men Behaving Badly.”

The show would be the latest from the company based on a British property. C-W just concluded a deal with CBS on a new sitcom starring Bill Cosby derived from the U.K. comedy “One Foot in the Grave.”

“Men Behaving Badly,” which is produced by Hartswood Films for the BBC, is built around the laddish friendship between two unreconstructed young men who share an apartment, and their relationships with their more enlightened girlfriends.

BBC pickup

Written by Simon Nye, it ran for one season on ITV before being canceled. It subsequently was picked up by the BBC and became one of the pubcaster’s top-rated sitcoms.

The deal with Carsey-Werner marks the return of the show’s British producer, Beryl Vertue, to selling sitcom formats to the U.S., which she pioneered a quarter of a century ago.

In the late ’60s, Vertue sold “Till Death Us Do Part” and “Steptoe and Son” to Norman Lear, who re-produced them as “All in the Family” and “Sanford and Son.”

“I pioneered the format deal, and I learned that you must get together with creative people rather than selling your format to a building,” Vertue said.

Thames TV Intl. will co-finance the American version in return for international distribution rights. Thames was the ITV station that commissioned the first British series and thus retains a stake in the show.

In addition to the original “Cosby Show,” Carsey-Werner is best known for the ABC sitcoms “Roseanne” and “Grace Under Fire.” The company also produces “Cybill” for CBS and the upcoming NBC half-hour “3rd Rock From the Sun.”

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