Leeves, Gilpin team with Par for comedy

LONDON — “Frasier” stars Jane Leeves and Peri Gilpin are teaming up with Paramount to develop a U.S. version of the hit BBC sitcom “The Vicar of Dibley.”

The comedy, about the arrival of a female minister in a conservative rural community, is the work of Richard Curtis, Britain’s most successful screenwriter, whose movie credits include “Notting Hill,” “Bean” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral.”

Bristol Cities, the company set up by Leeves and Gilpin, acquired the format from the show’s U.K. producer Tiger Aspect Prods., in a deal brokered by the William Morris Agency.

Neither Leeves nor Gilpin intends to star in the show, which Par is targeting at the major networks.

Tiger Aspect has also sold the format to “Playing the Field,” a soapy BBC drama series about a women’s soccer team, to Whoopi Goldberg’s One Ho Prods. A third Tiger format, the Channel 4 entertainment show “StreetMate,” has been acquired by Dick Clark Prods. “Playing the Field” and “StreetMate” will be developed for cable.

This trio of deals marks the first time Tiger Aspect has struck format sales deals in the U.S.

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