Nets adapting Beeb skeins risk 'Coupling'-style misfires
HOLLYWOOD — Turns out the big fat warning that was NBC’s disastrous version of “Coupling” hasn’t stopped webheads from sampling fare from across the Pond.
Broadcast execs are scouring for potential primetime programming the ever-rotating lineup at BBC America, the cabler that’s home to some of the best U.K. television.
In the past month alone, Fox has ordered up what are sure to be sanitized Stateside versions of “Peep Show,” a randy modern-day “Odd Couple”; and a sudser from the producer of “East Enders,” the long-running Brit hit soap. Taking Blighty’s works and running with them is nothing new — see “Survivor” and “American Idol,” all derived from Brit formats.
But an increasing number of scripted projects from the U.K. are looking to compete with the import reality craze.
Translating scripted programming is hit and miss. Besides “Coupling,” canned comedy “The Ortegas,” based on the BBC’s “The Kumars at No. 42” didn’t even make it to air.
Buzz is better for a Ricky Gervais-free version of “The Office” bowing on NBC early next year. American auds are more familiar with the show, since the original British version has become a cult hit on BBCA and on DVD.