HBO aims at Brit ‘Shootout’

Cabler developing Stateside version of Blighty laffer

HBO is developing a U.S. take on “Suburban Shootout,” the Blighty cult comedy hit from Feelgood Fiction that’s been described as a cross between “Desperate Housewives” and “Kill Bill.”

American scribe Michelle Ashford (“Boomtown”) has come aboard to adapt, write and exec produce the HBO version, a half-hour single-camera laffer.

“Shootout” takes place in a typical suburban town where middle-aged women who appear to be normal housewives are actually at war with each other, smuggling guns and drugs and sometimes killing each other.

U.K.-based Feelgood is making a major push into U.S. television this year. Company also has set up an original comedy idea at CBS.

Laurence Bowen, who co-owns Feelgood with Philip Clarke, said “Shootout” taps into the same suburban zeitgeist as “DH.”

“It’s about what really goes on behind the sprinklers and shiny faces of suburbia,” he said.

First season of “Shootout” aired on Blighty’s Five and Paramount networks, as well as on U.S. cabler Oxygen. Second season is now lensing but won’t air on Oxygen.

Feelgood’s still hammering out a deal on the Eye laffer, which is expected to be set up at CBS Paramount Network Television.

Both the original “Shootout” and the Eye project are from scribes Gary Beckett and Roger Martin, former advertising execs who recently made the switch to TV writing.

Eye is keeping a lid on details of the project, which is being produced only for the U.S. marketplace.

That’s a switch from most U.K.-to-U.S. TV concepts, which usually start out as Blighty series before making their way Stateside (e.g., “The Office”).

“This is the first time we’ve ever pitched a show directly to the U.S.,” Bowen said, adding that the rules on the way Blighty concepts make the trip over the Pond seem to be changing.

“It feels like the U.S. and the U.K. are more open to each other’s ideas,” he said. “Many of the writers I work with in the U.K. hold up a huge candle to U.S. comedies and dramas. And when you talk to U.S. writers now, there are a lot of references to British shows.”

Bowen said Feelgood’s ultimate goal is to “find a way of making shows that work for the U.K. and U.S. simultaneously. ‘Lost’ could have worked as a co-production.”

Feelgood recently inked with William Morris to help guide the company’s path into the U.S. Tenpercentery has been actively looking to set up U.K. scripted formats at American networks, bringing Kudos Television’s “Life on Mars” to ABC and Baby Cow’s “Nighty Night” to Showtime.

On the feature side, Feelgood Films produced the 2002 Christina Ricci pic “Miranda.”

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