Network taps Zander to adapt Saunders series

Edina and Patsy are ready to take on L.A.

Fox is developing a redo of Jennifer Saunders’ enduring Britcom “Absolutely Fabulous,” to be exec produced by Mitch Hurwitz, Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum for Sony Pictures TV, Tantamount and BBC Worldwide America.

Christine Zander (“Saturday Night Live”) is set to write the script and will exec produce along with the BBC’s Ian Moffitt and original series creator Saunders. Fox has given Sony a script order with hefty penalty attached.

The latest attempt at a U.S. rendition of “Ab Fab” will be transplanted to L.A. but retain the basic template of the original, revolving around the friendship of two boozy, over-40 best friends who are desperate to stay hip and youthful and who carry on under the disapproving eye of Edina’s teenage daughter, Saffy.

More than a decade ago, Roseanne Barr worked on developing a U.S. version of the show with Carrie Fisher for ABC. CBS’ 1995-98 Cybill Shepherd comedy “Cybill” had an “Ab Fab” flavor to it. Another short-lived 1995 sitcom, CBS’ “High Society,” starring Jean Smart and Mary McDonnell, was a thinly veiled imitation.

Original series starred Saunders and Joanna Lumley. It was a big hit in Britain and successful import for Comedy Central. In the U.K., “Ab Fab” ran as a regular series from 1992-95, with a two-part finale airing in 1996. Saunders and Lumley reunited for further adventures with fresh segs produced in 2001 and 2003.

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