Upfronts: A closer look at ‘based on a —— series’

Primetime in the 2008-09 season is gonna be all over the map — Australia, Israel, Canada and the U.K. for starters.

In this strike-interrupted pilot season, networks are embracing concepts and formats from overseas like never before. After writing “based on a —– series” about 50 times while tracking the pilot buzz this weekend, I got to wondering about the origins of these projects.

Sitdownshutup_2 I doubt that I’m the only one who assumes that if a property is being exported to the U.S., it must’ve been a hit at home, right? Wrong. At least that wasn’t the case with “Sit Down, Shut Up” (pictured left), the live-action Australian sitcom that has inspired the Fox animated series “Class Dismissed,” from Mitch Hurwitz and a bunch of his old “Arrested Development” cohorts. Fox gave it the greenlight on Saturday on the strength of a short presentation reel.

Original “Sit Down” ran for 13 segs on Australia’s Channel Ten in 2001 but wasn’t well received by critics or viewers, according to a post on “TV Tonight,” a blog that bills itself authoritatively as “Australia’s leading TV blog.” In fact, this voice of Oz TV greeted the news that “Sit Down” had been fingered as a U.S. animated series with a pithy: “Now I’ve heard everything.”

CBS is believed to be thisclose to picking up has picked up an unusual drama project, “Mythological Ex,” that is based on an Israeli series of the same name (and retitled “The Ex List” for the U.S.).

Tracking down any details of this show — revolving a woman sent on a soul-searching journey after a tarot card reader tells her to get hitched pronto to Mr. Right, who is someone who has already been in her life — on the web in English was kinda tough.Mythologicalx_3

From what I could gather, the series airs on Israel’s Channel 2, an outlet that bowed in 2005, and is produced by a company called Reshet TV. Here’s the link to the company’s home page. If anyone who reads Hebrew can provide further guidance on whether “Mythological Ex” has its own page within, I’d be grateful. (Thanks to reader Phil, here’s the link to the page, with clips of the show.) The image at right was all I could turn up through the Google Image search.

Word is that CBS execs are over the moon about the potential of the U.S. adaptation penned by Diane Ruggiero.

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  1. Joe says:

    David will be on the show after he finishes up with Boston Legal to wrap up that series.

  2. Phil says:

    Here’s the program page for “Mythological-X” on the Keshet website — http://www.keshet-tv.com/Program.aspx?ProgID=4064
    Although there isn’t much there aside from clips from the show, interview clips and a link to the show’s forums.
    From the initial descriptions, it sounds like “How I Met Your Mother,” only it’s set in the present and is an hour long drama (I think). Should be interesting.
    I really hope NBC does AU’s “Kath & Kim” justice. If done well, it could be great. It worked for “The Office.”
    Ditto with ABC’s “Life on Mars.” The fact that David E. Kelley was running the show was a bad sign as he has a tendency to leave the show he runs, leaving the show running duties to writers who tend to ruin the show (cough*bostonlegal). And the fact that ABC is throwing the producers from October Road to run the show to replace Kelley – not good at all. October Road was so incredibly uninteresting, and that coming from one who was ecstatic about a show being run by a guy who wrote the awesome “Beautiful Girls” and the screenplay for “High Fidelity.” One promising thing is the switch from 20th Century Fox TV to ABC Studios. Only good can come out of that.

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