‘Hill’ honcho fits Brit hit

Daniels to adapt 'Office' for U.S. auds

“King of the Hill” co-creator Greg Daniels has set up shop to run the U.S. branch of “The Office,” based on the hit BBC2 laffer.

Daniels will write the pilot and serve as exec producer along with Ben Silverman and 3 Arts Entertainment’s Howard Klein. Silverman’s Universal-based Reveille shingle has been shopping the Britcom to networks.

Confirming Daniels’ signing, Silverman praised the scribe, calling him one of “the great comic minds” in television over the past two decades.

“Greg is so awesome, even within the world of animation, at creating realistic, empathetic characters,” Silverman said from London, where he and Daniels are about to sit down with the creative execs behind “The Office” to discuss the adaptation.

Characters hailed

“He’s able to come up with characterizations that feel honest and personal without being caricatures,” he added. “And he thoroughly understands what (the U.K. version of) ‘The Office’ is all about.”

Silverman said there’s a “universality” to “The Office” that will allow it to translate well for Stateside viewers. Nonetheless, Daniels’ take won’t be a carbon copy of the original.

“We want it to be the same without being equivalent,” Silverman said.

As Silverman has done with another U.K. import, NBC’s buzzworthy “Coupling,” the original scripts for “The Office” will serve as inspiration for the U.S. skein. But while NBC is using the U.K. scripts as almost word-for-word templates for “Coupling,” Silverman expects Daniels to create much more original dialogue.

Silverman said he’s already had meetings with several U.S. networks about “The Office” and that a home for the skein will be decided by the first of next month.

Original won BAFTAs

The original laffer, from scribes Ricky Gervais (who also stars) and Stephen Merchant, has won several BAFTAs in the U.K., including nods for sitcom and comedy performance.

Show has also gained a cult following in the U.S., where BBC America has run “The Office” since earlier this year. The sitcom was nominated in the comedy category at this year’s TV Critics Assn. Awards.

“The Office” reps the first project for Daniels since he relinquished day-to-day oversight of “King of the Hill.” The scribe remains an exec producer on the animated hit, which was recently renewed for a ninth season.

Daniels’ other credits include “The Simpsons” and “Saturday Night Live.” Scribe, who’s also repped by Endeavor, was recently a consulting producer on “A.U.S.A.,” the short-lived NBC sitcom from “King” alum Rich Appel.