Pariah collars ‘Ted’

Brit priest laffer set for American remake

Pariah TV has pacted with Hat Trick Prods. to import irreverent Britcom “Father Ted” and remake it for Yankee auds.

“Father Ted” revolves around three eccentric Catholic priests who are exiled for various reasons to serve parishioners on remote Craggy Island, somewhere off western Ireland. The three clerics, who live with a tea-faring housekeeper, constantly find themselves in bizarre situations.

Three seasons of “Father Ted” were produced by Hat Trick in the U.K. before the untimely 1998 death of series star Dermot Morgan. Skein has also garnered a cult following in the U.S. thanks to a DVD release and airings on BBC America.

“It’s a terrific show,” said Pariah topper Gavin Polone. “I think this is the right time to do a show that touches on the humanity of priests. The press creates a distance between the church and regular people, but this makes the priests human.”

Pariah and Hat Trick are also collaborating on the upcoming Fox talkshow/sitcom hybrid “The Ortegas,” which is based on Brit hit “The Kumars at No. 42.”

“Seinfeld” alum Spike Feresten has been tapped to exec produce “Father Ted” and adapt the show for this side of the pond.

“I was raised Catholic, and this show just felt right to me,” Feresten said. “The essence of the show is about men who are also priests, and as men they have many human foibles.”

Polone and Feresten stress that the show, like its British counterpart, won’t touch on the real-life scandals currently plaguing the Catholic Church.

“We’re really just trying to make you laugh,” Feresten said. “We won’t go into areas that aren’t funny for the show. I’m not out to tear down the church or proselytize.”

Beyond his Emmy-winning turn on “Seinfeld,” Feresten spent a number of years on David Letterman’s latenight talkers both at CBS and NBC. He has most recently been based at Big Ticket TV, where he consulted on “The Jamie Kennedy Experiment.”

Besides Polone and Feresten, Hat Trick’s Jimmy Mulville and Denise O’Donoghue will produce “Father Ted.”

A network is not yet attached to the U.S. version of “Father Ted,” although Pariah’s pod relationship with NBC would make the Peacock a likely first stop.

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