Mouse’s ‘Girls’ golden in Russia reversioning

'80s sitcom gets face lift on Chanel One

NEW YORK — The Mouse House has exercised the Midas touch with “The Golden Girls,” having engineered a reversioning of the 1980s sitcom in, of all places, Russia.

Channel One, one of that country’s major broadcasters, has just launched the localized version of the laffer to very respectable ratings.

Agreement is another indication of just how seriously the Hollywood majors are taking the formatting biz, looking now to cookie-cut not only their reality formats but scripted fare as well.

Deal to localize “Golden Girls” came after a successful run of the original series on Russian TV but was never publicly announced. The format agreement was confirmed Tuesday by Philippe Maigret, a senior VP for Disney’s European sales office, and Channel One’s general manager Konstantin Ernst.

The local adaptation of the series translates as “Grownup Girls” and focuses on four single 50-ish (rather than 60-ish) spirited friends, who live together in a typical Russian country house. The show revolves around the adventures and mishaps of the two widows and two divorcees — whose personalities are modeled on the original foursome of the Yank version.

Having launched last month, the series is the highest-rated reversioned U.S. series on Russian TV in the last several years, with a 5.9 rating and 19% share, on par with the station’s pre-prime average for 2006.

Within the key Moscow market, performance in the target women 25-60 demo was even stronger, with the show taking a 30% share.

“This deal reinforces our success in developing local versions of key programming properties in our reality portfolio and now in our library of evergreen series,” Maigret said.

“The Golden Girls,” which was created and produced by Witt-Thomas-Harris in association with Touchstone TV, aired on NBC from 1985-92 and was licensed to most foreign territories during that period.

The agreement for the localized format in Russia was concluded on the Disney side by Tatjana Vucanovic, exec director of sales for Central & Eastern Europe, and Howard Myers, creative director of the Portfolio Development Group, and by Andrei Balashov, assistant general manager of Channel One.