You might remember NBC’s fatal 2003 attempt at adapting the Steven Moffat/Sue Vertue situation comedy, Coupling. I say fatal because even though there were 11 episodes produced (which is still a miniscule number of episodes for an American sitcom), it was cancelled after only 4 episodes with 7 of them having never seen the light of day to this day. 180 degrees in the other direction, however, was NBC’s re-make of Ricky Gervais’ brilliant series, The Office, which ran for 9 seasons largely due to the talents of Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer and Ed Helms.
In yet another ‘bold’ move by U.S. commercial broadcast networks this past week, two series which starred the great Chris O’Dowd, IT Crowd and Moone Boy, will be getting American treatments in the not-too-distant future. The real question is, will this be another Coupling or The Office? Currently airing on a number of public television stations in the U.S., O’Dowd’s semi-autobiographical sitcom, Moone Boy, focuses on 12 year-old Martin Moone and the sarcastic, imaginary friend (O’Dowd) who helps him navigate the challenges of his eccentric childhood. According to Deadline.com, ABC has given the green light for a pilot American version of Moone Boy, which won the International Emmy for best comedy last year. O’Dowd will write the single-camera remake and will executive produce with 3 Arts’ Dave Becky & Nick Frenkel, Sprout Pictures Limited, Baby Cow Productions & Hot Cod Productions Limited for Sony Pictures TV.
Not to be outdone in the endlessly ongoing ‘let’s do an American version of a brilliant British situation comedy sweepstakes‘, NBC has targeted an earlier Chris O’Dowd vehicle to bring to U.S. television, The IT Crowd. While this won’t be the network’s first attempt to bring this series to America, this one at least has a bit of potential given those associated with the upcoming project. Bill Lawrence, Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan, of Community fame, are no strangers to ‘workplace’ comedies such as IT Crowd. In addition to Community, all three were involved with Scrubs from the beginning as well as Spin City. That said, the jury will forever be out as to if this is a good idea to keep trying to ‘American-ize’ brilliant British telly or if it’s officially time for American television to come up with their own ideas. It can be done, you know. Think recent examples of The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother and 30 Rock. Not thinking there are any British predecessors to these ideas. Unfortunately, given the greatness of The IT Crowd, they are already starting with two strikes against them…