America picks up another Brit hit

The American version of ITV1’s Sketch Show – fronted by Frasier star Kelsey Grammer – has been given the green light by network chiefs.

The actor was in London last month to record a pilot version of the show, using a mostly American cast alongside original star Lee Mack.

It obviously impressed the suits at Fox, which has ordered a six-part series for the autumn - and kept Mack in his starring role.

The news is also a coup for the production arm of British comedy agent Avalon, which makes the show. Executive producer Jon Thoday said: “We are very excited, as it is our first series for a US broadcaster.”

Grammer is a co-producer, and stars in a few of the sketches, most notaby the “bookends” that introduce and sign off each episodes.

The American cast for the pilot comprised Malcolm Barrett, Kaitlin Olson, Mary Lynn Rajskub and  Paul F. Tompkins and these too will be retained for the series.

The news was announced on Wednesday, less than a week after the last episode of Frasier – for which Grammer earned around £1 million an episode – aired to an audience of 25 million. NBC also confirmed this week that it's remaking six episodes of The Office for the American audience.

The original Sketch Show, which won a Bafta for best new comedy, has been sold to Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Russia, Serbia, Singapore and Switzerland.


>> Interview with Grammer on the set of the pilot

Published: 20 May 2004

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