A Frank exchange

Skinner sitcom heads for the US

Frank Skinner’s sitcom Shane is set to be remade for America.

The show, about a wisecracking cab driver, will be developed for the CBS network, with Skinner acting as executive producer.

Seven episodes of Shane were made for ITV1 in 2004, and a second series was commissioned, but never aired. Reviews were mixed, and although some critics thought the exploits of a fortysomething family man bored with his family was too middle-of-the-road, many praised the gag-laden scripts.

Michael Shipley and Jim Bernstein, who worked on animated series American Dad, are adapting Skinners’ scripts for American audiences.

The show is one of six new companies being developed by the US TV arm of Avalon, the management company that represents Skinner.

Others are: Blue, a comedy set in a New York suicide hotline centre for Fox; Mad, Bad & Dangerous about a newly single father on the dating game for CBS; Honeymooned (Fox) about two pals who wind up on a honeymoon after one is jilted; an untitled comedy from stand-up Lynne Koplitz about a woman suddenly forced to look after her eight-year-old nephew; Evil Genius (Comedy Central), with comedian Paul F. Tompkins as a supervillain who takes over the world, but finds it hard to run,

David Martin, who oversees Avalon’s American office, told Hollywood trade paper Variety: ‘We hedged our bets a little bit. We've got one British format, others created by clients of ours and some independent projects.

‘Avalon is a more alternative comedy brand. We've been incredibly successful in the UK in bringing that to the mainstream. Alternative voices are becoming a lot more contemporary.’

Avalon Group boss Jon Thoday added that the crossover of talent between the UK and US is becoming easier. ‘The world is a much smaller place,’ he said. ‘Who would have thought the No 1 movie in America [Borat] would be from a British comedian?’ He added: ‘In the last year or so, new reality shows haven't succeeded, and I expect a resurgence in comedy. There's a huge hunger from the public.’

Published: 20 Dec 2006

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