My Family 'too dark' for America

Sitcom creator's frustration

American TV networks turned down the chance to make My Family – fearing it was ‘too dark’.

Although it is possibly the most mainstream sitcom on British TV, the show’s creator Fred Barron said executives in his native US thought it was too edgy when he first approached them with the idea.

In an article to promote his new comedy, After You’ve Gone, Barron said: ‘The American networks thought it was way too dark.

‘Where were the hugs and reassurances that everything was okay? "Where's the love?" they asked. "I dunno," I answered. "It's there. It's just not obvious.”

‘One network executive who "really saw the show's potential" suggested I change it "just a little" and make my father a grumpy but loveable child psychologist with a radio talk show.

‘"You mean Frasier with kids," I offered. "Exactly," the exec answered. "Now that's a show people will want to watch." Unfortunately, it wasn't one I wanted to write.’

But he took the idea – based on his own family – to the BBC, where it has run for 72 episodes over six years and scooping a handful of top award nominations.

Click here to read Barron’s article in full

Published: 23 Dec 2006

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