Cheers to be remade... in Irish

Cheers is to be remade in the Irish language.

Dublin-based production company Sideline has signed a deal with CBS to remake the hit Eighties sitcom for the gaelic-speaking TG4 channel.

Ted Danson’s character, Sam Malone, could be updated from an ex-baseball pitcher-turned-Boston bar owner to a retired hurler who moves to the western, Gaeltacht area of Ireland and opens a pub, Billy McGrath, creative director of Sideline has suggested.

TG4 has previously broadcast Irish-dubbed episodes of South Park, although with much of the adult content removed.

Despite holding the rights to all 275 Cheers episodes, only 12 will be rewritten in the first instance. Casting is currently under way.

Speaking to the Irish Film and Television Network website, McGrath said: ‘I know some people think it’s crazy but is re-producing Cheers any different than us producing a version of Mastermind, Take Me Out or The Great British Bake Off for Irish viewers? The fact is that there are no studio sitcoms being produced by Irish broadcasters and haven’t been for years.

‘The deal is also a two-way opportunity for Sideline and CBS, so Irish sitcom writers that we nurture have the chance for their best work to be read by CBS comedy executives, and from there who knows? We are opening doors in the UK for Irish comedy writers so why not the USA?’

McGrath, who produced Channel 4’s recent Rubberbandits pilot, is also developing another, unnamed, show with Father Ted director Declan Lowney.

Debuting in September 1982, Cheers had up to 26million viewers by the end of its eleven-series run in 1993. It aired on NBC, but CBS now holds the distribution rights.

Prince, Kurt Vonnegut and John Kerry, the favourite to be America’s next secretary of state, are all fans. The former presidential candidate and senator for Massachusetts made a brief cameo in the episode Bar Wars VI: This Time It's For Real.

– by Jay Richardson

Published: 14 Dec 2012

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