African flavour ... Desperate Housewives to become household name in Nigeria.
Desperate Housewives is Africa bound.
The television series, which aired between 2004 and 2012, is being remade by the African network EbonyLife as part of a deal announced at the annual TV content market Mipcom.
The reboot will have a pan-African cast, and will be filmed and set in Lagos, Nigeria. It will launch next year.
Desperate 'Nigerian' Housewives ... Disney's Katherine Powell and Giovanni Mastrangelo, with Mo Abudu, CEO and executive chairman of EbonyLife TV. Photo: Michael Idato
The series, created by writer/producer Marc Cherry, was set in a suburban street named Wisteria Lane and explored the personal relationships of a group of female neighbours.
During its almost decade-long run it was one of the most watched TV series in the world.
Mo Abudu, the CEO and executive chairman of EbonyLife, said the series spoke universally "to women and to men, about relationships, marriage and bringing up children. All those stories are there. And Africans are the original storytellers. Your grandparents would sit you down at night and tell you tales. We love a good story."
Abudu, who also fronts a talk show on her network, said the series would be wholly immersed in African culture, and feature African fashion and music.
"We are going to give the stories an African flavour," she said.
The channel reaches 44 countries on the African continent.
The announcement generated enormous noise at Mipcom in Cannes, France, this week.
Abudu said people were surprised because they don't often see "that side" of Africa.
"What you see of Africa is what you get on National Geographic. It's what you get by watching elephants or giraffes. I have never seen a giraffe in my entire life," she said.
"The news tends to focus on certain stories. I am not saying those realities don't exist, but there is another reality. We want to focus on the younger designers who are doing amazing things, the musicians, the entrepreneurs."
After decades of reality TV dominating the ubiquitous television "format" business – that is, buying the idea, not the finished product – "scripted formats" are emerging as a rich source of revenue for networks and studios.
Desperate Housewives has proved to be a strong performer for Disney, with remakes in Turkey, Colombia, and Brazil.
But it was not the only scripted format making noise at the market this year.
The critically acclaimed US drama Breaking Bad, which has just finished an extraordinary six-year run on US television, is being remade in Colombia with the title Metastasis.
And in one of the more peculiar remakes, the Irish comedy Mrs Brown's Boys, which airs on the Seven Network in Australia, is being remade with the new title Pan Mama by the Czech Republic channel TV Nova.
In the series, Czech comedian Milan Steindler will don a frock to play acerbic, foul-mouthed grandmother Agnes Brown. In the British version of the series, the role is played by Brendan O'Carroll.
Another major event at Mipcom was the launch of The Tunnel, French version of the hit Danish series The Bridge.
An American remake of the series has already been produced, which airs in Australia on FX.
The new French version stars Stephen Dillane and Clemence Poesy as police officers on opposite sides of the British/French border who must work together when a body is found in the channel tunnel.