US networks circle ABC comedy
US networks are already circling A Moody Christmas, which only launched last week.
THE national broadcaster is poised to export a fifth television program to the US market, cementing an unprecedented wave of international interest in emerging Australian talent.
US networks are already circling the quirky ABC comedy A Moody Christmas, which only launched last week.
The deal would follow similar deals for remakes of the critically acclaimed dramas Rake and The Slap and the quirky comedies Strange Calls and Review with Myles Barlow.
A Moody Christmas is a comedy about a family Christmas gathering. Each episode is set one year apart. It is being described in Los Angeles as an inventive twist on the "extended family" sitcom.
It has even been suggested as a potential successor to the top-rating US comedy Modern Family, which features three branches of an extended family.
Producer Jason Burrows confirmed "a couple of offers" have been made to buy the show. "There has been a lot of interest, internationally, for both the show and the format," he said.
"Everyone is after the next Modern Family, both here and internationally," Burrows said. "And I think Moody Christmas has a bit of an edge to it that seems to really appeal to people."
Of the four recently announced international adaptations of ABC programs, only one so far – Review with Myles Barlow, renamed Review with Forrest MacNeil for the US market – is in production.
Review was created by director/writer Trent O'Donnell and actor/writer Phil Lloyd before the pair formed a production company Jungleboys with Burrows and produced A Moody Christmas.
O'Donnell said acknowledgement in the US does not necessarily deliver a big financial windfall, but "it opens up a whole new world".
"Doors have opened up to us a lot more in the US," he said.
The US version of Review will air on Comedy Central and stars comedian Andy Daly, who is also producing and writing the series.
It also has a high-profile TV comedy director attached: Jeff Blitz, whose credits include the US comedies The Office and Parks and Recreation.
"Review was a little show, an idea we'd always loved, and we were thrilled to make it in Australia," says Lloyd. "For that to become something being remade elsewhere, we're really excited about that."
Daly believes the show's Australian humour will translate for American audiences. "I think there are a lot of people who like to be constantly surprised in their comedy and like to see something new go a little darker and more extreme than they had imagined," he said.
Prior to the wave of interest in ABC programs, US adaptations have had mixed success.
The US version of Kath & Kim bombed in 2008 and a planned adaptation of Packed to the Rafters never made it out of development. In contrast, the SBS comedy Wilfred, remade by the US network FX, has been a hit.