January 25 2009

Fox Greenlights AbFab Pilot

My nightmare is officially coming true as the American version of Absolutely Fabulous is officially going to pilot at Fox.

As I mentioned back in October, Fox has been planning a remake of Absolutely Fabulous for some time.  The news from Variety is that Fox has finally greenlighted the production of a pilot with Jennifer Saunders and Christine Zander as executive producers, along with Ian Moffitt, Mitch Hurwitz, Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum.

For those of you unfamiliar with how television shows get to be a series, let me explain.

Even with AbFab going to pilot, it doesn’t guarantee that it will ever make it to air, but due to the investment placed in this, and people like Mr. Hurwitz of Arrested Development fame being involved, I would say the likely hood is high.

I am still nervous, even with all of this great talent involved, of Americans screwing up one of my favorite British comedies.  American television is littered with disastorous remakes of British shows like Coupling and Payne, but, to be fair, there have also been successful British transitions such as Three’s Company and All in the Family.

I think a lot of the problem stems from British “series” (their word for “season), tend to be only 6 episodes long.  So, if a show is on for four series, then it is the equivialnt of just one of our seasons, which is 22 episodes long.  Trying to come up with 22 concepts at once as opposed to just 6 at a time is where I think we fall down so often.  They can take the time to craft their stories and work in much smaller bursts, where we are pumping out episodes like some sort of mass production factory line.

Whatever the case may be for so many failures, this one is heading to pilot for sure, and I wish them all the luck in the world, but it still makes me nervous.  Remember,  Roseanne Barr already abandoned this concept some years ago because she didn’t feel the humor would translate to American audiences, so you have to wonder what they think they can do differently this time.

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