Apparently writers in America have no good ideas. I mean, you’d think we would. There are a whole lot of us. And we’ve dreamed up hit shows for fifty years. Also, we live here so you’d think we’d maybe have some sense of what would work in our country. Apparently we don’t. Not according to the new TV Fall line-up. But you know who does have great ideas for American shows?
From UGLY BETTY to THE OFFICE to premiering shows like LIFE ON MARS, KATHY & KIM, THE WORST WEEK, LITTLE BRITAIN U.S.A., and HOLE IN THE WALL (a game show where people have to squeeze through weird shaped openings – yes, of course it’s on FOX), networks are falling all over themselves to adapt imports.
They’ve discovered that the way to attract viewers in Kansas City is to see what works in the Barrier Reef. If it’s a hit in Eje cafetero then housewives in Pittsburgh will surely flock.
And if the shows fail, hey, the networks can always blame France.
So are the ideas really that groundbreaking? Australia’s KATH & KIM is a series about a dysfunctional mother and daughter. Okay, I’ll give them that one. No one in America could possibly have come up with that premise.
The argument can be made -- well it’s the execution that makes the show so fresh and distinctive. Fine, except producers are quoted in Sunday’s LA Times as saying this ‘cuckoo’ series is toned down for the U.S. There’s less snark, more mother-daughter drama. Huh???
I haven’t seen KATHY & KIM. The new version might be great. THE OFFICE managed to jump the pond where many others jumped the shark. But the two women who created the original also starred in it. There was clearly a distinctive voice. The new version has a new cast, new location, new writers, new tone. I’m surprised NBC didn’t go out and just get Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel.
So the message is clear, if you want to sell a show to the U.S., sell it overseas first. I still feel BIG WAVE DAVE’S would be a hit. That was our 1993 short-lived series about three guys who quit the rat race to open a surf shop in Hawaii. You can watch the pilot here.
Well, congratulate us. We’ve just sold it to the Marshall Islands. Of course we’ve had to revise it to adapt to the lucrative Marshall Islands audience. Instead of opening a surf shop our lovable goofballs open a missile testing facility. New title: BIG BOOM DAVE’S. We’ll own Tuesday nights in Majuro!
So next fall look for our show. I can’t tell you which network it’ll be on. I’m expecting a bidding war.