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Friday, 1 March, 2002, 11:00 GMT
Ali G 'heading Stateside'
Ali G is releasing his first movie this year
Ali G is releasing his first movie this year
Spoof rap star Ali G is in talks to star in a US version of his hit TV series Da Ali G Show, it is reported.

The controversial character, played by Sacha Baron Cohen, may soon appear on cable channel HBO, the station behind Sex and the City and The Sopranos, said TV industry magazine Broadcast.

The move would be a major boost to the profile of Cohen's creation - he is only known across the Atlantic for his starring role in the Madonna video Music.

US television is traditionally seen as being very conservative. The deal being thrashed out between his producers, Channel 4 and Talkback Productions, and HBO will specify whether the show will need to be toned down.

Controversy

The character first hit UK TV screens in 1999 as part of the satirical series, The 11 O'Clock Show on Channel 4.

His mock interviews with politicians and other prominent public figures were so successful he was awarded his own spin-off series - Da Ali G Show.

The character has always provoked controversy and in 2000 Cohen was accused of racism by some of Britain's leading black comedians.

They claim that he is guilty of ridiculing black street culture.

Sara Cox had to apologise to listeners
Sara Cox had to apologise to listeners after an Ali G outburst
Comedian Curtis Walker said: "I find both him and his material quite offensive.

"I don't like the idea of a white guy playing a black guy anyway and when he is playing to a stupid stereotype it is even worse."

The BBC was forced to apologise to listeners this month after Ali G let out a string of profanities in a live interview on BBC Radio 1.

In the interview with Sara Cox, he used a four-letter word when describing the removal of offensive language from his new record.

He then joked that he had smuggled drugs from Jamaica in his body, and referred in colloquial terms to having been intimate with singer Jennifer Lopez.

He went on to describe Pop Idol contestant Gareth Gates as "spasticated", and called the TV show's winner Will Young a "batty boy".

Sara Cox apologised to listeners after Ali G's outburst, and again after the show.

He was promoting a new movie called Ali G in Da House, where he becomes a politician, and a rapping duet with Shaggy.

See also:

18 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Radio 1 apologises for Ali G outburst
16 May 01 | TV and Radio
Ali G takes home spare Bafta
01 May 01 | Business
Big Brother, Ali G boost C4 revenue
15 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Complaints over Ali G catchphrase
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