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Monday, 18 November, 2002, 11:32 GMT
The Office 'set for US transfer'
Ricky Gervais
Ricky Gervais co-writes and stars in The Office
Cult British comedy The Office could be remade for an American audience as US broadcasters negotiate to buy the rights.

Former Channel 4 chief executive Michael Jackson has told The Guardian newspaper he is interested in signing up the show for Universal Television where he is now chairman.

The Office features co-writer Ricky Gervais playing David Brent, the boss of a Slough paper company, whose management skills leave more than a little to be desired.

The show is known for the embarrassing comments made by Brent as he acts the clown to unsuccessfully endear himself to his white-collar colleagues.

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson left Channel 4 to head for American TV
Mr Jackson said he could envisage the action being transferred from Slough to Manhattan.

The US has a chequered history of buying up British comedies and dramas and remaking them with a US cast, including Queer as Folk and Men Behaving Badly.

Gag-fest

Although Queer as Folk received critical acclaim, Men Behaving Badly was panned by the critics for being too watered down and politically correct from its UK counterpart.

Mr Jackson is currently overseeing the remake of BBC Two comedy Coupling, which stars Jack Davenport and Sarah Alexander in the UK version.

"It's the classic problem. The network buy it because they love it, but then gradually the pressure comes to make it more of a gag-fest and less of a farce. And the challenge is to stop that happening," Mr Jackson told the Guardian.

Gervais has already confirmed The Office will return to the BBC for a third series, despite the final episode of last series looking like spelling the end of Brent's days in paper management.

The show has built up loyal following of viewers as word has spread, reaching a peak of 4.4 million viewers.

The DVD of the first series set a new record for the fastest selling comedy DVD.

See also:

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