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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 March, 2005, 07:48 GMT 08:48 UK
Strong showing for Office remake
Steve Carell in The Office
One critic said Steve Carell was "no match" for Ricky Gervais
More than 11 million viewers tuned in to the first episode of the US version of UK sitcom The Office on Thursday.

Despite mixed reviews from the critics the show was watched by 11.2 million viewers, with strong support among the key 18- to 49-year-old demographic.

Life on a Stick - another new sitcom debuting on Thursday on the Fox network - attracted just 9.25 million viewers.

The second episode of The Office was aired on Tuesday. The series will be shown on BBC Three later this year.

The original Office was shown on the US cable channel BBC America, winning high praise and two Golden Globe awards.

Co-writers Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant are executive producers on the US version.

In the US remake, Gervais' character David Brent has become Michael Scott and is played by US comedian Steve Carell. The action is still set in a paper company, though the location has been moved from Slough to Scranton, Pennsylvania.

The show received mixed reviews from American critics ahead of its premiere, with the New York Daily News declaring it "neither daring or funny".

"Compared to the BBC version... NBC's version is so diluted there's little left than muddy water," its critic continued.

Time magazine called the show "a daring, unflinching take on very American workplace tensions".

But the Washington Post said Carell "overdoes it at times" and was "no match for the wonderful Ricky Gervais".

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