Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Money is Always Greener on the Other Side of the Ocean

Starting next Monday (Dec 19) you'll be able to watch a new game show on NBC, ''Deal Or No Deal.'' NBC plans a five-night run for the Aussie-born series.

That's right. We no longer just steal ideas from the Brits. We steal from Oz too.

But that's not really news. NBC presented ''Number 96'' in 1980. Fox? ''Beyond Tomorrow'' in 1988. The Frog? ''Popstars'' in 2001. All three series were based on Aussie shows.

We really do prefer Brits though.

In the '60s the Brits first invaded American TV. Shows like "The Avengers," "The Baron" and "The Saint" were produced in England and shown in both the UK and the USA. But in the 1970s, British TV imports lost their accent. Rather than showing the original series, US networks put American faces and voices on British concepts. Unfortunately, Britcoms like "Coupling" lost their sense of humour in translation.

US networks aired more than 50 skeins based on British series. Nearly half of these series have the same name on both sides of the Atlantic. Just look at this year's crop of same-name series:
  • ''Supernanny'' (ABC)
  • ''The Office'' (NBC)
  • ''Hell's Kitchen'' (Fox)
  • ''Hit Me Baby One More Time'' (NBC)
That means more than half of the premises have different titles on opposite sides of the pond. Match the US series title (left column) with the original British series title (right colum) on which the US show was based.

US Series NameBritish Series Name
1."American Idol"a."Mind Your Language"
2."Three's Company"b."Till Death Do Us Part"
3."What a Country"c."Steptoe and Son"
4."Two of Us"d."Fawlty Towers"
5."All in the Family"e."Man about the House"
6."Cosby"f."One Foot in the Grave"
7."Amanda's"g."Keep It in the Family"
8."Ropers"h."Two's Company"
9."Sanford and Son"i."Pop Idol"
10."Too Close for Comfort"j."George & Mildred"


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