Somewhere in the mid-Atlantic, on the deep ocean floor, there’s a waste pile of comedy ideas that didn’t quite make the transition from the UK and the US. The challenge of translating British comedy for American audiences is fraught with failure, with every Office countered by ten Couplings. But that doesn’t stop networks from trying, and now Allison Janney and Tony Shalhoub are set for the pilot of Friday Night Dinner.
The Channel 4 original has been a hit over here, featuring Tamsin Greig, Paul Ritter, Simon Bird, Tom Rosenthal and Mark Heap as the bickering Goodman family (and their creepy/weird dog-owning neighbour Jim) who spend every Friday night round the dinner table, which never quite goes to plan.
Created by Robert Popper, the show was aired across the Pond on BBC America, and now NBC wants to give a US version a try, with Janney and Shalhoub taking over from Greig and Ritter as the parents. There’s hope for this one, as Greg Daniels, one of the leading lights behind the network’s take on The Office, is overseeing the pilot, which has Office regular director Ken Kwapis attached to direct. Daniels also has experience on the likes of The Simpsons and King Of The Hill.
As of right now, it’s just a pilot, but we’re intrigued to see how the typically British-style humour can be converted. Thankfully, Popper is also involved, so you know it’s in good hands this end. Still, we wonder if he’s been in touch with Steven Moffat to hear how badly it can all end…