Remakes - Too Close For Comfort to Worst Week

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Too Close For Comfort
Original UK Series: Keep It in the Family (1980-83). An ITV comedy about a high-stressed father who rents out his downstairs apartment to his two daughters.

American Remake: Too Close For Comfort (1980-85). A vehicle for Ted Knight (best known as Mary Tyler Moore's Ted Baxter) as the flustered father dealing with his daughters.

Comments: Fans of Knight were generally pleased by this series that got to showcase his talents.

Touching Evil
Original UK Series: Frequent British TV star Robson Green was the lead for several seasons (1997-1999) in this detective series which ran in the US on PBS's Mystery.

American Remake: Jeffrey Donovan took the lead in this series for the USA Network in 2004.

Comments: USA canceled the series after a year but evidently liked Donovan enough to put him in Burn Notice instead which was a big hit.

Viva Laughlin
Original UK Series: Blackpool (retitled Viva Blackpool in the USA, hence the American title) starred David Morrissey as a small-time arcade owner who is mortgaged to the hilt in his attempt to open Blackpool's first casino.  But a dead body and a nosy Scottish detective (David Tennant) might derail his plans in this 2005 BBC mini-series.

American Remake: Viva Laughlin might hold the record for the fastest-canceled series ever on television, being pulled a mere four days after its premiere on CBS in October 2007 after only two episodes had been broadcast.

Comments: One of the worst-reviewed new shows of the fall 2007 season, despite the star power of executive producer Hugh Jackman, CBS quickly saw the handwriting on the wall and dropped the show immediately.

The Weakest Link
Original UK Series: BBC quiz show hosted by Anne Robinson whose catchphrase, "You are the weakest link. Good-bye," became a national catchphrase in Britain.

American Remake: NBC bought the format lock, stock and barrel (including Robinson) in order to jump onto the "reality TV" bandwagon in 2001.

Comments: A short-lived hit on network TV with Robinson, the series then moved to the PAX network with a different host.

What a Country
Original UK Series: Mind Your Language (1977-79, 1986). ITV comedy about a man who takes a job in a night school teaching English to a motley crew of assorted foreigners.

American Remake: What a Country ran for one year in 1986 as a vehicle for comic Yakov Smirnoff (the title was changed to take advantage of his catchphrase).

Comments: The US show was made directly for the syndication market.

Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Original UK Series: Whose Line Is It Anyway? has run on Channel 4 since 1988, with a revolving cast doing improvs suggested by host Clive Anderson.

American Remake: Drew Carey was the host on ABC, beginning in 1998, with many of the UK cast turning up. It ran through 2007.

Comments: Unlike Anderson, Carey got involved in the show sometimes, but otherwise the US show is unchanged from the original.

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
Original UK Series: A phenomenon on ITV since its debut in 1998, with host DJ Chris Tarrant asking ever-escalating trivia questions.

American Remake: Only Regis Philbin is the difference between this and the original (which has also been exported to countries all over the world). The music, set, graphics and rules are exactly the same.

Comments: Regis is a puppy dog compared to the sometimes sadistic Tarrant who gleefully twists the knife with contestants before revealing the correct answer. But ABC beat it to death and the US version wore out its welcome.  The format was used in the Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire

Worst Week
Original UK Series: The Worst Week of My Life chronicled the misadventures of the hopelessly unlucky Howard (Ben Miller) in the run-up to his marriage to Mel (Sarah Alexander).  

American Remake: CBS debuted it in 2008. Sam (Kyle Bornheimer) is the one-man disaster area, trying to impress girlfriend Melanie (Erinn Hayes) and her parents.

Comments: Initial ratings on CBS were good but did not sustain themselves enough and the series was not renewed.

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