Following in Lear's footsteps, ABC remade "Man About the House" as "Three's Company," starring a young John Ritter. The show's premise of a man living with two young women proved controversial, but "Three's Company" was a ratings winner from 1977 to 1984.
More recently, British shows seem to have been lost in translation, with British producers blaming network interference. "Men Behaving Badly," a BBC show about two beer-drinking, sex-obsessed, farting, belching 30-something friends, regularly won huge British audiences. Its final episode was given the highest of British television scheduling honors: a three-part Christmas special in 1998. The NBC remake, starring Rob Schneider, limped through its first season before being canceled midway through the second. British producer Beryl Vertue noted that "you cannot behave very badly" at 8 p.m. on NBC.
Unsuccessful transatlantic television reached a low in 2003 with "Coupling." An unofficial British "Friends," "Coupling" was remade for NBC using identical scripts but a slightly more photogenic cast. It was added to NBC's "Must-See TV" Thursday night lineup in fall 2003 but was canceled after just four episodes. We'll have to see if the Americanized "Office" will turn this trend around. Daryl Grove
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