Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Hooray For London-Wood!

In today's NY Times, there's an article about the abundance of new TV shows adapted from foreign series, a trend that is hard not to notice. But even though the fall TV schedule is littered with scripted shows lifted from the UK (Worst Week, Life On Mars), Australia (Kath & Kim), and Israel (The Ex List), Ben Silverman, the NBC exec who first brought over The Office and Ugly Betty, and the man arguably responsible for the rash of Americanized versions of foreign-born shows, doesn't want you to worry.

Mr. Silverman, like the other executives, emphasized that American ideas will continue to dominate, with a sprinkling of international shows mixed in. "It's still Hollywood, not London-wood," he said.


Whew. Thanks for clearing that up. I was just about to throw away my Hollymerica flag lapel pin, and replace it with a BigBenTown flag brooch.

Still, this river of TV series ideas goes both ways, and the US has traditionally been more of an exporter than an importer, even if that seems to be changing now. Anyone who has ever switched on a TV abroad to find a dubbed version of The Simpsons (a dozen languages and counting!) can testify to that. Other American shows that are highly translatable to other cultures/countries: Lost (everyone everywhere can relate to cliffhangers), [fill in the blank]'s Next Top Model (canned ridiculousness knows no bounds: there are versions of this show from Honduras to Hungary), and even Gilmore Girls (the Italian version, Una Mamma Per Amica, is dubbed super-fast).

Oddly, one of the more popular US TV exports is The Nanny–which means that Fran Drescher isn't just an actress, she's an internationally recognized nasally-voiced, honk-laughing type.

You're welcome, World. Hollymerica #1!