Classic BBC comedy Only Fools and Horses could be remade for American television.
The Radio Times reports that the BBC One comedy is being remade by ABC for American audiences. Writers Steven Cragg and Brian Bradley, of Happy Endings and Scrubs, are developing the remake for ABC according to the listings magazine. The project will revolve around the get-rich-quick schemes of two brothers who life with their aging grandfather.
Only Fools and Horses was created by John Sullivan who died last year. It starred David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst. It ran for seven seasons between 1981 and 1991 after which several Christmas Specials were produced up until 2003. At its height the comedy had audiences of over 25 million viewers and still regularly tops comedy polls.
Only Fools and Horses spawned the spin-off The Green Green Grass which starred John Challis and Sue Holderness which ran to four seasons between 2005 and 2009. A fifth season was ordered by the BBC but later cancelled when its ratings dropped when ITV moved Coronation Street to Thursday evenings directly opposite the comedy. Following the demise of The Green Green Grass Sullivan wrote prequel series Rock and Chips which aired three specials between 2010 and 2011.
The sitcom will not be the first comedy remade for American audiences. BBC Two comedy Coupling, by Steven Moffat, was remade for America but lasted just four episodes before being cancelled. Are You Being Served? never made it past the pilot stage for American television while there have been several attempts at remaking Absolutely Fabulous none of which, as yet, have past the pilot stages.
ABC’s remake of George and Mildred – a spin-off from Man About the House starring Brian Murphy and Yootha Joyce – ran for two seasons while the remake of Man About the House itself, Three’s Company, ran for 8 seasons.
More recently Channel 4 comedy Free Agents was remade but again was not successful though NBC’s remake of The Office has so far lasted eight seasons. Comedy drama Shameless, remade for Showtime, has so far run for two seasons and has proven popular with audiences.