Apr 8, 2010
Gather ’round, kids, and I’ll tell you the story of “How I Met Your Russian Mother.” Russia’s CTC network is close to sealing a deal with 20th Century Fox International TV to produce a localized version of the hit U.S. laffer “How I Met Your Mother.” Deal comes on the heels of 20th’s pact with Channel One Russia to develop a 22-episode version of “Prison Break.” And in the U.K., ITV has also been busy developing shows based on the 1990s 20th sitcom “Dharma and Greg,” as well as a new take on the studio’s 2007 drama pilot “The Oaks.”
The pacts are all a part of 20th’s initiative to boost worldwide format sales of its scripted series.
“We’ve had great success licensing our versions of shows as shot around the world,” said 20th Century Fox TV chairman Gary Newman. “These shows can travel in incredibly powerful ways.”
International productions of U.S. scripted formats are nothing new — local editions of “Law & Order” exist in the U.K., Russia and France — but still not common, as most studios opt to just sell the U.S. series to international territories (and don’t want to risk hurting those original series with local versions). But 20th Century Fox International TV prexy Marion Edwards noted that several territories were ripping off the U.S. studios and producing copycat versions anyway — such as an unauthorized version of “Prison Break” in China and a fake “24″ in India.
“We’d been battling countries from doing illegal versions of these shows. Why not do it legally?” she said. Russia is uniquely interesting to us,” she said. “They’ve had success in formats and producing their own versions. There’s an avid TV audience there, but not a long history of creating writers and hit shows. Certainly the U.S. still has the deepest field of writers, which makes it an attractive business for them.”
In Russia, CTC’s take on “How I Met Your Mother” comes following the broadcaster’s success with adaptations of two other U.S. sitcoms, “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “The Nanny.” The broadcaster is committed to producing as many as 40 episodes initially.
The country’s GoodStoryMedia will produce the local rendition of “Mother,” and has already tapped Russian thesps Anna Kuzminskaya, Valentin Stepanov, Alexander Smirnov, Tatyana Fyodorovskaya and Skotnikow Alexander to star. (Source)
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