Ricky Gervais turns podcasts into new cartoon series

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The premium American cable network HBO will premiere a 13-episode animated comedy series of The Ricky Gervais Show, based on the British comedian's popular podcasts. Gervais will provide his voice in the series starting February 19. The show, produced and animated by W!LDBRAIN, will be broadcast in spring 2010 on Channel 4 in the UK.

According to Gervais's website, where the original podcasts are downloadable, The Ricky Gervais Show features Gervais with his long-time collaborator Stephen Merchant (who appeared in the UK series The Office and Extras), and their friend Karl Pilkington "chatting about stuff." Each of the 24 half-hour episodes of "audio drivel" contain their offbeat musings on topics from philosophy to natural history.

The podcasts won a Wired magazine award and Guinness World Record. The first episode became the number one download within hours of its launch, and the show has had more than eight million downloads, "and counting."

Gervais has previously appeared on HBO in his series Extras,which earned him an Emmy, and his British TV series The Office, from which the hit NBC show starring Steve Carell was adapted. There are also several versions of The Office in different countries, including Le Bureau in France, Stromberg in Germany, Os Aspones in Brazil, Le Job in Quebec, Canada, and La Ofis in Chile.

Gervais will host the Golden Globes Awards on January 17, 2010.