American TV lightens up the miserable Meldrew
Wednesday 28 August 1996
Last autumn the US sitcom company Carsey Werner bought the format to the long-running (and peculiarly British) comedy from the BBC and managed to cast Bill Cosby as the grumpy Victor Meldrew character.
But the sit-com executives apparently had problems with the title. They believed American viewers would assume it was about death and would be put off watching it.
When Cosby was cast to play the lead, however, the new title became obvious. It had to have "Cosby" in it - and as there was The Cosby Show already, there was only one alternative. It was retitled Cosby - short, sweet and effective.
But there were still other difficulties resulting from the comedy's British heritage. One was the name of the Victor Meldrew character and the other was the character itself: a cantankerous old Englishman.
It was decided to change the name to something a little more American - Hilton Lucas. Then the character was polished for US tastes, becoming warm and friendly.
By great good luck, Phylicia Rashad, who played his wife in The Cosby Show, proved to be available to play the screen wife in Cosby. She was hired - after Cosby ousted the previous choice, Thelma Hopkins, and the original producer.
A pilot and seven episodes have been shot and will be screened on CBS from 16 September.
Caryn Mandabach, president of Carsey Werner, explained the thinking behind the numerous changes. Americans, she said, think they are immortal and cannot handle poverty, the working class, old people, pensioners, or the unemployed.
"The American people will only accept winners," she continued. "Victor seems like a loser. We do not have people like that in this country."
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Boris Johnson claims porn-obsessed Islamic jihadists are 'literally w*****s'
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Putin opponent reveals Russian President's daughter's secret identity
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Gay couple buy JebBushForPresident.com web domain, and refuse to sell
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...
Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL FIRM - A...
Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - EXCELLENT FIRM - We have an outstandin...