Britain scores one US TV hit

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The Independent Online
ALTHOUGH Granada's TV comedy Holding The Baby is struggling to find its niche on ITV, which pulled the show from its current time slot last week, the series has found a home on the Fox Network in the US. Fox has ordered 13 episodes for its autumn schedule.

Granada, which had three series on show for the US networks, was the only British company to land a firm commitment for a drama or comedy series when the networks last week revealed the 37 new shows on their autumn schedules.

"One out of three is not bad, and it may even be one-and-a-half as NBC is looking at Cold Feet as a mid-season replacement," said Andrea Wonfor, managing director of Granada Productions. The mid-season slot - where new shows replace series that do not work - is considered an easier place for new series to start as they do not compete with a crush of new shows.

Meanwhile, Fox did not pick up Hat Trick Productions' version of the comedy Game On, called Rock Scissors Paper in the US, although Hat Trick will have its version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? featuring Drew Carey on ABC this summer.

Pearson All American Television's Boston Grace was not picked up by UPN, one of the newer networks part-owned by Paramount, though UPN's executive vice-president of entertainment, Tom Nunan, said it could be recast for mid-season. Pearson is also working on the Simon Nye series Animals as a mid-season show for NBC.

A second attempt to remake Fawlty Towers for the US has failed. Universal bought the format rights and used the comedian John Larroquette in the pilot, but it was not picked up by CBS.

Meanwhile, Granada looks set to settle its dispute with Carsey Werner, the producer of US hits such as Roseanne, over the rights to the British series Puny Humans. Carsey Werner had tried to buy the format rights to the series, but Granada refused and Carsey Werner went on to develop its own series, Earth Scum, which Granada charged was suspiciously close to Puny Humans. The two companies now seem likely to co-produce the US series Earth Scum which is looking for a mid-season home at NBC.

The six networks unveiled their line-ups at a range of New York venues. Advertisers are now deciding how to share out their $5bn (pounds 3bn) budgets among the US TV networks.