Top 20: British talent making it state side

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

This year, the biggest hits on US television have one thing in common: the creative talent that brought them to the screen is British. Guy Adams reports from Los Angeles

Simon Cowell

In the UK, we make fun of his trousers, haircut, and colourful love-life. In America, "Mr Nasty" boasts a superstar following. Cowell's multi-faceted career (producer, A&R man and TV presenter) certainly pays well, too: in November he revealed on Top Gear that he stumps up £21m a year in income tax, putting his annual earnings at about £54m.

Ian McShane

To his middle-of-the road UK fans, McShane will forever be the perma-tanned antiques guru Lovejoy. But his career was revived in 2004 when he took the role of Al Swearengen in the hit series Deadwood. Since lifting a Golden Globe in 2005, the film roles have come flooding in, from Shrek the Third to Kung Fu Panda.

Terri Seymour

Call it incestuous if you will, but former Wheel of Fortune hostess Terri Seymour has been going great guns since moving to LA as the girlfriend of Simon Cowell. She is now working as a red-carpet correspondent for Extra, one of the most watched entertainment news shows in the US.

Ricky Gervais

The US's recent love affair with British comedy began with its TV networks realising that if you Americanise transatlantic hits, you lose what bought them success in the first place. For that leap of faith, blame Gervais, the man behind Extras and The Office, who is currently pursuing a Hollywood acting, producing and writing career.

Cat Deeley

Remember the comely-but-unremarkable lass from Sutton Coldfield, who played second fiddle to Ant & Dec? Now Ms Deeley lives in Beverly Hills, where she is a household name. Besides presenting gigs for Fox, ABC News, and the NBC Tonight show, she anchors the prime-time smash-hit talent show So You Think You Can Dance?

Nigel Lythgoe

Veteran ITV producer Lythgoe experienced a brush with fame in the UK as "Nasty Nigel" in the pioneering 2000 show Popstars. Then he moved to the USA, joined 19 Entertainment as head of TV, and helped bring American Idol to the screen – before morphing into "Nice Nigel," the creator and head judge of another 19 hit series: So You Think You Can Dance?

Paul Telegdy

As the BBC's top dog in Hollywood, Telegdy is in charge of Auntie's empire in the US. As well as securing the contract to make Dancing With the Stars for ABC, he's taken advantage of the new willingness by US TV networks to entrust UK formats to UK pros, and is working on the local version of Top Gear.

Matt Grant

A year ago, 20-something Grant was a stockbroker in London. Then he was "spotted" by a casting agent during a visit to Mahiki, the Mayfair boîte patronised by Princes William and Harry. He was asked to compete on a reality TV series, The Bachelor, and having subsequently found himself, in his own words, "a C or D list celebrity", is now pursuing a TV presenting career.

Colin Callender

If the Beeb needs a new D-G, expect Callender to make the shortlist. Head of HBO Films, he's one of British TV's strongest advocates in Hollywood. Callender's projects have garnered 57 Emmys and 18 Golden Globes.

Sheeraz Hasan

This wheeling, dealing Londoner has become one of the most powerful men in new media, thanks to his internet TV station, which shows paparazzi video footage and entertainment news stories to one million viewers a day. Often dubbed the Asian Perez Hilton, on account of his site's in-your-face bitchiness.

Gordon Ramsay

The chef has his fingers in as many pies here as he does back home. In addition to Kitchen Nightmares USA, he fronts Hell's Kitchen USA, and has taken his restaurant empire to LA, where he is rumoured to be house hunting.

Ed Westwick

Though its ratings remain low, Gossip Girl is one of the most talked-about new shows on US television. The teen drama is filming its second series – and owes much of its appeal to Hertfordshire's very own Westwick, who has become a fixture on the LA party circuit.

Hugh Laurie

An extraordinary ability to walk with a limp and carry off an American accent has turned the former Blackadder star's career around. When he first left the UK to record the hit series House, Laurie was seen as a long-in-the-tooth character actor; now he's one of TV's most bankable stars.

Mark Burnett

If you despair of the endless diet of reality TV that America inflicts upon the world, blame Burnett: a producer who invented the genre with Survivor in 2000. A former squaddie who has lived in LA since the early 1980s, he also pioneered The Apprentice and The Restaurant.

Melanie Greene

Agent, producer and founder of an eponymous talent firm that has turned a string of British TV actors into Hollywood stars. Her stable includes Michael Sheen, Paul Bettany, Ed Westwick and Lucy Davis. Greene is also the executive producer of the hit series Californication, which stars her client David Duchovny, together with Brit actress Natascha McElhone.

David Walliams

With his creative partner Matt Lucas, Walliams has spent the past three months creating an American spin-off of Little Britain for HBO. Simon Fuller is reported to be executive producer, though cynics may wonder if the Little Britain format has had its day.

Simon Fuller

The Spice Girls and S Club 7 helped Fuller to make his fortune in the music industry. His company, 19 Entertainment, then inflicted further crimes against pop, with the creation of the TV talent show. It owns the rights to every Idol format in the world, alongside a host of similar shows. Time magazine considers him to be one of the world's 100 most influential people.

Bear Grylls

The posh former SAS soldier is making a play for the lucrative, and now-vacant, "Steve Irwin" slot as American television's favourite purveyor of wild-animal-based danger. He's recently been in Los Angeles to publicise the launch of a new series on the Discovery Channel: Man vs Wild.

Conrad Green

A TV producer who worked on the very first Big Brother series in the UK before moving to LA as part of the original British "talent show" invasion five years ago. Green runs the BBC's production of Dancing With the Stars and is integral to Auntie's plans for future expansion in the US.

Nikki Parker

When Daniel Day-Lewis lifted his Oscar earlier this year, his publicist, Nikki Parker, was cheering from the sidelines. Having arrived in Los Angeles in the early 1990s with barely a penny to her name, Parker built up one of the city's foremost PR companies, Denmead; in 2004 it was sold to talent giant Rogers & Cowan, where she is currently executive vice-president.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst - High Wycombe - £30,000

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst role...

Guru Careers: Talent Manager

£30-35k (P/T - Pro Rata) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienc...

Sauce Recruitment: New Media Marketing Manager - EMEA - Digital Distribution

£35000 - £45000 per annum + up to £45,000: Sauce Recruitment: The Internation...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003