July 25, 2008

Russian Version of ‘The Office’ Planned

Russia is getting its own version of the popular British workplace comedy The Office, the BBC said.

The original television series was created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. Gervais, who starred in the British version, and Merchant are also executive producers of the U.S. adaptation of the series, which is an enormous hit starring Steve Carell and now entering its fifth season.

The Russian adaptation is the result of a licensing deal between BBC Worldwide and Russia's Channel One. It will include 24 half-hour episodes, the British broadcaster said.

Producers will develop their own scripts and will not necessarily follow the original British storylines.

The BBC said no details regarding the new show's cast have been announced yet.

France also has its own version of The Office, while a Chilean adaptation is to debut next month.

Ben Donald, BBC Worldwide's head of sales for Russia, said he was obviously very eager to hear about the cast members, including who will be the David Brentski of Russia, and the location of their Slough.

The British version of the show is set in Slough, while the U.S. adaptation takes place in Scranton, Pa.