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British comedy 'IT Crowd' gets another shot at US remake

Geeky Brits Moss, Roy and Jen will return to TV -- but this time as unappreciated American computer nerds. Can Internet, soccer and quizmaster jokes translate from across the pond?

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Bonnie Burton profile photo
Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
3 min read

Chris O'Dowd, Richard Ayoade, and Katherine Parkinson in the original "The IT Crowd." FremantleMedia Enterprises

When you work in the IT department, computer problems and office politics go hand in hand. For four full seasons and a recent final special, the hit British comedy "The IT Crowd" made legions of fans laugh with episodes that explored everything from clueless upper management to geeks who get excited over bomb squad robots and tabletop gaming.

Now NBC is hoping to cash in on the success of the British TV show by remaking it for a US audience.

NBC made a "put pilot" commitment -- meaning the network has promised to air the pilot -- to "The IT Crowd," which is being shepherded by producer Bill Lawrence, and "Community" producers Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan, as well as Warner Bros., reported Deadline.

Goldman and Donovan will write the new pilot "about two IT nerds (Roy and Moss) stuck in the basement of a major corporation who know nothing about how to interact with people, and their newly installed, ambitious female manager (Jen), who knows nothing about computers," according to Deadline.

Back in 2007, actor Joel McHale was slated to play one of the leads in an American version of "The IT Crowd," and even shot a pilot for the show. However, the show was put on hold and McHale instead joined the best study group imaginable in the sitcom "Community." And the rest was history, until NBC decided to put the idea in motion yet again.

It will be interesting to see if this new attempt at remaking "The IT Crowd" for an American audience can translate British humor into laughs stateside.

While original creator of the UK show "The IT Crowd" Graham Linehan will not be writing the pilot, he will be an executive producer along with Lawrence, Goldman and Donovan.

Linehan tweeted this week about the news, "Yep. I'm closely involved and we're going to get it right this time."

Fans of the original series might recall that Linehan wasn't too thrilled by the 2007 US pilot, which he wasn't consulted on previously by NBC.

"The IT Crowd is a very British show in the sense that it comes from a tradition of surreal sitcom that doesn't really have an equivalent in America," Linehan wrote in his blog in 2007. "The only point in a mainstream US network taking on a show like this would be to reinvent it from the ground up, using my story-lines and characters merely as a jumping-off point, throwing away what's not useful and keeping everything else. Judging by the pilot I saw, this was not what they had in mind."

Back then, Linehan had quite a few suggestions for the American producers if they indeed planned to take on the project again, such as "get them out of that basement" and "stay true to the general principles of the show."

There's no word yet on when NBC will air the pilot for "The IT Crowd" or who might star in the show, but here's hoping the American remake does something with the hilarious episode "The Speech" -- where IT workers Roy and Moss convince their manager Jen that all of the Internet is controlled by a small black box guarded by the Elders of the Internet and hidden inside the iconic London clock Big Ben (Which would now have to be replaced by...the Statue of Liberty?).

Watch the video below to see the original American pilot and how it compares to its British predecessor.