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NBC Looks to Adapt British ‘News’ for U.S.

Mar 17, 2009  •  Post A Comment

NBC is closing in on a deal with the United Kingdom’s Hat Trick Productions to bring the long-running BBC panel show “Have I Got News for You” to the United States.
According to two people familiar with the conversations, NBC is in advanced talks with producer Jimmy Mulville’s Hat Trick to produce a pilot for a U.S. version of “News.” The U.K. series has been airing since 1990, with more than 200 episodes produced.
“News” features two teams of celebrities and newsmakers humorously trying to answer questions about current events and politics. The show makes heavy use of film and TV clips, as well as tabloid headlines, and features participants riffing on the week’s events.
NBC declined comment on its plans for “News,” but it seems likely the network will make some changes to the show’s format in order to make it fit with the big “event” feel seen in most primetime reality shows.
Paul Telegdy, NBC’s new head of alternative programming, has made it clear that he wants to develop more unscripted series with comedic elements, and “News” fits into that mold. Other upcoming NBC reality projects with potential for laughs include the Jerry Seinfeld-produced series “The Marriage Ref” and the summer relaunch of “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.”
One comedy-based reality series that does not appear to be in NBC’s immediate future is “Last Comic Standing,” which was left off the network’s recently announced summer schedule.

115 Comments

  1. I don’t get that myself. I felt Last Comic Standing was one of NBC’s bellwether summertime properties along with America’s Got Talent. I’m also shocked that American Gladiators got scrubbed especially considering how much it was hyped last summer. Oh well.

  2. MORE NBC REALITY GARBAGE FLOPS WHEN WILL IT END. PEOPLE ARE SO CLUELESS AND WONDER WHY NO RATINGS LAST PLACE NETWORK.

  3. I’ll stick with “Wait, Wait, Don’t tell Me” on NPR thank you very much.

  4. The basic idea sounds very much like “We Interrupt This Week”, hosted by Ned SHerrin, which ran briefly on PBS in the mid-80’s. If it is, welcome!

  5. NBC did this already… in 1983. “The News Is The News.”

  6. ‘Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me’ was supposed to be made into a television game by CBS some time ago. Don’t know if those plans are still in the works though.
    The problem with NBC importing game shows is that they glam them up to appeal to what they think a younger audience wants to see. Cue up the neon lights, dramatic music, and episode spoilers before commercial breaks. And don’t forget that they’ll have to up the monetary ante as well, because they believe no one will watch anything with a top prize lower than a million.
    The Brits have some fun and intelligent game shows. It’s when they fall in the hands of the big networks over here that they become something completely different.

  7. ‘Have I got news for you’ is neither reality nor a game show there is no prize money, it’s just a way to make fun of that weeks news. Generally the ‘teams’ are a comedians, the editor of private eye on one and a politician and another comedian on the other.
    It won’t work in america, there’s no one comparable to be on the teams.

  8. OMG, NBC will kick GSN’s ass with its new fall sked. No joke.

  9. My god, can an American network, just ONCE, come up with an idea by itself instead of either directly stealing something from overseas or “adapting” it into the toilet???
    HIGNFY isn’t a “reality” show. I can’t conceive of what NBC thinks it’s going to change about the show that will make it “more prime time big event style.” If there’s a plan to add prize money, it’s not the same show anymore. The show as it is only has competition in the “just for fun” sense – it doesn’t matter who wins. HIGNFY is really closest to something like The Daily Show or Countdown with a quiz element in it – commentary and satire of the news more than much importance on actually knowing things (more than necessary to make a joke).

  10. graene and Jess S have got it right, HIGNFY really isn’t either a game show or a reality show, it’s a satirical news quiz panel show where the points won and who wins and who loses are secondary to who’s the funniest.
    As an aside, one of my favourite (that’s right, with a u :P) programme listings in the Radio Times (the main TV listings magazine in the UK) was for an episode of HIGNFY, for which it simply said: “The satirical warhorse rumbles on.”
    Also, I very much doubt that they can find anyone in America who could match the sbsurdist comic genius of Paul Merton.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Have_I_Got_News_for_You
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/haveigotnewsforyou/

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