‘Absolutely Fabulous’ Is Gettin’ An American Make-Over

Good news/Bad news

Oh, Lord … I don’t know if this is a good thing or a very, very bad thing but Variety magazine is reporting that FOX is planning an Americanized version of the hit British comedy Absolutely Fabulous. Now, before you AbFab fans go ballistic, there is a very important element to this proposed remake … AbFab creator Jennifer Saunders (who also starred in the original version of the series) will be on board to executive produce this new version of the series. I mean, I can see how the show could be a huge success (the remake will be set in LA) but the worrier in me fears that it could also be a huge, disappointing failure:


Edina and Patsy are ready to take on L.A. Fox is developing a redo of Jennifer Saunders’ enduring Britcom “Absolutely Fabulous,” to be exec produced by Mitch Hurwitz, Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum for Sony Pictures TV, Tantamount and BBC Worldwide America. Christine Zander (“Saturday Night Live”) is set to write the script and will exec produce along with the BBC’s Ian Moffet and original series creator Saunders. Fox has given Sony a script order with hefty penalty attached. The latest attempt at a U.S. rendition of “Ab Fab” will be transplanted to L.A. but retain the basic template of the original, revolving around the friendship of two boozy, over-40 best friends who are desperate to stay hip and youthful and who carry on under the disapproving eye of Edina’s teenage daughter, Saffy … Original series starred Saunders and Joanna Lumley. It was a big hit in Britain and successful import for Comedy Central. In the U.K., “Ab Fab” ran as a regular series from 1992-95, with a two-part finale airing in 1996. Saunders and Lumley reunited for further adventures with fresh segs produced in 2001 and 2003.

Personally, I am really consumed right now with the way that the new NBC remake of Kath & Kim (which debuts this week) will do before I can focus on this proposed AbFab remake. Not that one has any bearing on the other but as a fan of the original versions of both of these series, I am concerned that bad remakes might tarnish the specialness of the original incarnations of these shows. The thing I loved most about AbFab is all the stuff they were able to get away with that would generally not work (or be allowed?) on a major US television network. The appeal for me was enjoying the outrageousness of a show that American audiences were not given ready access to. If the new incarnation is able to match the spectacular wanton excess of the original version of the series, then sign me up. If it’s gonna be a watered down version of the show, then I’m really not interested. I’m encouraged that Jennifer Saunders will be involved and casting will be key … until we find out who is cast in the roles of Edina and Patsy, I’m reserving all judgment. As I said, I’m hopeful that Kath & Kim will be able to find new life as Americans but … the jury is still out. I suspect that FOX will be watching to see if and/or how well K&K does in the ratings very closely. Do any of y’all think this is a good idea?

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  1. kittycatastrophe

    I love AbFab and I consider this to be at the same level of sacrilege as the remaking of The Rocky Horror Picture Show… some things are not to be touched.

  2. Gaby

    I love love love this show….so funny!! I hope the american version is as funny as the british one!

  3. Emily

    I love AbFab, and an American remake just wouldn’t work as well. No remake!

  4. Shawn

    Could not have said it better kittycatastrophe–Horrible idea sweetie!

  5. Huge fan of this show. That being said…there’s just no way. I mean, the cracks they make about drugs and alcohol and encouraging Saffy to be slutty…prudish Americans will have an absolute fit. So that means it’ll be watered down. Boo!

  6. Lin

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!! AbFab is the original, the OHM (original hot mess), and it cannot be replaced! This is awful news. :(

  7. Alicia

    What a terrible idea! Nothing can touch the original!

  8. Kelly

    Bad idea =(

  9. FUCK NO! dont ruin a classic…sweetie darling sweetie darling

  10. Laurie

    NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HORRIBLE IDEA! BLASPHEMOUS!

  11. Mr. Gyllenhaal

    This show is so awesome they shouldn’t remake it! Why don’t people come up with new ideas instead of remake everything. I feel this period in our entertainment history is so generic!! HORRIBLE IDEA!!!

  12. Erin

    My whole family is addicted to AbFab. My father of all people turned my brother and I onto it years ago. I just don’t see how it will work and also think it is a horrible idea! It makes me want to turn up the bottle now!!!

  13. Mike

    you’ve got to be kidding me. im sorry, but this is a HORRIBLE idea! Why cant hollywood come up with their own stuff instead of constantly remaking great things?! and when they do.. it turns to shit. :(

  14. heather

    no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no!

  15. Nooooo!! Kath & Kim is one thing but not my AbFab. I’ll give it a shot but my expectations are incredibly low.

  16. urnieburn

    I love AbFab and I’m not sure this will work, but for what it’s worth – I had a friend who actually worked for the woman on whom Edina was based, and she did have a PR office in LA for a while.

  17. CAT

    ugh – not sure this is a good idea. Agree with another post that the stuff they joke and talk about on that show is not going to fly with American audiences, especially on network tv. Maybe if it was on a cable channel where they can get away with more of it?

  18. Whitney

    Unless they are allowed to show them smoking pot and drinking on Fox they might as well forget it. Even then, I still don’t think they should do it. I have been a huge fan of AbFab since I saw it on Comedy Central for the first time in 1994. I think bringing such a great show to America and getting a new cast is a terrible idea. Let it be a legend!

  19. SaffySaysNoMum

    Dear god, No! I can’t believe that American television could capture the level of debauchery that was achieved on the original. It’s a classic and I agree with others who insist this should be left alone. Hey FOX, use your own creative thinking and come up with an original idea!

  20. M

    For the love of god stop trying to “americanize” all the good british tv shows.
    Please… think of your own ideas for entertainment.

  21. Bollystoli

    Didn’t American TV try to remake it almost fifteen years ago? It was called High Society with Mary McDonnell and Jean Smart, and it lasted thirteen weeks. The idea of a remake is just laziness on the part of US networks. Why is there such an American allergy to accepting that other countries can do things as well as or better than them?

  22. Philbert

    A remake? Yikes, America is much to anal retentive to attempt a remake of AB FAB. Give it up before you make another fool out of yourselves FOX. It won’t work.

  23. No, darling – let’s not touch this one. AbFab should remain fabulous in its original incarnation.

  24. Shannon

    God, I’m amazed that the Fox censors could even WATCH the original, let alone consider remaking it. I though they would just faint dead away while clutching their pearls.

    Seriously, this is AWFUL.

  25. Roddygirl

    This is a terrible idea! AbFab is classic Brit humor and should NOT be Americanized!

  26. WindReader

    I thought that America already had an AbFab version of its own – that thingie starring Sybil Sheppard and Christine Boranski…

  27. geana

    oh hells no!!! they are going to kill this show if they americanize it!!! abfab is abfab already!! come on fox dont eff it up!!

  28. tia

    Ughhh, who and what?

  29. john

    Sure am suprised if Jennifer is involved to do a remake.
    It is very rare these ideas are successful.
    Kath & Kim (u.s copy) starts this week in oz.Will watch for curiositys sake but i know it won’t be a patch on the original.
    I guess if Jen can get the crew that made the extremely funny & totally neglected Arrested Development it has a chance,but who i ask could play the roles?Bette as Edina sweetie,darling.
    And will the best friend become a gay male?Hmmmmm.

  30. Lisa

    I adore AbFab. This scares me though. So many American remakes of U.K. shows turn out to be mistakes. Like when they tried to remake Coupling for the American audience. Yikes!

  31. Robert

    Trent!
    Saw a preview of Kath and Kim – it was really bad – a few funny bits but if the series is anything like the premier – it not gonna last!

    Also – if you remember way back when – Roseanne Barr was working on and AB-FAB for the US – but that obviously never panned out….

  32. troyS

    Note folks that the other Exec Producer is Mitchell Hurwitz, creator of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, a brilliant show that like ABFAB pushed the envelope and featured hilariously vapid, self-absorbed characters.

    This could turn out O.K.

  33. Val

    Didn’t we already try the Americanized version of Ab Fab? I vaguely remember something with Jean Smart from Designing Women that came & went in a flash that was supposed to be the American version of Ab Fab. It’s a shame our networks are so intent of force feeding us endless reality shows instead of creating something new & worthwhile. Every once in awhile a new show shines – Pushing Daisies, Life, The Ex List.., with very few exceptions the remainder of them are the same old thing. Sigh..

  34. JarEdina Monsoon

    WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, there was an American show, sweeties..with Jean Smart and Mary McDonnell..a disaster! All America does is rehash foreign show…’Hole in the wall’ , umm hello? WTF? I am going to down Bolly and Japanese finger foods!

  35. Sarah

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO… every good television show is good because it’s NOT american… that goes for movies as well… if it wasn’t so addicting, i’d be absolutely disgusted with American entertainment… this is why i will only ever solely rely on Trent ;)

  36. Saunders being involved is not necessarily a gold seal of success–she was in charge of the show when it was re-released on British TV, after it originally went off the air, and it wasn’t funny in the slightest.

    Besides, they already had an American remake of AbFab: starring Karen Walker, on “Will & Grace.”

  37. Kendra

    Thank you, troyS..Mitch Hurwitz created one of the funniest and smartest shows on television..I have faith that in his and Jennifer Saunders’ hands, it could totally work..And really, they didn’t do that much on the original series that American television doesn’t show now anyways!

  38. shags

    ohgod. that previous attempt with Jean Smart, “High Society” was HORRID. but the idea of Saunders and Hurwitz working together makes my brain want to explode with delight.

    my biggest concern is that it’ll be hilarious and Fox will kill it fast (as they do with everything else that’s good on their network) or it’ll be horrible and run on forever.

  39. Tonya

    I loved the show but with the way we can watch TV from all the other places now, why do we have to keep remaking things? I can see the originals ‘whenever’ I want. Hollywood seems to just be out of ideas.

  40. Joanne

    Oh Jesus …

  41. fan

    OH MY!! they are touching a classic again! First Kath and Kim now AF?? arghhh leave it alone!!

  42. no way

    the british humour on this show will not transend so well in america, unless of course they change the humour so to speak, still it just doesnt go! i agree with mostly everyone here dont touch a classic, kath and kim OR AF!! just dont go there!!

    oh well good luck to them other wise!!

  43. John McCain

    BOYCOTT FOX FOR FOX NEWS!!!!

  44. Shit! I’d rather watch reruns of the orig.

  45. dorsia

    Mitch Hurwitz worked on the show The Ellen Show and The Golden Girls in addition to Arrested Development. It is difficult to imagine a funny American version of the show (I saw that dreadful Am Ab Fab too) but if anyone can make it funny, he can.

    Sounds like this show could be about two Linsay Bluths!

  46. elisa

    Gah! No! I do not want Ab Fab to be made american. Jen is way too amazing to be exploited to those annoying people who ruin everything. Its a horrible wish to hope it gets canceled first episode.

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