EXCLUSIVE: Bill Lawrence already is shepherding a series adaptation of a hit feature comedy, Rush Hour. Now the prolific producer is looking to do the same for one of the most popular British comedy series of the past decade, The IT Crowd. In a competitive situation, a multi-camera U.S. version of Channel 4’s The IT Crowd from Lawrence, Community alums Neil Goldman & Garrett Donovan and Warner Bros. TV has landed at NBC with a put pilot commitment.
NBC also was the network that previously took a stab at an U.S. version of The IT Crowd. The hybrid multi-/single-camera project was developed during the 2006-07 season and was picked up to series for midseason but never aired as the show became a casualty of the network’s 2007 regime change. That NBC-produced iteration of The IT Crowd starred Joel McHale, who went on to topline another NBC workplace comedy, Community, on which Goldman and Donovan worked as executive producers.
Written by Goldman and Donovan, The IT Crowd is a workplace comedy about two IT nerds stuck in the basement of a major corporation who know nothing about how to interact with people, and their newly installed, ambitious female manager, who knows nothing about computers.
FremantleMedia is distributing the original series, created by Graham Linehan and produced by his Delightful Productions and Talkback THAMES. The U.S. version is produced by Lawrence’s Doozer; WBTV, where the company is based; and FremantleMedia North America. Lawrence, Goldman & Donovan and Linehan executive produce with Doozer’s Jeff Ingold and FMNA’s Thom Beers and Craig Cegielski.
The original IT Crowd, which starred Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade and Katherine Parkinson, premiered on Channel 4 in 2006 and ran for four seasons plus a special. It earned a best comedy BAFTA, International Emmy and Golden Rose awards. (Watch a trailer below.)
NBC/WBTV’s IT Crowd, which stems from a blind script deal Goldman and Donovan inked with WBTV earlier this season, reunites the duo with Lawrence. In only their second staff writing job, Goldman and Donovan joined Lawrence’s NBC comedy Scrubs after the pilot and stayed on the hospital show for its entire run, rising to executive producers and earning a writing Emmy nomination in 2004 for the ‘My Screwup’ episode. Lawrence, Goldman and Donovan created together cult WB comedy pilot Nobody’s Watching, which wasn’t picked up to series by the network but found a second life as a Web series. Goldman and Donovan stayed close with Lawrence, who recommended them for a 20th Century Fox TV overall deal, which just came to an end.
Lawrence and Goldman & Donovan have extensive experience in workplace comedies with Scrubs, as well as Spin City and Ground Floor, which Lawrence co-created and has exec produced, and Community, on which Goldman and Donovan served as executive producers for three years.
The IT Crowd marks the fourth big sale for Doozer this season. The company has three pilot production commitments at CBS: for Rush Hour, which Lawrence is co-writing with Blake McCormick, a comedy from Tommy Johnagin, Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker, and a Meatball comedy from writer Jeff Astrof. The ICM Partners-repped company also has series Undateable on NBC as well as Cougar Town and Ground Floor on TBS.
Goldman and Donovan are with UTA and attorneys PJ Shapiro and Bryan Wolf. Linehan is with CAA.