Global Showbiz Briefs: Czech Republic Contracts ‘The Office’; ‘Ugly Betty’ In The Middle East; ‘Grace Of Monaco’ French Release Shifted

The Czech Republic is about to go inside The Office. BBC Worldwide has signed a local production deal with broadcaster Czech Television for a local version of the show that will be produced in-house for channel CT1. The first six episode series goes into production in January. Ricky Gervais, co-creator of The Office UK, said, “I’m extremely flattered and excited that there is about to be a new version of The Office. Prague was the first place in the world to produce a stage version, so I’m very glad a local adaptation is coming to TV too. Cue jokes about Gervais and another fat Cheque.” The Czech version will be based on the UK show that Gervais created with Stephen Merchant and is the 9th international sale of the format. Casting for the series has begun and actor Václav Kopta is confirmed to play the lead part of Marek Chvála, aka David Brent. The Office will be renamed as Kancl, slang for office or workplace.

Sony Pictures Television has made a first deal for its Arabic version of telenovela Betty La Fea (Ugly Betty in the States) with leading pay TV network in the Middle East and North Africa, OSN, acquiring the premiere rights. The regional broadcaster has acquired all 90 episodes of the series, which will be called Hebal Regal El Ghorab (Crow’s Foot) and is due to premiere in January. The local adaptation is developed and produced by SPT Arabia, based on the original format from RCN. OSN has also acquired the exclusive premiere window for season three of El Bab X El Bab, SPT Arabia’s local adaptation of sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. Local versions of Betty La Fea have already been seen in Russia and Everybody Loves Raymond in Russia and Poland.

French distributor Gaumont has changed the release date of Nicole Kidman-starrer Grace Of Monaco from January 29, 2014 to March 19, 2014. The Olivier Dahan-directed film about Grace Kelly is being handled by The Weinstein Co in the U.S. which had originally set a December 27th release this year, but that ultimately was pushed to March 14, 2014. Gaumont tells me the date change in France is “due to the fact that we were only able to see it on December 17th… The film is how Olivier Dahan and (producer) Pierre-Ange Le Pogam wanted it. And we are very enthusiastic about the result… We simply needed time to release it under the best conditions.”

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