Stephen Merchant was skeptical that his hit show 'The Office' would be successful in the US, revealing to HuffPost Live that he was “doubtful because of the history of failed attempts to transplant British shows into American formats”.
The US remake of The Office, which had a different cast from the original UK version, ran on NBC from 2005 to 2013, picking up a slew of awards, including five Primetime Emmys.
Speaking on Wednesday in New York, the comedian and actor said: “I think the last successful British sitcom [transplanted to the US] had been 'Steptoe and Son', which become 'Sanford and Son' in the seventies… so I was suspicious that it [The Office] would translate.”
Merchant added that his “instinct” was not to get “too involved” in the remake, only to be there in an “advisory role”.
“What was important was finding what was relatable about the subject to an American audience,” he said. “At the core of the show is an Englishness and an idiosyncrasy, but what is international is that feeling that in offices you’re just a collection of people thrown together rather arbitrarily.
“The only thing you have in common is the carpet that you walk on. That is true wherever you work.”
Watch the full Stephen Merchant interview below: