13 UK TV Show Remakes That Absolutely Tanked In America

Sometimes you just have to admit you can't beat an original.
The UK and US casts of Skins and Gavin And Stacey
The UK and US casts of Skins and Gavin And Stacey
Channel 4/MTV/BBC/Fox

There’s no argument that here in the UK, we produce some of the best TV in the world, so it’s of little surprise that many shows and formats often find themselves travelling across the globe.

While this sometimes means our versions are aired to an international audience, on other occasions, network bosses decide to remake the shows.

However, this process doesn’t come without its risks, and for every success story (think Dancing With The Stars, The Office and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?), there’s one that turns out to be anything but...

The Inbetweeners

Having defined an era of comedy for young people here in the UK, it was no wonder US TV bosses eyed up The Inbetweeners for a remake.

After an attempt to get the project off the ground failed in 2008, MTV announced they had picked up the rights two years later, and would be beginning production on their own version.

However, the series was widely panned when it debuted in 2012, and also aired to less than stellar ratings, eventually being cancelled after just one season.


Skins broke new ground when it first aired on UK TV in 2007, and was acclaimed for the way it portrayed grittier sides of teenage life.

Four years later, it made the leap over the pond, with all the lead characters from the first ‘generation’ recast with American actors.

As was the case here in the UK, the series was met with raised eyebrows for its depictions of drug taking and casual sex, but the US version faced closer scrutiny as some of the actors were underage. In fact, some groups tried to bring charges of child pornography against the show.

After just 10 episodes, Skins was axed with network MTV admitting that while the original series was a “global phenomenon”, the remake “did not connect with a US audience as much as they had hoped”.

Gavin And Stacey (Us And Them)

The US remake of Gavin And Stacey followed exactly the same premise as the UK version, but with the locations of Barry and Essex swapped for Pennsylvania and New York, and Jason Ritter and Alexis Bledel in the titular roles.

However, the show – renamed Us And Them – was doomed from the off, as six months after TV bosses received a 13-episode order in 2013, this was cut down to just seven episodes.

Nearly a year later, the series still hadn’t made it to air, and Fox announced they had axed the show despite filming having completed.

Us And Them finally saw the light of day five years later, streaming on Sony’s Crackle service.

Broadchurch (Gracepoint)

From the minute it was announced that David Tennant would be reprising his role as DI Alec Hardy (albeit renamed Detective Emmett Carver, who was given a dodgy American accent) in a US remake of Broadchurch, fans wondered why they hadn’t just aired our version over there.

The show drew many unfavourable comparisons to the original upon its debut in 2014, especially when it later aired on UK channel ITV Encore. However, it fared OK with US critics, holding a 64% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

That wasn’t enough to save it though, as it didn’t return for a second series, having only attracted a US audience of just over three million per episode.

Cold Feet

We’re not able to actually pass comment on the quality of the US version of Cold Feet as there’s no trace of it on the internet, but it didn’t exactly go down well when it aired back in 1999.

Despite eight episodes being produced, only four of them ever made it to air, as the show was axed mid-series due to falling ratings.

The final nail in the coffin came in the form of comments made by British star Fay Ripley, who slammed the US version of her character Jenny Gifford and called the show “utterly shit”.

Wild At Heart (Life Is Wild)

For those who don’t remember, Wild At Heart starred Amanda Holden and Stephen Tompkinson as a married couple who moved their family from the UK to South Africa to rehabilitate a game reserve.

The series became a surprise hit for ITV when it debuted in 2006 in the cosy Sunday night slot, with US TV bosses hoping for a similar piece of the action when they remade it in 2007.

The series, which was renamed Life Is Wild, followed the same storyline, and even starred S Club Juniors member Calvin Goldspink, but was axed after just one series due to poor ratings.

Friday Night Dinner

All looked good when it was announced a US remake of the Channel 4 sitcom was in the works, which was being headed up by screenwriter Greg Daniels, who was responsible for adapting The Office for America.

Then Allison Janney was revealed as one of the lead actors who had been cast to film a pilot and we got even more excited.

Sadly though, it wasn’t to be, as bosses decided not to order a full series off the back of the episode.

Dancing On Ice (Skating With Celebrities)

While Skating With Celebrities was a US take on Dancing On Ice, it was actually commissioned around the same time as the UK version, which itself followed the success of a one-off, ice-skating edition of Strictly Come Dancing.

However, Skating With Celebrities was no match for Dancing On Ice, Strictly or even Strictly’s US counterpart, Dancing With The Stars.

Just days after the final of the first series in 2006, it was announced the show would not be returning for a second series.

Meanwhile, the UK version is currently airing its 11th, after being revived in 2018.

Bad Education

Despite mixed reactions from critics, Bad Education lasted for three series between 2012 and 2014 here in the UK.

During this time, an attempt at remaking the show for a US audience was launched, which was also set to star its British lead, Jack Whitehall.

However, after a pilot was made in 2014, network bosses abandoned the plans, and a film was later produced instead.

Saturday Night Takeaway (Best Time Ever)

Ant And Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway has been a mainstay on UK TV for nearly 17 years, and we are actually surprised it took America 13 of them to try the format out for themselves.

The US remake – which aired on a Tuesday night and was renamed Best Time Ever – saw How I Met Your Mother star Neil Patrick Harris installed as host, with Nicole Scherzinger occupying the role Scarlett Moffatt and Stephen Mulhern have.

Ant and Dec were involved in the development of the show, which even carried many familiar segments, including Undercover, The End Of The Show Show, Sing Along Live and the Star Guest Announcer, but it was cancelled after just one season, having only attracted around 5 million viewers an episode.

Reports claimed network NBC saw it as an “expensive undertaking”, while Neil found working on the show an “exhausting regimen”.

Fawlty Towers

The US had a couple of goes at remaking Fawlty Towers, first making a pilot in 1978 starring Betty White called Chateau Snavely, which did not get a series commission.

Then came Amanda’s in 1983, with the action set in a California seaside hotel starring Bea Arthur as the US Basil Fawlty counterpart, Amanda Cartwright. While 13 episodes were made, only 10 made it to air before it was axed.

The final crack at remaking the BBC sitcom came in 1999, with JoBeth Williams and John Larroquette as hotel owners Connie and Royal Payne.

Much like the series that came before it, Payne was cancelled before the end of its run, with US viewers only getting to see seven of the nine episodes made.

The IT Crowd

Much like Fawlty Towers, there have been a number of attempts to translate The IT Crowd for a US audience, but they have all so far failed to get off the ground.

A full series was ordered in 2007 after an initial pilot was green-lit, and a number of scripts were also written. It was pulled before it went into production though, as the show “didn’t quite spark” with the new boss of the NBC network.

Another pilot was made in 2014, but this time a series was not commissioned.

A third attempt was announced at the tail end of 2017, but it has so far failed to materialise.


The creator of Coupling, Steven Moffat (yes, the one who went on to become the boss of Doctor Who), was brought on board to help remake Coupling in America in 2003, which came with a big publicity trail.

However, when it eventually made it to air on the NBC network, the show was widely criticised for using near-identical scripts to the original version. Rival network, BBC America, also began airing the UK show straight after each episode in an apparent dig at the remake.

While 13 episodes of the show were commissioned, it was pulled from the air after just four had aired, amid a critical mauling. A further six episodes that had already been filmed never saw the light of day, while the remaining three were never produced.


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