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‘The Office’ Heads to Chile

BBC Worldwide Americas said it has licensed the format of sitcom The Office to production company Chilecorto and Canal 13–Chile, part of leading Chilean network UCTV, for the first Spanish-language version of the show created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.

Ricky Gervais, whose HBO comedy Extras won a Golden Globe award for best TV comedy Sunday night, said in a release: “We stopped making The Office in 2003 but the rest of the world didn't. I won’t be happy until I see an Inuit doing the dance.”

The last is a reference to a painful dance Gervais’ character,David Brent, performs in the BBC original series.

BBC Worldwide Americas has licensed series one and two plus the end-of-season specials, the first such format deal for The Office in Latin America. Chilecorto and Canal 13–Chile, will begin production early in 2008.

The original U.K. version of The Office was shown in the United States on BBC America, co-producers of the second series and specials, and it’s currently available on BBC America On Demand. Filmed in spoof documentary style, the show chronicles the daily lives of employees at a small-town fictional paper supply company. The boss is a smug lower middle manager who makes appalling jokes and constantly craves the affection of his staff.

It’s now shown in 90 countries, with remakes in the U.S., France, Germany and now Chile. The Emmy-winning U.S. version, starring Steve Carell, is based on the U.K. original and is now in syndication.

A well-known Chilean actor, Luis Gnecco, has signed to play the role of David Brent.  Gnecco also appeared in the pilot episode produced earlier in 2007. Chilecorto are currently casting for the remaining characters.

Canal 13–Chile, is planning to air the series in May 2008.