'Absolutely Fabulous,' the cult hit series written and created by star Jennifer Saunders, debuted in 1992 in the UK before ending in 1996 and reviving itself in 2001 with two new seasons. Now Saunders and Joanna Lumley, who plays Edina's hard-partying sidekick, are back with three new 'Ab Fab' specials, including a much-anticipated three-part Christmas special.
The first preview for the 'Ab Fab' Christmas special was recently released, and in true Edina fashion, the public relations professional is seemingly up-to-date on all things web 2.0. She tweets, blogs about her favorite cheese and even vlogs. Her bumbling assistant Bubble even has an iPad to help Edina update all of her social media accounts.
BBC Worldwide is partnering with Logo and BBC America for the series of specials.
"We are thrilled to be able to celebrate our 20th birthday with all of the original cast," Saunders said in a statement. "We hope that, like a good bottle of champagne, we have grown better with age but lost none of our sparkle."
Saunders, who wrote and created the series, plays Edina, a public relations professional who is always up on the current trends and fashions. Lumley plays Patsy, a hard-partying magazine exec.
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There's no network set for the projects, but 'American Idol' producer Simon Fuller is on board. Of course, his involvement leads to the question of whether or not Lopez will continue as a judge on 'Idol' next season. She's only signed on for this year, but most reviews of her performance on the show have been positive.
In other TV news ...
• 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon' has been renewed for a third season. The show will continue through 2012. [EW]
• HBO is producing Jennifer Egan's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel 'A Visit From the Goon Squad' as a TV series. The book follows the lives of a group of characters who meet in San Francisco's '80s punk rock scene. [Deadline]
• Disgraced memoirist James Frey will appear on 'Oprah' again. It'll be his first appearance on the show after the talk show host laid into him in 2006 for faking details in his former Oprah Book Club pick 'A Million Little Pieces.' [NY Post]
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the animated show is close to being picked up for two more 13-episode seasons, with one to air next year and another in 2013. The show's season premiere in June saw 2.9 million viewers tuning in.
In February, star Katey Sagal told Vulture that the show had been picked up for another season, but there is no official word from the network yet.
In other TV news ...
• Will Arnett will not be the new boss on 'The Office.' As much as you want to see Gob Bluth replace Michael Scott, it ain't gonna happen since Arnett's apparently attached to Lorne Michaels' new Christina Applegate-starring comedy pilot. [Splitsider]
• Another 'Battlestar Galactica' vet has landed a new gig. Michael Trucco will guest star on 'How I Met Your Mother' as Robin's old crush, and will be featured heavily next season. [TV Guide]
• Fresh off a memorable stint on 'The Good Wife,' Rita Wilson is stopping by another procedural. She'll guest star in an upcoming episode of 'Law & Order: SVU.' [THR]
Laurie plays the world's worst customer service clerk in this instructional video opposite Jennifer Saunders, star of Absolutely Fabulous and one-half of the comedy duo French & Saunders, called How to Lose Customers produced by John Cleese's Video Arts company. Laurie not only becomes the rudest clerk since the dark days of Service Merchandise, but Saunders becomes one of the few people to successfully put the overbearing House in his rightful place.
After seeing how some UK shows have been mangled in the American adaptation -- Life on Mars (although it had its fans), Worst Week, Coupling, Eleventh Hour -- I am glad that the only Ab/Fab I will ever have to savor will be the original.
I could go into a rant about how networks don't have any original ideas and the real originality can be found in cable channels, but you've heard it before. While I have no opinion about any version of Melrose Place, I did enjoy AbFab in its original run. I don't see an American version working out on Fox, though. I just don't think they'd get it.
With all this in mind, there are several excellent British series that have not made it across the pond for various reasons. Two of my favorites are BlackAdder and The Young Ones. BlackAdder is too British in its sensibilities and The Young Ones is too erratic to make it on American TV.
We already have Life on Mars and The Office, among others. What Brit series do you think could successfully translate to American networks?
As Brad reported earlier this week, Fox is greenlighting new pilots left and right, but it looks like they weren't done yet. We already knew that a remake of the Brit cult classic Absolutely Fabulous was in the works, but very little beyond that had been revealed. Now it looks like not only are Patsy and Edina boozing their way to Los Angeles in the Fox remake of AbFab, but original UK series creator (and star) Jennifer Saunders is on board this adaptation. That means we've a better chance of seeing an American The Office than Coupling.
She's executive producing with an American writer, Christine Zander, who's written and produced for Samantha Who?, Less Than Perfect, SNL and 3rd Rock from the Sun among others. The good news is that the core of the show is remaining intact. It follows the social exploits of fashion publicist Edina and editor Patsy, along with their constant bickering with the only sane member of the "family," Edina's daughter Saffron. As long as the girls are getting their drink on and acting ... well "fabulous," I don't see what can go wrong.
- TBS has A Christmas Story all night.
- At 8, NBC has It's A Wonderful Life.
- The CW has The Flight Before Christmas at 8, followed by The Story of Santa Claus.
- ABC Family has the live action How the Grinch Stole Christmas at 8.
- Comedy Central has two Christmas episodes of Futurama at 8, then several Christmas episodes of South Park.
- FOX News Channel has A Fox and Friends Christmas at 8.
- Also at 8: Disney has The Santa Clause 2.
- At 8:40, BBC America has a new Catherine Tate Christmas episode, followed by an Absolutely Fabulous Christmas special.
- At 9, Lifetime has the movie The Christmas Shoes.
- TruTV has a new Most Shocking at 9, then two new episodes of World's Wildest Vacation Videos.
- Hallmark has the movie The Most Wonderful Time of the Year at 9.
- Nickelodeon has two Christmas episodes of Home Improvement at 9.
- Showtime has a new Inside The NFL at 9.
- At 10, Travel Channel has a new Man vs. Food.
- At 11, Lifetime has two Christmas episodes of Will & Grace, followed by two Christmas episodes of Frasier.
- At 11:30, CBS and NBC has Christmas Eve Mass and music.
- At 1am, ABC has Christmas Eve Mass and music also.
Check your local TV listings for more.
(Most of the late night talk shows are pre-empted or repeats tonight, except Charlie Rose.)
The brain behind Arrested Development is now developing an Absolutely Fabulous remake for Fox. For those unaware, the British series is about an immature, hippie-era mother, her best friend and her intelligent daughter (played respectively by creator Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley and Julia Sawalha).
In the height of her popularity, Roseanne tried to remake the show and involved the creators and co-stars. Sadly, that didn't come to pass. Whatever you think of Roseanne, at least she was smart enough to involve the original creators, unlike McG. With the big push for Brit remakes thanks to the success of The Office, another attempted remake of this show is not that big a stretch.
While I very much enjoyed the original series, I do think the 2001 and 2003 continued episodes were a bit unnecessary. You know things have gone too far when Whoopi Goldberg guest-stars.
Given the talent behind it, this version could see the light of day. I just hope they actually involve the original creators.
The show revolves around a fictional TV personality named Vivienne Vyle (who hosts a Jerry Springer-like program) and her on-screen and off-screen life. The series is a black comedy (much like AbFab) and a study in pop psychology. It was co-created by Saunders with psychologist Tanya Byron.
Here are the new TV DVDs, in stores tomorrow.
- Absolutely Fabulous - The White Box
- Charlie and Lola - Vol. 6
- The Christmas Blessing (TV movie)
- The House Without A Christmas Tree (TV movie)
- Ironside - Season 2
- MacGyver - The Complete Series
- Masters of Horror - Season 1, Vol. 2 and The Damned Thing
- Medium - Season 3
- Mythbusters - Collection 2
- Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares (UK) - Vol. 1
- Roseanne - Season 9
- Squidbillies - Vol. 1
- Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - The Complete Series
- That 70s Show - Season 7
- Wanted: Dead or Alive - Season 3