John Wells has revealed the eight year journey to remake Channel Four’s smash hit drama Shameless for American audiences.
John Wells has revealed the eight year journey to remake Channel Four’s smash hit drama Shameless for American audiences. Just as Shameless has started its eighth season on Channel Four in the UK the American remake has begun on Showtime – remaining fairly faithful to the first series of Shameless. However, the American remake very nearly didn’t happen as various broadcasters took an interest in the series but ultimately passed. John Wells, the executive producer of the American series, has revealed the journey to get Shameless on-air in America. The first hurdle was acquiring the rights to remake Shameless for its producers Company Pictures then looking for a broadcaster was the next hurdle.
“It was casually at NBC for awhile while Ben Silverman was there. He said he wanted to do it and he had done a lot of British imports. We had a very lengthy negotiation to figure out how to get the rights over. I was always very concerned that we wouldn’t be able to do the content — not that it has to be exactly the same — but that a certain pulling back of it would make it not the same show” – John Wells in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter
Having started out at NBC the proposed remake then moved to Showtime briefly and then to HBO where it remained for several years.
Then the new administration came in and they were back and forth on it. We did notes on it for about a year and then they decided they didn’t want to do it.” – John Wells in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter
So from HBO it was back to Showtime where development on the scripts and the series began 18 months ago. Shameless premiered on Showtime to the broadcasters biggest debut in seven years with nearly 1 million viewers tuning in. The American version stars William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher with the cast including Joan Cusack, Emmy Rossum and Justin Chatwin. Paul Abbott, who created the Channel Four series, is a producer on the Showtime version.