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The top five Brits hoping for US TV glory

By ShinyMedia on September 20th, 2007 3 comments

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Here at the Scoop we like to keep an eye on what’s happening stateside. Namely what shows are succeeding, failing and getting tongues a-wagging, especially now that we are approaching the grand unveiling by the major networks of their critical autumn line-ups. It’s an interesting blend of returning past favourites and unfamiliar debutants, with everyone keen to seen what show will prove to be the breakout hit.

Now this is all well and good, but for us on this side of the Atlantic we have to wait months for some shows, while never getting to see others, so why should we be bothered? Namely because many of these new programmes star British actors trying their luck in Hollywood. Some have appeared on American TV before, some have snagged roles in Hollywood movies but all are hoping to find a long-term home with US audiences. And so TV Scoop, in support of these thesps takes a look at the top five actors hoping to become the new Hugh Laurie or Joely Richardson.


1. Anna Friel
Still best known for smooching with a lady as Beth Jordache on Scouse soap Brookside, Anna Friel is set to bid for US stardom in Pushing Daisies. This new offering from Bryan Fuller (Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, Heroes) has been described by Friel’s co-star Kristen Chenoweth as “phantasmagorical” and she could be onto something. Following in the footsteps of other ‘big concept’ shows like 24, Lost and Heroes, Pushing Daisies centres on pie maker Ned who discovers he can bring the dead back to life with one touch. This somewhat unorthodox party trick proves useful when the love of his life Chuck (Friel) dies. The only problem is that once revived, Ned cannot touch the person again otherwise they will die for good. This promises lots of romantic tension and is being tipped as the show to watch by many US TV critics.

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2. Michelle Ryan
We’ve already featured a few sneak looks at the new Bionic Woman series on TV Scoop and despite a few early criticisms it remains one of the biggest shows debuting this autumn. This revival of the 70s favourite has many points of interest, most notably some of the names involved. Infamous Grey’s Anatomy reject Isaiah Washington is set to star, with this outing his first since being shown the door at Seattle Grace, while its creator David Eick was responsible for the new Battlestar Galactica. For us in Britain, lead actress Michelle Ryan is the one with the most to prove having been promoted from Eastenders market stall holder to the iconic Jaime Sommers and having publicly spoken on the challenges of working Stateside, we will all be curious to see how she fares. Will she be the new action hero for a generation or will she be sent back home to live with Charlie and Big Mo?

3. Lloyd Owen
As previously mentioned on the Scoop, Blackpool remake Viva Laughlin has already been signed up by Living to air in the UK. This apparent confidence in a new show might be due to the success of the British version. Now transferred to America, the action is upgraded from Blackpool to Las Vegas and boasts the star power of Hugh Jackman and Melanie Griffiths, though the main role, that of casino owner Ripley Holden is played by Londoner Lloyd Owen. Most famous as Paul in Monarch of the Glen, Owen has one of those faces (and voices) that you recognise but can’t place. He’s turned up in everything from Coupling to Casualty and will be hoping with Viva Laughlin to recreate the popularity and success that original star David Morrissey earned the BBC original.

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4. Damian Lewis
The IMDb review headlined ‘Meet Dr. Gregory House of the Cop World!’ is referring to the new drama starring Band of Brothers star Damian Lewis. Already popular stateside after his wartime heroics in the HBO lads favourite, Lewis will be hoping to secure a long-term acting gig with Life. The programme centres on Lewis as former police officer Charlie Crews who was wrongly imprisoned for 12 years only to make a dramatic return to the force. Does the world need another police series and will Lewis be able to offer something new? This show almost didn’t secure a scheduling slot in the autumn line-up and already questions are being asked.

5. Sophia Miles
Sophia Miles has just romanced Jamie Bell on the silver screen in Hallam Foe, but for TV audiences she will soon be known as online reporter Beth in Moonlight. The show is a remake of Forever Knight and already Internet gossip has compared it unfavourably to the cancelled The Dresden Files and Joss Whedon efforts Buffy and Angel. The premise combines romance, supernatural horror and detective show tension as a vampire, working as a private investigator has a soft spot for mortal women. Myles, who is currently dating Doctor Who star David Tennant and who dropped out of Cambridge University will be hoping that this, her first major assault on US television audiences will be successful. Sadly, Moonlight might be held back by genre trappings and complaints of unoriginality.

Which shows do you think sound intriguing and which are you tipping for an early cancellation? Will all or any of our actors establish themselves with US audiences and why are American casting agents preferring Brits? As always, leave a comment and let us know your thoughts on the matter.

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