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kath and kim

Kath and Kim

The search is on for US hornbags

A world away from Fountain Lakes, the hunt is on across the United States to find a mother and daughter act who will do "our" Kath & Kim proud.

The US version of the hit Australian comedy is back on track, being propelled by the television executive Ben Silverman, who was recently appointed president of entertainment at the US network NBC and is a personal fan of Kath & Kim. Silverman is considered something of a wunderkind in the US television industry after buying the rights to Britain's The Office and Mexico's Ugly Betty and turning them into big American hits.

It is also Silverman who is guiding the search for two actors to fill the key roles, though a list of names has already emerged.

Kath & Kim's Australian executive producer, Rick McKenna, who also doubles as Gina Riley's husband (she plays Kim) told PS several big names had been considered in the US for the roles, adding one of the actors "would only do the show if it was taped in Chicago".

McKenna would not name the demanding star, however PS understands it was Joan Cusack, sister of actor John and a comedic genius in her own right.

Presumably Cusack was being considered for the Kath role. She is well known for her film roles, which have included the voice of Jessie, the Yodeling Cowgirl in Toy Story 2 and Cyn in the classic, big-haired '80s flick Working Girl.

McKenna let it slip that Riley and co-star Jane Turner's dream team would be to get a "duo".

"However, they don't really exist in the US where comedic actors tend to be 'monologists,' " McKenna wryly explained.

One "duo" the Australian Kath & Kim crew like the sound of is former Friends star Lisa Kudrow and actor Mira Sorvino. The pair starred together as a couple of dumb blondes in the 1997 comedy Romy and Michele's High School Reunion.

The US pilot was put on hold in February. Last month it emerged a new writer, Michelle Nader of The King of Queens and Dharma & Greg fame, had been hired to create the US version of Kath & Kim.

McKenna said he was a fan of Nader's work, but added the US version of the show was "back to square one". The original adaptation, written by Nancy Pimental who worked on South Park, was no longer valid.

In that version Kath & Kim were living in the suburban wastelands of Phoenix.

By Andrew Hornery
August 17, 2007
Sydney Morning Herald