‘The Office’ Gets Israeli Makeover

By Nathan Burstein

Published April 01, 2009, issue of April 10, 2009.
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Israeli TV viewers are getting their own branch of “The Office.”

Ricky Gervais: Creator of ‘The Office.’
GETTY IMAGES
Ricky Gervais: Creator of ‘The Office.’

The country’s cable company Yes has signed a deal with BBC Worldwide to adapt the British hit, allowing for Hebrew-speaking actors to play versions of the characters originated by English comedian Ricky Gervais and his cast. The Yes series will make Israel the sixth country to produce its own take on the show, following adaptations in such countries as Russia, Chile and France. Yes has yet to audition cast members or announce details of the Israeli version, though it will likely be set in one of the country’s less glamorous cities, as has been the case with its predecessors.

Gervais, who played bumbling boss David Brent in the BBC series, expressed pleasure over the forthcoming Israeli interpretation.

“I am thrilled and amazed that Israel [is] making ‘The Office’ with local writers, directors and actors. I mean, who ever heard of Jewish entertainers?” he joked to England’s Guardian newspaper, which first reported the deal.

The American version of “The Office,” which is broadcast on NBC and stars Steve Carell, already has a strong track record with Israeli audiences. Yes’s main rival, Israel’s HOT cable company, will start airing the fifth season of the NBC series this month.


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