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'Broadchurch': Why not just air the UK original? Fox explains

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Patrick Redmond

Fans of Broadchurch are convinced the UK crime drama is near perfect. So naturally Fox is completely remaking it. After all, the 2013 show has accents! And U.S. viewers won’t heavily watch a drama that’s full of British accents.

Turns out, Fox’s chairman Kevin Reilly considered airing the UK version, though ultimately ruled it out. At the Television Critics Association’s semi-annual press tour in Pasadena on Monday, the executive explained: “As great as Broadchurch is, 99.9 percent of the U.S. public would have never seen that show.” Which sounds like a reason in favor of airing the original, but Reilly continues: “[U.S. viewers] would be more comfortable seeing something made for America … there are cultural particularities [to the original] that would cap it off.”

Another point: Fox is changing the ending by adding a twist after the point in the story where the British version concluded. “We’re doing 10 episodes; they did eight,” Reilly said. “We have a different ending so there will be something to stay tuned for.”

Fox’s version is titled Gracepoint and stars David Tennant (who also starred in the original) and Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad). There’s no premiere date yet. As much as it’s tempting to mock Fox for this move, when Reilly adds that the original would get lower ratings than a reboot, he’s probably correct (sadly). There are major exceptions, as the story on the link above points out (Downton Abbey is a hit on both sides of the Atlantic). A sequel to Broadchurch is in the works overseas, but Fox will have more control over the show by making its own version in terms of the number of episodes, how many seasons are ordered, casting decisions, and so forth. So it’s an understandable decision, but not one you can make without getting a little grief about it.