How CBS Adapted UK Comedy 'Ghosts' Using American History – But Still Kept the Pantsless Character

”There is something about the setup that they created that is very portable,“ co-showrunner Joe Port tells TheWrap

CBS

CBS’ new comedy “Ghosts,” which premieres Thursday night, is yet another American-ized adaptation of a popular British show.

The comedy keeps the same tone and sense of humor from its U.K. counterpart, which is currently in its third season. The biggest change in the U.S. version is quite literally a geographically one, according to co-showrunners Joe Port and Joe Wiseman.

“As far as changing the humor? I’m not sure. The British show was sort of just my sense of humor,” Wiseman told TheWrap. “The big way we adapted it was with the characters. The show is very geographically specific. In the British series, they have a lot of British archetypes from throughout history. We started off just listing a bunch of Americanarchetypes and locations and where we wanted to go to.”

The single-camera comedy stars Rose McIver (“iZombie”) and Utkarsh Ambudkar (“Brittany Runs a Marathon”) as a struggling young couple whose dreams come true when they inherit a beautiful country house, only to find it’s both falling apart and inhabited by many of the deceased previous residents.

CBS is making a pretty considerable bet on the show. It extended its premiere Thursday to an hour, bumping “B Positive’s” second season premiere to next week.

Some of the biggest changes to the deceased characters include swapping out the caveman Robin from the U.K. version with an 11th century Viking explorer named Thorfinn. “We knew we wanted to have a Viking,” said Port.“There’s obviously a lot of American history.”

The other major change from one of the U.K. characters is swapping out the smarmy — and pantsless — politician Julian Fawcett for the extremely American Trevor, a “douche-y finance bro,” as Port describes him.

And like his U.K. counterpart, Trevor will be pantsless as well, having died in a “drug-fueled ragger” without wearing any pants.

Most of the other changes were either more subtle or just other stuff pulled from U.S. history that doesn’t translate from across the pond. “They have their version of a Boy Scout with an arrow through it. So that was sort of probably the most kind of one-for-one change,” Wiseman said. “They have like a matronly woman who used to own the house. Our version is a little bit different. She’s sort of like a wife of a robber baron.”

As far as the new creations? “We have a hippie, we have this Prohibition-era lounge singer,” says Port. “There is something about the setup that they created that is very portable. I could see them doing this in other countries.”

“Ghosts” premieres Thursday at 9 p.m. on CBS


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