This has been previously announced, but now there’s an actual pilot order from the network: Hoping to replicate Rickey Gervais’s success in selling a beloved British sitcom property to the Yanks, Jennifer Saunders will executive-produce an Americanized version of Absolutely Fabulous, the Brit-hit she created and starred in. Mitch Hurwitz, who seems to spend most of his post-Arrested Development time supervising remakes of other people’s shows, will also executive-produce, but the writer and showrunner will be Christine Zander, a writer for Saturday Night Live in its late ’80s/early ’90s Silver Age (the age of Myers/Hartman/other people) and 3rd Rock From the Sun.
The news item doesn’t say whether the new version will be single-camera or multi-camera, and even if they do use an audience, it will almost certainly be shot on film (or HD, which looks like film). I think that this would be one of those shows that really ought to go back to using videotape, if only because the original show was on videotape and used it in a very distinctive way: with a lot of the show taped outside studio sets, and even the studio sets lit in a way that made them look more “real” than most, it combined the live feel of video with the more expansive style of single-camera shows. That will be lost if the remake is done on film, but it almost certainly will be. Though it might seem like a minor thing, remakes tend to work best when they can at least have some connection to the look of the original — that’s why All in the Family was shot on crude videotape to match the BBC show it was based on, and why the U.S. version of The Office brought over the mockumentary style and hand-held cameras.