Ricky Gervais's new US animated series to be shown on Channel 4

LONDON - Channel 4 has secured the UK rights to Ricky Gervais's new HBO-produced comedy show, a 13-part animated series.

'The Ricky Gervais Show' is due to start airing in the US on HBO on 19 February. Channel 4 is expected to broadcast it in March.

It is an animated version of Gervais's extraordinarily popular podcast, made with 'The Office' collaborator Stephen Merchant, and Karl Pilkington. The podcast has been downloaded a total of 180 million times.

HBO is famous for producing some of the most critically acclaimed television shows of the past decade, including 'The Wire' and 'The Sopranos'. It was also behind the global hit 'Sex and the City'.

Gervais said: "Channel 4, like HBO in the US, is the perfect home for this show, as they acquire innovative, cutting edge programmes such as 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' and 'The Sopranos'.

"Like 'The Sopranos', Channel 4 made me an offer I couldn't refuse."