BBC loses out to ITV for US version of The Office

LONDON - ITV has outbid the BBC to screen the next two series of the US version of Ricky Gervais's hit 'The Office'.

According to reports, ITV has sealed a deal with US broadcaster NBC to screen the next two series of 'The Office: An American Workplace', even though the original UK version is one of the BBC's most successful series and has run in the US on BBC America.

It will come as a blow to the BBC because BBC Three screened the first series of the US version. The news comes as BBC Two announced the new series of Gervais's 'Extras' would begin screening next week and will feature stars such as Orlando Bloom and David Bowie.

It is understood that ITV will air 'The Office: An American Workplace' on ITV2 within weeks with one ITV source telling The Sun, "It's a great coup for us as 'The Office' is always associated with the BBC."

'The Office: An American Workplace' has been a huge hit in the US, winning an Emmy and starting a trend among American broadcasters to turn to the UK for their comedy and drama ideas.

ABC is to remake ITV's 'Footballer's Wives', as well as BBC's 'Life on Mars', while HBO is to remake 'Little Britain'.

ITV's snapping up the US version of 'The Office' comes as the broadcaster announces a number of major dramas have been commissioned to revive ratings on its ITV1 channel.

In production are a short three-episode run of Morse spin off, 'Lewis', starring Kevin Whately, and a new series of 'Northern Lights', starring Robson Green, called 'City Lights'.

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