It is very rare for a UK television show to be successfully adapted into a US TV series. You just have to look at The Inbetweeners to see this. However, The Office is an exception. Indeed, the US version is beloved and it is considered by many to be one of the best modern comedy TV shows. One of the writers of The Office was Michael Schur and, in an interview with Vox, he explains why the US version of The Office eventually succeeded.
Here is what Michael Schur had to say on some of the reasons why the US version of The Office succeeded:
“The path [The Office] took was fascinating, and even though I was working on that show, I became a sort of student of the path of that show. And I remember tracking, internally, all of the things that went right with that show. There are so many, but I’ll give you three examples of things that went right for that show.”
“Thing No. 1: That show was developed by Kevin Reilly, who was running NBC at the time. He had come from FX, and he loved the British show, and he was very passionate about The Office. So he gave [creator] Greg [Daniels] the chance to basically do it the way he wanted and basically cast it the way he wanted. He was very invested in the show.”
“Thing No. 2: Over that off-season, after those six episodes aired that nobody liked, Steve Carell became a gigantic movie star. Just totally coincidentally, 40-Year-Old Virgin comes out, and the world goes, ‘Oh my God, look at this guy. Look how funny he is, and look how kind he is, and look how talented he is.’ And NBC goes, ‘Well, we have this giant movie star under contract…’”
“And, look, things one and two are related here. They partially gave us the second season because they had Steve under contract.”