British Vs American TV: Sanford & Son, Three’s Company & The Office


Kathie Lee & Hoda: British TV and Movies

Some of America’s most beloved TV characters: Archie Bunker, Fred Sanford and Mr. Roper, actually originated across the pond. The British influence in American entertainment has gone on for decades. Most recently with reality TV spinoffs, like American Idol and Big Brother. Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb talked with Tim Stack, Senior Writer for Entertainment Weekly, about those British influences on American television.

British Vs American TV: All In The Family

British Vs American TV: The Office

Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb talked with Tim Stack about the British influences on American television, from Sanford & Son and All In The Family to The Office. (Featureflash /


Tim Stack said that All In The Family originated in the UK. It was called Till Death Us Do Part. Norman Lear saw that and loved it and brought it over here. Archie Bunker was called Alf there, who was similarly racist and offensive and sparred with his wife and son-in-law.

British Influence: Sanford & Son

Tim Stack said that the British version of Sanford & Son was called Steptoe & Son. It was about a blue collar family also, father and son, but it was more serious in the UK.

British Influence: Three’s Company

Tim Stack said that Three’s Company was originally a British show and it was called Man About The House. It was very progressive for it’s time because it was about a man who lived with two women and pretended he was gay in order to live with them. Stack said it wasn’t so much controversial, but it caused a lot of talk. Three’s Company spawned two spinoffs, much like the British version.


UK Vs US: The Office

Tim Stack said The Office US version is still on and huge. Stack said The Office in the UK was a bomb. It only aired two seasons, six episodes. Ratings-wise it was awful, but it gained a cult following and a big hit now.

British TV: Absolutely Fabulous

Tim Stack said that Absolutely Fabulous is about two boozy gals that like to talk about sex and Spanx. He joked it kind of reminds him of Kathie Lee and Hoda. It was a huge hit in Britain, but not here so much. He said it has a cult following here.


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