The recently appointed co-chairman of NBC, Ben Silverman, who is known for repackaging foreign shows such as The Office and Ugly Betty for the U.S. market, has given a strong indication that he’s considering snapping up CBC’s Little Mosque on the Prairie.

Speaking to an audience at the Banff World Television Festival in Banff, Alta., Silverman said he wanted to come to Canada “with his shopping bag” in hopes of acquiring the rights to shows, and added that he had heard great things about Little Mosque. It was a blurted remark to a Canadian crowd, but one that raised speculation that NBC might be interested in buying the show.

The comedy, about a small Muslim community in a prairie town, has been one of the CBC’s recent successes, with its second season set to air this fall. Executive producer Mary Darling of WestWind Pictures confirmed that the series’ producers have been in talks with more than one major U.S. network, although she wouldn’t confirm which and noted that nothing has yet been finalized Stateside. Recently, France’s Canal Plus completed a deal to distribute the show in France, Africa and Switzerland.

“It’s no secret that we have been talking to networks in the States,” Darling said by phone from Banff. “I know that Ben liked the show from the very beginning when he was still at Reveille,” his production and distribution company.

She added that the talks are exploring the possibility of selling the rights for a U.S. network to make an American version of the show. But the show’s producers won’t sign a deal that would prevent them from also selling the Canadian version to another U.S. cable or satellite network.


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