Liane Bonin
October 17, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

A British favorite is about to get an American twist. ”The Office,” the BBC mockumentary series about a smug but witless manager (Ricky Gervais) and the long suffering employees who must tolerate him, is being made over for U.S. audiences.

Though the show already airs stateside on BBC America (Sun. 9 p.m.), Gervais and Greg Daniels (the creator of Fox’s animated series ”King of the Hill”) have decided audiences need a red, white, and blue-blooded version of the show. “I think it’s got to be completely American,” Gervais told Reuters. “It’s a matter of getting American actors, comedians to make it their own.” Fans of the original will be relieved to hear that at least one element, the faux documentary style of the series, will carry on.

Whether the American series will have a longer run than the original is the real question. After just 12 episodes of “The Office,” Gervais is calling it quits despite critical acclaim both in England and abroad (EW dubbed the show “wincingly well-observed”). “It’s best we sort of end soon,” he’s said. NBC execs seem to be employing his strategy for another U.K. export, the unbearably obnoxious “Coupling,” 12 episodes of which will probably never air.

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