Brit pair part of 'In' crowd

10:00 PM PST 10/16/2008 by Nellie Andreeva, AP

Morris, Beesley prepping U.S. version of their U.K. hit

Once commissioners for the U.K.'s Channel 4, Iain Morris and Damon Beesley are doing pretty well at the other side of the pitch meeting table.

The English duo have scored a put pilot commitment from ABC for a U.S. version of their British series "The Inbetweeners."

Additionally, the network has given Morris and Beesley a second blind script commitment with penalty for a future project the two will create. Both projects have been laid off at ABC Studios.

"Inbetweeners," which runs on Channel 4's cable sibling C4, is described as "Superbad" meets "Freeks and Geeks." It revolves around four high school boys who belong to the "inbetweeners" social class -- teens who are not the most cool and popular but not geeky enough to be branded uncool.

"Inbetweeners" is the anti-glassy high school fare of "The O.C." and "Beverly Hills, 90210."

"We wanted to do a comedy about the reality of high school, how pedestrian life can be at that age," Beesley said. "It's an awkward age when you're trying to break the shackles but you can't achieve your grand plans, you're not equipped to do that."

Before you ask, yes, "the show is semi-authobiographical, tragically," Morris said.

In an unusual twist, WMA-repped Morris and Beesley will write the U.S. adaptation themselves, without the help of an American writer.

The two have some preparation -- Morris' girlfriend is American and the two have written for HBO's "The Flight of the Conchords." They also plan to move to Los Angeles and to do some research hanging out at American schools.

But most of all, "there is something universal about the characters," which makes the translation easier, said Morris and Beesley, who list John Hughes, Judd Apatow and "American Pie" as inspirations.

Morris, a former stand-up comedian, and Beesley met as producers on Channel 4's "The 11 O'Clock Show," which launched the careers of Ricky Gervais and Sacha Baron Cohen.

Following stints as commissioners (development execs) at Channel 4 where Morris shepherded "Peep Show," the two launched their own company, Bwark Prods., in 2004 and landed their first series with "Inbetweeners."
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