'Little Mosque' producers look abroad


TORONTO -- With "Little Mosque on the Prairie" off to a fast start on Canadian television, its producers are now looking to possibly dent foreign TV markets with their light-hearted take on devout Canadian Muslims.

Mary Darling, president of Toronto-based WestWing Releasing, on Friday said she has been fielding interest from broadcasters in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East, either for the original half-hour comedy or its format rights.

"Buyers have read about the series, seen Paula Zahn's CNN report, and seen clips as they look for their next original idea," Darling said.

The request for screeners follows this week's debut of "Little Mosque" on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. The premiere episode drew 2.1 million viewers, the highest-rated debut ever for Canada's public broadcaster (HR 1/11).

The CBC is billing the comedy, set in the fictional town of Mercy, Saskatchewan, as a funny take on Canadian Muslims in a post 9-11 world.

Darling said she originally wanted to shop "Little Mosque" at the upcoming MIP-TV market, but may well detour to NAPTE to meet with interested buyers.

She added that it's primarily U.S. cable channels eyeing the Canadian sitcom thus far, as its comedy will easily travel across the border.

Darling said she's less certain whether European or Middle Eastern audiences will as easily grasp the nuances of the Canadian series.

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