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HBO to launch US version of Shameless

US cable network HBO is to launch a US version of British comedy Shameless after striking a deal with West Wing and ER producer John Wells.

This follows years of discussions between networks and Wells and Shameless creator Paul Abbott. NBC was originally reported to have struck a deal to bring a local adaptation of the gritty comedy to the States three years ago starring Woody Harrelson, although it never got off the ground.

Premium net HBO is now set to develop the series. Mike Lombardo, president, programming group and west coast operations at HBO told TBIvision: "We are developing a US version of Shameless with John Wells writing. [The question is] how do you move that show to America and not lose its essence?"

Shameless, which is produced by All3Media-owned indie Company Pictures and airs on Channel 4 in the UK, follows the life of the Gallagher family on a housing estate in Manchester. The show, which has aired on BBC America and the Sundance Channel in the US, has been commissioned for a seventh season to launch in 2010.

Wells, who runs his John Wells Production company out of the Warner Bros studio, is best known as executive producer on political drama The West Wing and hospital drama ER. He is currently producing a pilot for police drama LAPD for NBC.