Spitting Image producers have claimed NBC backed out of airing the show in the US due to “too much nervousness”.
Executive producer Jon Thoday, who also founded Avalon, told The Times that the US broadcaster was on board until just six weeks before the scheduled premiere date.
“It’s basically quite a difficult show to do in the environment that exists, particularly if you’re attacking tall poppies,” Thoday explained. “Inevitably if you attack tall poppies, people get worried.”
He added: “You can’t really do Spitting Image unless you’re fighting the corner of attacking everybody, but by doing that people just get nervous. They think they want it, but when they’ve got it they just start worrying about it.”
Confirming plans earlier this year to launch the revival series in the US, the show’s creator Roger Law had said in a statement: “If you’re going to go after the bastards, you may as well go after the biggest bastards there are.”
The show, which initially ran from 1984 to 1996 on ITV, was also dropped by the US in 1986 when a US-specific pilot, Spitting Image: Down and Out in the White House was produced.
Reviewing the new series, which premiered last week (October 4), NME said: “As an attempt to resuscitate a beloved institution, Spitting Image 2.0, arseholes and all, could be a lot worse.”
The reboot has already been renewed for a second season, due to air in 2021.
New episodes of Spitting Image are currently airing weekly, exclusively on BritBox.