The American version of the GOLDEN GLOBE-winning British comedy hit THE OFFICE has hit a major snag - an early screening of the show proved a painful experience for TV chiefs.

Preview audiences greeted the American show with an icy silence after the pilot episode was screened at a 'testing facility' in Hollywood.

One reviewer explains, "I don't think many of the test group I sat with was as familiar with the original British series as I was.

"Still, it was painfully clear that nobody was liking it.

"The lady next to me said she found it depressing."

In the American version, funnyman STEVE CARRELL steps into Ricky Gervais' shoes as the boss of the office.

But the reviewer believes Carrell's take on the role doesn't compare to the original character: "The acting lacks masterful underplaying of Gervais and company.

"A guy tries to fill Ricky's shoes and can't."

02/05/2004 10:27