BBC America has signed its first independent production venture after ordering an 8 x 60-minute US-based version of Endemol UK's garden makeover show, Ground Force, writes Colin Robertson

BBC America has signed its first independent production venture after ordering an 8 x 60-minute US-based version of Endemol UK's garden makeover show, Ground Force, writes Colin Robertson

Both the show's stars, Charlie Dimmock and Tommy Walsh, will appear in Ground Force America, which will start filming in the US next month and air on BBC America, the corporation's wholly-owned US entertainment channel, in the summer. BBC America has issued a call to US garden-owners via its website. Carol Haslam will executive produce.

BBC Worldwide will license the 60-minute programmes around the world and a UK airing is under consideration.

BBC America has screened the UK version of Ground Force since February 1999. Last year it also aired the one-off special Ground Force New York in which the Ground Force team linked up with Bette Midler and the New York Restoration Project to rejuvinate an abandoned lot.

BBC America vice President programming David Bernath said: "Ground Force America is a milestone project for the network?now is the perfect time for BBC America to venture into its first major original production."

A spokeswoman for BBC America added that the corporation may look to commission more original shows from independents. The channel screens content commissioned for the BBC in the UK, as well as a number of shows from Channel 4, including So Graham Norton.