HBO is joining forces with Warner Bros. and writer-producer John Wells to create a U.S. version of the iconic blue-collar TV drama Shameless.

According to Variety, the move follows protracted talks between the series's creator British screenwriter Paul Abbott, Wells and various U.S. networks in recent years including NBC, which at one point was poised to remake Shameless starring Woody Harrelson.

In Blighty, Shameless is regarded as one of the most innovative TV dramas of the past decade because of its unvarnished and sometimes hilarious take on life in the British underclass.

Set on a public housing estate in the northern English city of Manchester, the series's leading character is feckless but lovable Frank, an alcohol and drug abuser living on the margins of society who is the head of the chaotic Gallagher clan.

Abbott, responsible for a string of U.K. TV hits including the political thriller State of Play, soon to bow as a feature film, drew on his own painful childhood to write the show.

U.S. webheads have thought long and hard about how to adapt Shameless for domestic audiences -- at one time Abbott was co-writing a script with Wells. Lombardo said, "How do you move that show to America and not lose its essence?"