Polish broadcaster Polsat has commissioned a local-language remake of Servant of the People, the Ukrainian comedy that launched the political career of President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Currently under production under the local title Sluga Narodu, the Polish version of the series features local star Marcin Hycnar as an ordinary man who is unwittingly elected president. Maciej Bieliński is directing the adaptation, which Polot Media is producing.
Zelensky starred in the Ukraine original, which was hugely popular, so much so that life imitated art and Zelensky launched a real-life political career. His ground roots party, called Servant of the People after the show, took off, and he was elected Ukraine president in 2019 with an overwhelming majority.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February catapulted Zelensky onto the world stage, with many celebrating the Ukraine president, who posted defiant videos from the streets of the Ukraine capital, Kyiv, while calling on his citizens to fight the invaders, as a model example of a wartime leader.
After the start of the war, Netflix, which had streamed Servant of the People from 2017-2021, re-licensed the show for its US service. Swedish television group Eccho Rights picked up the international rights to Servant of the People and licensed the series to Channel 4, MBC in the Middle East, and PRO TV in Romania among other channels.
Events in neighboring Ukraine are particularly relevant for Poland, whose government was among the first to express support for Zelensky and fierce opposition to Russia’s aggression. Poland has taken in more Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war than any other country. On August 13, the office of the Polish border guard tweeted that some 5.4 million people have crossed the Polish-Ukrainian border into Poland since the Feb. 24 invasion.