An Idiot Abroad

Ricky Gervais' pal Karl Pilkington has proven to be quite the useful Idiot for Science. The cable network is set to announce Thursday that it has secured the second season of hit series An Idiot Abroad.

For season two, Gervais and Stephen Merchant are again sending the dimwitted Pilkington on a trip around the world — but this time to tackle a "bucket list" of things to do before you die.

Unlike season one, which was produced first in the U.K. and later acquired by the Science Channel for the U.S. audience, the network will serve as a production partner. That means Science (which officially dropped the "Channel" from its name this month) will have a role in deciding where Pilkington ends up.

"It's great because we can bring the power of Science and (Science owner) Discovery and help them craft some of the biggest, boldest ideas," says Science executive vice president and general manager Debbie Myers. "The fun part is the topic — bucket lists. There's no limit to what we can brainstorm, and they're digging in."

In season one of An Idiot Abroad, Gervais and Merchant sent Pilkington off to experience countries such as China, India and Jordan, where he completed strange challenges. An Idiot Abroad not only improved Science's performance in its time period, but it also became the channel's top-rated series. Season two will shoot over the summer, with a likely debut in January 2012.

Because season two of An Idiot Abroad will be a Science co-production (with U.K.-based Mentorn Media) and not an international import, it will also be eligible for an Emmy here in the U.S. "If we make season two as strong as season one, it's definitely an Emmy contender," Myers says.

Gervais, Merchant and Pilkington also star in HBO's animated series The Ricky Gervais Show, which just landed a third-season pickup.

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