Former Cheers actress Kirstie Alley is set to star in a US version of hit comedy The Vicar Of Dibley.

The Fox TV network is making a pilot of the show, called The Minister Of Divine, with Kirstie taking Dawn French’s role as the quirky preacher.

The episode, co-produced with Vicar Of Dibley creator Richard Curtis, will compete with a number of other pilots to be made into a full series.

Writer Suzanne Martin has apparently made the character more outrageous than Dawn’s version on the original BBC show. She will be a woman with a rebellious past who returns to her small Georgia hometown of Divine to serve as the church minister.

Last year, Fox’s Susan Levison said the show had been set in America’s Deep South to take advantage of a culture that embraced the church and its customs. “She’s a woman with a past who’s trying to make amends, and isn’t afraid to call things as she sees them,” she said of Kirstie’s character.

The final two full episodes of The Vicar Of Dibley topped the British ratings for the Christmas period.

The show has aired in the US on BBC America and on public broadcasting stations. Kirstie, 56, has had roles in comedies Veronica’s Closet and Fat Actress since Cheers ended in 1993. Fat Actress chronicled her battle to lose weight. She recently appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s chatshow in a bikini.