Irish actor Jason O'Mara is to play the lead role in the American version of the British television hit 'Life on Mars'.

Variety reports that the Dubliner will play Sam Tyler, the modern-day detective who is transported back to the 1970s; the character was played in the BBC series by John Simm.

In the US version Tyler crosses paths with a serial killer who may have something to do with the abduction of the police officer's girlfriend in the present day.

Commenting on O'Mara's casting, producer David E Kelley said: "This is a complicated character with many colours. After an exhaustive search, we're thrilled to have cast Jason O'Mara. He is a tremendous talent."

'Life on Mars' goes into production in the US on 14 August.

A graduate of the BA in Drama and Theatre from Trinity College Dublin, O'Mara was recently seen in the US legal series 'In Justice'.

His other TV credits include 'Band of Brothers', 'The Bill', 'Monarch of the Glen', 'CSI: Miami' and 'The Agency'.