Spectrum shift

Amazon Studios picks up Israeli autism dramedy ‘On the Spectrum’

Show about 3 twenty-something roommates will be executive produced by Jason Katims, creator of ‘Parenthood’

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

Amazon Studios is picking up Israeli-made “On the Spectrum,” a half-hour comedy-drama about three roommates with varying levels of autism.

The show, first rewritten as a pilot in the US by Jason Katims, the writer and executive producer responsible for “Parenthood” and “Friday Night Lights,” is still unnamed. No release date has been announced.

Katims wrote and executive produced a pilot in March 2019, alongside Yes Studio’s Danna Stern. The current co-production is shared by Amazon Studios and Universal Television.

The award-winning series created by Dana Idisis and Yuval Shafferman follows three twenty-somethings on the autism spectrum as they strive to find work, make friends and fall in love while living together in Tel Aviv. The US version will move the story from Israel to someplace more familiar to American viewers.

The Israeli show won nine Ophir Awards, Israel’s top honor for television and movies, in March 2019.

The project has been mentioned as one that is close to Katims’ heart, as the father of a son with Asperger’s syndrome — a high-functioning form of autism. His own family’s journey inspired a storyline on the NBC series “Parenthood.”

The Amazon version stars Rick Glassman, Sue Ann Pien and Albert Rutecki who all identify as on the autism spectrum, and costars Sosie Bacon, Chris Pang and Joe Mantegna.

“Thrilled that everyone’s hard work and endless passion for ‘On the Spectrum’ has paid off with a series order at Amazon – with the guiding hands and tremendous heart of Jason Katims,” wrote Stern on her Facebook page. “We set out on this journey to ensure that as many people as possible would be able to share in the inclusive, accepting and loving message of our series; and I am beyond grateful that we now get the chance to do that.”

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