Reporting from Jerusalem

Spurred on by the success of such transfers as Homeland, Israel has lately proved itself a hotbed of format acquisitions activity. Entertainment One Television is the latest to get on board with Reaching For Heaven, a half-hour dramedy originally created by Norma Productions owner Assaf Amir. EOne picked up the format rights from Tal Shaked and Einat Shamier’s local outfit A-Cappella and Media Content Hub, and is developing two different shows. One will be a UK-based family drama made with Eleven Films, with whom eOne has an overall deal. That project is being written by Stewart Harcourt (Love & Marriage). The other project is U.S.-based and written by Mike Seid. It’s in the final stages of a deal with a premiere cable channel. Both remakes will be one-hour dramas.

The original Reaching For Heaven was based on Ora Morag’s novel One Hundred New Apples. It follows the story of a secular Israeli family whose patriarch turns to ultra-Orthodox Judaism. All members of the family do their best to preserve unity, but none are willing to join the father on his new journey to a religious life. The series ran locally for two seasons on Keshet.

EOne TV CEO John Morayniss broke the news here in Jerusalem today at the INTV conference. The company’s manager of co-productions and formats, Becca Tesarfreund, said she was drawn to the format because “it felt so real. At the base, it’s about a family trying to figure out how to deal with something that changes their entire dynamic.”

Carrie Stein, EVP global productions for eOne Television, added, “This concept is universal which is why so many people have responded to it. We’re extremely grateful to Tal and Einat for sharing it with us. They have excellent taste in material and we’re looking forward to working with them on this as well as other shows in the future.”