What if Alaska is home of a big Jewish settlement and the fledgling state of Israel was destroyed? That is the setup of a TV series project based on Michael Chabon’s acclaimed 2007 alternative history book Yiddish Policemen’s Union. CBS TV Studios, Nina Tassler and Denise DiNovi’s PatMa Productions and Keshet Studios have acquired a spec drama script by husband-and-wife writing duo Chabon and Ayelet Waldman. The project will be taken out shortly to premium cable and streaming networks.
Based on Chabon’s novel and developed for television by Chabon and Waldman, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union is a darkly comedic murder mystery and political thriller. In Chabon’s alternative history, Jewish refugees from Hitler’s Europe found unlikely refuge on the Alaskan panhandle. In the present day of this world, as the community faces yet another exile, Homicide Detective Meyer Landsman must overcome the shambles of his broken life and marriage to solve a mysterious murder with profound political and religious ramifications.
Chabon and Waldman executive produce with PatMa’s Tassler and DiNovi, along with Peter Traugott and Rachel Kaplan for Keshet Studios, and Jonathan Levin. The project is a co-production of CBS TV Studios, PatMa and Keshet Studios.
Yiddish Policemen’s Union falls outside the NBCUniversal deal of Keshet Studios, the U.S.-based scripted studio of Keshet International, the global distribution and production arm of Israeli indie producer Keshet Media Group.
Another alternative history novel, Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, was successfully adapted into a hit premium drama series on Amazon.
Yiddish Policemen’s Union, published in 2007 by HarperCollins, has received the Hugo, Sidewise, Nebula and Ignotus awards. Chabon’s other notable books include Wonder Boys (1995), The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000), Telegraph Avenue (2012), and Moonglow: A Novel (2016). He received the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2001.
Waldman, who worked for three years as a federal public defender, penned The Mommy-Track Mysteries, a series of seven mystery novels, along with novels Love and Other Possible Pursuits, Bad Mother, Motherlove and A Really Good Day.
Chabon is repped by UTA. Waldman, Keshet and Levin are repped by WME.