Watch out Stranger Things kids, there’s a new group of nerds on the scene. Tel Aviv, Israel-based producer-distributor ADD Content (My Guardian Angel, Wild Horses) is developing a North American, English-language version of its hit YA scripted comedy format The Nerds Club.
In partnership with Wynonna Earp producer Todd Berger, ADD Content is co-producing the as-yet-unnamed series with Berger’s NY-based prodco Banditos Yanquis. There’s no head writer attached to the series yet, but the producers are in discussions with several.
ADD Content produced two 18 x 23-minute seasons of The Nerds Club for Israeli kids channel Zoom. Following its debut in 2013, the series earned record ratings, which led to a theatrical movie release in 2017, a book publishing deal and an app launch. Originally created by Israeli screenwriter Yaron Arazi, the series puts the spotlight on five teens that create a club and a playbook for surviving high school after being labelled as geeks by the popular kids. In each episode, a lesson learned becomes a new entry in the group’s rule book.
While the forthcoming North American version marks the first time ADD Content is developing one of its own YA programs for an international audience, it’s content isn’t unfamiliar to international audiences: It sold the scripted format rights to Tedy Productions’ Israeli YA show Euphoria to HBO for its popular remake.
ADD Content founder and international head Hadas Mozes Lichtenstein serves as a producer on HBO’s version of series, which continues to generate buzz for its graphic portrayal of teenage sex and drug addiction. When asked if the North American version of The Nerds Club could potentially take a darker turn, she said it will come down to the head writer’s vision.
“It will depend on the take of that specific writer and how we feel about it,” says Lichtenstein. “The aim would be in the sitcom genre, but if a writer says the show could be more of a drama or a telenovela, we would be open to that as long it makes sense for the writer, they know how to execute it and keep the essence of the original series.”
One element that will remain central to the new version of the show is its focus on outcasts as main characters, à la Freak and Geeks.
“The Israeli series worked because it used the concept of kids wanting to see real kids that look like them, and not just the perfect Blake Lively high school version from Gossip Girl,” adds Lichtenstein. “I loved Gossip Girl, but ultimately it’s less about real people. We want tweens and teens to feel more confident in adolescence and show that high school is not just a popularity contest.”
Once the show’s producers lock down a head writer, Lichtenstein says the hunt for buyers will begin.
“Handpicking a good writer is our number-one priority,” she says. “It’s important to find one who will deliver, but sometimes it takes time because most of the good writers are busy.”