Television Business International

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Show of the week: The Good Doctor

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With Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel) and Richard Schiff (The West Wing) on its bill, The Good Doctor isn’t lacking for star power.

But perhaps more interestingly, the new ABC drama is one of the highest profile series ever to shine a light on autism – a condition that makes communication difficult for an affected person, though can gift them with incredible powers of reasoning and intellect.

“It’s broadcast TV, but it’s also one of those rare occasions where you actually the opportunity to get to do some good with a series,” says David Shore, who is helming the series through his Shore Z prodco.

Shore – known for leading another huge medical procedural, House – developed the series with actor and producer Daniel Dae Kim (Lost, Hawaii 5-0) after the scripts were brought into the US from Asia.

The original series debuted on KBS2 in South Korea in 2013, before the concept was packaged for the US and pitched around before Shore took over. Sony is producing through its deal with the showrunner.

SPT’s president of international distribution, Keith Le Goy, has been debuting the pilot to buyers at the LA Screenings over the past few days, and says he “is exactly what you’d expect when you tell people you have a new medical procedural from David Shore – they can’t wait”.

Both Shore and Le Goy point to Highmore’s central performance as Dr Shaun Murphy, a Boston surgeon and savant with Asperger’s Syndrome, with the former says “it will raise questions about how the public understands the condition”.

Murphy is able to recognise problems and diagnose illness on a level far beyond most regular doctors, but struggles with human interaction, and his superiors clash over his employment. Schiff plays an older doctor, who supports Highmore’s position.

Le Goy says that from a distribution standpoint, selling medical dramas comes down “finding new ways to tell stories where the stakes are life and death”.

Shore says with The Good Doctor director Seth Gordon has found a way to do that. “He has done an amazing job of creating the world,” he adds.

Show of the week: The Good Doctor
The producer: Sony Pictures Television, ABS Studios, Shore Z
The distributor: Sony Pictures Television
The broadcaster: ABC
The concept: Medical procedural centring on a genius-level doctor with autism