EXCLUSIVE: Israeli formats continue to be a hot commodity. In a competitive situation, NBC has landed the rights to Israeli mystery drama Timrot Ashan, aka Pillars of Smoke, for Peter Traugott’s recently launched UMS-based production company to produce. Search is already underway for a writer to adapt the series created by Noah Stollman and Oded Davidoff, which is often referred to as Israel’s Lost. Described as Twin Peaks meets Northern Exposure meets Lost, the original Pillars of Smoke is an offbeat mystery series set in Israel’s remote, rural Golan Heights. When the members of a remote cult disappear leaving no traces behind, a police investigation slowly uncovers the darkest secrets of the region and its inhabitants, as well as a grander political conspiracy and environmental disaster from which the cult members are attempting to escape. Traugott will executive produce the NBC version with his development executive Rachel Kaplan. Also executive producing is Alon Aranya. Timrot Ashan, produced by Herzlia Studios, premiered in 2009 on Israeli’s Hot TV network, with a second season slated for this year. The project was packaged by Gersh’s Rob Golenberg. Over the last few years, there have been four U.S. scripted series based on Israeli formats: HBO’s In Treatment, CBS’ The Ex List, Fox’s Traffic Light and Showtime’s upcoming Homeland. Additionally, HBO is developing an adaptation of Israeli mystery drama The Naked Truth with former Dexter showrunner Clyde Phillips. That format also was brought over by Aranya, who is exec producing alongside Phillips.
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