Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, ABC has landed hot Israeli talent competition reality format Rising Star. The network has given a 10-episode order to the series, which will air next summer. Rising Star is the first hot international singing format to hit the U.S. since The Voice. It also is the first project to come out of the recently launched Keshet DCP, a joint venture between Keshet International (Homeland) and DC Media, the parent company of dick clark prods. (So You Think You Can Dance). Keshet DCP is producing Rising Star, which joins such established talent competition series that also launched in the summer as American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, America’s Got Talent, and SYTYCD.

Interactive talent format Rising Star has been a hot property since its big launch in Israel earlier this fall, which broke ratings records on Keshet Channel 2, scoring a 49.4% household share. It was one of the hottest commodities at the recent MIPCOM market, hailed as a potential next generation American Idol and The Voice. The show, produced by Tedy Productions for Keshet Broadcasting, has been sold in France, Germany, Italy and Russia, and a deal is pending with UK’s biggest commercial broadcaster, ITV.

The live talent show for the first time incorporates real-time voting by viewers via an App that is fully integrated into the show. Unlike traditional talent competition series that start off with taped auditions, Rising Star is live from the very beginning, with contestants auditioning with live performances. In every round, viewers vote via the show’s App in real time during the performance, along with the judges, to determine if the singer will advance, which happens if he/she reaches a voting threshold, 70% in Israel. In a twist, the performer is separated from the studio audience and the judges by a translucent floor-to-ceiling LED screen where images of voters at home, taken from their Facebook pages, appear live facing the singer (picture above) who can see how fast the vote tally is growing during the performance for an immediate feedback, making result shows feel “antiquated,” as a person close to Rising Star put it. You can watch how this works below in the performance of one of Rising Star‘s breakout acts, viral stars The Amazing Rabbis.

While it is not as completely dominant as it was at its launch, facing stiff competition from the Israeli version of The X Factor, Rising Star still is going strong in the ratings, especially among young viewers. And it is breaking records in viewer engagement. The show has a second screen participation rate 10 times higher than previous shows, and is maintaining conversion rates (viewers to second screen participation) of over 30%. The series is still airing in Israel, with producers keeping format details about the final stage under wrap. The ABC deal, brokered by WME, marks the network’s first major move in the reality space since shaking up its unscripted department and bringing in Lisa Berger as new head. ABC has dabbled in singing competition series before with such efforts as Duets, but is yet to score a hit in the arena.

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