In a further push into China’s entertainment sphere, e-commerce giant Alibaba has pacted with Lionsgate to launch Lionsgate Entertainment World, a subscription streaming service for the mainland. The service will be available exclusively through Alibaba’s set-top boxes and will give users access to high-profile Lionsgate titles including Divergent (which has not had a theatrical release in China), pics from the Twilight and Hunger Games franchises, and TV series The Royals, Nashville and Mad Men. The deal gives Lionsgate bigger exposure in the fast-growing Chinese market where many consumers watch content online — which has traditionally flown lower under the radar of the Middle Kingdom’s famous censors. Alibaba filed for a U.S. IPO earlier this year and recently took a majority stake in ChinaVision Media Group, now Alibaba Pictures Group, as part of its bid to expand. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company has also recently approached Chinese film studios about creating or acquiring content for its online service, and that it is eyeing further investment in local studios. Launch of Lionsgate Entertainment World is expected next month. David U. Lee, founder and president of Leeding Media, helped orchestrate the agreement.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Alibaba, Lionsgate In China Streaming Deal; Discovery Western Europe Hires BBC Veteran; More
Currently airing in Brazil, Portugal and the U.S. — where reviews have been lackluster and ratings slipped 20% in the demo on Sunday night from last week’s ABC series debut — Rising Star is taking the next evolutionary step in the singing competition arena. Keshet International and Universal Music Group have entered a multi-territory deal, excluding the U.S. and Israel, which will see UMG acquire exclusive options to sign artist agreements with any or all show contestants. Separately, Keshet DCP has signed a deal with UMG which will see artists on ABC’s U.S. version win a record deal with the Capitol Records label. Capitol is also making full studio recordings of the performances available for download. (UMG’s Interscope Records already releases American Idol winner and contestant music.) Overseas, KI and UMG say they will work together to maximize finalists’ potential locally and internationally on all platforms. In terms of breakouts so far, the waters are relatively untested. The only Rising Star series to complete its run is the original Israeli version whose finale scored big ratings on Keshet Channel 2 in December 2013. The winner was 20-year-old Evyatar Korkus, who received his first record deal, and beat out The Gat Brothers (aka The Singing Rabbis). Brazil and Portugal, the 2nd and 3rd markets to launch, are drawing average audience shares of about 30%. In September, France’s M6 debuts its take, and the UK’s ITV will raise …
Atlantique Productions, the French producer behind Transporter – The Series, is partnering with Keshet UK to develop eight-part drama series Crater Lake. Billed as a life-affirming, character-driven show about death, it was created by Ron Leshem who created Israeli series Gordin Cell and is exec producing its U.S. adaptation Allegiance. Leshem also wrote the novel Beaufort and co-wrote the 2007 big screen transfer which was nominated as Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. Keshet UK was established by Keshet International in 2012. The deal with Atlantique sees the latter, which also produces Borgia, make its first move to diversify its range of productions and work on high-end dramas for the international marketplace with independent producers from around the world. Atlantique CEO Olivier Bibas and creative director Patrick Nebout will act as executive producers on Crater Lake. For Keshet, exec producers are Keshet Media Group CEO, Avi Nir, KI CEO Alon Shtruzman and Keshet UK head of scripted, Sara Johnson.
The nine-year dick clark productions veteran is expanding his role as VP Programming and Development to include running its joint venture with Keshet International. In his new role, Assaf Blecher will manage programming and development for Keshet DCP, which is behind ABC’s upcoming singing competition Rising Star and the bomb-defusing game show format Boom! Announced last year, the joint venture between Keshet and dcp’s parent company DC Media produces unscripted programming in the U.S. and develops, produces and finances new formats for international markets. “Assaf played a key role in the formation of Keshet DCP and will be instrumental in our strategies to expand our programming footprint domestically and internationally with the most compelling slate of unscripted programming possible,” said Mark Bracco, EVP Programming and Development at dick clark productions. Said Keshet CEO Alon Shtruzman, “Assaf has a proven track record and has contributed great insights and talent to the development of Keshet DCP. … His experience, industry acumen and friendship will be of great benefit to our collective effort.”
Much as it did with October’s Mipcom, Israel’s Keshet International dominated the just-wrapped Mip-TV market. The savvy folks behind Rising Star energized the Croisette this week with ticking time bomb format Boom!, which closed at least a deal a day including in the U.S., France, Spain, Belgium and Hungary. And, interactive singing competition Rising Star, which had already locked down more than 25 territories since last October, is still selling. But save for Brazil, which on Sunday became the first territory outside Israel to debut a local version of Rising Star, the shows have yet to be tested abroad and Mip was abuzz with anticipation, mixed with some skepticism, about the ultimate results. Underscoring that, Brazil, which scored strong numbers, had a technical glitch that meant some home viewers had trouble entering their votes. I understand this was not the same sort of situation suffered by NBC’s Million Second Quiz last year when its app crashed during the premiere. In the case of Rising Star, I’m told there was no loss of connectivity and the live show was not affected. But, it’s a fair bet that other networks who have acquired the format are keeping a keen eye on the international rollout. Portugal is next to bow in May, and ABC debuts the format in June; it’s playing close to the vest with details.
In Cannes this week, execs up and down the Croisette praised the folks at Keshet International for their marketing acumen, enthusiasm and ability to generate creative formats. The company is often credited with putting Israel on the TV map thanks, most notably, to scripted drama Prisoners Of War, aka Homeland. The deal success of Rising Star, and now Boom!, had more than one observer marveling this week that Keshet has taught “a masterclass in marketing.” A key element of that masterclass includes bringing both formats to the Riviera sales shows hot on the heels of their respectively record-breaking debuts in Israel on Keshet Channel 2. Each format’s gimmick has also been highly touted. Rising Star‘s interactive app, incubated in Tel Aviv’s cutting-edge start-up community, lets viewers control the show’s outcome. Boom! is more of a straightforward quiz show. But the concept of contestants defusing (fake) bombs onstage, while shocking some, has made buyers sit up and take notice.
Television executives are always on the hunt for the proverbial Next Big Thing, and for the past year or so, the Mipcom and Mip-TV markets have emerged as important hubs where some of the hottest new formats are unveiled. Following a strong showing at last fall’s Mipcom, Keshet‘s Rising Star sold around the world, including to ABC in the U.S. What will be the breakout format at Mip-TV which kicks off tomorrow? With the U.S. reality market yet to yield a new tentpole franchise since NBC premiered The Voice three years ago, and most established series more than a decade old, the necessity of finding reinforcements is ever more urgent and means execs need to be constantly vigilant as to where the new possibilities may be hidden. Likening the search to digging for truffles, Jennifer O’Connell, head of Core Media’s U.S. Television Division, says, “We’re really going to be sniffing around everywhere.” It’s important to keep a “very open mind to where a great idea can come from.” Regardless of the provenance, U.S. broadcasters are more apt to take a second look “if someone else did it first… It can be almost like an insurance policy,” she says.
MIPTV Briefs: TF1 Goes ‘Boom!’ With Keshet Format; Zig Zag/Screenz Team On ‘Sofa King Clever’; FremantleMedia Takes ‘Punk’d’ Overseas, Asks ‘Who Lives Here?’
As the Mip-TV market gets underway in Cannes, Keshet International has announced its first offshore rights deal for ticking time bomb show, Boom!. France’s TF1 has acquired the format that just debuted in Israel to powerhouse ratings and is expected to be a big seller here this week. The game show sets a squad of four players the challenge of defusing eight replica bombs by answering trivia questions correctly within a strict time limit. The multiple choice responses are represented by different color wires. If the player gets an answer right, the prize money remains intact and the squad advances. If they cut the wrong wire, or run out of time, the bomb explodes spewing material across the studio and shaking the set. The team loses one player per exploded bomb, and 25% of the potential prize money. Keshet DCP is developing the show for the U.S.
It looks like Keshet International‘s new ticking time bomb game show Boom! is taking a page straight out of the Rising Star songbook. Just ahead of next week’s Mip-TV market, Boom! debuted last night on Keshet’s Channel 2 in Israel, scoring record ratings. At the same time, Keshet DCP, the joint venture between KI and DC Media, the parent company of dick clark prods, says it’s bringing the format to the U.S. It will be the first co-development deal between KI and DC Media under the Keshet DCP banner since it was established in October 2013. In November last year, ABC gave a 10-episode order to Rising Star which was being shopped by Keshet DCP. That interactive format went on to sell in over 25 territories and will debut in the U.S. on June 22.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Keshet International Bringing ‘Elevator Pitch’ To Mip-TV; VMI Worldwide Picks Up ‘Hellion’; More
Keshet Set To Shop ‘Elevator Pitch’ At Mip-TV
At next week’s Mip-TV, Keshet International is launching interactive format Elevator Pitch. CEO Alon Shtruzman calls the high-concept entrepreneur-focused show “the new Rising Star.” That singing competition series was the hot property at last year’s Mipcom and went on to sell to more than 25 territories including the U.S. and UK. Elevator Pitch sees entrepreneurs step inside a high-tech elevator and pitch their concepts to the viewing audience in a limited amount of time. As with Rising Star, viewers will be able to vote yay or nay via a specially designed app. A minimum percentage of positive votes will advance the would-be innovators up to the penthouse, where five business tycoons await. If they don’t achieve the necessary percentage, they are sent back to the ground floor and out the door. The live show asks the audience, “Would you buy the product/idea being pitched?” which Keshet says provides an instant form of market research. Those who ascend to the penthouse will enter a studio where they are the subject of a bidding war with the business people who have voted “in.” Keshet again has teamed with Tedy Productions, with which it is also partnered on Rising Star, to produce the primetime show. Elevator Pitch will launch later this year on Keshet Broadcasting.
Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘Rising Star’ Heads To Greece, Ukraine; ‘Broadchurch’ Leads Royal Television Society Awards; More
‘Rising Star’ World Tour Continues In Greece, Ukraine
Keshet International’s interactive talent search format Rising Star has made further sales, heading to Greece’s Mega and Ukraine’s 1+1. Keshet says the deals make Rising Star the world’s fastest-selling talent show ever, according to researchers at the WIT. Since its launch at Mipcom in October, it has sold to more than 25 territories. Greece and Ukraine will launch their local versions later this year. 1+1 has made a multi-season deal beginning with a 15-episode first series to be produced by Studio Kvartal 95. Mega has commissioned an initial 14 episodes, with a local producer to be confirmed. The first international version of Rising Star will premiere April 6 on Globo Brazil. ABC’s U.S. version of the show will air in the summer and is available to buyers at Mip-TV as a finished 10 episode tape.
Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘Time In Between’ Finale Sets Records; Fox Int’l Channels Airing Super Bowl Live In Europe; More
‘The Time In Between’ Finale Sets Records In Spain
Deadline readers who follow international closely will know that I’ve been high on Spanish period miniseries The Time In Between. The 11-part mini debuted in Spain in October as the best local drama premiere of the last eight years. It concluded its run on Antena 3 on Tuesday night with an all-time record high of over 5.5M viewers and a 27.8% share. It also hit a peak of 5.88M viewers. The series overall averaged 5M viewers and had a 25.5% average share. Produced by Boomerang TV for Antena 3, it led among over 35s with a 25.2% share, and reached a 37.7% share among audiences aged 55-64. Based on María Dueñas’ novel, The Time In Between is set during the Spanish Civil War and the run-up to World War II. It’s the story of a woman raised by a poor single mother and taught to be a seamstress. When she falls for a handsome young man, she moves with him to Morocco and spends months living the high life. But when the money runs out and she falls pregnant, he leaves. She ultimately builds a new life and becomes the most sought-after couture designer for the socialite wives of German Nazi officers. She also begins working for the British government, passing information to the Secret Service. Interest from abroad has been high: The series already is running in Romania and offers on remake rights and/or the original are in from the U.S., Canada, Italy, France, Portugal, the former Yugoslavia, Russia, Croatia, and several territories in Latin America and Africa.
Fox International Channels Airing Super Bowl Live In Europe
While Europeans eagerly await this summer’s World Cup, they’ll be able to check out the biggest game of the year for the other kind of football in just a few weeks. Fox International Channels is bringing the Super Bowl to the continent. When the Seattle Seahawks face off with the Denver Broncos on February 2 in East Rutherford, N.J., NFL fans in Europe will be able to watch the full Fox coverage beginning at 12:25 AM on February 3. More than 12 million households in Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia will have access to the game. This will be the first time the Super Bowl is broadcast live on the FIC channels in Europe. Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chili Peppers are the halftime act. Separately, Fox International Channels said today that it has appointed Fabrizio Salini to managing director of its Italian operation, effective February 17. Salini was VP Entertainment Channels for FIC Italy from 2003 and 2011, and returns after a two-year stint serving senior management roles at SKY Italia, Discovery Communications Italia and Switchover Media.
ITV and Keshet International have made it official as the British network has acquired hot interactive talent competition format Rising Star. I reported earlier this month that a deal was pending and the partners now say a UK version of the show will be co-produced by ITV Studios and Keshet International UK. The deal adds to ITV’s high-profile competition franchises that include Simon Cowell’s The X Factor UK and Britain’s Got Talent. ITV’s Dancing On Ice is bowing out in 2014 and it’s expected that Rising Star will occupy its slot beginning January 2015. ABC recently landed the format for the U.S. with a 10-episode order for air in summer 2014. The UK acquisition follows other local deals in Hungary (TV2), Italy (Toro), France (M6 Group), Russia (Rossiya1), Germany (RTL) and the Nordics (Nordisk).
Keshet International has already sold its buzzy singing competition format Rising Star to France, Germany, Russia, Italy and the Nordic territories. In the U.S., where the race is on for the next big competition show, Keshet International and DC Media’s Keshet DCP joint venture is shopping a Rising Star adaptation to American networks. The UK market is poised to be a next stop for the interactive hit. British broadcaster ITV has been in exclusive negotiations for Rising Star and I’ve learned that a deal is imminent. This would give ITV three high-profile talent competition franchises, just as one of its staples is exiting. The network just today renewed its pact on Simon Cowell’s The X Factor UK and Britain’s Got Talent through the end of 2016. If Rising Star goes ahead at ITV, I’m told it could slot into the space that’s currently reserved for Dancing On Ice which ends next year. That would put Rising Star on deck for January 2015. It would also potentially set up a new rivalry with the BBC which is moving The Voice UK to a January slot beginning in 2014. (The Voice UK previously aired from March-June which pitted it against Britain’s Got Talent.) Rising Star has been top of mind for TV execs since it launched at …
Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘We Are The Best!’ Sold To Half-Dozen Territories; ‘Rising Star’ Heads To Italy; More
‘We Are The Best!’ Headed To Screens In Six More Territories
Lukas Moodysson’s latest feature We Are The Best! has sealed a number of new distribution deals. TrustNordisk has added France (MK2), Russia (Caravella), Greece (One from the Heart), Mexico (Cannibal Networks), Hungary (Vertigo), Estonia (Estin Film) and Hong Kong (Edko) to the list of territories where the film will be released. The tale of three young outsiders in 1980s Stockholm who form a punk band debuted in Venice. Magnolia Pictures acquired it for the U.S. after it played in Toronto.
Latest Stop For Keshet’s ‘Rising Star’ Is Italy
Keshet International has locked another deal for Rising Star, its hit interactive talent show. Sony Pictures Television Group production company Toro will adapt the format for Italy. This follows recent deals in France, Russia, Germany and the Nordics. Rising Star was one of the hottest properties at the recent Mipcom TV market and incorporates real-time voting by viewers via a free app that is fully integrated into the show.
Global Showbiz Briefs: EFA Reveals Debut-Feature Nominees; ‘Rising Star’ Sold To Nordic Territories; More
EFA Unveils FIPRESCI Nominees For Best First Feature
The European Film Academy has unveiled nominees for the European Discovery 2013 FIPRESCI Prize. The award is presented annually as part of the European Film Awards to a young and upcoming director for a first full-length feature film. This year’s nominees are Sweden’s Eat Sleep Die by Gabriela Pichler, Mikael Marcimai’s Sweden/Norway/Ireland/Finland co-production Call Girl, Italian actress-turned-director Valeria Golino’s Cannes Un Certain Regard title Miele, Germany’s Oh Boy from Jan Ole Gerster, and Spain’s The Plague by Neus Ballús. The nominated films soon will be submitted to the 2,900 EFA Members to select the winner. The prize will be awarded December 7 at the European Film Awards Ceremony in Berlin.
Mipcom Briefs: Keshet’s ‘Rising Star’ In Russian Redo; ‘Dining With The Enemy’ In Canada; UK TV Exports Reach £1.2B; More
Keshet International‘s hot format Rising Star is headed to Russia. Broadcaster Rossiya 1, part of media group VGTRK, will air a local version of the interactive primetime show which France’s M6 acquired earlier this week. Keshet DCP, a joint venture with DC Media, is also shopping a U.S. version to American broadcasters. Keshet debuted a live screening of Rising Star from Israel last night in Cannes. The singing competition integrates home viewers who vote in real-time via an app that also posts their photos to the TV screen. The app has now been downloaded more than 1.2M times. The show is a big hit at home where it’s produced by Tedy Productions for Keshet Broadcasting.
Canada’s TV5 is prepping war-zone/foodie hybrid A Table Avec L’Ennemi, an adaptation of Norwegian format, Dining With The Enemy. The six-part series will be hosted by journalist and author Frédérick Lavoie and chef Charles-Antoine Crête. It will travel to conflict areas around the world including Mexico, Rwanda and Afghanistan, and see two representatives from opposing factions share a meal and discuss their views and vision of ongoing strife. “We forget that, in war zones or risk areas, life goes on. People try to live a normal life and their main concerns are much like ours… We hope the dinner table will serve as a meeting place, a place for dialogue and hope between two cultures”, says TV5 Programming Director Pierre Gang. Media Ranch president Sophie Ferron will produce with the series to air in fall 2014. Canadian production and distribtion outfit Media Ranch has an option to produce local adaptations of Dining With The Enemy in English-speaking Canada and the UK, and is in discussions on a Canada-U.S. co-production.
Keshet & Dick Clark Prods. Launch Reality TV Production Company, Will Adapt Hot ‘Rising Star’ Format For U.S.
Keshet International, the global distribution and production arm of leading Israeli media company Keshet Media Group, and DC Media, the parent company of dick clark prods., have formed Keshet DCP, a joint venture focused on developing, financing and delivering unscripted programs to English- and Spanish-speaking U.S. audiences and beyond. One of the first shows the new venture will exploit is the much talked about interactive talent format Rising Star, a live talent show that for the first time incorporates real-time voting by viewers via an app that is fully integrated into the show. The show is broadcast live throughout the season, and viewers play an integral role in every decision made from beginning to end. Rising Star broke records this week in Israel on Keshet Channel 2, scoring a massive 49.4% HH share and 37.7% HH rating.
Under the deal, Keshet DCP, which will get an executive to run it soon, will have the U.S. rights to KI’s current catalog of over 20 unscripted formats, as well as Keshet’s future unscripted formats. Current Keshet formats include the family game show Sure Or Insure (launched at MIPTV 2013 and sold to eight territories) and hit children’s talent show Master Class (sold to five territories). “Keshet is a global leader in television programming with consummate leadership under Avi Nir, making them an ideal partner as we continue strategic growth in the U.S. and internationally,” said Allen Shapiro, CEO, dick clark productions. KI first broke into the US marketplace with the formats for Showtime’s Homeland based on Prisoners Of War, and the unscripted TBS hidden-camera ambush show Deal With It.
Fox International Channels is partnering with Keshet International on the U.S. adaptation of Homeland producer Keshet’s newest Israeli scripted drama series Shkufim (False Flag). Parkland director Peter Landesman will make his TV writing debut and pen the adaptation. The original series, which airs on Keshet channel 2 in Israel, is inspired by the 2010 assassination in Dubai, where a Palestinian radical was killed in his hotel room. The hotel pieces together surveillance footage and passport photographs to implicate 26 international hotel guests and release them to global news outlets. Landesman’s version, which FIC is developing in house, centers on eight apparently ordinary U.S. citizens who wake up to find their faces and private lives broadcast across the Internet and television news around the world as suspects in a brazen and dangerous international crime. What seems at first like a horrible case of mistaken identity unspools into a psycho-espionage thriller. Amit Cohen-Raab and Maria Feldman created the Israeli series, which is produced by Tender productions. Cohen-Raab, who wrote the series, will co-write the U.S. pilot story with Landesman.
Global Showbiz Briefs: BAFTA Releases Breakthrough Brits List; New Report Says UK Creative Industries Are Threatened; More
BAFTA Unveils First Breakthrough Brits List For Film, TV, Games
BAFTA and Burberry have selected 17 newcomers who are making their name in film, TV or games for the inaugural BAFTA Breakthrough Brits list. The honorees, selected by a jury of industry experts, are actors Paul Brannigan, James Floyd, Tom Holland, Ade Oyefeso, Chloe Pirrie, and Sharon Rooney; writers/directors Rowan Athale and Zam Salim; writer Dominic Mitchell; game developers Oliver Clarke, Mitu Khandaker and Dan Pearce; game designers Rex Crowle and Sophia George; broadcaster Arthur Williams; and producers Ed Barratt and Nisha Parti. They will be celebrated during a showcase event October 21 at BAFTA headquarters in London.