Reality Check is a Deadline feature series covering the players, programs and trends in reality television.
Israel has grown to become one of the world’s go-to spots for formats, and the trend is likely here to stay with execs believing it soon will resemble the UK and Scandinavia. Arguably jump-starting the trend was scripted drama Be Tipul, which HBO adapted as In Treatment in 2008. But the one that opened the floodgates was Hatufim, the original version of what Showtime fashioned into the Emmy-winning drama series Homeland. And in the past year, a nonscripted show has brought the territory to a whole new level. Rising Star, the interactive singing competition created by Tedy Productions and Hatufim‘s Keshet International, turned attention full-bore to the Middle Eastern nation and has helped give rise to a slew of new programming that is wending its way around the globe. Pretty impressive for a country that has only two commercial broadcasters — a situation that is leading some locals to produce for international first. But there’s also a universality to the stories and concepts that Israel is bringing to market. Producer Tal Shaked of A Cappella echoes a sentiment you hear a lot when talking with local execs. “We’re a small country in the Middle East with a lot going on around us,” she says. “We have Jews and Russians and Arabs and Ethiopians. … We have religious and nonreligious people. There’s never a dull moment. The country lives under threat – we are surrounded by enemies. And that makes people be very creative.” Here is a look at some of the key reality producer/creatives in the market today. Read More »
At last October’s Mipcom, Israeli interactive talent show Rising Star, was the hot property, selling local versions around the globe. At the Mip-TV market next month, The Big Picture, a new interactive entrant from Israel, is aiming to be the next big thing. The game show hails from Israeli format company A Cappella, which recently made U.S. and UK deals with eOne for religion-themed drama Reaching For Heaven. Big Picture is created by TV host and mentalist Nimrod Harel, whose first scripted series, The Believer, has been sold to Fox International Channels. A budget of $1M went toward developing and producing an English-language Big Picture pilot hosted by Andrew Günsberg (Australian Idol, Live To Dance), which A Cappella will shop at Mip-TV (see promo below). The trivia-based show asks a contestant to identify photographs projected on a 20-meter-high screen in the studio; the pictures can be of celebrities, political figures, events and such. There are 12 stages to the game with the ultimate possibility of winning $1M. The contestant can opt out at any time and take the money they’ve amassed, or continue vying for the top prize. If they get an answer wrong, they leave empty-handed. The interactive element in Big Picture is the participation of the viewing audience. Via a specially-designed app that uses technology created in Israel’s booming start-up community, and with consultants who have worked with the Israeli military, viewers can answer questions by text and potentially become the partner of the onscreen contestant, eventually splitting the purse. In a twist, the show will be pre-recorded in studio, but viewers will participate on the day of broadcast. Those selected will have their image projected on screen, and play along via the technology.
A Capella CEO Einat Shamir says, “The audience at home wants to be an active participant and influence what they watch on the screen in real time. The beauty of our format is the very unique production formula, which allows to overcome a lot of traditional obstacles many TV producers were facing when trying to cater to the new interactivity trend in the business.” Read More »