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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Israel's latest export to the US: Prime Time television

I don't watch television - in fact we don't even own a working television. But the following video may look familiar to those of you who do watch it.

Let's go to the videotape.

Homeland is actually an Israeli television show - and it's just one of several that are on US television or that are in the pipeline to be on US television. The Jewish state has found another export (Hat Tip: Ricky G).
"Homeland," which broke Showtime's ratings record for a first-year series finale, is adapted from the Israeli show "Hatufim" (Prisoners of War). It's one of a host of U.S. programs that began life as a Hebrew-language series in this Mediterranean nation of only 8 million people. "Who's Still Standing?," the new NBC quiz program in which contestants answering incorrectly are dropped through a hole in the floor, is also an Israeli import. So is the former HBO scripted series "In Treatment," which starred Gabriel Byrne and ran for three seasons.

And that's just the beginning: Nearly half a dozen shows in development at U.S. networks — including the divorce sitcom "Life Isn't Everything" (CBS), a time-travel musical dubbed "Danny Hollywood (the CW) and the border-town murder-mystery "Pillars of Smoke" (NBC) — are based on hit Israeli series, their themes and language tweaked for American audiences.

Unbeknown to most viewers, a small group of creators and industry types has built a pipeline between Israel and the Los Angeles entertainment world 9,000 miles away. Although many American Jews have a political relationship with Israel, the entertainment pipeline is a new development born of the maturation of the Israeli television industry — and has turned a nation known for politics into Hollywood's hottest spawning ground.

"I know it can sound strange, but when you think about it, the two countries have a lot in common, whether it's in social values or storytelling," Gideon Raff, the creator of "Hatufim" and an executive producer on "Homeland," said in a Tel Aviv cafe a few days before the "Homeland" finale aired in the U.S. "And Israelis as a people don't really care that much about traditional rules, which fits a little with what's going on in cable television in the U.S. right now."
Read the whole thing.

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