Endemol Taps Top Exec Oversee U.S.-Israeli

TEL AVIV — Furthering its march into Israel, one of the most hotly-watched territories for fresh television content, Endemol has tapped prominent exec and producer Gal Zaid to oversee scripted operations for its startup division in partnership with Endemol North America.

Zaid, whose credits in Israel include “Homeland” predecessor “Prisoners of War” as well as “Hostages,” will serve as director of comedy and drama for Endemol Israel. He has served as director of drama at both Israel’s Channel 10 and for industry leader Keshet. His appointment continues Endemol’s push into the Israeli market last year when the company acquired top Israeli indie producer Kuperman TV.

Endemol broadened its reach further in December when it nabbed a 33% stake in Keshet rival Reshet, a deal that came with the signing of a strategic pact to focus on the creation, production and distribution of new multi-platform content.

Zaid, one of Israel’s most respected producers and actors, is also a well-known screenwriter and actor. He appeared onscreen in “Prisoners of War” as Mossad agent Haim Cohen, and served as script editor for Endemol Israel’s “Traffic Light,” which was later sold to Fox. His remit will include working with LA-based Endemol Studios team to develop scripted TV formats that are highly adaptable for the U.S. screens.

“Gal is recognized in the Israeli market as being a creative entrepreneur with a capacity to deliver great storytelling that translates across all territories,” said Phillippe Maigret, CEO of Endemol Studios. “We look forward to collaborating with him to find new ideas based on scripted Israeli formats that we can adapt into content for the U.S. market.”

Elad Kuperman, CEO of Endemol Israel, added: “Gal is responsible for some of the most successful and exciting scripted series to come out of Israel and we are thrilled to have him join us in this key role. “

Endemol and Reshet last month announced “Fundastic,” their debut international format, which will be one of Endemol’s headline formats at MipTV this week and is being promoted as the world’s first live, multiplatform crowd-funding format. “Fundastic” can be expected to go head to head with rival Keshet’s “Elevator Pitch,” in which wannabe entrepreneurs stump for investments before a live viewing audience.

In addition to placing Zaid at the helm in Israel, Endemol has been growing its scripted business across the globe. Last week the company acquired South Wales-based international drama producer Artists Studio, which produces Gillian Anderson starrer “The Fall.” Their scripted business has grown 75% over the past five years and includes productions “Hell on Wheels,” BBC Two’s “Peaky Blinders” and Zeppotron’s satirical, future-set drama “Black Mirror.”

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