Anxious to find the next international format hit, U.S. TV execs and producers are making pilgrimages to Israel.
CBS, for example, on Tuesday picked up the drama pilot “Quinn-Tuplets,” based on the Israeli series “Reviat Ran” (“The Ran Quartet”). That comes on the heels of the recent Fox comedy pilot “Traffic Light,” another Israeli skein being reworked for American auds.
Also Tuesday, Ben Silverman’s Electus, in launching a new global unit with Shine Intl., announced that it had struck a deal to adapt several Israeli properties from Abbott Reif Hameiri, including the gamer “Cuckoo’s Nest.”
Silverman said Israel has emerged in recent years as an “ultimate greenhouse for ideas.”
“It reminds me of where Holland was ten years ago,” he said, referring to the early success of companies like Endemol, which helped spur interest among U.S. nets in international formats such as “Big Brother” and “Deal or No Deal.”
“Israel has a highly educated consumer base, and they invest in technology in such a dynamic way,” Silverman said. “Tech is about (intellectual property), but IP is not just about software. It’s creative ideas too.”
U.S. nets have already adapted several Israeli TV formats — including, most successfully, HBO’s “In Treatment,” which was based on that country’s hit series “BeTipul.”
Eye net is also no stranger to Israeli TV, as its 2008 drama “The Ex-List” was reworked from Keshet’s format “Mythological X.”
Keshet, which was also behind NBC’s 2007 reality series “Phenomenon,” is the originator of “Traffic Light,” which comes to the U.S. after having been the highest-rated sitcom in Israeli history.
“What this shows is that there are really good TV shows being done around the world,” said WME partner Rick Rosen. “And American networks and writers are responding to interesting material.”
WME reps Keshet, as well as Arikkneller, which is the company behind “The Ran Quartet.”
Retitled “Quinn-Tuplets” for CBS, drama centers on the personal and professional lives of the Quinn quintuplets – five adults whose lives had been documented and broadcast since childbirth. Mike Kelley (“Swingtown”) is writing and exec producing; Chris Kelley is a writer as well.
Also attached to exec produce are Giyora Yahalom, Oren Jakobi, Yona Wiesenthal and Eilon Ratzkovsky. Arik Kneller is a co-EP, while CBS TV Studios produces.
Separately, CBS’ other Tuesday pilot order was “ATF,” a crime drama from writer/director Michael Dinner.
“ATF” centers on a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent who’s busy hunting down dangerous criminals — but whose life just got even more complicated, as he now must balance his job with his life as a dad to a teenage daughter who just re-entered his life.
Dinner wrote the “ATF” script, will direct the pilot and exec produce. Also listed as EPs are Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly.
Project comes from Sony Pictures TV; CBS TV Studios has also negotiated a co-production to be a part of the drama.
Meanwhile, over at the CW, “Smallville” star Tom Welling has teamed with Kevin Murphy (“Reaper”) for a project, “Hellcats,” set in the world of competitive college chearleading. Murphy wrote the pilot and exec produces along with Welling for Warner Bros. TV and CBS TV Studio.
Also at the C-Dub, “HMS” comes from scribe/exec producer Amy Holden Jones and Panettiere, who’s on board as a co-exec producer.
“HMS” centers on the “sexy freshman class” at Harvard Medical School as the embark on their new lives. Warner Bros. TV and CBS TV Studios are behind “HMS.”
Then there’s “Betwixt,” ordered as a full pilot, based on the novel of the same name about urban “changelings” who are responsible for keeping evil away from humans.
Elizabeth Chandler is the writer and exec producer on “Betwixt,” with Paul Stupin exec producing for CBS TV Studios and Warner Bros. TV.