CBS acquires Israeli unscripted format

Reality series '3' set for summer sked

CBS has acquired Israeli unscripted format “Shalosh” for a reality series scheduled to bow this summer from Magical Elves and Chris Columbus.

Keshet Broadcasting will also exec produce, having sold the format — a big hit in Israel — to CBS. The Israeli-based company has unleashed a slew of formats in the U.S. in recent years including Showtime hit “Homeland.”

To be known in the U.S. as “3,” a translation of the original Hebrew title, the dating series will see three single women who have never met before, of different ages and with different life experiences and backgrounds, come together for a common goal: to find true love. As they search for a partner, they will share their lives and emotionally support one another during the dating and decisionmaking process.

” ‘3’ is a relationship show that won’t perpetuate a fairy-tale myth about dating,” said Jennifer Bresnan, executive VP, alternative programming, CBS Entertainment. “Without any typical game play, it intimately documents the search for love and the reality of dating.”

CBS last did a deal with Keshet in 2008 for short-lived comedy “The Ex List.”

Magical Elves already counts unscripted hits including “Top Chef” to its credit and has reality series “Fashion Star” coming to NBC next month. Film vet Columbus (“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”) had been developing several scripted projects for CBS, one of which, drama “Applebaum,” received a pilot pickup.

In addition to Columbus, exec producers are Jane Lipsitz, Dan Cutforth, Avi Nir and Ami Glam.

Deal was brokered by WME, which represents Keshet and Columbus. WME agent Rick Rosen has made importing Israeli series something of a specialty, but the sale of “Shalosh” didn’t follow the usual course of developing a marketing strategy with Keshet and shopping it to the networks. CBS programming chief Nina Tassler just happened to have traveled to Israel a few months ago and connected with Keshet chairman Nir, who showed her “Shalosh.”

“She came back from Israel and said, ‘Why are you holding out on me?'” recounted Rosen, who said Tassler was so excited by the project that CBS struck a deal to take it off the table before he could pitch it anywhere else.

“3” may not be alone among new projects derived from Israeli TV. NBC is currently considering two pilot pickups, drama “Pillars of Smoke” and comedy “Friday Night Dinner,” which were both adapted from formats that originated in that country.

The U.S. is the first territory for which Keshet has sold “Shalosh” outside Israel.