JERUSALEM — Fake news won’t die, Buffy may rise again, and “Game of Thrones’” conclusion will stun us all: These were the assertions made on the second and final day of INTV 2018, a conference sponsored by Israeli media giant Keshet.
CBS News President David Rhodes opened day two with a sit-down with Israeli anchor Yonit Levy, using the platform to insist that there is no injunction holding up the much-touted “60 Minutes” interview with Stormy Daniels (“The only reason it hasn’t run is that there’s still a lot of journalistic work to do”), and to parse the era of fake news and Trump’s Twitter from the perspective of broadcast.
“The real challenge of covering this administration is separating the important from the interesting,” he said, referencing the motto of one of CBS’s White House correspondents. “The tweets are interesting, so is the name calling, but in the end it’s not particularly important. And there are important things that are happening — we try to cover those things.”
Fox head Gary Newman gave a fireside chat later in the day, dissecting November’s Disney/Fox deal (“Anyone who says they saw this coming is full of it”), and spending a few minutes to discuss the revival mania that has led to reboots of “24,” “Prison Break,” “X-Files” and many others.
“If you do it cynically, if you don’t have a great creative reason to do it, I don’t think it’s gonna work,” Newman said. “More than anything it’s a marketing opportunity — people are aware of the show, you don’t have to build awareness… in this world, getting a leg up on marketing is a pretty valuable opportunity.”
Newman teased the potential of a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” reboot, admitting, “If you look at our library, ‘Buffy’ is probably the most ripe show we have for bringing it back… it’s something we talk about frequently. When Joss [Whedon] decides it’s time, we’ll do it.”
HBO head Casey Bloys was joined by drama heads David Levine and Francesca Orsi in a talk that bounced from the emotion of reading the final scripts for “Game of Thrones” (“It was a really powerful moment in our lives and our careers … None of the cast had received the scripts prior, and one by one they started falling down to their deaths,” Orsi said); to how the deluge from streaming service is “diluting” show quality; to the upcoming second season of “Big Little Lies” (Orsi: “The scripts are as good, if not better, than last season.”)
HBO also announced during that panel that they had greenlighted a new Israeli format, “Euphoria,” which is being touted as a mashup of “Kids” and “Trainspotting.”
In a panel that hit closer to home — and resonated with the mostly-local audience — five of Israel’s most revered content creators offered sneak previews of 2018 projects, including Omri Givon’s “When Heroes Fly,” a high-drama look at four friends on a high-stakes quest. Just before teasing a snippet, Keshet head of drama Karni Ziv announced that “When Heroes Fly” will be screened in competition at the new Canneseries television drama event in Cannes next month.
Eleanora Andreatta of Rai, Italy’s undisputed content leader, broke down the global co-production process behind “Medici” and the upcoming Elena Ferrante adaptation “My Brilliant Friend.”
The unstoppable hunger for dystopian drama was the topic of discussion between Peter Traugott, head of scripted for Keshet; HBO’s Levine and Yoram Mokady, VP of content for Israeli cable provider HOT. From “Black Mirror” to “The Handmaid’s Tale” to upcoming Israeli drama “Autonomies,” the more broken the fictional world, the more audiences seem to be clamoring for it, but Levine was quick to point out that dark dramas only work when they also offer light.
“Our worst moments were when we got cynical about the world and we stopped showing the world as a place that could be better. When we showed that the world could be better even if it’s in a worse time, that’s when we make great TV,” he said. “Your audience won’t connect to a world where there’s no hope.”
The day closed out with a behind-the-bejeweled-curtain look at “The Crown” with executive producers Suzanne Mackie and Andy Harries, who admitted that the program was not an easy sell. “No one turned it down, but they didn’t pick up either,” Harries said. “Their reservation was that it was too British.”
As for finding a home on Netflix, Harries said it was a matter of right place, right global-domination time. “I wouldn’t do anything differently. We were incredibly lucky to go to Netflix at the time they were thinking about going around the world,” he said.
Season 3 of “The Crown” will begin shooting in July, and EPs say they’re “nearly done” casting. It’s been previously announced that Olivia Colman will play Queen Elizabeth in middle age, and Helena Bonham Carter will fill in as Princess Margaret. But as for who will step into the highly-shined shoes of Prince Phillip, they’re keeping mum.
As for future series, the art of “The Crown” will continue to imitate modern life and all its colorful politicls.
“I want to see an episode where Trump comes to Buckingham Palace,” said Mackie.