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France’s Endemol Shine has announced the Australian sale of its hit cult-themed Israeli drama “Harem” to Australia’s SBS.

During a keynote speech at last year’s Series Mania, Endemol Shine president Sohpie Turner Laing announced that Season 2 of the series had already been greenlit, and shooting would begin in 2019.

Inspired by cults in Israel and the world around, the series is a fictional tale of a charismatic, mystical healer named Shabtai, who lives near Tel Aviv with 20 wives and more than 40 children. Those belonging to the cult joined voluntarily, and have lived isolated themselves from society at large for more than 20 years.

When an attempt to recruit a new member of the organization goes wrong, the true extent of Shabtai’s influence is revealed once outside authorities become involved. It’s clear that beyond his reputation as a healer, teacher and guru, that Shabtai is as ruthless a manipulator outside the cult as he is within.

The series was created by Anat Barzilai, Hadar Galron and Gadi Taub – who co-directs with Marco Carmel (“My Lovely Sister”), and is produced by Endemol Shine Israel. It made its international debut on Reshet 13 in Feb 2018, where it was an immediate ratings hit.

“Israel is a prolifically creative market with a proven track record for producing compelling and contemporary dramas,” said Endemol Shine International CEO Cathy Payne via a press release.

“Harem is ideally suited to the tastes of SBS in Australia who have a long heritage in programming in multiple languages.  With diverse labels across Endemol Shine Group last year producing 50 non-English language productions, our offering for the international market is rapidly gaining momentum.”