“2025,” the splashy new Israeli reality TV show teased and touted by Keshet for months, has sunk in the ratings to a new low in just its third week on air.
The show premiered in early February to a 21.1% share of the Israeli viewership, a disappointing figure for an original reality series – and one that Keshet spent tens of millions of shekels to produce. By contrast, the third season of Israel’s “Celebrity Big Brother” premiered on rival network Reshet in January with a 27.4% share.
After its Feb. 10 bow, ratings for “2025” hovered around 15% before dropping further in recent days, and Keshet decided to cut back on the show’s primetime episodes, from four times a week to three. For Monday evening’s installment, the network brought in two of Israel’s most popular TV hosts, Assi Azar and Rotem Sela, to run a challenge for the contestants. But even that failed to give a boost to the ratings, which tumbled to just 11.2%, coming in behind Reshet’s documentary-style show “Lost” and reaching fewer people than “2025’s” lead-in, Keshet’s popular nightly news broadcast.
A Keshet spokesperson said the network was giving the series time to find its feet. One of the main criticisms of “2025,” which pits contestants against each other inside a lavish mini-city specially built for the show, have described it as overly complicated and difficult to follow.
“‘2025’ is a fresh, original, live reality format we are proud of and believe in,” the spokesperson told Variety. “Taking big swings is part of our business. This is our ‘pilot’ season and as such we anticipated that there would be a learning curve, that modifications will be made in real time. We have patience.”
But some critics were scathing about the show’s performance.
“Implosion. Free fall. Plummeting into the abyss. A black hole,” Israeli media watchdog site Ice said Tuesday of the low ratings on the previous evening. “Call it whatever you want, and it will still be hard to fully describe the disappointment of ‘2025.’”
The series brings together 12 Israelis from all walks of life and deposits them in a futuristic mini-city manned by six robots. The contestants all receive a sum of money, and every purchase – including sleeping accommodations, food and clothing – is tracked and used to ranked them. Each week, the poorest competitor is kicked off, until the richest resident of the city gets crowned the ultimate winner. A series of projects, as well as taxes, limited donations between contestants and gifts from online voters, all affect the competitors’ financial rankings.
Although ratings for the Feb. 10 premiere were less than stellar, a spokeswoman for the show noted that “2025” was still the most-watched show that night, with close to three times the number of viewers who tuned into competing programs. The network also said that more than 20% of voters voted live in the Keshet app during the premiere, “indicating a high level of audience engagement,” and that “2025” has beaten other reality shows most nights.
But the show never reached that level of viewership again, and had already dropped to 12% before Monday’s new low.