Israel's Keshet Delays New Reality Show 'The Amazonas' Amid Government Pressure
It was tentatively scheduled to premiere in the coming weeks, but rival Reshet is re-launching the local version of 'Survivor,' which has a similar feel.
The Israeli government has put a damper on TV giant Keshet’s much-anticipated new reality format launch this fall.
The Channel 2 franchiser has announced it would delay the long-awaited debut of its original competition show The Amazonas (an official international title is pending), which was shot in the Amazon jungles of South America over the course of six weeks and was tentatively scheduled to premiere in the coming weeks. Short promotional teasers have already started airing in Israel.
The decision to delay the show launch came about upon the request of Eva Madjiboj, chair of governmental council The Second Authority for Television and Radio, for both Channel 2 franchisers Keshet and Reshet to reconsider their upcoming fall schedule due to fare that sounds similar.
While little is known about Keshet’s Amazonian format, it is reportedly set to thematically rival Reshet’s re-launch of the local edition of Survivor.
Survivor Israel previously aired successfully for six seasons on the ailing Channel 10 until 2012, but after a legal battle about the local rights to the format, Reshet now owns the show and has shot the “Celebrities vs Civilians” season 7 in Honduras, which will debut in early October.
Keshet on Wednesday blinked and decided to bow out and delay its Amazonian format, instead announcing an early fall debut of season 3 of kids singing competition show Master Class.
"This move reflects our responsibility towards diversified television programming for Israeli viewers, in a variety of genres," explained Madjibog in her plea. "It is a process that began with approving the programming schedules and thanks to cooperation with the Channel 2 franchisees this understating will continue in the future. I congratulate both on their informed choice by showcasing responsibility towards the viewers."
Keshet and Reshet share Channel 2, with each occupying 3-4 days respectfully, which rotates every two years. Both are also subjected to the regulatory council, which among other things restricts them to only two episodes per week of reality programming – assuring that if both launches would go on simultaneously the Israeli public would get four primetime weeknights of supposedly the same thing.
Two years ago, it was an excessive singing competition format showdown once Reshet launched The X Factor Israel a month after Keshet’s launch of Rising Star. Then, in early 2014 the rivalry turned culinary when Reshet premiered its original cooking competition show Game of Chefs opposite season 4 of Keshet’s MasterChef Israel – leaving TV audiences with a taste of more of the same.
The now scrapped plan to premiere The Amazonas locally around the otherwise quiet programming hiatus of the Jewish high holidays at the end of September was believed to come with a potential launch of the show to international buyers at MIPCOM next month. Two years ago, Keshet introduced then buzzworthy singing competition format Rising Star there, and last year it was the feel-good celebrity cooking show Help! I Can’t Cook. Both were shopped around in Cannes shortly after debuting in Israel with fresh ratings data.
Sources at Keshet tell The Hollywood Reporter that a definite launch of the new Amazonian format was never a given and the format is still vigorously being edited in Tel Aviv.