ITV Scraps U.K. Version of Israeli Singing Competition 'Rising Star'

"We always need to be as confident as possible about the potential ratings of any new program format," the broadcaster says

Britain's ITV has scrapped plans to air a U.K. version of Israeli talent competition Rising Star next year amid soft ratings in key international territories.

ITV Studios and format owner Keshet's Keshet International U.K. unit had been working on the British version of the show with an expected run in 2015. The format features competitors singing as viewers vote in real time via an interactive app.

"Rising Star is an innovative show, and we have enjoyed working on the format with the team," an ITV spokesperson said. "However, as a commercial broadcaster, we always need to be as confident as possible about the potential ratings of any new program format that we have acquired, and we have therefore taken the decision not to proceed with plans to broadcast the series on ITV."

The news marks the first known cancelation of a Rising Star version before it airs.

Rising Star was a big hit at MIPCOM and MIPTV over the last year, with recent news that CCTV would air a local version in China. It also has sold to many other territories, but it hasn't drawn strong ratings everywhere.

The format launched in Germany this week on commercial network RTL, which has cut its run from 10 episodes to seven. The network has cited a soft audience response. A summer run in the U.S. on ABC drew weaker-than-expected ratings.

"There's always a risk attached when launching an ambitious new concept and we're obviously disappointed by ITV's decision not to move forward with Rising Star," said Keshet U.K. COO Sammy Nourmand. "We would like to extend our thanks to the team at ITV Studios, who have worked tirelessly to adapt the format for a U.K. audience. Rising Star remains an innovative and groundbreaking format of which we're extremely proud."

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

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