Original Versions of 'Homeland,' 'Hostages' Among Top Nominees for Israeli Emmys

11:22 PM PST 12/29/2013 by David Caspi
Showtime
"Homeland"

The popular dramas both nabbed nine nods, while "Yes' Shtisel," a drama about ultra-Orthodox life, scored the most with 14.

Original formats of Showtime's Homeland and CBS' Hostages are among the shows leading the pack of nominees for Israel's Academy for Film and Television's ceremony, the local equivalent of the Emmys, it was announced Sunday night in the holy land.

Keshet Broadcasting's Prisoners of War, written and directed by Gideon Raff, and Channel 10's Hostages both accumulated nine nods each, including Best Writing and Best Drama Series, where they will go up against each other, as well as cable provider HOT's The Arbitrator (Ha'Borer) and Eurphoria, Channel 10's Allenby and satellite television provider Yes' Shtisel. The latter, a drama set in an ultra-Jewish Orthodox neighborhood in Jerusalem, leads with 14 nominations.

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Academy favorite Keshet's Arab Labor is once again nominated for Best Comedy Series, after winning in the past two years. The show, which deals with Israeli social prejudices and peccadilloes through the eyes of a Muslim Arab family, will go up against Israel's version of The Office, which airs on Yes, Reshet Brodcasting's Irreversible and fellow Keshet comedies The Parliament -- leading in comedy noms with 8 -- and Mother's Day, a format unsuccessfully adapted for CBS during last year's pilot season by co-executive producers Julie Rottenberg and Elisa Zuritsky, and starring Debra Messing.

Mother's Day was one of three original Israeli formats in contention during the 2013 pilot season, only third behind the U.K. and Australia. Following domestic success with Homeland and HBO's In Treatment, as well international recognition with global sales of various formats, Israel's TV industry has become one of the world's leading go-to destinations for upcoming formats in recent years.

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That said, noticeably absent from the Best Reality Competition Program category is current "it" format Rising Star, which just wrapped its freshman season in Israel, with Keshet International securing multiple acquisitions around the world, including a U.S. version slated for summer on ABC. Competing instead are local versions of The X Factor, The Amazing Race, The Voice, Master Chef and Keshet International's other singing competition show Master Class -- a musical talent format for contestants aged 8-14.

Israel's Academy for Film and Television launched its own distinctive ceremony back in 2003, graduating from its platform within the annual Ophir Awards, which recognizes excellence in film. Winners are voted for by 700 academy members, with all local industry unions and committees represented. The award show will be held Jan. 24 in Tel Aviv and is not expected to be televised.

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