ITV to Bring Israeli Singing Competition 'Rising Star' to U.K.

The Keshet hit format, which features real-time voting, has also been picked up by ABC in the U.S.

LONDON – U.K. TV giant ITV said on Thursday that it will bring its version of Israeli hit singing competition Rising Star to British audiences.

The Keshet International hit format, which features real-time voting, has also been picked up by ABC in the U.S., as well as being ordered up for Italian, Hungarian and other versions.

The U.K. version will be co-produced by ITV Studios and Keshet International UK. Financial details weren't disclosed.
ITV director of entertainment and comedy Elaine Bedell, said it is "rare that you find a genuinely innovative new entertainment format, but Keshet has come up with one, and I'm very pleased that it will now be on ITV."

She added: "The bold real-time voting element means that viewers’ votes control every twist and turn of the live program -- and that makes for an incredibly dramatic, emotional and exciting show."

Keshet International managing director Alon Shtruzman said: “ITV's track record in launching globally successful music and talent shows makes it the natural U.K. home for the groundbreaking Rising Star. The U.K.'s leading commercial network joins a large cast of leading broadcasters to come on board, and we look forward to working with its brilliant team to bring this interactive live experience to British audiences."

Rising Star follows a group of aspiring singers as they audition in live performances. During the performances, viewers vote using a real-time application to determine if the act should advance. The immediate feedback can be seen by the artists during their performances on a giant wall, with viewers appearing via their Facebook pages.

If the performer secures 70 percent of the viewers' and the judges' votes, the screen rises in the studio and the new star is revealed.

Rising Star, from Tedy Productions and Keshet Broadcasting, debuted on Israel's Channel 2 in the fall to a 44.7 percent market share in primetime, seven times the rating for its nearest competitor. The show keeps breaking records, with around half of all people watching TV at the time tuning in to the show.

The ITV acquisition comes after the success of the format following its MIPCOM market debut earlier this year.

Keshet has struck deals with channels and producers in Hungary (TV2), Italy (Toro), France (M6 Group), Russia (Rossiya1), Germany (RTL) and the Nordics (Nordisk), in addition to the ABC deal in the U.S.

Twitter: @georgszalai