Keshet Intl’s scripted slate attracts multiple licensing deals in central and eastern Europe

MUMBAI: Global content and media producer and distributor Keshet International (KI) has inked a series of high-profile licensing deals for key titles from its scripted slate to be adapted for audiences in central and eastern Europe.

These agreements will see three Hebrew-language series – all originally commissioned by Keshet 12 in Israel – tailored for local viewers: the gripping espionage drama ‘False Flag’ (Kfulim) and the romantic comedy ‘The Baker’ and the ‘Beauty in Russia’ for NTV and CTC respectively; and Israel’s comedy ‘Traffic Light’, for Epsilon TV in Greece, where ‘Your Family or Mine’ has also been re-ordered for a fifth season by Alpha TV.

KI COO, president distribution Keren Shahar said, “This most recent raft of licensing deals in the CEE region builds on the phenomenal success of Traffic Light in Russia and Your Family Or Mine in Greece, and reinforces the universal appeal of Israeli scripted dramas and comedies with audiences in central and eastern Europe and beyond, either as finished tape or as locally tailored adaptations.”

In KI’s first content deal of any sort with NTV Russia – the top channel for viewers with a strong interest in domestic and global current events – Amit Cohen and Maria Feldman’s unpredictable thriller False Flag will be adapted for Russian audiences. Based on the original Israeli series Kfulim, which won the Grand Prize at Series Mania in 2015 and was acquired by FNG in a global first window deal exclusively for its 127 international channels, this adaptation will centre on five ordinary people who suddenly find themselves plunged into an espionage affair.

Having woken up to discover they are implicated in a ruthless kidnapping operation, their names and photos all over the news, all attempts to clear their names appear to be in vain. Фальшивый флаг (False Flag) will be produced by WeitMedia and directed by Sergey Chekalov for NTV Russia’s 2019 schedule. Currently in pre-production, shooting is scheduled to begin in August in St Petersberg, with additional shoots planned on location outside of the city and in Cyprus.

NTV general producer Timur Weinstein said, “NTV successfully adapts international formats. Russian versions of US series ‘Shameless’ and Scandinavian Bron/Broen (The Bridge) aired on our channel, and now we are filming local adaptation of the hit series ‘The Good Wife’. Action-packed spy drama FALSE FLAG won its audiences and gathered a considerable amount of international awards. We are happy that NTV Channel has a chance to present this series to Russian audiences.”

Following CTC Media’s previously successful license and local adaptation of KI’s comedy hit Traffic Light (see below for more information), Russia’s leading independent media company has now ordered The Baker and the Beauty, Keshet 12’s romantic comedy that follows the impossible love story between a simple baker and an international superstar. Following a chance encounter that leads to an even more unexpected love story, can their ardour survive her jet-setting lifestyle, her overbearing agent, his modest family, both their exes and the media? Produced by Art Pictures Studios Russia and directed by Fyodor Stukov, this 17 x 30’ series will be known locally as The Beauty and the Outskirts Guy and will premiere this autumn with Anna Chipovskaya (Ottepel, Vychislitel) and Nikita Volkov (Two Women, Dance to Death) in the starring roles. The original Hebrew series, created by Assi Azar, had the highest rated first season debut of a scripted series in Israel, was picked up in a worldwide deal by Amazon Prime Video, spawned a raft of successful local adaptations and generated a wealth finished tape sales globally, including Channel 4 and Walter Presents in the UK.

Epsilon TV in Greece has ordered a local adaptation of Keshet’s International Emmy Award winning comedy Traffic Light created by Adir Miller. Taking inspiration from the original Hebrew version and the Russian adaptation, which ran to four seasons on Keshet 12 and 10 seasons on CTC respectively, Epsilon TV’s 60 x 30’ adaptation will also centre on three guys in their 30s and their enduring friendship as life deals them very different cards. Co-produced by Tanweer Alliances and View Master Films, filming has already commenced ahead of an autumn premiere. This follows two other adaptations of the format in the region, with local versions aired on TV JOJ in Slovakia and TV3 in Lithuania.

Local adaptations of KI comedies have already proved popular with audiences in Greece: Your Family Or Mine, the family sitcom that takes place entirely during Friday and Saturday nights with extended family, has just been re-commissioned by Alpha TV for a fifth series.

All four of the above deals were brokered by KI’s Senior Sales Manager, Paula McHarg. She will be attending Natpte 2018, where she can be found at booth number MT22.