CBS has bought Life Isn’t Everything, a comedy based on the successful Israeli sitcom of the same name (Hahaim Ze Lo Hakol in Hebrew). The creator of the original series, Daniel Lappin, will be involved in the writing of the U.S. version. Lappin will co-write the script for CBS with comedy veteran Mike Sikowitz (Friends). Sony Pictures TV, where Sikowitz has an overall deal, will produce with Reshet, the Israeli company whose Channel 2 broadcasts the original series. Sikowitz is already in business with CBS and Sony TV – he serves as an executive producer on Rules Of Engagement. Noa Tishby, who was involved in bringing to the U.S. In Treatment, the Israeli series that sparked U.S. networks’ interest in formats from the Middle Eastern country, shepherded Life Isn’t Everything‘s trip to Hollywood. She is executive producing with Sikowitz, Lappin and an executive from Reshet.
CBS’ multi-camera Life Isn’t Everything is about a middle-aged, recently divorced couple who were bad at marriage and discover they are now really bad at divorce – messy, can’t help but being involved in each others’ lives, still have sex, etc. “It is a romantic comedy about a couple who are divorced but can’t get out of each other’s lives,” Lappin said. Added Tishby, “you can’t divorce your ex.” She called the original a “classic, perfectly written sitcom. There is such a high divorce rate in the U.S., and no one has been able to capture the funny side of divorce.” Lappin wrote the pilot for the original series in 1997 loosely based on his life — he was going through separation and later divorce. “The show followed the arc of my life,” he said. He wrote the first season by himself, joined by a writing staff from the second season on. Life Isn’t Everything is Israel’s most successful sitcom. It produced 150 episodes and recently wrapped its ninth and final season on Channel 2 to big ratings. It has averaged 22 audience share throughout its nine seasons, with 33% of all Israeli viewers tuning in for the series finale. Below is a clip from the show with English subtitles. CAA reps the format, Reshet, Lappin and Tishby. Sikowitz is with ICM. This is the second broadcast project based on an Israeli format this development season along with mystery drama Timrot Ashan, aka Pillars of Smoke, at NBC. Additionally, HBO is developing an adaptation of another Israeli mystery drama, The Naked Truth, with Clyde Phillips. Over the last few years, there have been four U.S. scripted series based on Israeli formats: HBO’s In Treatment, CBS’ The Ex List, Fox’s Traffic Light and Showtime’s Homeland.