A scheduled hiatus in production on USA Network‘s new series Dig has been extended a week while producers assess the situation and decide if they can continue to shoot the six-episode series in Jerusalem. “This caught us off-guard and we are assessing,” Gideon Raff told TV critics at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014, of the violence in the region. The network is “looking at all options and hopefully things will calm down, and we’ll go back” to Jerusalem to shoot the remaining episodes. “If not, we’ll sort it out” he said, noting “Jerusalem is a key element in our show. We chose to shoot there because of its history.”
The action adventure drama, from Tim Kring and Raff — creator of the Israeli series on which Showtime’s Homeland is based — centers on Peter (Jason Isaacs), an FBI agent stationed in Jerusalem who, while investigating a murder of an archaeologist, uncovers a conspiracy 2000 years in the making that threatens to change the course of history. The series is a production of Keshet Media Group for UCP in cooperation with the city of Jerusalem. Anne Heche co-stars.
As of this morning, press reports have put the death toll from nearly a week of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza at 176, with more than 1,280 wounded. Israel has not heeded calls for cease-fire, saying it will continue the offensive as long as militant group Hamas keeps firing rockets into its territory, CNN reports. Hamas shows no sign of letting up after launching almost 1,000 rockets at Israel, the network adds. Tensions escalated when three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped in the West Bank in mid-June. Israel accused Hamas of the abductions and launched a crackdown on the group in the West Bank. Hamas, which controls Gaza, responded by stepping up rocket fire. The situation deteriorated last week when the bodies of the Israeli teens were found, and a Palestinian teen in Jerusalem was abducted and burned to death in what Palestinians claim was a revenge attack.
“I… was born and raised in Jerusalem…our hearts go out to everyone in Israel and Gaza, and hopefully it will be resolved very soon,” Raff said at the press tour, in Beverly Hills.
TV critics asked Heroes creator Kring about the advantage of working on an short-order event drama. “A lot of us have been talking about this for years — the power of scarcity…When JK Rowling told the world she would write seven Harry Potter books, it made those books very precious,” Kring said. “Television has finally seen this as a viable model…Certain stories lend themselves to a beginning, middle and end…Knowing where you’re going is a real luxury when you’re writing something,” he added.
“There’s nothing like a story” with a beginning, middle and, “most important, an end,” chimed in Isaacs. “I love telling a proper story,” added the Awake star, when asked about that short-lived, highly serialized NBC series.
In success, the Dig franchise will continue, with the same characters, but solving a mystery in another country, the producers said. Asked what countries the story would be taken to next, Raff said, “We’re focusing on the first six — of course we daydream in the writers’ room.”
“(cough)*Hawaii*(cough),” said Isaacs.
In February, Isaacs signed on as the lead of the six-episode event series. The following month, Heche (Save Me) was tapped as a series regular, playing Lynn, the head of the Jerusalem FBI office and Peter’s boss. She also is his only friend and occasional lover.