Currently airing in Brazil, Portugal and the U.S. — where reviews have been lackluster and ratings slipped 20% in the demo on Sunday night from last week’s ABC series debut — Rising Star is taking the next evolutionary step in the singing competition arena. Keshet International and Universal Music Group have entered a multi-territory deal, excluding the U.S. and Israel, which will see UMG acquire exclusive options to sign artist agreements with any or all show contestants. Separately, Keshet DCP has signed a deal with UMG which will see artists on ABC’s U.S. version win a record deal with the Capitol Records label. Capitol is also making full studio recordings of the performances available for download. (UMG’s Interscope Records already releases American Idol winner and contestant music.) Overseas, KI and UMG say they will work together to maximize finalists’ potential locally and internationally on all platforms. In terms of breakouts so far, the waters are relatively untested. The only Rising Star series to complete its run is the original Israeli version whose finale scored big ratings on Keshet Channel 2 in December 2013. The winner was 20-year-old Evyatar Korkus, who received his first record deal, and beat out The Gat Brothers (aka The Singing Rabbis). Brazil and Portugal, the 2nd and 3rd markets to launch, are drawing average audience shares of about 30%. In September, France’s M6 debuts its take, and the UK’s ITV will raise the curtain in January 2015. In total, the format has sold in to more than 25 territories. Israel’s Season 2 is gearing up to shoot in a few months.
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