If there’s one thing that Keshet International knows, it’s how to make an entrance. The Israeli company that has offices in the UK and LA, considerably boosted its global profile at this time last year with the much-hyped debut of Rising Star. That interactive singing competition format originally launched in Israel to record-breaking numbers and immediately cued up a series of overseas deals at the Mipcom TV market. Then at Mip-TV in April, KI launched Boom! which was also a huge seller. Now, just a couple of weeks before international buyers return to Cannes, KI has stealthily engineered another hit at home.
Help! I Can’t Cook made its local debut on Saturday with a 44% average audience share and 30.8% household rating. That made it the second highest-rated original reality launch ever in Israel (behind Rising Star) and the highest-rated reality launch of 2014. It peaked with a 46.2 share and a 33 rating.
The social experiment wrapped inside a cooking show sees A-List celebrities locked into a remote “Culinary Academy for Beginners” for three weeks. There, they attempt to overcome their own personal cooking inhibitions. KI says mixing supreme talent with a huge serving of egos and a set of tasks way outside their comfort zone makes for “deliciously entertaining” viewing. The show is part of what KI CEO Alon Shtruzman told me last month will be a new slate of unscripted programs to be unveiled at Mipcom. Created by Keshet and Gil Productions, and produced by Gil Productions Israel for Keshet Broadcasting, the format was originally planned to start earlier in the summer but violence in the region set it back by a few weeks.
As for Rising Star, it has had some mixed offshore fortunes. The Brazilian and Portuguese versions were big hits — Brazil ordered a second season — and other countries are gearing up to launch. ABC’s take on it performed below expectations, but Shtruzman told me recently that it will be remembered as a “game-changer” in American television for making live voting and 2nd screen viable. A start date is looming for the second season in Israel.