Last month, a new music talent show called Rising Star hit the Israeli airwaves. Unlike U.S. singing contest shows, viewers vote as an act is performing and they find out the results before they leave the stage instead of the following night during a results show. Contestants perform facing a giant screen where photos of web surfers on social networks who voted for him in real time pop up during the song. When and if the act receives 70% of the votes, the screen is lifted so he or she can see the live audience and the judges, who decide on 5 to 8 percent of the vote.
The show was such an instant hit, with a 49 percent marketshare in Israel and over 2.3 million votes, that during MIPCOM, an annual entertainment and festival in Cannes, network buyers from other countries couldn't sign on fast enough. RTL, Germany's number one commercial channel, France's M6 network and Russia's Rossiya 1 all purchased rights with the German station planning a local-language version of the program. Days later, a Scandinavian company that airs in several countries and Toro, an Italian production company, signed on the dotted line. In the U.S., Dick Clark Productions has partnered with the company behind the show and plans on producing an American version as well as a Spanish-language version.
Audiences around the world are already getting a taste of the hot new show via YouTube as one video from the live Israeli competition has gone viral. Charedi rabbi brothers, Aryeh and Gil Gat, sang Simon and Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence" and not only did they advance to the next round, they started seeing worldwide attention as music fans tuned in.