ABC and the Israeli Mossad teamed up to change the future of reality singing competitions in America with the network's latest show, "Rising Star."
Based on an Israeli show by the same name, "Rising Star" will be a live show where contestants audition in front of an audience. Singers will perform on a stage separated from the audience by a huge video wall (you can see the video wall in the photo from the Israeli show above). Voters will weigh in on the singers' performances while they're happening, and the contestants will be able to see the votes tallied live as they perform onstage. When the singer reaches a certain level of votes, his or her identity is revealed to the audience. Talk about pressure!
According to ABC president Paul Lee, the Israel's Mossad intelligence agency designed the voting app for the Israeli show. At the Televisions Critics Association winter press tour, Lee said, "I think this changes the rules. In Israel it clearly changed the rules, because it came out gangbusters. It’s sort of a combination of a massive talent show and, to some degree, 'The Gong Show.' You are literally voting live."
The original Israeli version of the show wrapped up its first season in December 2013 with more than 1 million viewers. Keshet Broadcasting reported that over 10 million votes were cast during the first season. Before the finale, the network was already focused on selling the show and its technology to international markets.
Singing competition shows haven't been killing in the ratings as they once were, but ABC is giving this one a run. Obviously there are a few questions that need to be sorted out before the show begins production -- how will West Coasters weigh in with the time delay? -- but the network has yet to set a premiere date.