ITV plans to turn a new talent show with a “technological twist”, bought from the Israeli producers behind Homeland, into its next big entertainment hit.
The broadcaster is expected to announce that it has acquired Rising Star, a huge hit in Israel which has already been sold to markets around the world.
Rising Star is a traditional musical talent search with the twist that viewers download a free mobile app that allows them to vote in real time during the show, via the second screen.
When a performer comes out on stage, he or she is separated from the studio audience, and the judges, by a translucent floor-to-celling LED screen.
Judges and viewers vote as the performer begins to sing and images of voters at home, taken from their Facebook pages, appear live on the LED screen facing the performer.
Only if a singer wins over 70 per cent of the viewer votes does the wall rise and the singer then steps out to accept the applause of the live studio audience.
Rising Star is expected to air in the primetime Sunday evening slot that will be vacated by Dancing On Ice when the celebrity ice-skating format ends in 2015.
ITV declined to comment on the Rising Star deal. However sources said the broadcaster did not intend the show to become a replacement for The X Factor, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary but has lost viewers during its Saturday night slot.
Rising Star would run in the weeks preceding Britain’s Got Talent but ITV believes the market for talent shows is not saturated. “The potential for audience engagement gives Rising Star a technological twist which differentiates it from the other talent shows,” an insider said. “It will complement The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.”
Rising Star was created by Keshet, the Israeli company behind the terrorism drama Prisoners Of War, which was adapted in the US as Homeland. Israeli formats have become television’s hottest property. Keshet alone has recently sold six shows to China and is producing a new US “war on terror” drama series, False Flag, with Fox.
Rising Star launched on Israel’s Channel 2 in September to huge ratings and has already made viral stars of duo The Amazing Rabbis, who perform covers of songs such as "Hotel California".
The series could ultimately squeeze BBC1’s talent show The Voice, which returns next year with a revamped panel featuring Kylie Minogue and Ricky Wilson of Kaiser Chiefs.