Keshet International is better known for selling formats into China than taking them out for global distribution. With Not a Star Yet, however, the company is “breaking the mould”, says KI’s general manager, distribution, Keren Shahar.
There’s good reason for her confidence: it has averaged an eye-watering 200 million viewers over three seasons in China, and the show is on to a fourth season that’s set for summer 2015. “It’s fair to say it’s been something of a phenomenon,” says Shahar.
The format (which the Keshet exec says is “actually more than a talent show; we see it more as a variety show”) sees the children of celebrities performing on stage with stars of their choice. Their unusual backgrounds often leads to “emotional and insightful stories” that sit alongside the performances, says Shahar.
“It’s also a very interesting change in dynamic to witness the celebrities in a supporting role, rather than on the stage and some touching and intimate moments between the families which get captured on film,” she adds.
Keshet will sell the show on the premise that any cultural differences apparent in the Chinese show can be bridged, and that formats are now coming from all over the world. “Today, maybe more than ever, our buyers do not really care where a good format comes from – it just has to have a brilliant concept behind it,” says Shahar.
She sees it as “the perfect weekend primetime show for commercial and public channels. That said, it holds a particular appeal with younger audiences who may watch pay TV channels.”
Not a Star Yet is the first fruits of a wider partnership between Israeli content firm KI and broadcaster Zhejiang. “We thought it was the perfect property to launch our collaboration,” says Shahar.