"Who's Still Standing?" Israel puts mark on U.S. TV

Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:50pm EST
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - NBC's new quiz show "Who's Still Standing?" has contestants dropping through the floor, and the burgeoning Israeli TV industry whooping with delight.

The fast-paced trivia game, which sends losers falling through trap doors, makes its U.S. debut in a week-long series of shows this coming Monday, December 19, as the first Israeli reality program to find its way to the United States.

Judging by the in-roads being made by Israeli producers and creators on television around the world, it won't be last.

Twenty years after Israeli television broke away from its one channel model of mostly news, and British or U.S. drama imports, young producers are making their mark internationally with original programming often made on shoestring budgets.

"It has been a quick learning process," Tel Aviv-based producer Lisa Shiloach-Uzrad told Reuters. "We started with simple game shows and buying international formats and adapting them. But in the last few years we have seen more and more original programming, scripted shows, reality shows or game shows."

"Who's Still Standing?" (or "Still Standing" as it is called in Israel), has been sold to 13 countries including Spain, Hungary and France since Shiloach-Uzrad created the show in 2010 with business partner Amit Stretiner.

The duo are also the creative team behind "The Frame", a reality show hybrid of "Big Brother" and "The Amazing Race" that has sold in 30 countries and is due to make its way to the CW network in the United States in 2012.

Elsewhere, cable channel Showtime's critically-acclaimed psychological thriller "Homeland" has its creative roots in Israel, and HBO is making a U.S. version of Israeli crime drama "The Naked Truth".   Continued...