Gideon Raff, the Israeli screenwriter behind “Homeland” and its Israeli predecessor “Prisoners of War,” has just earned another badge for Israeli television and its push into the US market: His new series, “Dig,” has been purchased as a series from Universal Cable Productions for USA Network, a subsidiary of NBC Universal.
Israeli TV shows have, for several years, been finding success on small screens overseas, but the six-episode deal struck by “Dig” creators marks the first time a US network has committed to an entire series of an Israeli-produced show without buying a pilot first.
“Dig,” a production of Keshet Media Group, is being co-written by Raff and “Heroes” writer Tim Kring. Both creators will also executive produce, along with Keshet CEO Avi Nir and Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein of BermanBraun.
The program tells the story of an American FBI agent named Peter who is stationed in Jerusalem. While investigating a murder, he uncovers a conspiracy linked to the history of Jerusalem and finds himself falling down an archaeological rabbit hole.
The program will be shot entirely on location in Jerusalem and has been boosted significantly by the support of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who is enthusiastic about bringing more television and film production to Israel’s capital city.
“When we combine Hollywood’s creative potential with Jerusalem’s historic backdrop, it will result in the ability to connect hundreds of millions of viewers around the world to this unique and beautiful city,” Barkat said in a press release distributed by Keshet. “There is an undeniable inspiration and creative energy in Jerusalem, which is why it has become a center for international film production.”
Raff has made a career exploring the plot turns and instabilities of life in the Middle East, and he says he can’t help it — he draws inspiration from his roots.
“Being Israeli is who I am, it’s part of my DNA,” he told The Times of Israel earlier this month. “I write what I know, which happens to be Israel and the Middle East. It’s a raw nerve in a tricky part of the world, and it is fascinating to people.”