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‘Dig’ pulls up Jerusalem stakes

High-profile NBC television program, set in the Holy City, declares ongoing violence too risky for filming

Debra writes for the JTA, and is a former features writer for The Times of Israel.

Israeli creator of 'Homeland' Gideon Raff. (Courtesy)
Israeli creator of 'Homeland' Gideon Raff. (Courtesy)

The NBC program “DIG” has packed up and left Jerusalem as Israel’s conflict with Hamas drags on.

The program, from Israeli “Homeland” creator Gideon Raff and “Heroes” creator Tim Kring, has been filming in Israel’s capital since the beginning of the summer and was due to premiere on NBC affiliate station USA. The action follows an American FBI station in Jerusalem who, while investigating a murder, uncovers a centuries-old mystery within the city’s archaeological treasures. Its stars include Anne Heche and Jason Isaacs.

Raff wrote the script specifically with Jerusalem in mind, and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat led a high-profile campaign to bring the big-budget production to his city.

Filming will now continue in Albuquerque, with Universal Cable Television saying in a statement that it will continue to explore alternate locations.

This marks the second major loss for the Israeli entertainment industry since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge.

Another American program from Gideon Raff, FX’s “Tyrant,” has been filming in Tel Aviv for several months and has two episodes left to film in its first season. Last week, that production also made the call to scrap Israeli production due to the ongoing violence, and moved its entire cast and crew to Istanbul.

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