Surrogate parents, comical politics among new Keshet shows
Keshet 12 unveils six new shows and four under production in what it calls ‘golden era’ of Israeli television
Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.
Surrogate parenthood, complex cops, comic therapy and a Silicon Valley mystery are just some of the subjects mined in Keshet TV’s 2023 season, as discussed by their creators, actors and producers at a gathering last Thursday.
It’s a golden era for Israeli television, said Avi Nir, Keshet Media Group’s longtime CEO.
“We’re producing more dramas than there are branches of Golda,” quipped Nir, referring to the nationwide ice cream chain.
The media company showed clips from six new series premiering on Keshet 12 over the course of the 2023 season and four other series currently being filmed.
Keshet is investing NIS 100 million (nearly $30 million) in new dramas, said Nir.
“We’re looking for a drama or comedy that remains in audience’s hearts for weeks,” said Nir. “The kind of drama you love to follow for weeks, and don’t just binge on.”
So far, Keshet has several possible options in the running.
Front and center is “Third Body,” starring Yehuda Levi, Rotem Sela and Lior Raz and coming to the small screen this month.
Levi and Sela play longtime couple Iddo and Elie, desperate for a child after a decade of marriage and fertility treatments, who turn to a surrogate to have their baby.
Levi steps away from his usual heartthrob characters to play the role of a more buttoned-down, dedicated husband to Sela, who is probably most familiar to viewers from “Beauty and the Baker.”
The drama also stars Lior Raz of “Fauda” fame, here an Oscar-winning director whose autobiographical novel is being edited by Elie.
Levi appears in another Keshet drama, “The Head,” in which he plays the head of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, during an intensive month of personal and professional drama.
“The Head” plays on headline-grabbing issues such as fake news and cyberespionage.
Co-creator Daniel Amsel commented that the show, like some of its real-life inspirations, “can feel a little dystopian.”
Comic Hanoch Daum explores personal and societal issues in “Life is a Difficult Time” — based on his book of the same name — about his adventures living in a religious settlement, the pressures between Israel’s religious and secular camps, and more.
The award-winning mystery “No One Leaves Palo Alto” by Yaniv Itzkovitz is about to be filmed in Haifa, telling the story of police detective Iris (Magi Azarzar) who’s in the midst of a personal and professional crisis.
There’s also the second season of “The Cops,” Keshet’s successful show about police in the northern city of Nahariya who are attempting to return to their lives after serving time for actions they took while in uniform.
The show is inspired by real events that took place in the early 2000s, when several Nahariya policemen manufactured and detonated explosive devices in an apartment belonging to the head of a local criminal organization in retaliation for grenade attacks at their local police station.
Other Keshet shows being filmed this year are “The Daughter,” about a mother who battles for her daughter’s freedom after she is suddenly imprisoned in another country; “Lovesick,” a rom-com about an oncologist who discovers she’s sick with cancer while caring for a young prime ministerial candidate who also has cancer; “Corona Hotel” a detective drama at a Dead Sea quarantine hotel where tensions and suspicions run high after a woman is killed; and “Law of Souls,” a tense army legal drama.