The Channel 2 franchisees, Reshet and Keshet, are seemingly going head-to-head with new song competition series that play somewhat on the popularity of "A Star is Born."
Keshet goes on the air on Tuesday with "Music School," a show that features four judges, each of whom listens to numerous contestants aged 8-14 and decides whom he wants to mentor, with the four finalists eventually competing against each other. The four judges on "Music School" are Yehoram Gaon, Matti Caspi, Moshe Peretz and Keren Peles.
In a few weeks, Reshet will start broadcasting "The Voice," based on a Dutch format that was successfully adapted in the United States as well.
In "The Voice," the audition stage is conducted with the four judges (in this case Rami Kleinstein, Sarit Hadad, Shlomi Shabbat and Aviv Gefen ) sitting with their backs to the contestants; they thus each pick their two favorites "blind," only by the sound of their voices. They then mentor their choices in preparation for advancing in the competition.
During the next stage, the pairs of each judge-mentor sing in competition against each other, and the judges choose their favorite from each pair. In the last stage, the four finalists perform before an audience, and viewers at home choose the winner.
On "Music School," to be hosted by Tzvika Hadar, the MC of "A Star is Born," the winners are not chosen by viewers.
"A Star is Born" also used the "blind audition" principle during one of its episodes last season, when contestants performed in the dark. Keshet said then that it was a gesture to blind and sight-impaired viewers.
John De Mol, general manager of the company that holds the rights to the original "The Voice" format, who is working with Reshet on its version, told Yedioth Ahronoth that there were a great many similarities between "The Voice" and "Music School," and that his company's legal department was evaluating them.
On Monday, Keshet invited journalists and photographers to view the taping of a clip of a song written by Shlomo Artzi called "Enough Time Has Gone By," which was performed by participants and winners of the various seasons of "A Star is Born." Some speculated that Keshet fears viewers may start to forget the veteran competition, whose next round is not expected for several months.
During the filming, Yoav Zafir, the director of "A Star is Born," didn't seem too concerned about competition.
"Coca-Cola also has a competitor, Pepsi Cola, and that's fine, but Coca-Cola has to remain Coca-Cola," he said. "There can be other programs, but 'A Star is Born' is the Israeli music program that's here to stay."