Two U.S. TV Shows Halt Israel Production Amid Gaza Escalation

FX's 'Tyrant' and USA's 'Dig' have both put filming in Israel on hold as Operation Protective Edge enters its eighth day.

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On the set of 'Tyrant.'
On the set of 'Tyrant.'Credit: David Bachar

Two U.S. TV shows being filmed in Israel have been stymied by the latest round of escalation between Israel and Hamas.

FX's new drama "Tyrant," by the creators of "Homeland," was filming in Tel Aviv and Kfar Sava, but amid the rocket fire and Gaza strikes, the cast and crew jumped ship and flew to Istanbul on Monday morning, USA Today reports.

The series was written and developed by Gideon Raff, creator of the Israeli television series Hatufim (Prisoners of War), which was later remade into the successful American television series Homeland.

The show is set in the fictional country of Abuddin. Its creators say they deliberately mixed elements from several actual countries so they don't seem to be targeting a particular one, or situation. Yet many would say they see it as the story based on Bashar Assad, president of Syria.

"Although we have been assured that Tel Aviv continues to be a safe location, we felt the cast and crew would be more comfortable being outside of Israel," the creators said.

Currently, "Tyrant" is shooting the final two episodes of its first season, which went on air last month. Filming will continue in Turkey "for a few days," and the show will "reevaluate the situation in Israel later in the week," USA Today reported.

They weren't the only ones. "Dig," a mystery series by the USA Network, about an American killed in Jerusalem, is also considering cutting short its Israel shoot. "Dig" has filmed one out of a planned six episodes in the city, which has come under rocket fire this past week.

The cast and crew had planned to take a break from filming, but are extending that break for two additional weeks in the hope that the conflict dies down. If it doesn't, they may relocate to the United States, USA Today said. The show stars Anne Heche and Jason Isaacs, and is set to air in the fall.

"We're looking at all options, and hopefully everything will calm down and we can go back to what we planned," USA Today cited Raff, who cocreated both series, as saying. "And if not, we'll sort it out. We chose to shoot in Jerusalem because of the history it has and the secrets underground. It gives us a lot of possibilities," he added.

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