Comedian John Oliver Coming to Israel This Month

The star of 'Last Week Tonight' probably won't perform in Israel during his visit.

Itay Stern
Itay Stern
In this Feb. 28, 2015 file photo, John Oliver speaks at Comedy Central's "Night of Too Many Stars: America Comes Together for Autism Programs" in New York.
In this Feb. 28, 2015 file photo, John Oliver speaks at Comedy Central's "Night of Too Many Stars: America Comes Together for Autism Programs" in New York. Credit: Charles Sykes/AP
Itay Stern
Itay Stern

British comedian and the host of HBO's late night comedy talk show "Last Week Tonight," John Oliver, will be coming to Israel on January 15. Oliver will be visiting Israel as part of the promotion of HBO's new television series channel on the Hot cable network.

Oliver will probably not perform in Israel before an audience on this trip.

Hot announced a few months ago that it had purchased rights to show HBO's content library, which had been broadcast exclusively on the Yes satellite channel until recently. As part of the deal, Hot bought the rights to popular series such as "Game of Thrones," "Westworld" and "Girls." Hot paid much more than Yes to HBO for the rights.

Oliver, 39, has become one of the most loved political satirists in the world over the past few years, and has won five Primetime Emmy Awards. He began his television career as a correspondent on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" in 2006, and later was a hit in standup comedy, as well as acting in the NBC comedy show "Community." He later returned to "The Daily Show" as a replacement host for Stewart.

Two years ago he began hosting his own late night show on HBO, which has become an international success, not in a small part because of his acerbic political monologues, which have often gone viral.

The battle over content between Hot and Yes can also be seen in what they broadcast locally. Each company has announced a new schedule of shows over the past few months filled with new programs - at a cost of hundreds of millions of shekels for each broadcaster.

While in the past Hot was the undisputed leader in local Israeli content and dramatic series, over the past year Yes has staged a revolution, particularly with the success of its huge hit, the television series "Taagad," about the medics of a battalion aid station in the paratrooper brigade.

Yes will continue to broadcast HBO shows, at least until the end of 2017 - and including the last two seasons of "Game of Thrones." If Yes wants to continue with HBO after that, they will have to renegotiate, which is expected to cost them dearly.

At the same time, both broadcasters are battling the newcomer to the business, Cellcom TV, which is rapidly increasing its offerings of shows and series from week to week, including sports, at a much lower price than its rivals at only 100 shekels ($26) a month.

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