It was an unprecedented achievement for Israel at the 64th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, held last night in Los Angeles, when TV series “Homeland” swept four major categories, including Best Drama Series. The show is an American adaptation of Israeli thriller “Hatufim (Prisoners of War)”, which debuted four years ago on Channel 2′s Keshet Broadcasting.
Original creator, Israeli writer Gideon Raff, was on hand alongside executive producers Alex Ganza & Howard Gordon to accept the Emmy for Best Writing for a Drama Series for the pilot episode of the Showtime series, which premiered last fall. Following Claire Danes’ win for Best Actress in a Lead Role in a Drama Series, her co star Damian Lewis went on to become the night’s ultimate shocker by winning the Emmy for Best Actor in a Lead Role in a Drama Series.
Israel is not only celebrating its general connection to the most coveted award in the TV industry, but also three wins by Israelis. Raff was joined by co excutive producers Avi Nir, CEO of Keshet Broadcasting and his VP of Programming Ran Telem. Nir, considered the most prominent figure in the Israeli TV landscape, was thrilled with the honor bestowed upon him. “Let me just start by saying YES! YES! YES!”, said Nir in an exclusive interview from his Los Angeles hotel, “We couldn’t have thought of a more rewarding ending to our coast to coast journey, starting with the Mediterranean coast that is”.
DC: Is this the ultimate Hollywood fairy-tale coming true?
AN: “This is the most Israeli tale that creator Gideon Raff was looking to tell, which culminated in a television series, that was just announced in Hollywood as the best show in the world, all thanks to all the people at Keshet and the production crew”.
DC: Do you consider this an Israeli win?
AN: “This is first of all a story by Gideon Raff, and the work is a collaboration of a lot of Israelis, both at Keshet and Tender Productions, who are all part of the original format of “Hatufim”. Without sounding as too much of a zionist, this whole creation is in fact Israeli television”.
DC: What will be the immediate repercussion for the state of Israel?
AN: “Today people who create television in Los Angeles are fully aware of the power and the deserved spotlight projected toward Israel. Keshet may have brought along the gospel and paved the way, but there are several Israeli productions making their way to American audiences right now”.
DC: How are you celebrating?
AN: “I’m simply flying back home ahead of Yom Kippur, just trying to fit the Emmy statue into my suitcase as we speak. Can’t figure out a way to place it inside, it’s quite big and heavy. I left all the partying to my American colleagues. I trust they are better at that than me”.
The full interview with Avi Nir is published in Hebrew in “Israel Hayom” daily newspaper.