For Israeli celebrities, going out for a cup of coffee is about to get a whole lot less pleasant.
Following the lead of a more aggressive American counterpart, Israel’s newest TV gossip show has announced a guerrilla campaign to collect candid footage of the country’s top entertainers. Producers of “Entertainment News,” a celebrity-focused program debuting February 14, hope to broadcast uncensored videos of Israeli stars captured by members of the public, who can catch their prey via cell-phone cameras and other devices.
“After chasing and making celebs crazy outside of Israel, the video paparazzi are making aliyah,” boasted producers of the program, to be aired by the Hot cable service, in a pre-launch press release.
Featuring footage by both professional and amateur cameramen, the show’s “Paparazzi Video” segment is explicitly inspired by TMZ, the American gossip Web site that has occasionally broken the rules of traditional journalism to obtain less-than-flattering videos of Hollywood stars’ private behavior.
Among Israel’s gossip mavens, the enlistment of amateur “paparazzi” is merely the latest salvo in an intensifying war over celebrity news coverage. Hosted by former actor Lion Rosenberg, “Entertainment News” is looking for ways to distinguish itself against “Good Evening With Guy Pines,” a rival gossip program that recently moved to Channel 10 from Hot. The latter show raised the stakes in local gossip in 2007, hiring a helicopter to tail Israeli model Bar Refaeli and her visiting boyfriend, actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
In a country where the famous have been able to shop, dine out and walk their dogs, mostly without intrusion, the meaning of the new situation may take some time to register. In a Hot sample clip, Israeli musician Danny Sanderson, informed of the new program after being accosted on the street, responded cheerily to his interviewer, “Best of luck!”
This story "Israeli TV Gets in on the Gossip Craze" was written by Nathan Burstein.