MIPFormats Case Study: 2025


Revital Basel, managing director of networks at Keshet International, spoke with World Screen’s Anna Carugati about the company’s new near-future reality show 2025 at MIPFormats this morning, describing the format as Monopoly meets The Truman Show.

The series was inspired in part by the futuristic trend in scripted with shows like Black Mirror. “For me, this is urban survivors,” Basel said.

Twelve contenders enter the 2025 city as equals—each is given the same amount of money. They live in the city for ten weeks. There are the personal day-to-day dilemmas to contend with—sleeping in a suite or on the street, what you’re going to eat—as the participants determine what kind of life they want to have with the money allotted. What’s unique about the show, she said, is the contenders can choose to help others. “This is a social game. If you have enough to share your fortune, you gain points in the game. That’s the heart.”

The game unfolds in real time in the “smart city—everything is connected to their smartwatch. Everything is run by one room with three geeks who have never done television before! Every action automatically appears on the scoreboard in the Times Square of the city.”

Constructing a smart city was a major undertaking. It includes a hotel, a dormitory, a private house, a city hall, a bank, a restaurant, a café, vending machines. The businesses are run by six humanoid hosts. “They’re not really AI because behind them are actors, comedians, that operate by special software which reads their faces. They are very realistic.”

The entire set runs over 6,000 square meters. The city and the control room take up 2,400 square meters. “The biggest studio in Israel is 1,200 square meters, so there wasn’t a studio that we could build the city inside. We found an old factory and we had four months to build the city. It was a huge operation. It’s not just building a city; it had to be a smart city that followed the rules of the format. That was the biggest challenge. We have 120 fixed cameras, plus 10 rigged cameras.”

The show has been successful on the sponsorship front. “For example, the private house is an Ikea house. Everything is from Ikea. On our website, we have an Ikea 3D tour of the house and you can buy everything that is in the house. In the Ikea stores all around Israel, there is a 2025 house. The only print book on the set is the Ikea catalog.”

Unlike other reality shows, contestants do have some contact with the outside world. “We went with the ethos of transparency. They can call their families—it costs a lot!—they can buy on VOD the episode from yesterday. We decided not to make it a bubble. We have a good psychiatrist on-set because it’s a hard thing for a reality contestant to know in real time if viewers like them or not. They can even pay to see the 24/7 live stream.”

The Israeli set is available for other broadcasters to use as a hub.