What do Howie Mandel and Selena Gomez have in common? Read on. What do Howie Mandel and Selena Gomez have in common? Read on. What do Howie Mandel and Selena Gomez have in common with this venture? Read on. (Photo: NBC/Wikimedia)

Music label merges with TV studio for new shows

New collaboration will produce digital content aimed at millennials.

When MTV first launched back in the 1980s, music videos were nothing more than a video of the singer crooning his tune. Over the years they've evolved into mini-movies with actor cameos and helmed by big-time directors. Often, they bring the viewer on a breathtaking journey that brings entirely new meaning to the lyrics. Coldplay's recent video for their song "Up&Up" fits that mold perfectly.

Well now, it seems, things will be going one step further.

Interscope Geffen A&M – the Santa Monica music company that's home to such iconic artists as Eminem, Lady Gaga and Selena Gomez – is teaming up with Keshet Studios. The Hollywood-based group is a division of Keshet International, the Israeli global distribution powerhouse behind many high-profile series including the Emmy-winning Showtime drama "Homeland," the new critically acclaimed show about autism "The A Word," the hit game show "Boom!" and the Howie Mandel-produced show "Deal With It."

Homeland season 6Keshet is the same studio that brought us the award-winning "Homeland," starring Claire Danes. (Photo: Homeland)

“Keshet Studios has grown rapidly in both scale and vision since we established the company," said the company's CEO Alon Shtruzman, the media executive who helped launch a bevy of digital channels including Nickelodeon Israel.

Interscope and Keshet are teaming up to develop, produce and distribute music-related original digital scripted and non-scripted video content. This means we'll be getting both dramas and reality shows from this union.

The first project in development is “Tracks," a coming-of-age series mixing edgy, gritty drama with the real-world music scene. It follows five twenty-somethings who find common ground in live music as they make their way through life's many unexpected turns. The show will follow in the footsteps of other recent shows that covered the music industry including "Vinyl" on HBO, "Roadies" on Showtime and "The Get Down" on Netflix. The 2015 movie "Straight Outta Compton," about the rise of a hip-hop group, received an Academy Award nomination.

A new series on Showtime called "Roadies" follows a concert tour of a popular band. (From left) Actors Imogen Poots, Luke Wilson and Carla Gugino star in the show.A new series on Showtime called "Roadies" follows a concert tour of a popular band. (From left) Actors Imogen Poots, Luke Wilson and Carla Gugino star in the show. (Photo: Showtime)

Under the multi-year, multi-series deal aimed at the cord-cutting millennial audience, Keshet and Interscope will focus their distribution efforts on digital platforms in the U.S. and throughout the world.

"The development of original digital programming that resonates with the cord-cutting millennial audience is at the core of our strategy," said Keshet's Sebastian Burkhardt. "And we see music and partnering with some of the hottest names in the record industry through Interscope Geffen A&M as a key driver to making that happen. With our first joint project, 'Tracks,' we are well on a path to success."

While this collaboration marks the first time that Keshet has teamed up with a major music label, the TV studio last year hosted a conference in Israel where studios and networks like Sony and AMC came to the Mediterranean country to look for new ideas for TV shows.

"The TV industry is trying to keep up with changes in the ways TV is being viewed both in terms of technology and in terms of viewing habits," Professor Jonathan Cohen, who teaches the psychology of entertainment at the University of Haifa in Israel, told From The Grapevine. "More content is needed, and it has to draw attention by being new and innovative. This conference was meant to foster the innovation in creating formats that has become a core business for Keshet and other Israeli TV producers."

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