Self-recorded reality series 'Connected' coming to AOL
Adaptation of Israeli hit show follows five people using cameras to document their lives.
AOL's first foray into long-form programming will kick off with "Connected," a unique documentary series that follows the lives of five people living in New York City.
While most reality shows rely on crews to document the action, the cast members of "Connected" will record their lives using personal handheld cameras.
“It’s such a good idea, it’s such a pure idea – turning cameras over to people and letting them record their lives," veteran filmmaker Morgan Spurlock told Beet.tv. "And we live in a world now where that’s what people do on a daily basis. We take pictures, we share videos, and now we’re asking people to do the same thing with moments that are much more hard to share or hard to talk about, or hard to experience on your own.”
"Connected" is already a popular series abroad. Originally conceived in Israel, the show is currently in its fifth season there and one of its highest-rated cable series ever. The show was also picked up for adaptation in 21 additional markets, including France, Ireland, Holland, India, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Ukraine, Romania, Estonia and the Netherlands.
The show, called "Mehubarim" in Israel, recently won first place for Best Docusoap Programming at the Realscreen Awards, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based competition that judges nonfiction entertainment programming. "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" came in second.
Spurlock will produce the U.S. series with Israeli producer Ram Landes, and the pair said the unique format of “Connected” appeals to audiences because it’s “organic, very authentic and real life.”
“Despite the cultural differences,” Landes said, “the human conflict is essentially the same – from India to Finland to Israel to the States. It's about relationships, relationships with parents, career vs. family – it's the same all over the world."
AOL expects "Connected" to premiere in January of 2015, with Season 1 consisting of 20 installments of 22-30 minutes each. The network is currently holding open casting for the five spots; with production likely to begin later this summer.
Check out an advance teaser trailer:
MORE FROM THE GRAPEVINE: