With ratings for reality-based performance shows on the decline, how can ABC's 'Rising Star' hope to succeed? The answer may be in its eclectic and unpredictable band of on-air talent and a surprisingly new format

In 2012, Avi Nir had a problem.

A Ph.D. who had studied the psychological appeal of series TV, he was a decade into running one of the most successful TV production companies in Israel, Keshet Broadcasting, which had scored in the international license market with shows like Prisoners of War, the origin of Showtime's Homeland. But one of the shows he had started with - A Star Is Born, the Israeli version of American Idol - was suffering in the ratings.

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