For those who haven’t watched Thursday’s premiere of CBS’s new docu-reality show “3″, here’s what you need to know: Libby Lopez (24), April Francis (29) and Rachel Harley (34) are on the quest to find love. In the first episode they met with 100 men, questioned them, and chose 6 men (each) with whom they would like to go on a date and get to know them better. This show is an adaptation of an Israeli show, from Keshet Broadcasting, that started last year in Israel and gained huge popularity and raitings.
The Israeli version was very similar as far as casting goes: in Israel, Maya is working as a project manager but also has a background in modeling, Kim is a young Tel Avivan whose parents got divorced when she was young , and Sarit is a widow who lost her husband in the 2nd Lebanon War, and also comes from a religious Jewish family. Here, Libby is the model who’s also very religious and whose parents got divorced, Rachel is the widow (who lost her husband to cancer) and April is the hard-working business woman.
Among the producers who signed on to this show are executive producer and head of Keshet in Israel, Avi Nir, and also Ami Glam, Entertainment and Reality department manager at Keshet. But they were not the only Israelis responsible for casting the blond (and gorgeous) April Francis. In an exclusive interview with AbbaNibi.com she reveals that her friend from Israel, Sivan Cohen, helped her decide to embark on this journey with CBS. “My friend knew one of the producers, so she convinced me to have a chat with them,” she recalls on her way to the show, “so I had a chat with the producer and she told me that the show had started in Israel the previous summer. And I visited Israel in May 2010 and had the best trip of my life, so my best friend Sivan lives there so we hung out in Tel Aviv, we went to Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, just saw the country and had like a really wonderful experience, so I called her and asked her about “Shalosh” (“Three” in Hebrew) and without hesitation she said “the women are portrayed as highly intelligent and very self aware. And I worked really hard to build my brand and create a name that means quality and great service, so I didn’t want to jeopardise that, but when she said ‘the show is incredible, the women are portrayed as intelligent, I said ok, I will definitely look into this.”
What was it like for you to “judge” 100 men and to say no to so many?
“It was very hard for me, I had an emotional meltdown after saying no to so many guys. It was very very hard. I don’t want to embarrass anyone, and I don’t want to make anybody feel bad, I don’t think that happened, but it was still hard to say no. The guys were all nice, but if the chemistry isn’t there there’s nothing we can do.”
Judging by the first episode, it looks like Avi Nir and his American partners have succeeded to translate, not only the casting of the girls, but also the emotional journey that the Israeli girls have gone through. Starting with the relationship between the three (“We’ve basically turned into sisters,” April says), and also seeing so many men that their “typecast” of men has been lost (“It’s definitely happened to us”).
But one thing that wasn’t predictable in the Israeli version was that one of the finalist guys, Gilad, committed suicide shortly after he broke up with Kim, who he was dating throughout the show. “I heard about that , it’s so sad,” says April, “but they don’t know if it’s related necessarily to the show or not. I think you have to make the best choice for you always, and if you do so in a caring compassionate way that’s all you can do.”
Have you met with the Israeli producers?
“I met with Ami, he’s amazing. I loved having him there. You have no idea, I had the best trip to Israel, I’m a huge fan of Israelis, I love the palpable sense that everybody there is like loving life, everybody seizes the day and the moment.”
What advice did he give you?
“He said just be yourself. He encouraged us to be ourselves and have fun, and don’t over- think it and just do what feels right and that was great advice and it’s very unlike all of these shows in the United States.”
Finally, are you ready to become a celebrity? After all, a new reality show on CBS basically means that soon enough all of America will know who you are.
“I don’t know what’s gonna happen, I know America is so different from Israel, so I’m hoping that it’s well received and it’s good for me. Actually the show has been really good for me personally, so I hope that the same thing will happen business- wise, but personally it’s been incredible.”
Watch “3″ 9/8c, on CBS