LONDON, UK and DUBAI (November 01, 2011) - Sony Pictures Television (SPT) announced today that its production company in the Middle East, SPT Arabia, has secured its first non-scripted format deals in the region, with production to start on local versions of the hit game shows Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!
SPT Arabia will produce 240 half-hour episodes of Wheel of Fortune for Hayat TV in Egypt, shot in Cairo, with episodes to be scheduled daily. The original, which SPT produces in the United States, has been the number one syndicated game show there for 29 years and continues to attract audiences that rival many US primetime network shows.
In addition, 20 one hour episodes of Jeopardy! are to be produced in Lebanon by SPT Arabia for Pan Arab Satcaster, MBC Group. Set to broadcast in a weekly primetime slot on general family entertainment channel, MBC1, Jeopardy! has also achieved worldwide success. To date the show has won 29 US Emmy awards and has been entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most Emmys won by any TV game show.
Ziad Kebbi, president, SPT Arabia, said of the deals: "Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! are two of the world's most iconic game shows so it's very exciting to offer Middle East broadcasters and audiences their own versions. This expansion into non-scripted programs is an important step in SPT Arabia's growth strategy as we increase our production footprint in the region."
This marks the first time either game show will be produced in the Middle East and in Arabic, and the first time ever that Jeopardy! has been produced as an hour-long program. SPT Arabia is working closely with the show's executive producer, Harry Friedman, to ensure the integrity of the show and a smooth transition. CBS Studios International distributes the US versions of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, as well as the format rights, around the globe.
SPT Arabia inked its first scripted format deals in July, when it produced and licensed local episodes of the smash hit comedy format Everybody Loves Raymond to Dream TV in Egypt, Murr Television in Lebanon, and Saudi Arabian IPTV service, Intigral.
SPT Arabia is based in Dubai with additional production offices in Cairo and in Beirut. Launched in November 2010, the company is jointly led by Kebbi and Dany Karem who represent SPT's extensive catalogue of scripted and non-scripted programming across twenty two countries spanning Iraq to Morocco.
ABOUT SONY PICTURES TELEVISION
Sony Pictures Television is one of the television industry's leading content providers. It produces and distributes programming in every genre, including series, telefilms, theatrical releases and family entertainment around the world and for every platform: broadcast and cable television, first-run and off-network syndication and digital distribution. In addition to one of the industry's largest libraries of feature films and television shows, SPT boasts a current program slate that includes the top-rated daytime dramas and game shows, landmark off-network series, original animated series and critically acclaimed primetime dramas, comedies and telefilms. Internationally, SPT is a leader in local language productions around the world, some of which are co-produced with local partners, and sells SPE-owned formats in approximately 70 countries. To better serve its clients and partners worldwide, SPT maintains offices throughout the world, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, the People's Republic of China, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Venezuela and the United Kingdom. SPT's worldwide television networks portfolio is a key strategy in SPE's long-range commitment to the global marketplace, with 120 channel feeds, which are available in 159 countries reaching more than 500 million households worldwide. SPT also creates original content for and manages SPE's premium video website, Crackle. Additionally, SPT owns Dutch entertainment company 2waytraffic, production company Embassy Row and Sony Movie Channel, and is a part owner of cable channel GSN, new 3D channel 3net, FEARnet, the premier horror/thriller website and VOD service, and national media sales company ITN Networks, Inc. SPT advertiser sales is one of the premiere national advertising sales companies, handling the commercial inventory in SPT's syndicated series as well as in all of SPE's digital businesses in the United States. SPT (www.sonypicturestelevision.com) is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company.
MBC 1 was launched in 1991 as the first independent Pan Arab channel. Being the first free-to-air private satellite channel, MBC1 became trusted and respected in the eyes of Arabs all over the world, bringing fresh and contemporary entertainment into Arab homes. Today, hosting the top news service in the region and with a strong commitment to local programming- from soap operas to hit reality TV shows, it continues to be the number one family entertainment channel in the region.
For further information, contact:
Executive Director, SPT Corporate Communications
+44 20 7533 1363
+44 20 7292 6469
Ruba Al Ayed
Group PR Manager, MBC
+971 4 390 9825