Albert Square meets Arab world with new MBC soap

The drama is by Tony Jordan, the screenwriter and producer of the British series “East Enders.” (Supplied)
Updated 01 August 2019

Albert Square meets Arab world with new MBC soap

LONDON: MBC Studios has teamed up with Abu Dhabi’s twofour54 and Image Nation to produce an Arabic-language soap opera called “Inheritance.”

The soap was created for MBC Studios by Tony Jordan who was lead writer on the UK soap EastEnders, set around the fictional east London neighborhood of Albert Square.

The deal will see a dedicated studio built for the show in Abu Dhabi which will also serve as the main location for filming. 

Media free zone twofour54 will invest directly in the production, and MBC is set to benefit from the Abu Dhabi Film Commission’s 30 percent rebate on production spend in the emirate, the pair said in a statement on Wednesday.

CEO of MBC Studios Peter Smith. (Supplied)

“We are thrilled to have agreed to a long-term production deal — the first of its kind in the Arab world,” said MBC Studios Managing Director Peter Smith.

The show’s backers describe it as the Arab world’s first soap opera because they say that at present, while there are many Arabic drama series, none are scheduled to run indefinitely — a defining characteristic of a soap opera.

“Inheritance” will shoot for more than 250 days of the year, and it is expected to generate over 200 jobs in the first year. 

Maryam Eid AlMheiri, vice chair of twofour54, described the deal as a “landmark moment” in Arab entertainment and cultural history. 

Efforts to create more homegrown Arabic-language drama comes as global video on demand players from Netflix to Amazon eye the Middle East as a potentially lucrative and under-served market.

MBC Digital Managing Director Johannes Larcher last month told Arab News that it was boosting investment in its “Shahid” Arabic-language video-on-demand platform in the second half of the year.

“We have viewers from North America to Europe who are Arab speakers and who want to use Shahid to stay in touch with their countries of origin and their culture,” Larcher told Arab News in an interview.

The development of ‘Inheritance’ is the latest milestone in twofour54’s longstanding partnership with MBC. In 2015, MBC and twofour54 signed a three-year agreement in 2015 to grow the number of quality Arabic drama productions in Abu Dhabi and the region. That partnership produced a broad range of Arabic content, including “Haret El Sheikh,” “Hob Bila Hudood,” season one of “Boxing Girls,” and the first two seasons of “Al-Asouf.”

The first episode of “Inheritance” is expected to air in the first quarter of 2020.

DJ Khaled nabs spot on Forbes’ ranking of highest-paid music stars

DJ Khaled is the only artist of Arabic descent to make the annual list. AFP
Updated 14 December 2019

DJ Khaled nabs spot on Forbes’ ranking of highest-paid music stars

  • Forbes released its annual list of top-earning music stars of the year
  • US-Palestinian producer DJ Khaled is among the world’s top-earning musicians of 2019

DUBAI: US-Palestinian producer DJ Khaled is among the world’s top-earning musicians of 2019, according to the annual Forbes list of the year’s 40 highest-paid musical artists. 

The “I’m the One” hitmaker earned $40 million this year, landing the 29th spot, alongside The Weeknd and Marshmello who he is tied with. 

The US-based DJ and producer, who was born Khaled Mohamed Khaled to Palestinian immigrants, is the only artist of Arab descent to make the list. In addition to his music, DJ Khaled’s take-home reflects other lucrative ventures such as acting and writing. 

He was cast to voice one of the characters in “Spies in Disguise,” set to launch later this month. He will also appear in the film “Bad Boys for Life.”

Additionally, in 2016, the mogul published a book entitled “The Keys,” that delves into his lessons for success. 

Topping the list was Taylor Swift, who collected $185 million in the past year. She’s followed by Kanye West, who raked in $150 million and Ed Sheeran, who rounds out the top three with an earning of $110 million. 

Check out the full list here.