A major Dubai-based Middle Eastern broadcaster has recently undertaken a large scale series project about the Saudi dynasty days after cancelling all Turkish series and shows, which are extremely popular in the region.
Arabic media outlets reported Thursday that the Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC), one of the largest broadcasters in the region which decided on March 1 to stop airing Turkish soap operas, has started planning for the giant production.
Reports stated that MBC CEO Sam Barnett broke the news in a speech to company employees.
The production will be inspired by Turkish historical series, which are currently very popular in the country and the region.
The decision to cancel Turkish productions, which came at a time when the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are at odds with Turkey regarding the crisis with Qatar, was widely criticized by Arab social media users.
Reports of the MBC's decision to cancel Turkish shows came after its chairman, Waleed al-Ibrahim was released from being detained at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh following a mass arrest in November by Saudi authorities. However, Reuters reported that Saudi authorities plan to take ownership of a majority stake in the MBC Group as they move to seize assets from those caught up in an anti-corruption probe, sources close to the matter said in early Feb. Officials plan to transfer ownership of 60 percent of the regional broadcaster while leaving the remaining 40 percent in the hands of Ibrahim, two sources told Reuters.
MBC operates in Dubai Media City, a free zone where foreign outlets have offices and face little government oversight in the UAE, a federation of seven emirates on the Arabian Peninsula. Its free-to-watch entertainment channels offer a mix of syndicated programs both local and international, as well as Hollywood films.
MBC spokesperson Mazen Hayek previously said Ibrahim retains a 40 percent stake and has "nominal management control" of the network. Hayek said he could not confirm who holds the remaining 60 percent of the company.