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September 22, 2006

Interesting Show This Weekend

-- by Dave Johnson

Link TV wrote to me about a show this weekend that "tackles the stereotypes the West has come to associate the Arab world by providing entertaining, humorous and historically-relevant clips of Arab TV"

Tune in this weekend to Ramadan Primetime

Program premieres Saturday at 5 p.m. PT/ 8 p.m. ET.
And
Sunday, Sept 24, 8:30 p.m PT/11:30 pm ET

This Link TV original production explores the unique television programs that people across the Arab Muslim world watch during the holy month of Ramadan, which begins this year around September 23rd. It is in this season of high TV viewership that Arabic-language networks premiere their most exciting primetime programs — from light- hearted game shows, racy soaps and Friends-inspired comedies to religious talk shows and epics.

In contrast to the typical images the West has come to associate with the Middle East, this 30-minute documentary showcases the specially-crafted Ramadan primetime programming shown on hundreds of Arabic television channels.

What do thirty nights of special TV programming tell us about the tastes, preoccupations, preferences and politics of the 280 million people in the Middle East? Tune in to this lively look at last year’s Ramadan programs and find out.

Ramadan Primetime will air on DIRECTV channel 375 and Dish Network channel 9410 and on cable in select markets, including New York, San Francisco and Washington DC. Tune in Saturday, September 23, 5 pm PT, 8 pm ET and Sunday, September 24, 8:30 pm PT, 11:30 pm ET.

And from the press release:
During Ramadan, which falls in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, more than a billion Muslims around the world mark their “month of blessing” with prayer, fasting and charity. Each evening at sundown, families gather to break their fasts with a lavish “Iftar” feast, followed by a large dose of bonding time, often spent in front of the television. It is in this season of high TV viewership that Arabic-language networks premiere their most exciting primetime programs — from lighthearted game shows, racy soaps and Friends-inspired comedies to religious talk shows and epics like Hoor Al Ayn (Beautiful Virgins), a 30-part miniseries that delves into a terrorist cell in Saudi Arabia.

Ramadan Primetime explores the unique television programs that people across the Muslim world watch during the month of Ramadan, which begins this year around September 23rd. In contrast to the typical images the West has come to associate with the Middle East, this 30-minute documentary showcases the specially crafted Ramadan primetime programming shown on dozens of Arabic television channels — entertaining their audiences with a mix of drama, music, game shows, and comedy.

Produced for Link TV by Jennifer Maytorena Taylor, whose productions have aired on PBS and The Sundance Channel, Ramadan Primetime explores the unique television programs that people across the Muslim world watch during the month of Ramadan, beginning this year around September 23rd. In contrast to the typical images the West has come to associate with the Middle East, this 30-minute documentary showcases the specially-crafted Ramadan primetime programming shown on dozens of Arabic television channels — entertaining their audiences with a mix of drama, music, game shows, and comedy.

“Even as domestic media inundates us with detailed reports of terrorists bombing Saudi apartment complexes, moderates and extremists clashing over the meaning of Jihad and continued struggles between neighboring countries, there’s a feeling that Americans are not getting the whole picture of what life is like in the Mideast,” said Link Media Inc. President Kim Spencer. “Our new Ramadan Primetime program offers insight into the how people in the Middle East observe Ramadan, relish entertaining shows and celebrate the season and their culture with their families. In essence, it gives the rest of the world a glimpse into life through Muslim eyes by illustrating what daily life is really like in the Arab world.”

In Ramadan Primetime, leading Muslim experts, scholars and regular viewers at home in the Middle East and the U.S. discuss Ramadan television and address how the satellite programming affects and unites the global Arabic community. What do thirty nights of special TV programming tell us about the tastes, preoccupations, preferences and politics of the 280 million people in the Middle East? Tune in to this retrospective of last year’s Ramadan programs and find out.

A special broadcast of the talked-about documentary American Ramadan, produced by Dallas-based filmmaker Naeem Randhawa, will precede the program. Filmed on location in Dallas and Los Angeles, the feature-length documentary follows the lives of five American Muslim families during the month of Ramadan in 2005. In contrast to media stereotypes of Muslims as sheltered and outcasts, the film illustrates the everyday struggles, fears, hopes and challenges that everyone faces — Muslim or not.

Both programs will be available via satellite to more than 28 million nationwide on DIRECTV channel 375 and Dish Network channel 9410 and on cable in select markets, including New York, San Francisco and Washington DC. American Ramadan airs Saturday, Sept. 23, 4 p.m. PT, 7 p.m. ET and Sunday, Sept. 24, 7:30 p.m. PT, 10:30 ET. Ramadan Primetime airs Saturday, September 23, 5 pm PT, 8 pm ET and Sunday, September 24, 8:30 pm PT, 11:30 pm ET. Visit www.linktv.org for additional information and repeat show times.

Posted by Dave Johnson at September 22, 2006 9:21 AM

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