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Middle East nets ready Millionaire spin off, new formats

Middle Eastern and North African broadcasters have partnered with Sony Pictures Television on the latest versions of a Who Wants to be a Millionaire? spin off, a singing-themed factual entertainment format and a remade CBS studio game show.

In Dubai, national broadcaster Dubai Television has ordered Sony Pictures Television Arabia to produce a 26-episode season of WWTBAM? elimination format spin-off Millionaire Hot Seat, which sees six contestants competing for a cash prize with their only ‘lifeline’ being to pass a question on to another player.

Furthermore, Egyptian broadcaster Al Hayat has ordered 94 new episodes of the show from SPT Arabia following its launch last year, and a local version of CBS series Let’s Make a Deal, the FremantleMedia format SPT represents in Arabia.

Meanwhile, Lebanese broadcaster Future TV has closed a deal for new factual entertainment format Sing It. The 14-episode first season will see contestants choosing songs that best portray their emotions to a chose recipient. SPT Arabia is again attached to produce.

The orders are the latest for Ziad Kebbi-fronted SPT Arabia, which recently saw its remake of Talpa Media format The Voice, titled The Voice Arabia, score huge pan-regional ratings of an average 100 million viewers per episode on MBC.

Kebbi, SPT Arabia president, said: “SPT Arabia has established itself as the leading international producer of television in the region. We’ve helped Arab broadcasters establish their own versions of some of the world’s biggest entertainment formats and our catalogue of home grown Arab formats is building momentum in markets such as Lebanon and Egypt.”

The prodcos other shows include Arabic versions of Everybody Loves Raymond and Betty La Fea (Ugly Betty), original Egyptian sitcom Lessa Badry and local remakes of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.