Middle East Focus: Comedy Central launching variety show in Middle East

Comedy Central’s Arabic studio is speaking to two broadcasters in about its primetime variety show Streets of Laughter and hopes to have the show on air in the first quarter of 2012.

Comedy Central Studios Arabia has produced a full pilot of the one-hour comedy series, which will have sketches and guest segments, and is close to locking in a broadcast deal for the show.

The programme is one of a seven-strong slate from the Comedy Central production hub, which is based in Abu Dhabi and was set up last year with support from local media funding and development group twofour54.

That slate also includes three half-hour sitcoms: Is that English ‘Morsi’?; Rabe ‘e’ Multiplied by 4; and Hello Neighbour. Each of these is at script stage. Comedy Central has also developed a pilot for half-hour gameshow FunKoosh! Other shows on the development slate are shortform animated sports show Captain Khateer and web/mobile series Vampires of the Middle East.

The rights exploitation arm of twofour54,ibtikar commercial, is working with Comedy Central with a view to shopping the ideas to potential international partners.

Comedy Central is part of Viacom and, on paper Streets of Laughter, resembles Saturday Night Live. However, Sharif Maghraby, managing director of Comedy Central Studios Arabia, made it clear that its show will be very different from its US forbear. There are no immediate plans to launch a full-fledged Comedy Central channel in the region, Maghraby added.

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