FremantleMedia launches 'The X Factor' in the Middle East

MUMBAI: Format creator and production firm FremantleMedia has announced that it is launching a local version of The X Factor in the Middle East.

The X Factor, XSeer Al Najah (The X Factor, The Essence of Success) will be produced by Lebanese production company Studiovision and will premiere on 26 March on music channel Rotana TV, culminating in the grand finale on 4 June.

The 14 episode series will be broadcast in 22 Arabic speaking countries. Global interactive digital broadcaster Cellcast will handle telephony and will be responsible for mobile content across all 22 countries.

FremantleMedia regional manager, Middle East and North Africa Isabelle Garcia said, "We are really excited about bringing this format to the Middle East. Not only do we have fantastic judges with great backgrounds but also the acts coming forward are something the Arabian public has never seen before."

FremantleMedia adds that thousands of hopefuls with dreams of becoming the next Arabic singing sensation have turned up to perform at auditions in The Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Kuwait, Egypt, Dubai and Tunisia. Judging the talent are Michel Elefteriades, owner of the celebrated Music Hall in Beirut; Nelly from Egypt, a performer in both the acting and singing fields and Khaled El Sheikh, a Bahraini producer and composer. Following in the footsteps of the UK production, the three categories will comprise younger and older contestants and groups.

The X Factor has been broadcast in five territories to date: the UK, Belgium, Colombia, Australia and Russia. In the UK, series two of The X Factor attracted audiences of up to 10 million and was voted the most popular entertainment programme of 2005 at the National Television Awards. The second series achieves shares of up to 60 per cent for all individuals, 91 per cent above the broadcaster's primetime average.

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