African Drama 'MTV Shuga' to Get Indian Version

'MTV Shuga' still - H 2017
Courtesy of MTV International

The series, which has focused on issues of family planning, safe sex and HIV and which starred Lupita Nyong'o in its first two seasons, will also be localized for Egypt.

MTV Shuga, the award-winning steamy African drama series from Viacom's MTV International and the MTV Staying Alive Foundation that has focused on issues of family planning, safe sex and HIV, is getting new localized versions in India and Egypt by 2020.

Viacom's Viacom International Media Networks unit unveiled the news at the Family Planning 2020 summit in London on Tuesday.

The move to India will mark the first time the series has been created for a country outside of sub-Saharan Africa.

The company on Tuesday also said that the show will return to Nigeria for two additional seasons, "with a heavy emphasis on family planning and contraception." Viewers of the series were much more likely to go to sexual health centers to get tested, according to past research.

Lupita Nyong'o starred in the first two seasons of MTV Shuga.

In India, the series will be called MTV Nished and is expected to be aired by Indian joint venture Viacom 18 with a potential reach of 176 million young people, according to the firm. It said the show would tackle "locally relevant issues, including child sexploitation and HIV."

Meanwhile, the version of the show in Egypt will also get a local title and be produced in Arabic, making it the first MTV Shuga to be produced in a language other than English. Set to air on MTV in Egypt and via partnerships with terrestrial Arabic-language networks across the country, the Egyptian version will focus on family planning issues, including demand for contraception, gender-based violence, child marriage and female genital mutilation.

“We know that storytelling has the power to catalyze positive social change and have seen that firsthand in Africa with series like MTV Shuga,” said Georgia Arnold, executive director of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation and senior vp social responsibility for MTV International. “By going global with MTV Shuga and bringing this format to new countries, we are committed to challenging misconceptions and inspiring our audiences to talk openly and honestly about their sexual health, while also mobilizing them to take action to access the services they need.”