AXN Spain Buys Little Mosque Sitcom

Sale follows U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton praising sitcom for fostering cross-cultural unity.

TORONTO -- The Canadian sitcom Little Mosque on the Prairie has been sold to Sony Pictures Entertainment Networks’AXN channel in Spain and Portugal.

Series producer WestWind pictures and LUK internacional S. A. sold the Sony station 80 episodes of the comedy about fish-out-of-water Canadian Muslims in Saskatchewan. 

Little Mosque will shortly start production on a sixth season of 13 episodes for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

The Spanish sale brings to 82 world markets that Little Mosque now airs in after a recent launch on RAI TV in Italy, ahead of Slovenia’s Pro Plus launching the Canadian series in April.

The comedy is also set up at 20th Century Fox TV, which has the U.S. format rights to Little Mosque.

American interest of a different kind for the Canadian sitcom also recently surfaced among the Wikileaks U.S. cable revelations when U.S. Embassy officials in Ottawa reported back to Washington, D.C. that the Little Mosque sitcom offered negative stereotypes of Americans.

The series’ executive producer, Mary Darling, a dual American and Canadian citizen, appealed to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who wrote back to support the series’ attempt to fight prejudice and misunderstandings about Muslims with comedy.

“I appreciate your good cheer and thank you for everything you are doing to foster cross-cultural unity and understanding through comedy,” Rodham Clinton wrote in a Dec. 8, 2010 letter to Darling. 

Created by Zarqa Nawaz, Little Mosque focuses on a small Muslim community in a fictional Saskatchewan town.

The show premiered on CBC in early 2007 to extensive international attention and strong ratings.

The fifth season’s finale will air March 28 with a cliff-hanger: the hip Imam Amaar, played by Zaib Shaikh, is set to wed Rayyan (Sitara Hewitt), until he receives an out-of-town job offer that tests his bride-to-be.