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Fremantle, the indie TV giant behind American Idol, America’s Got Talent and American Gods, has unveiled a pact at MIPCOM with Middle East production house M for Media to get its entertainment formats produced in Saudi Arabia.
“We believe M for Media are the right partner to take our popular format catalogue into Saudi Arabia, and will help to further strengthen our position across the Middle East,” Anahita Kheder, senior vp Middle East, Africa and South Eastern Europe for International at Fremantle, said in a statement.
A spokesperson for Fremantle told The Hollywood Reporter that the pact with M for Media was signed before current calls for global entertainment giants to take a stand against Saudi Arabia in the wake of the disappearance — and possible murder — of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“We don’t have a comment as the deal predates the news and has no impact,” the Fremantle spokesman said.
Khashoggi hasn’t been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Turkish authorities have accused Saudi Arabia of carrying out a brutal murder of the journalist, a noted critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The deal with Fremantle sees M for Media secure exclusive productions rights to the indie giant’s formats as it represents the company’s roster of entertainment formats in Saudi Arabia. Fremantle’s collection of IP includes formats such as The X Factor, Idol, Got Talent, Family Feud, The Price Is Right and Let’s Make a Deal.
“We look forward to bringing our local Arabic flavor and expertise to this partnership, which will allow us to create premium content for televisions and digital platforms throughout the KSA region,” said Ralph Matar, managing director of M for Media, in his own statement.
M for Media recently worked on the local adaptation of the show Carpool Karaoke for the Middle East region.
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