'The Voice' Producer Talpa Launches Middle East Operation

Paul Drinkwater/NBC
'The Voice'

Ziad Kebbi will run Talpa Middle East, producing local versions of the company's formats

Talpa, the Dutch production company behind such reality shows as The Voice and Utopia, has launched a new production operation in the Middle East.

Ziad Kebbi, a veteran producer who adapted The Voice, as well as formats including Deal or No Deal, Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Betty La Fea for the region, will head up Talpa Middle East as CEO. He will report to Talpa Global’s managing director, Maarten Meijs.

Talpa Middle East's first project will be taking over for the third season of The Voice Arabia, the local version of the hit singing competition, which airs on satellite TV giant MBC locally.

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The new company will be based in Dubai and represent Talpa’s catalog across North Africa and the Middle East, producing local versions of Talpa formats for the territories in the Arab-speaking world.

“The Arab speaking region has been evolving rapidly, both on a technological and industrial level. With 350 million people spread over such a vast area in so many countries, it is clearly a region with many opportunities,” said Maarten Meijs of Talpa Global. “We’re therefore very pleased to have Ziad Kebbi on board; he has worked with every broadcaster in the region and is thoroughly familiar with the Talpa catalogue.”

Talpa Middle East is Talpa's second fully-owned international subsidiary after Talpa Media USA, which the John de Mol-owned group launched in 2012. Talpa has production joint ventures in the U.K. with Warner Bros.-owed Shed Media Group, in Italy with Toro and in the Nordic region with Nordisk and Banijay Finland. Last month, Talpa signed a deal with Chinese Internet giant Tencent to develop non-scripted formats for the Chinese online market.

Twitter: @sroxborough