Reality Sets In
Star Academy 10
•Presenter: Hilda Khalifa
• Channel: CBC
After 10 seasons, Star Academy has a following but is struggling to stay on top amid the glut of other TV talent competitions. The series still has its reality show edge, showing the gritty details of the contestants lives off stage.
Sahebat Al Saada
•Presenter: Isaad Younnes
• Channel: CBC
Amid all the political TV programs, this entertainment talk show is a breath of fresh air. Isaad Younnes bonds with her guests and addresses her topics with a sense of humor.
Arab idol 3
•Presenters: Anabella Hilal, Ahmed Fahmy
• Jury: Wael Kafoury, Nancy Ajram, Ahlam El Shamsy, Hassan El Shafei
• Channel: MBC
One of the most influential talent shows in the Arab World, Arab Idol brought in Wael Kafoury to replace superstar Ragheb Alama on the jury for season three.
Yalla Nor’oos (C’mon, Let’s Dance)
•Presenter: Rita Hayek
• Jury: Nelly Karim,Pierre Dulain, Alissar Caracalla, Rojina (first 4 episodes only), Charles Makriss
• Channel: MTV, El Nahar, Fox Movies
The international So You Think You Can Dance franchise made it to the Arab world this year, with this talent show for dancers airing in Lebanon featuring contestants from across the region.
El Raqesa (The Belly Dancer)
•Presenter: Amr Samir
• Jury: Dina, Tamer Habib, Feryal Youssef
• Channel: El Qahera W El Nas
Also debuting this year was El Raqesa, a talent show dedicated to belly dancing. The genre may be unique to the region, but the contestants hail from across the world, including Russia, the US, Ukraine, Egypt and other countries. The season started in September despite Dar El Iftaa’s criticism that it was corrupting morals.
The Voice 2
•Presenter: Karim Fahmy
• Jury: Kathem El Saher, Shereen Abdel Wahab, Saber El Robai, Assi El Helani
The regional version of this singing competition was back for its second season, sorting contestants into teams mentored by one of the jury members. Season two’s winner was Iraqi contestant Sattar Sa’d from Kathem el Saher’s team.
• Channel: El Nahar
Host Asala jams all night with her musical guests in an apartment-like studio.
After Ramadan gave us our fill of history, comedy and drama, the rest of the year was given over to talk and talent.
Segn El Nesa (Women’s Prison)
•Cast: Nelly Karim, Ahmed Daoud, Salwa Othman, Dorra Zarrouq, Ruby, Nesrine Amin
• Director: Kamla Abu Zikry
• Writer: Fathiya Al Assal
This drama took us inside the Qanater prison for women, exploring many social issues related to prisoners. Critics hailed Segn El Nesa as the best Ramadan series this year and Nelly Karim as best actress.
Heba Regl El Ghorab (The Unfortunate Heba)
•Cast: Donia Samir Ghanem, Reham Haggag, Hazem Samir
• Director: Tamer Bassyouni, Yasser Zayed
• Writer: Sherif Badr El-Din
In the Egyptian version of the TV series Ugly Betty, Donia Samir Ghanem is the unfortunate Heba who falls in love with her handsome boss.
Saraya Abdeen (Abdeen Palace)
•Cast: Qusay Khoury, Youssra, Nour, Nelly Karim, Mai Kassab
• Director: Amr Arafa
• Writer: Heba Mashary Hamada
Historians were unimpressed with this period drama about the palace intrigues of Khedive Ismail, who ruled Egypt from 1863-1879. Critics claiming the series distorted history, focused too much on the khedive’s relationships with his harem, calling it an Egyptian knock-off of the popular Turkish series Harim El Sultan.
•Cast: Tamer Hosny, Nichole Saba, Sherine Adel
• Director: Islam Khairy
• Writer: Mohammed Soliman Abdel Malek
After a womanizer disappears and then found in a coma, police start investigating. In the process, everyone connected with the victim — from his wife and brother to friends and lover — is accused of harming him.
Saheb El Saada
•Cast: Adel Imam, Lebleba, Khaled Zaki
• Director: Ramy Imam
• Writer: Youssef Maaty
Bahgat (Adel Imam), living with his wife, children and grandchildren, seeks happiness after retirement. Being the family man he tries to solve everyone’s problems. The series was one of Ramadan’s most-watched comedies.
•Cast: Mohammed Ramadan, Hala Fakher, Reham Saed, Sarah Salama, Wafaa Selim
• Director: Ibrahim Fakhr
• Writer: Hassan Dahshan
This mosalsal followed the trials and tribulations of an impoverished young man from the Upper Egyptian governorate of Qena who travels to Cairo to find a job as a construction worker.
•Cast: Hend Sabry, Mohammed Shahin, Ezzat Abu Auf, Salwa Khattab
• Director: Mariam Abu Auf
• Writer: Ghada Abdel Al
An Egyptian family living abroad decides to return after the parents get homesick. But home culture shock quickly sets in with a series of comical situations.
El Kabir Awy 4
•Cast: Ahmed Mekki, Donia Samir Ghanem, Mohammed Shahin, Mohammed Salam
• Director: Ahmed El Gendy
• Writer: Mohammed Ezz El Din
Ahmed Mekki reprises his many characters in the show’s fourth season. El Kabir Awy follows twin brothers, one the mayor of an Upper Egyptian village, the other raised in the United States.
El Sabaa Wasaya
•Cast: Rania Youssef, Sawsan Badr, Ahmed Fouad Selim, Hana Shiha, Sabry Fawwaz, Ayten Amer, Mohammed Shahin, Haitham Ahmed Zaki, Nahed El Sebaei
• Director: Khaled Merai
• Writer: Mohammed Amir Radi
Seven siblings plot to kill their comatose family after they learn he is worth LE 28 million. But confusion ensues after their father’s body mysteriously disappears.