Popular TV host Sherif Madkour talks about his Ramadan show and looks back to when the magical month was all about family.
by Farah El-Akkad
For popular TV anchor Sherif Madkour, Ramadan is all about family. That’s why this season his show, “Share3’ Sherif” (Sherif Street), which has been a big success since its launch last January, will take on a new “home” flavor — and a new format. For the coming 30 days the variety show will be airing live every night from 10pm until 1am.
Madkour’s program has so far proven quite popular across several audience segments (one fan, Nagwa Ali, calls it a “show for all family members. My little granddaughter and myself do not miss a single episode”), but will have a lot more to offer viewers this month, Madkour says.
“Our Ramadan show will be Share3 Sherif as our audience knows it, with Ramadan’s decorations and authentic flavor. It will consist of eight parts and there will be a suhour in some episodes. Our guests will mostly be from our beloved stars and they will delight us with behind-the-scenes stories of their Ramadan series. Most importantly, it will be a live show for three hours every night unlike normal episodes which are usually recorded,” Madkour says.
The 44-year-old presenter, known for his eye-catching clothing and penchant for trendy accessories, began working in broadcast TV at Nile Specialized Channels in the early 2000s, and since then has gone on to host a number of successful shows including “Gardens and Homes,” “Fashion Café” and “A Meal from Every Country.” Madkour has shared air time with scores of celebrities, and looking back at his career the host says he cannot pinpoint specific episodes he calls his favorites. “I would not name a favorite episode mainly because every guest or colleague I have invited to my show is special to me. They are all equally my favorite people. On the other hand, my show is recorded most of the time, I think funny stuff usually happens when we are going live. Moreover, people who come to my show to cook or talk are usually my friends and people I know in real life. And because of this I get many comments from the audience on how they love the friendly and family-like atmosphere.”
In between shooting and interviews, we sat down with Madkour to talk about Ramadan and how it has changed over the years.
How do you see Ramadan today?
To be honest, I do not think there is Ramadan anymore. They should change its name. Sadly, what is supposedly a holy month has become extremely commercial with too much focus on entertainment and food, TV shows or series, evening outings and gatherings. I do not think it is a holy month anymore. Unfortunately it has lost its spirituality and religious sense. People used to wait for Ramadan, the month they get closer to God. Now it has become the month of having fun and going to the most popular restaurants.
How do you view Egypt’s media scene today?
Just like the way Ramadan has changed along the years, the Egyptian media scene has not been any different. And just like everything in Egypt, the media scene is random and scattered. We also do not depend entirely on television today; social media plays an important role. Even though social media is an important tool, I personally believe real television will always be more credible because the effect of social media on people is like a bubble that bursts and then a new bubble is found and so on. Generally, I think that instead of educating people and making them more intellectual, both socially and mentally, nowadays a very large part of the media industry is showing people how to be ill-mannered and disrespectful.
Do you think there has been a changed in people’s outlook and social habits?
The past five years have been full of depression, too much violence and not the safe Egypt we have always known. Maybe today we started feeling a little bit safer, things are getting better but overall people are still depressed and part of it is because people themselves do not want to get out of this mood, they are not doing anything about it.
You’ve been a familiar face on TV for the past 18 years and are known to choose your crew “very wisely.” What’s it like working with you on set?
My team and I prepare and arrange episodes weekly, Of course I enjoy working with my current crew and all the crews I have worked with before remain my friends. However, behind the camera, I am what you call a perfectionist and a dictator because my demands are very high. Sometimes I do get a bit irritable because I like everything to be done exactly as I said and explained. The atmosphere is usually a bit hectic.
How do you spend Ramadan?
I am really not much of an eater at all and in Ramadan specifically I usually lose around five to seven kilograms. Ramadan for me is very different than most people, I do not eat or drink a lot and I never or very rarely have iftar outside home. I also try and focus more on the spiritual side of the holy month, praying a lot and taraweeh prayers which is more the reason I lose weight.
You’ll be changing your schedule this Ramadan?
This Ramadan the plan will be to go to the studio for the live show and then home until the next night. Most importantly, I aim to make people live and feel the atmosphere of the holy month through my show away from series and other means of entertainment. Everything we deliver to people will be related to Ramadan; useful entertainment that is not indecent or outrageous.