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Flood of Ramadan TV shows hits Egypt.

Byline: Ramadan Al Sherbini, Correspondent

Cairo: On the first day of Ramadan, Hassan Khalil, a father of four, had to buy a second television set after his children started to squabble over their favourite shows.

"I had no other option. In the run-up to Ramadan, local newspapers and TV stations bombarded us with advertisements for serials featuring famous actors," said Khalil, an owner of a gift shop in northern Cairo. "Like many others, my children, who are teenagers, were influenced by this excessive publicity and started to quarrel over TV programmes. To keep peace at home, I had to buy them a second TV set."

But many Egyptians, hard hit by spiralling costs of living, cannot do the same. Some have reacted differently to the TV fare. Some people in this conservative Muslim country have said the shows are distracting them during Ramadan. In an apparent bid to outrival other Arab channels, official Egyptian TV announced in a pre-Ramadan promotional drive that its seven stations, led by the Nile TV Network (NTN), would show around 40 serials.

"Nothing is exclusive. All is available on Egyptian TV," proclaimed promotional advertisements.

"Since the start of Ramadan, my wife and I have been accustomed to watching religious satellite channels, which deepen our knowledge of Islam," said Hamed Abul Fad, a 31-year-old accountant.

"Regrettably not a single religious drama or programme is presented on Egyptian TV amid this flood of soap operas and talk shows," he told Gulf News.

Makers of TV shows scramble to have their productions broadcast during Ramadan when viewing rates reach their peak in the Arab world. TV stations are usually on the air round the clock in this month.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Aug 27, 2009
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