Cartoon Network Airs In Arabic Across Middle East, North Africa. The Cartoon Network will soon offer the channel in Arabic, in hopes of reaching up to 35 million homes in the Middle East and North Africa. “There’s been a great deal of demand for Arabic content in this region, and launching a 24/7 Arabic Cartoon Network channel is a further testament to our growing investment in the region,” said Chris Groves, senior vice president of Middle East business affairs for the network’s parent company Turner Broadcasting. Some shows that will become available in Arabic include Ben 10, Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. Daoud Kuttab, director-general of the Community Media Network in Amman and Ramallah, told The Media Line that while there are difficulties with Arabic dubbing, the channel should still be a hit. “I think people will watch it,” Kuttab told The Media Line. “The problem they will have is something all studios have with the classical Arabic, it sounds as if you were speaking [English] from the sixteenth century.” There is not just one standard of Arabic spoken across the Middle East and North Africa, but each country has its own dialect. Over time, these dialects have evolved into quite separate languages, so that a person from Morocco, for instance, can’t understand someone talking in an Iraqi dialect. To overcome this linguistic barrier, the classical Arabic in which the Quran was written will be used on the Cartoon Network, but this form is very different to spoken Arabic and sounds old fashioned to today’s youth. Turner previously signed a deal with Lammtara Pictures, the Dubai-based studio behind one of the most successful cartoon series in the region: FREEJ. The show follows four grandmothers in Dubai who deal with the challenges of living in a rapidly modernizing city. Under the deal, Turner will broadcast FREEJ episodes and distribute FREEJ merchandise. In exchange, Lammtara will produce a new local version of the Cartoon Network’s British Skatoony show in which children compete against cartoons; the show will feature the characters from FREEJ. The recent collaboration is not the first time that an American children’s TV show will be translated into Arabic. Thirty years ago Ifath ya Simsim, the local version of Sesame Street was first broadcast.
Nickelodeon Debuts New Episodes Of “iCarly,” “Victorious,” “Big Time Rush” Nickelodeon’s audience is in for a Friday evening jam-packed with entertainment. The cable network dedicated to kids will be premiering new episodes of the first season shows “Victorious” and “Big Time Rush.” Kicking off the festivities will be the hour-long “iCarly” movie, “iPsycho,” beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT. The seventh in the series of movies based on Nick’s most popular original program, “iPsycho” follows Internet stars Carly (Miranda Cosgrove), Sam (Jennette McCurdy) and Freddie (Nathan Kress) as they reach out to one of their biggest fans, an awkward teen girl who wants the trio to appear at her birthday party. However, things take a nasty turn when she holds the group hostage, leaving Carly, Sam and Freddie’s friend Gibby (Noah Munck) to save the day. The movie is also available as the computer game “iDefeat Psychos” at the Web site iCarly.com, where players control Gibby in his quest to rescue his pals. Following the latest “iCarly” movie is the new “Victorious” episode “Robarazzi,” in which performing arts high school student Tori (Victoria Justice) encourages her friend Robbie (Matt Bennett) to strengthen his blog with exciting new video content. But when he becomes unexpectedly popular from the new material, his ego soars, Tori has to bring him back down to Earth. Meanwhile, fellow friend Cat (Ariana Grande) struggles with a shopping addiction with the SkyStore catalog. Rounding out the night’s lineup will be the “Big Time Rush” episode “Big Time Dance” in which the members of the title boy band find themselves with a dilemma on the final day of school: Not only do they have to arrange the school dance and find dates for themselves, but their future as performers hinges on the gig, which is also their first show with an audience. Legendary male model Fabio guest stars in the episode, as well.
Disney To Launch Network For Preschoolers, Dropping SOAPnet. After conquering tweens with the current Disney Channel line-up and even giving the boys some love with the launch of DisneyXD, Disney is now giving preschoolers their own network. Disney is launching Disney Junior, a new network featuring kid-friendly programming 24 hours a day. In competition with Nick Jr., which showcases their hits like “Dora the Explorer” throughout the day, Disney Junior will feature brand new series, like “Jack and the Never Land Pirates,” as well as episodes of its original series currently playing under the Playhouse Disney moniker, like “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” and “Handy Manny.” Disney Junior, set to premiere in 2012, replaces Disney and ABC’s SOAPnet network. Pulling the plug on the 10-year-old network, Disney will replace soaps like “All My Children” with all children’s programming. “The launch of Disney Junior in the U.S. is the next step in our global preschool strategy, which began 10 years ago with the premiere of our first dedicated preschool channel in the UK,” said Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group. “The decision to ultimately transition SOAPnet to accomplish this was not arrived at lightly,” Sweeney continued. “SOAPnet was created in 2000 to give daytime viewers the ability to watch time-shifted soaps, before multiplatform viewing and DVRs were part of our vocabulary. But today, as technology and our businesses evolve, it makes more sense to align this distribution with a preschool channel that builds on the core strengths of our company.” Disney Junior will also feature hit shows like “Imagination Movers,” “Special Agent Oso,” and “Jungle Junction.” They will also showcase classic and contemporary Disney movies, including “Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” and “101 Dalmatians.” The new network will also be offered in High-Definition, On-Demand, and with a Spanish language feed.
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