May 14, 2018

CHANGE: New Saudi TV station feeds into modernisation drive.

“This is a general channel that’s seeking to attract the new generation of Saudis,” said the station’s director Dawood Shirian, a frank-talking TV personality who previously hosted a talk show tapping into the public’s gripes.

“Most of the content, about 75 percent, is geared toward the youth between 15 and 35 years old,” Shirian told AFP, adding that SBC would “complement the changes seen in the kingdom in the artistic, cultural and entertainment spheres”.

Shirian was poached late last year from private rival MBC to head up the state-run Saudi Broadcasting Corporation, and to mastermind the launch of SBC.

The move was seen as a deliberate shock for the state broadcaster — one in a series of radical changes guided by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

The 32-year-old heir to the Saudi throne, who declared to foreign investors in Riyadh last October that his generation of Saudis “want to live a normal life”, is seen as the guiding hand behind the lifting of longstanding social restrictions.

The real test will come when producers at SBC take a pitch for a Saudi reboot of Xena: Warrior Princess.

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