The Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU) will show 11 TV series during Ramadan this year, announced Ahmed Sakr, TV director and deputy head of the ERTU, in a press conference Thursday.
The list includes Taht El-Saytara (Under Control), Zarf Eswed (The Black Envelope), Yawmeyat Zawga Mafousa (The Diary of a Devastated Wife), all co-produced by the ERTU and other production companies.
Dunya Gedida (A New World) is the only show produced by ERTU independently, Sakr explained.
One of the announced shows, Bein El-Sarayat, which borrows its name from a working class neighbourhood near Cairo University, explores life in the area and how it is influenced by the university and its students. The show teams Bassem Samra and Amr Abed with the Lebanese actress Madlin Tabar and the Egyptian singer Simone, who has been away from the screen for several years.
Dunya Gedida follows the story of a retired clerk who starts preaching in the neighbourhood mosque. The clerk struggles in the face of an extremist group’s desire to control the neighbourhood. The show’s main protagonists are played by renowned actors Hassan Youssef and Ahmed Bedeir.
In addition to drama, comedy is also represented. Actress Dunia Samir Ghanem portrays a young woman who hopes to pursue a career in acting. She seeks help from her uncle (Samy Maghawry), a regisseur, so she doesn’t end up in minor roles like her father (Samir Ghanem). The show will feature a number of actors, including Ahmed El-Saqqa, Ahmed Ezz and Karim Abdel Aziz, in guest cameos.
ERTU has cut its budget compared to last year, said Shawkeya Abbas, head of the financial sector at ERTU. To support ERTU, actors have received LE5 million for their contribution in the series, which is half the figure spent last year. ERTU’s share in the production costs is approximately LE21 million.
Abbas, who revealed details of negotiations with Arab TV channels to market the shows, expects revenues of LE24 million from ads broadcast during Ramadan.