Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef (Photo: Bassem Youssef official Facebook page)
In a very short tweet, German TV channel Deutsche-Welle (DW) announced that it was holding talks Sunday afternoon with Egyptian TV host and satirist Bassem Youssef to host his TV show on its Arabic language channel.
"DW-cooperation-talks with Egyptian TV-Star @BassemYoussef. But Egyptian reports concerning $300,000 per broadcast is way off base" said the German channel on its official Twitter account (@DeutscheWelle), addressing rumours about the possible cost of hosting the popular show on DW.
This is considered the first official announcement from a TV channel regarding talks with the popular satirist whose successful TV show Al-Bernameg (The Programme) was suspended by the Egypt-based independent satellite channel CBC after just one episode of its third season. News reports spoke earlier of talks between Youssef and Saudi-owned MBC Misr TV channel, but neither party confirmed the reports.
Bassem Youssef's third season premiere episode on CBC, which came after an almost three-month hiatus, stirred controversy when the popular satirist poked fun at supporters of army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, whose popularity soared following the ouster of Mohamed Morsi 3 July.
The weekly show was suspended 1 November, minutes before the second episode was due to air on CBC. The channel claimed that Youssef and his producer had "violated what had been agreed upon" with the channel, as well as CBC's "editorial policies."
Following the incident, Al-Bernameg staff immediately issued a statement denying that they had violated their contract. The statement added that Youssef had not been notified of the ban in advance, learning his show was suspended at the same time as its viewers.
Last week Al-Bernameg's production company, QSoft, announced that it terminated the TV show's contract with CBC, declaring that it would take legal action against the channel, seeking compensation for "intellectual and financial harm" following the show's suspension without warning after one episode.
Meanwhile, the general prosecution in Egypt has begun investigating nearly 30 complaints against Youssef, accusing him of insulting the Egyptian Armed Forces and General El-Sisi on his show.