'Magnificent' ratings for Ottoman empire tale

LONDON — Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman Turkish Sultan, is back in the headlines 500 years after his death.

Turkey’s first TV costume drama of the period, “Magnificent Century” (Muhtesem yuzyil) has caused uproar among Islamic conservatives — and attracted the country’s highest-ever ratings, with more than a 50 share in the primetime series most weeks since its January bow.

Even before the show hit the airwaves, broadcast regulator RTUK had received 70,000 complaints saying that the series was disrespectful to Muslims. RTUK told commercial channel Show TV, which airs the TIMS Prods.’ series, to apologize for exposing “the privacy of a historical person.”

Producer Timur Savci says: “The fact that Ottoman emperors were also caliphs — leaders of the Islamic world — in that era, has touched a sensitive spot with people. But after the first four episodes aired, these reactions were replaced by a loyal crowd of spectators.”

TIMS will begin sales of the show at Mip TV in Cannes next month.

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