Dubai mogul hired as Mideast ‘Apprentice’

Alabbar well known in int'l biz circles

The Middle East is getting its own “Apprentice,” with Mohammed Ali Alabbar starring in the reality show format in that region beginning next fall.

LBC, one of the region’s more commercially savvy broadcasters, recently acquired the Donald Trump-fronted format from international distrib FremantleMedia and will beam the show in Arabic throughout that part of the world.

Alabbar, director general of Dubai’s Dept. of Economic Development, is well known in international biz circles and closely associated with the fast-track economic development in that relatively progressive United Arab Emirate.

The golf addict and fluent English speaker made his money in a variety of businesses, including real estate, aluminum, sports and fashion retailing, and he’s a much-sought-after speaker at forums like the recent Davos Economic Summit. Several years ago Euromoney magazine named him one of the five prominent Arabs who were among the world’s top 50 economic personalities.

Just how charismatic Alabbar will be on the small screen — and just what tweaks Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. will make in the U.S.-originated format — remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, several other localized editions of “The Apprentice” have begun airing in Germany, Greece, Brazil and Scandinavia, while the U.K’s version, with electronics mogul Alan Sugar in the Trump role, begins this Wednesday on BBC2.

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