DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Egypt’s TVision Media Production, the company that makes an Arabic version of “Saturday Night Live,” is set to produce a localised adaptation of “Suits,” USA Network’s long-running legal drama series.
TVision CEO Tarek Ganainy, who purchased remake rights to the “Suits” format from NBCUniversal International, said the popular show, centred around a college dropout who works as an associate attorney for a hotshot New York City lawyer despite never actually having attending law school, will be taking place in Cairo in the localised version.
TVision is fully financing the first season now set to start shooting in June after several months of “trials and errors” with the screenplays.
Head writer is Egyptian multihyphenate Mohamed Hefzy, the prominent indie producer and scribe who runs Cairo’s Film Clinic shingle which most recently produced “Sheikh Jackson” and “Clash.” Hefzy has penned several scripts, such as hit crimer “Tito” and chiller “Warda,” and regularly runs screenwriting workshops. He is working on the Arabic version of “Suits” with a team of young writers.
The casting has not been finalised. The show is being shopped around to Middle East broadcasters and generating plenty of interest, according to Ganainy.
Speaking about the challenge of adapting the American show for Arabic audiences, Ganainy underlined that it will be “an adaptation, not a translation” adding that it is crucial that “‘Suits” in Arabic must “feel that it’s an Arabic show.” He also noted that most of the viewers will never have seen the U.S. original.
“Saturday Night Live Arabia” – which airs out of Cairo and, differently from the U.S. version, steers clear of provocative political jokes focussing most of the humor on social issues – is now in its fourth season.
Ganainy spoke to Variety at the Dubai Film Festival which opened up its market this year to TV and OTT shows for the first time.
The Arabic adaptation of “Suits” is its second announced redo. A previously announced Korean remake of the series is in production with a planned 2018 playdate.