MBC Studios, the Saudi-owned production unit of top Middle Eastern free-to-air satellite network MBC Group is set to launch “Blood Oath,” an Arabic crime series written by Britain’s Tony Jordan (“EastEnders,” “Life on Mars”).
The announcement comes as Dubai-based MBC Studios, set up in 2018 and headed by former president of NBCUniversal International Peter Smith, is making a major push into high-end Arabic scripted content to help kick-start a film and TV industry in Saudi Arabia.
MBC last week at a Dubai gala launched a new version of its Shahid streaming platform and said it is raising investment in drama productions “fourfold,” though no figures were disclosed.
“Blood Oath,” which was shot in Lebanon, Greece and Cyprus, and co-produced by MBC with Lebanon-based Eagle Films, is an Arabic adaptation of Jordan’s thriller series “Besa,” originally produced in Serbia in 2018 by Adrenalin.
Jordan, who created the series, has adapted into an Arabic context the original plot about a family man who kills the daughter of a mafia boss in a road accident. To make up for the death and protect his own family, he is then forced to commit crimes for the organization.
“The storylines in ‘Blood Oath’ are precisely adapted for local audiences, but also work for international markets,” said Safa Aburizik, Director of Content at MBC studios in a statement. She noted that the company’s goal is to make content that can have worldwide appeal.
“Blood Oath” is slated to drop on Shahid during the first quarter of 2020.
Under Smith’s leadership MBC Studios has previously launched romance series “Beirut Bride,” which is based on the Turkish format “Bride of Istanbul,” and is currently playing on Shahid.
Aside from ramping up their originals output MBC last week announced they have partnered with Disney and Fox on a volume deal involving more than 3,000 hours of unspecified content that will run on Shahid.