25th August, 2015


30 applicants shortlisted after an overwhelming regional response to new Arabic Factual Entertainment channel’s ‘Quest for Talent’

Abu Dhabi, Aug 26, 2015: More than 1,000 budding TV stars from across the region have applied to front programmes on Quest Arabiya, the Middle East’s new Arabic language station due to be launched later in the year.

Quest Arabiya, a partnership between Image Nation and Discovery Communications, has now narrowed the field to a shortlist of 30 candidates, some of whom will be trained as full-time presenters on the new free-to-air channel.

The shortlisted candidates will now be invited to audition via Skype, and those who progress will be appointed to present anything from short form programmes to longer TV series and promos.

The overwhelming response from applicants came after Image Nation launched the ‘Quest for Talent’ in June, inviting men and women aged 18 to 40 from across the MENA region to send in short clips filmed on their phones, capturing their personality and enthusiasm.

Previous experience was not needed, as long as the applicant demonstrated a passion for any of ‘Quest Arabiya’s main programming genres: adventure and survival, motoring, engineering, science and space, wildlife, crime, magic, history and people and places.

“The overwhelming response demonstrates that there is a real interest from people right across the region eager to take part in this new wave of original, quality Arabic content.” said Farah Makdisi, Original Programming Executive, Quest Arabiya. “The enthusiasm was obvious in the entries we received, and it was a tough job whittling more than 1,000 entries down to just 30. It’s clear there’s a lot of hidden talent out there, and we were delighted to receive clips from a good cross-section of MENA countries.

“Some of these candidates will go forward to present some of our short-form programmes, and in the longer term receive world-class training and support to become the new faces of our original programming.”

Quest Arabiya will screen locally-produced original material as well as Arabized content from Discovery’s vast library of non-fiction shows. It will be filled with material that appeals to the whole family and programming aimed at Arab males at key times in the schedule. Set to broadcast 24 hours a day, it highlights the growing importance of TV and digital media as platforms for original content and commissions in MENA The launch of the new channel will mean more stories from across the region will be brought to life through specially commissioned Quest Arabiya shows.

Many of which will be seen by viewers around the world. Carl von Doussa, General Manager of Channels at Image Nation, who will head the new station, said the volume and quality of responses to the ‘Quest for Talent’ showed the breadth of talent in the region.

“Launching Quest Arabiya, in partnership with Discovery Communications, gives us a tremendous opportunity to source and develop talent in the MENA region as we commission new local content,” he said. “The response to our ‘Quest for Talent’ – mainly from ordinary people who’ve had no television experience – immediately shows there is a wealth of untapped talent out there just waiting for us to discover.”

“It underscores the importance of providing training and development opportunities in this region’s growing media sector.”

Quest Arabiya is a chance for Discovery to grow and further build its presence in the MENA TV market. Image Nation’s partnership with Discovery brings together the best of international scale and expertise, with Image Nation’s knowledge and understanding of regional audiences and programming.

The company, operating from a UAE-based office, currently offers an unrivalled portfolio of TV channels, which includes free-to-air Fatafeat, the #1 food network in the Middle East, as well as pay TV channels Discovery Channel HD, TLC HD, Animal Planet HD, Discovery Science HD, ID: Investigation Discovery and Discovery World, distributed on OSN.