Kanoo drops out of CEO reality show

MISHAL Kanoo is set to pull out of his reality TV show, CEO. The move follows Emaar boss, Mohammed Alabbar’s withdrawal from LBC’s rival programme, The Apprentice.

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By  Rhys Jones Published  April 3, 2005

MISHAL Kanoo is set to pull out of his reality TV show, CEO. The move follows Emaar boss, Mohammed Alabbar’s withdrawal from LBC’s rival programme, The Apprentice. Kanoo, CEO’s frontman, was due to chair the show’s panel of high-profile judges. However, fellow CEO judge and chief executive of the Al Habtoor Group, Mohammed Al Habtoor, claims that Kanoo has dropped out. “I am on the panel of judges and I received an email outlining who was on the panel and Mishal Kanoo’s name was not on the list,” Al Habtoor told Arabian Business. “I’m not involved in the operation of the show, but Mishal’s name was not on the list of people who are in the show, so he must have dropped out,” he added. Last night, Ziad Batal, executive producer of M Group Media, said that Kanoo’s withdrawal was not official, but insisted that the show would go on with or without the Kanoo Group’s deputy chairman. “It won’t affect the show because we have 10 Mishal Kanoo’s anyway,” said Batal. “Any potential withdrawal won’t affect us because our concept doesn’t rely on one person as The Apprentice clearly does,” he added. Kanoo’s withdrawal comes on the back of an apparent legal dispute between MediaGroup, the owner of CEO, and Freemantle Media, who have the rights to The Apprentice in the Middle East. Last month Freemantle Media wrote to Kanoo claiming he was infringing their copyright and ordered him to “cease and desist” from making CEO. It also follows an embarrassing public spat between Kanoo and Alabbar. “Mishal Kanoo was a little upset about rumours that he was at war with Mohammed Alabbar and the two of them going head to head with their respective TV shows makes it seem a lot worse than it is,” explained Batal. “Mishal is lying low for the moment and is going to let us know his plans regarding his role in the CEO show,” he added. Infinity TV announced the launch of CEO last December. In the show, 10 contestants will be filmed completing business assignments set by Kanoo, with a US$250,000 prize for the winner. Last week, Arabian Business revealed that Emaar boss, Mohammed Alabbar had bowed to political pressure and dropped his high-profile role as the frontman of The Apprentice. Mishal Kanoo was not available for comment.

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