D’oh! MBC unleashes Arabic Omar Simpson

The Arab world is about to come face to face with America’s yellowest family.

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By  Tim Burrowes Published  September 18, 2005

The Arab world is about to come face to face with America’s yellowest family. The Simpsons — a worldwide phenomenon since it first aired in the US in 1989 — has been redubbed into Arabic by MBC and will form the backbone of the network’s attempts to create a new viewing category of adult cartoons. And in a bid to make the comedy as accessible as possible to Arabic audiences, Homer is going to be renamed Omar Simpson while his son Bart becomes Badr Simpson. The characters’s voices are all being provided by popular Arabic actors, including Mohamed Heneidy and Hanan Turk. For much of the Arab audience it will be the first time they have seen the dysfunctional blue collar American family. Omar is lazy, loves doughnuts and works at the local nuclear power plant. Badr is constantly cheeky to his parents and teachers and is always in trouble. Michel Costandi, MBC’s business development director, said: “It’s the first time The Simpsons has been dubbed into Arabic. We are opening up a whole new genre of programming in the Middle East.” If the programme is supported by advertisers and delivers good audience figures, MBC will look at acquiring other cartoons aimed at adult audiences. The series will be broadcast daily on MBC1 in the peaktime early evening slot from the beginning of season one, giving the audience 16 seasons to catch up on if the programme is a hit. Costandi said: “It’s a big investment but we are confident it will pay in terms of viewers.”

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