Former Endemol and Sony executive Ziad Kebbi has launched his own Middle East-focused production company, Maximum Media, TBI has learned.
“Non-scripted will be the focus at the beginning, scripted is a longer-term process and will come further ahead,” he said. “We will be taking ideas, wherever they come from, and making them work in the Middle East. As well as international content, we will execute production of local IP and are already in talks about a couple of projects that are native to the region.”
Kebbi was president of Sony Pictures Television Arabia until last month when he exited the business and the studio wound down its regional activities, news broken by TBI. Kebbi had been brought in to launch SPT Arabia in 2010.
He is heading to MIPCOM with his new company to pitch shows to potential partners and meet with producers that might have content he can take into the Middle East.
Maximum will look to get projects away with the major free-to-air satellite channels as well as broadcasters in individual countries.
Kebbi said: “The pan-regional broadcasters have the big budgets and they will be a focus for us and there are also sizable markets such as Egypt, where even with all of the changes, there is an active media industry. In scripted, Egypt is a prominent player in the region.”
The new prodco is understood to be close to sealing its first commission, although it is not yet clear what the project entails. Kebbi said he has assembled a team and will reveal more details at a later date.
Kebbi has a strong track record of adapting international shows for the Middle East. While at Sony he produced local versions of The Voice, Wheel of Fortune and Who Wants to be a Millionaire? as well as scripted offerings including Everybody Loves Raymond and Ugly Betty. He developed original series including Egyptian sitcom Lessa Badry and Ramadan talkshow Ana Wel Asaal.
As managing director of Endemol’s Middle East operation his credits included local versions of Deal or No Deal and Wipe Out.