Ramadan Primetime explores the unique television programs that people across the Muslim world watch during the month of Ramadan, which begins this year around September 23rd. In contrast to the typical images the West has come to associate with the Middle East, this 30-minute documentary showcases the specially crafted Ramadan primetime programming shown on dozens of Arabic television channels — entertaining their audiences with a mix of drama, music, game shows, and comedy.
During Ramadan, which falls in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, more than a billion Muslims around the world mark their “month of blessing” with prayer, fasting and charity. Each evening at sundown, families gather to break their fasts with a lavish “Iftar” feast, followed by a large dose of bonding time, often spent in front of the television. It is in this season of high TV viewership that Arabic-language networks premiere their most exciting primetime programs — from lighthearted game shows, racy soaps and Friends-inspired comedies to religious talk shows and epics like Hoor Al Ayn (Beautiful Virgins), a 30-part miniseries that delves into a terrorist cell in Saudi Arabia.
In Ramadan Primetime, leading Muslim experts, scholars and regular viewers at home in the Middle East and the U.S. share their insights into Ramadan television, and address how this satellite programming affects and unites the global Arabic community. Link TV’s documentary gives the rest of the world a glimpse into life through Muslim eyes, illustrating what daily life is really like in the Arab world.
What do thirty nights of special TV programming tell us about the tastes, preoccupations, preferences and politics of the 280 million people in the Middle East? Tune in to this retrospective of last year’s Ramadan programs and find out.
Produced for Link TV by Jennifer Maytorena Taylor, whose productions have aired on PBS and The Sundance Channel.