Several studios suspended production on television series that were slated for release during the holy month, but some channels are still determined to entertain viewers.
Rabat – Moroccan TV channel 2M has started announcing new programs to air during the holy month of Ramadan, despite the suspension of production that left many film sets deserted because of the COVID-19 crisis.
Although the Moroccan Cinematography Center (CCM) decided on March 2, with the declaration of the first COVID-19 case in Morocco, to suspend all of its production activities, Moroccan TV channels are determined to entertain audiences during Ramadan.
2M Ramadan programs will include comedy TV series, as well as prank shows that Moroccans typically watch during iftar (breaking the fast).
Screen watchers will certainly notice the absence of “Kabbour,” starring Moroccan comedian Hassan El Fad. The adventures of the famous folk character have aired for four years during Ramadan, but the production of the fifth season was postponed due to COVID-19.
“Kabbour was set to make a comeback during Ramadan 2020 on 2M [television channel], but because of the COVID-19, filming was postponed to a later date,” El Fad wrote on his Instagram account.
El Fad will instead be starring in a new series on 2M, set to air every Thursday during the holy month. “Tendance,” or “trend” in French, has a completely different back story and new characters.
Ramadan is known among Muslim communities as an annual period for families to gather. During Ramadan, television channels air series and movies to entertain spectators, particularly in the Arab world.
Arabic language television channels record exceptionally high viewership during the holy month. Under normal circumstances, Ramadan presents an opportunity for film and television studios to boost production.
The Muslim world is expecting entertainment during the holy month, but many TV channels are facing a crisis after COVID-19 interrupted their Ramadan projects.
“The countdown has started and we need as much content as possible for Ramadan,” the head of acquisitions for a television station based in Dubai told AFP, under conditions of anonymity.
Given the health emergency lockdowns in many countries, even more people than usual are expected to watch television after breaking the daily fast. With the COVID-19 crisis jeopardizing television content, producers are thinking of other ways to satisfy their viewers’ needs.
“Four Ramadan series filmed in Lebanon and Syria have not been completed. Everything is suspended now,” the acquisitions manager said. “If we cannot have our series, we will have to think of buying abroad, even at the expense of quality.”