Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 08-09-2011

MBC has announced the full line up of judges for the inaugural Arab Idol, the international talent show franchise it is ‘Arabizing’ for satellite TV viewers across the Middle East and North Africa later this year.

Renowned producer and composer Hassan El Shafei will join the famous Arab singers Ragheb Alama and Ahlam to judge promising new acts from across the region, in a journey which began with casting sessions in Cairo and Casablanca this week.

Further sessions follow through the autumn in Dubai, Kuwait City, Amman, London, Tunis and Beirut, as the search begins for an exceptional musical talent worthy of the Arab Idol crown.

Still flush from the massive popularity generated by Arabs Got Talent earlier this year, MBC now expects millions of its viewers to become hooked to the globally successful Idol format - which was originally conceived by Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment in the UK and developed by Freemantle Media.

The Dubai-based pan-Arab satellite broadcaster holds the rights for the Middle East franchise for the coming three years.

Speaking at Arab Idol’s launch in July, Mazen Hayek, group director of PR and commercial at MBC said: “Arab Idol is a musical journey of self improvement and self expression that transcends language and culture borders. MBC is committed to continue its offerings in family television entertainment through fun, meaningful and inspirational programming.”

The show is scheduled for transmission free-to-air on MBC1 at the end of 2011