x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Paris Hilton reality show could boost TV industry

Show producer says Paris Hilton could pave the way for more television to be produced in the UAE.

Michael Hirschorn of ISH Productions on set in Dubai.
Michael Hirschorn of ISH Productions on set in Dubai.

DUBAI // Paris Hilton could pave the way for more television to be produced in the UAE, the man producing the hotel heiress's latest reality programme has said. "It's clear that there's a desire and need for more programming and that there's an opportunity in terms of bringing both formats and top talent here," said Michael Hirschorn, the co-founder of ISH Productions, which is making Paris Hilton's My New BFF in the UAE.

"American stars are very open to the idea of coming here but they just don't know how to. "Clearly it's a business opportunity and there is still financing here where it has dried up in a lot of other parts of the world." Mr Hirschorn said there was potential for many more arts and documentary projects involving joint US and UAE financing, particularly at a time when television in the US is floundering amid the economic downturn.

"There's a chance for an outsider to come in now and finance projects," he said. "Many networks are saying that for a few months at least, they're closing off the chance for development money." John Sammon is the executive producer at Abu Dhabi-based All 4 Media productions company. His first UAE project, Hydra Executives, which is similar to the widely franchised show The Apprentice, was aired on four networks 14 times a week.

With so many channels in the region, there is constant demand for new shows, especially low-budget reality TV, he said. "While working in Hollywood means you have the infrastructure around you, in some respects it can work against you and prove problematic with so much red tape," he said. "Here, it is still easier to push through good ideas." Mr Hirschorn, who set up ISH in Dubai a year ago, also views Abu Dhabi as fertile ground. Part of Hilton's reality show was filmed in the capital last week.

mswan@thenational.ae