Egyptian director Amr Salama officially announced the first day of shooting the first episode of Saturday Night Live Bel Araby (in Arabic) on his Facebook page yesterday.

The young director posted a photo to his Facebook timeline in relation to the new series, along with a caption that read, “Today we open and shoot an episode of one of the most famous shows worldwide, and one of the hardest to pull off. Your prayers are much appreciated. We will be announcing release dates soon.”

An Arabic version of Saturday Night Live (SNL) was announced by Orbit Showtime Network (OSN) last year at a press conference which was attended by worldwide famous stars such as actor Antonio Banderas and Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams.

“The new programming has been developed after extensive market research that revealed the television viewing habits and aspirations of the people,” said David Butorac, CEO of OSN. “We are pushing the envelope and adding a wider portfolio of original and exclusive programming,” he continued.

According to Khulud Abu Homos, the Executive Vice-President of Programming and Creative Services at OSN, the show will be featuring some of the best comics the Middle East has to offer.

Bassem Youssef’s El Bernameg (The Show) stars, Shadi Alfons and Khaled Mansour, are said to be SNL Arabia’s hosts. The two comedians shot to fame following their participation (in both writing and performing) on Bassem Youssef’s famous satire show. After the show stopped airing, the two continued to work and appear on television shows such as last Ramadan’s Al Tagroba el Khafia (The Subtle Experience) which also garnered success.

Alfons and Mansour also said to media publication Yom7 that, much like the American SNL,  they will be getting a new star every episode to co-host with the both of them.

According to Abu Homos, SNL Arabia’s format will be exactly the same as that of the American SNL.

SNL is an American Emmy Award-winning comedy show that has been running for 41 seasons. The show premiered on October 11, 1975. SNL’s comedy sketches, which parody contemporary culture and politics, are performed by a large and varying comedic cast. Each episode is hosted by a celebrity guest (who usually delivers an opening monologue and performs in sketches with the cast) and features performances by a musical guest.

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