Iftah Ya Simsim, the Arabic adaptation of Sesame Street, will premiere its first new episodes in 25 years this weekend on national TV channels across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Middle East, and North Africa.
The 28-episode program was officially launched at an event on September 1 held at the Mubarak Bin Mohammed School in Abu Dhabi. The festivities featured an exclusive screening of Iftah Ya Simsim‘s first episode, a live performance of the Iftah Ya Simsim theme song by a group of UAE students, and the unveiling of the program’s cast members – including Muppets No’man (a beloved camel character from the original show), Shams, Melsoon and Gargur.
Abu Dhabi-based development company Bidaya Media is producing the new series and represents a joint-venture between nonprofit Sesame Workshop and Abu Dhabi-based investment and development company Mubadala Development.
Four years of research and planning went into the creation of the series, which supports children’s verbal and written Arabic-language skills, enhances school readiness, and promotes healthy lifestyles and positive social behavior in kids four to six.
Iftah Ya Simsim will debut across nine broadcast stations on September 4 and 5 and feature new original songs, live-action films and animated segments.
Abu Dhabi’s twofour54 provided a state-of-the-art set and hosted the production and post-production of the show.
The news comes on the heels of HBO entering into a five-year US deal with Sesame Workshop to air new seasons of Sesame Street on the premium cable network.