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    Getting ready to film Paris Hilton’s My BFF in Dubai

    Written by Variety and Babnet. Edited by PHS.

    Paris Hilton’s My New BFF” has been so successful that I decided to expand my search… next stop: Dubai! Dubai is one of the most beautiful destinations in the world and after recently launching my brand there I decided to come back this summer to find a new best friend! The series format has allowed me to travel to amazing destinations, experience different cultures and meet some really fascinating people that I would have never had the chance to meet. It’s a fun and exciting adventure that I am thrilled to now bring to Dubai” – Paris Hilton

    Lionsgate Television International, Ish Entertainment, Uniqon and Paris Hilton Entertainment have entered into a new co-production agreement for a Dubai based version of “Paris Hilton’s My New BFF”. The announcement was jointly made today by Ehab Habib, Managing Director of Uniqon, Lionsgate’s Craig Cegielski, EVP, programming & sales international television and Ish Entertainment founders Michael Hirschorn & Stella Stolper – Executive Producers of “Paris Hilton’s My New BFF.”

    In this version Paris visits Dubai and invites potential best friends to compete in tests of loyalty, endurance and girl politics to find her perfect BFF. During the visit, Paris also learns a lot about Arabic culture, traditions and the UAE heritage. The winner gets an all-access pass to the VIP section and life lessons from the master of contemporary Hollywood celebrity.

    “I love it for the sheer wildcard aspect of it,” said Ish Entertainment co-founder Michael Hirschhorn. “It’s so out of the ordinary.”

    “Paris Hilton’s My New BFF-Dubai” will adhere to the same format found in the U.S., where the original “My New BFF” airs on MTV, as well as in the U.K., where a version of the format was recently shot for ITV2.

    But given Middle East sensibilities, Hirschhorn said the Dubai production won’t be quite as racy as the U.S. or U.K. editions.

    The production had to receive several layers of approval before moving forward; even Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, had to give his blessing.

    Hilton will be accompanied by her boyfriend, Doug Reinhardt, who will likely appear on camera as well. Production will start later this month and shoot for 17 days; the finale will then conclude with a final shoot in Los Angeles.

    “Bringing a US format to multiple territories and producing it with its star attached is a new, exciting breakthrough in reality television and a fresh way for us and Paris to build a franchise together,” said Hirschorn. “We are excited to be working with Paris and bringing the show to yet another continent” added Stolper.

    Said Mr. Cegielski, “Our co-production deal with Uniqon is yet just another indication of how powerful and engaging the ‘Paris Hilton BFF’ format is with viewing audiences. There appears to be no bounds to where we might take this format franchise next.”

    “Filming the show in Dubai is a validation that the UAE is a favored destination for high profile projects such as this,” said Mr. Habib. He added that “The first incarnations of the series were shot entirely in the United States and the UK. And to have the show producers choose Dubai for the latest extension of this format out of a host of other places actually says a great deal.”

    Ammar Sharaf, Viola Communications’ CEO said, “We are very excited about this new project because Paris Hilton is a huge celebrity with worldwide appeal. Her show is closely followed by millions of fans so this will be a rare opportunity and a great vehicle for V Producers to showcase our talent and capabilities on the world stage.”

    The deal to lense in Dubai is actually part of a larger initiative at Lionsgate to find more financing by locating new partners worldwide.

    “In the course of it we began talking specifically about Dubai and their interest in doing localized production,” said Craig Cegielski, exec VP of programming and sales for international TV.

    And because Lionsgate handles Ish’s international distribution, “My New BFF” stood out among its series as making the most sense for a Dubai translation, he said.

    According to Cegielski, Lionsgate received interest in the Dubai edition of “My New BFF” during the recent L.A. Screenings but won’t start shopping the program until after production is done. It’s also still unclear where the show may end up in the U.S.: MTV is a logical choice, but given Lionsgate’s ownership of TV Guide Network, that could be a home as well.

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    Comments

    Comment from Jen
    Time: June 2, 2009, 11:26 am

    This is really great and a worldwide franchise with top companies involved is even greater.

    Comment from juju
    Time: June 3, 2009, 8:06 pm

    yeah! what did everybody think of last night’s first show of the new U.U. season?

    i thought it was a lot to cram in one hour, but i really liked it. just a bitr concerned about her going so far out of the way to dis brit, last season winner. probably best to just say nothing. everyone knows it’s an ongoing series and not really a quest that will end when a permanent BFF is found.

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