The ABC’s Arabic-only version of the hit TV show “The Apprentice” is still going strong, despite widespread criticism from critics over its portrayal of the Arab-American community.
The new season of the show was launched on Wednesday and the ABC is set to run the first episode on ABC on Friday.
“The Apprentice,” which was aired in the US from 1990 to 1993, was the first of many successful shows to feature Arab-Americans, including “The Cosby Show” in 2004 and “The Jeffersons” in 2007.
In the ABC show, the contestants are hired to become managers of the world’s most successful real estate business.
Its popularity has helped attract huge audiences in the Arab world and around the world, including from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Israel.
Many Arab leaders and activists have criticised the show for its portrayal.
A prominent Arab politician, Essam el-Erian, said on Thursday the program should be banned from the Arabic language.
He added the show did not reflect the true reality of Arabs.
Erian said the program is also harmful to the country.
ABC officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
‘A show of pride’ABC CEO Mark Scott said the new season would feature the most diverse team of managers ever to compete on the ABC.
Scott said the first three episodes were based on his discussions with producers, including producers from “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette,” “Bachelor in Paradise,” “Big Brother,” “Celebrity Big Brother” and “Modern Family.”
“I think we’re all in a show of great pride,” Scott said.
But critics have criticised for what they see as a whitewashing of Arabs, who are not considered the best in their field.
Critics say the show is racially insensitive, and portrays Arabs in a stereotypical way.
Al Jazeera and wire services