Where will Bassem Youssef go after terminating his contract with the Capital Broadcasting Center (CBC) channel?
Bassem and his team will not go back to YouTube, even if his audience wants him to, because nobody likes to retreat, even if it is the only option other than standing still.
We cannot assume that any Egyptian television channel would open its arms to Youssef, at least until presidential elections are over, but surprises can occur as nothing in life is certain.
It is rumored that there are two channels negotiating with Youssef, MBC Masr and the OSN network. OSN cable channels aired Youssef’s show “America in Arabic,” a program about Egyptians who live in the U.S.
OSN also has strong relations with Qsoft, the company that produces Youssef’s show. OSN channels do not air much politics and may need a program like El-Bernameg to increase its viewership.
MBC Masr is a Saudi channel, and thus all the rules that now apply to leading MBC channels would also apply to Youssef, who might face many “red lines” regarding his show. But the final decision is for Youssef and his crew.
Either way, Youssef is sure to be widely watched in the Arab world.
Currently, Arab viewers watch Youssef online. For his Egyptian viewers, will cable channels be the only solution for a society that deals with comedy with a policy of double standards, or should we say 20 standards?
I say yes. A program watched by those who pay for cable is not likely to face as much censorship. The number of viewers would be doubled, and any Egyptian channel could buy the rights to air the program. If Youssef crosses any lines and the channel does not air the episode, it would be less shocking than CBC’s decision, which deprived millions of Youssef’s fans.
Will Youssef lose a large faction of his audience? Yes, for sure, but that does not mean he will have any less influence. Amr Adeeb is on cable and his impact is undeniable.
Note: John Stewart’s The Daily Show and Late Night with Conan O’Brien both air on American cable channels.
Do all the previously mentioned things mean that Youssef is going to sign a contract with cable channels? Absolutely not, but I am proposing an analysis to demonstrate that our channels may be free, but our minds are not.