The Office is Getting Rebooted in Saudi Arabia

A new version of The Office is officially in the works in Saudi Arabia. Per THR, BBC Studios and MBC Studios have announced the new series Al Maktab which will serve as the first Arabic-language version of The Office. It is also the 13th incarnation of the series, which was originally created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant in the UK. With the new show greenlit, cameras will start rolling on the Saudi Arabian version later this month.

Al Maktab stars Saleh Abuamrh as Malik Al-Tumaifi, the “comically self-absorbed” boss of a courier services company who basically serves as the new David Brent/Michael Scott. The series also stars Fahad Albutairi, Nawaf Alshobaili, Saad Aziz, Adhwa Fahad, Razan Mansour, Reem Busati, and Hisham Hawsawi. Hisham Fathi is directing with Alessandro Martella serving as director of photography. Shadi Mcdad of Aflam Productions is producing.

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André Renaud, SVP format sales for BBC Studios, said in a statement: “Audiences around the world, including in the MENA region, are no strangers to The Office, and given its huge success over the past two decades, it’s incredibly exciting for us to now be bringing the very first Arabic version of the comedy to MBC’s screens very soon. Al Maktab features a very talented cast from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and beyond who will bring the stories of this eccentric group of colleagues and their boss to life, reimagined for Middle Eastern and Gulf audiences for the very first time. It’s definitely one for the history books.”

The U.S. version of The Office is the longest-running and perhaps the most well-known. It ran for nine seasons from 2005 to 2013, but the show has maintained its popularity in subsequent years thanks to the rise of streaming services. For years, it had served as one of the highest-watched shows on Netflix as fans streamed the series over and over again. The show has since moved over to NBCUniversal’s Peacock and includes exclusive, longer versions of episodes with new footage.

This incarnation of The Office was developed by Greg Daniels and starred Steve Carell as Michael Scott, the kindhearted but dimwitted boss of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. The ensemble cast also included Mindy Kaling, Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer, John Krasinski, B.J. Novak, Leslie David Baker, Oscar Nunez, Phyllis Smith, Ed Helms, Brain Baumgartner, Angela Kinsey, Creed Bratton, and Ellie Kemper.

There has been talk of The Office getting rebooted in the U.S. as well given the continued popularity of the series. If that happens, it would likely involve following new characters with a different cast, though it could still be set in the same world to allow for potential special appearances. What seems to be holding up the potential reboot is that Daniels is unsure if the fans would embrace a new series.

“I can’t tell whether fans would want more of it, and when I say more of it, I don’t think it would be the same characters,” Daniels said, via Collider. “I think it would just be sort of like an extension of the universe, you know what I mean, like the way [The] Mandalorian is like an extension of Star Wars. But I don’t know if that would be something people would want or not, it’s hard to tell.”

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