What’s On TV?

In the U.S., Sunday night is the most watched night of television. Friday night is the Saudi equivalent of Sunday night, so let’s see what is on television.

By the way, on my compound, we get Channel 0 – Channel 49. What’s on the channels is fairly consistent, but sometimes disappear for a couple of days or are replaced by other channels These channels come in via satellite. It’s best not to ask questions regarding the source of such satellite signals.


Channel 0: This week we get FoxMovies. Right now, they’re showing Meet The Parents.

Channel 1: BBC World News. This is a pretty consistent offering, though it does change channels from time to time.

Channel 2: SToon. Kids channel. Mostly cartoons, mostly English language, though there is the occasional Arabic language show and the occasional live action show.

Channel 3: This is Dubai One. Right now, they’re showing the nightly news out of Dubai. The nightly news is English language and is always a very positive take on what is going on in Dubai. The good point with the news is that you do learn a few things, and the presenter is smokin’ hot. The rest of the time, Dubai One shows a mix of American sitcoms and dramas, as well as a couple of homegrown talk shows – mostly geared toward women. They have really creative commercials for self promotion of the channel. I watch this channel sometimes, depending on what is showing.

Channel 4: Showtime Al-Shawshaw. Arabic language movie channel. They mostly show Western movies with Arabic dubbing. They show one or two Arabic soaps out of Egypt or Lebanon. Right now, they have a talk show on with a host that seems to be very famous, but about which I have no clue.

Channel 5: A German language channel (RTL) that shows a mix of American and German shows. Right now, they’re showing Life With Jim, with German dubbing. It’s not any funnier this way. There are a lot of German workers here, mostly running or installing facilities using mechanical engineering and machinery. Hey, it’s their forte.

Channel 6: Another German language channel, though I don’t know which one. Shows a mix of German shows and movies. Right now, it has a movie on. Did you know there are a LOT of blond German actors and actresses?

Channel 7: Al-Jazeera Arabic. 24-hour news and feature reporting in Arabic. I sometimes watch this channel to practice my Arabic recognition and to get a feel for the rhythm of the language.

Channel 8: Discovery Science. This is the European version. Sometimes it’s American shows. Sometimes it’s British. Very often it’s Australian. Right now, they’ve got an Aussie show named Beyond Tomorrow, which is running. I watch the channel a lot.

Channel 9: Russian language channel. There are a number of Russian workers here, but I have no idea what they do. Maybe I don’t want to know. Right now, it’s a talk show with a live studio audience. But, I’ve seen a mix of drama, comedy, movies, and talk shows. I’ve even seen their version of Dancing With The Stars on here. Their judges are a lot easier on the contestants than in the American or British versions. Of course, none of the contestants are Americans.

Channel 10: tve – a Spanish language channel from Spain. I actually watch this a fair amount because I can pick up a few things, and having grown up with Spanish all around me, it’s sort of comforting to hear. Mostly mix of news, documentaries, and travelogue type shows. Occasionally, there is a soap being broadcast.

Channel 11: Showtime Sports. This is the channel on which I watch English Premiership Football. Right now there is an Premier League Rugby game from the U.K. This channel shows as many obscure sports as ESPN2 in the U.S. Big time darts channel.

Channel 12: TRT. This is a Turkish language channel. Lots of Turks in KSA. One of my very favorite restaurants here is Turkish. Similar mix to the Spanish channel, though I don’t remember any fictional shows. Lots and lots of shows showing off Turkish culture.

Channel 13: VH1 Europe. Right now, it is AC/DC performing “You Shook Me All Night Long.” They try to use a lot of interactivity to get a range of viewers throughout the Middle East involved. See a lot of obscure European acts of which I have never heard. Some of them even are good.

Channel 14: Information channel for compound residents. Read it once every 3 months, and you’re set.

Channel 15: Mostly a cricket channel focusing on the Indian Premier League. Often shows the Pakistani teams. We have a large number of Pakistanis and Bangladesh. Cricket is as popular in that region as the NFL is in the U.S., and EPL Football is in Great Britain.

Channel 16: Al-Jazeera Sports. Shows a lot of European Football. Right now, their showing a live broadcast of a Euro2008 game. I am not sure which teams, however. Usually, I can make out the teams, but not this time.

Channel 17: Arabic music video channel. I have no idea the name of the channel or where it originates. Probably Dubai, based on a couple of commercials with “Dubai” called out.

Channel 18: TV5MONDE. French language channel. Fair amount of French speakers here. I wish I spoke French because some of the movies they show look interesting. Unfortunately, they’re all subtitled in Arabic, or oddly, in French. Looks to be a nice mix of various dramas, comedies, and movies.

Channel 19: MBC1. This used to be the only channel in Riyadh. Now, it’s a nationwide satellited channel all in Arabic. All of the MBC channels are owned by a Saudi prince, and the originate out of Dubai in order to avoid censorship by the KSA censors. Interesting, huh? Mix of drama, comedy, sports, movies, talk, and religion (including an English language show about Islam).


Channel 20: Showtime Comedy. Mostly American sitcoms. Occasionally a stand-up show. Somtimes a British sitcom. Right now, they’re showing a Brit sitcom called My Hero. This show could easily be listed as a nominee for worst television show ever foisted upon the world. I watch this channel a lot.

Channel 21: MBC4. Another MBC channel, show mostly American dramas, American talk shows (Rachel Ray, Dr. Phil, Oprah), and the occasional Arabic show (Noor). Right now, they’re showing something from the final season of Charmed. I occasionally watch this channel, but not often.

Channel 22: MBC2. Almost exclusively American or British movies, with commercials. They show some pretty good films, and I watch this channel a lot. Something called American Gun is on, now. Never seen it, but it has a decent cast.

Channel 23: Z Smile. Hindi channel. All sorts of Indian programming. Sometimes English, mostly Hindi. Some weird, weird stuff. Some very beautiful actresses, though.

Channel 24: SkyNews. Rupert Murdoch’s British version of FoxNews. Actually a much better news channel than FoxNews. European-centric, as you might expect, but still covers quite a bit of American national news.

Channel 25: Disney Channel for the Middle East. Out of Dubai. Mix of the normal Disney fare seen in the U.S. Some of it is surprisingly literate.

Channel 26: Al-Jadeed (The News). Arabic language 24-hour news channel. Another good Arabic practice channel.

Channel 27: CNN International. English language news with a very broad focus. Truly international.

Channel 28: Showtime Action. All action movies without commercials. Occasionally, they show something that interests me. But, Saw, and Saw II, and Saw III and [insert Saw #] don’t much interest me. My most recent viewing on this channel was Invincible with Mark Wahlberg. Showing the second Pirates of the Carribean movie right now.

Channel 29: Empty.

Channel 30: Showtime Series. Mix of mostly American and English dramas and soaps. They also show reality shows like Beauty and the Geek and Wife Swap. This is where I watch Survivor when it is running. Strangely, I don’t watch this channel very often. Friday Night Lights is running at the moment.

Channel 31: PTV. Urdu language channel for the Pakistanis who work for the compound or for the occasional Pakistani who works for a Western company and is a resident. There’s a Pakistani soap on as I write this.

Channel 32: Empty.

Channel 33: Duna. Hungarian language. Don’t ask me. Mix of various type shows. Showing a Euro2008 football match, currently.

Channel 34: Same as Channel 30.

Channel 35: Same as Channel 31.

Channel 36: Empty.

Channel 37: Same as Channel 33.

Channel 38: Empty.

Channel 39: Empty.

Channel 40: Al-Jazeera English. Excellent 24-hour news channel. Very good coverage and in-depth reporting.

Channel 41: Empty.

Channel 42: Empty.

Channel 43: BBC Prime. BBC shows in English for the Middle East. The current show is a documentary about some restaurant opening. Real mix of dramas, comedies, travelogues, and gardening. Let me tell you, too. The Brits only send America their top shows. They have some REAL STINKERS!!! My favorite show on here is Top Gear, which may be the best automobile show to ever be on television.

Channel 44: Al-Arabia. Another 24-hour Arabic language news channel.

Channel 45: Can’t quite make out the name of this channel. Another 24-hour Arabic language news channel.

Channel 46: MBC Action. Mix of mostly American action shows, movies, and reality shows. Currently showing some video show about dangerous police shows. I watch Criss Angel’s Mindfreak on this channel. I watch the occasional show on this channel.

Channel 47: MTV Europe. Similar to the VH1 channel. More pop oriented. I don’t watch this channel much.

Channel 48: Arabic news channel that I think originates in Jordan.

Channel 49: LBC Europe. Arabic language 24-hour news channel originating in Lebanon and with a Lebanese perspective.

Most of these channels are available to people living out in town, too. The majority of it is not overly censored, either. The Showtime channels, which originate in Dubai, are not censored at all.

Okay, that’s what we have to offer tonight, the last
night of the weekend.. I hope it wasn’t too boring. But, TV is a big
part of life over here.


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