As Saudi Arabia continues to stun the world with ventures that all feel bigger and more ambitious than the other, Riyadh-based media conglomerate MBC has just launched its latest televised production, dubbed Ard al-Million, using NEOM’s pharaonic site as the backdrop.
Meaning “Million Dollar Land” in Arabic, the survival reality television series, presented by Saudi actor and host Mohamed El Shehri, was launched in collaboration with Blue Engine Studios, and is reportedly the first Arabic-language iteration of a popular Dutch reality TV series of the same name.
The premise of the show sees 100 participants, who all hail from across the Arab World, compete against one another in a slate of games that are all tailored to test each contestant’s loyalty, resilience to hardships, and mental strength through a 40-day excursion in the desert. Upon their entry into the competition, each participant received a bracelet worth $10,000 and are able to gain or lose other bracelets depending on their performances in each challenge. However, if they happen to be eliminated, candidates head back home empty handed losing out on a total cash prize of $1,000,000.
“(…) With the goal being to collect the largest possible number of bracelets, contestants will not only have to compete smartly, but also forge the right friendships in the process. They all want to be able to walk away with that $1 million total in the end,” Hussein Jaber, producer of the show, said in a statement.
“But part of the thrill lies in the competition’s unpredictability, since only those who choose to leave the competition are the ones who get to offer their bracelet to another competitor. So, friendships forged might not necessarily pay off,” he continued to reveal about the TV program.
For their Middle Eastern debut, the chosen cast hails from 15 different Arab nations and are aged anywhere between 19 and 73 years-old. What’s more, this first edition sees 50 men and 50 women included in the region’s IRL equivalent of Squid Game.
Having first aired on May 3, Ard al-Million can be watched on MB1 and MBC Iraq every Wednesday and will also be available to stream on Shahid — MBC’s very own online streaming platform.