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Al-Masry Al-Youm readers give props to best of Ramadan TV

On Monday night, the Conrad Hotel in Cairo opened its doors to the stars of the recently-concluded Ramadan television drama season to celebrate the results of Al-Masry Al-Youm's online poll of the most popular TV shows.

Via Al-Masry Al-Youm's website, a dedicated email address and a fax number, members of the public voted for their favorite TV series, talk show, presenter, actor, actress and channel.

“We received more than 7360 votes during the 15 days of voting,” said Al-Masry Al-Youm social networking manager Fathi Abu al-Hatab.

The only television program not to be included in the poll was “2X2," which was presented by Al-Masry Al-Youm Editor-in-Chief Magdy al-Gallad.

“I feel like I wronged my cast mates,” al-Gallad declared at the event. “Although they worked hard on the program, we couldn’t include it in the poll because I presented it.”

Journalists from several newspapers and television channels had arrived earlier to grab the best spots for catching arriving stars. Iyad Nassar, the Jordanian actor who played the main role in Al-Gamaa ('The Brotherhood'), was the first to arrive, taking time to speak with interviewers about his controversial series.

Other A-listers, such as Khaled al-Sawi and Yehia al-Fakharani, went straight to the hotel's main hall to join the table with al-Gallad. As he arrived, al-Fakharani was hailed as ’Sheikh’  by his fans in a reference to his role in Sheikh al-Arab Hammam.

The event kicked off with a seminar led by Al-Masry Al-Youm journalist Nashwa al-Hoof. Guests included scriptwriter Mohamed Saffa Amer, TV presenters Amal Othman and Wael al-Abrashi, and producer Mohamed Fawzy.

“Due to the huge number of TV series this Ramadan, I couldn’t follow any of them but al-Gammaa,” said Amer. “While most critical responses to the series were either political or religious, I couldn’t help but notice the great technology used to create the series. The photography was superb, the dialog well-written and the direction excellent.”

“Egyptian drama took a huge leap forward this year,” said Amal Othman, when asked about the broadening scope for discussing current social and political issues on television. “There were a number of new series this year that were both entertaining and brave, which managed to broach serious issues.”

Wael al-Abrashi took the podium next. “I noticed that many of the actors invited tonight did not show up,” he said. “Some actors refuse to come to such events unless they know that they won a prize. Events like this could become a great forum in which stars can discuss their work.”

There was a conspicuous absence of actresses, meanwhile, three of whom–including Hend Sabry and Ghada Abdul-Razik–failed to show up. One of the few actress who did make an appearance was Sabreen, who returned to the TV screen this year with her role in Sheikh al-Arab Hammam.

Actors, by contrast, were heavily presented at the gala, including al-Fakharani, al-Sawi, Nassar, Mostapha Shabban, Ahmed Rizk, Ramez Galal and Ahmed Eid, among others.

TV presenter Heba al-Abrasi eventually joined al-Gallad on stage to announce the winners.

Amr al-Laythi took home the best male TV presenter award, while Mahmoud Saad, Toni Khalyfa and Amr Adeeb came in second, third and fourth respectively. Al-Laythi and Khalyfa both attended the event and accepted their trophies.

Lamis al-Haddidi, who was on-air at the time, took the prize for best female presenter, while Mona al-Hussainy, Waffa al-Genany and Entisar (the latter of whom sported an uncharacteristically short hairstyle) came in second, third and fourth.

The award for best TV talk show, meanwhile, went to Ana ('Myself'), presented by al-Laythi, with second place going to Bedoon Reqaba ('No Censorship'); third place to B 'Lissan Moa’reedeeh ('Your Critics' Words'); and fourth place to actor Ramez Galal and his TV show Ramez Houl al-Alam ('Around the World with Ramez').

The best TV series awards went to Sheikh al-Arab Hammam, followed by Al-Aar ('The Shame'), Al-Gamaa and Ahl Cairo ('The people of Cairo').

The best actress award, meanwhile, went to Sabreen. Runners up Hend Sabry, Ghada Abdul Razik and Mai Ezz al-Deen did not show up to receive their awards.

The best actor category closely resembled that for best TV series, with al-Fakharani snagging first place, Mostapha Shabban second, Iyad Nassar third, and Khaled al-Sawi fourth.

While accepting his award, al-Fakharani proclaimed his appreciation for his fans.

“Getting an award based on a popular vote represents a kind of connection with the viewers themselves,” he said, holding the trophy aloft. 

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