Prominent TV anchor Lamis al-Hadidy has remained away from CBC’s flagship daily show, Hona al-Asema (Here’s the Capital), despite announcing a few days ago that she would return after a “vacation” that lasted from July to August.
“I’m done with my vacation, going back to work. Hona al-Asema at 9 pm next Saturday, September 1, God willing,” Hadidy tweeted a few days ago.
However, the Saturday and Sunday editions of Hadidy’s show were hosted by Reham Ibrahim, another CBC host.
Sources familiar with the details of Hadidy’s absence tell Mada Masr that the television host has been held off screen in light of CBC management and Hadidy’s refusal to move her to ONtv, which is owned by the Egyptian Media Group, a media conglomerate in turn owned by Egypt’s General Intelligence Service (GIS).
A CBC employee, who spoke to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity, says that Hadidy was present at the studio on Saturday with her team to prepare for the show when they received a phone call from CBC’s administration informing them that Hadidy would not be hosting the episode and would be replaced by Ibrahim.
Hadidy left the studio without comment, according to the source, who said on Sunday that the team continued working on last night’s episode without being informed who would be presenting.
Neither Hadidy nor CBC’s management responded to Mada Masr requests for comment on Sunday morning.
The move comes against the backdrop of the state’s attempts to restructure private media, with various security apparatuses having acquired most television and radio stations over the past year from businessmen.
The new vision, which the sources say is still under construction, is to have two main networks owned by security: ONtv for sports and talk shows, and DMC for news.
At the end of July, the Egyptian Media Group announced the closure of its news channel: ONLive. There are currently deliberations to shut down CBC’s Extra News or merge it with DMC, the sources add.
According to the sources, Hadidy and businessman Mohamed al-Amin, who owns half of CBC’s shares in partnership with the GIS, have objected to the proposition to move her to ONtv.
Amin is resisting what he sees as attempts from state officials to transfer CBC’s biggest stars and shows to other networks, the sources explain, in anticipation of a move to shut the channel down or announce its merger with ONtv.
The negotiations with CBC also include trying to move “Sahbet al-Saada” (Her Majesty), which is hosted by Isaad Younis, to DMC.
State officials sent a clear message to both Amin and Hadidy that if they insist on refusing to move to ONtv, she would be allowed to continue broadcasting on CBC under the condition that she would not be presenting live, sources tell Mada Masr. Instead, Hadidy would be allowed to host a weekly pre-recorded arts and society show that does not touch upon news or politics.
In a press statement attributed to a “high-ranking source” last month, CBC denied news about the closure of Extra News and Hadidy’s departure.