CNN International today announces Rima Maktabi as the new host of its popular ‘Inside the Middle East’ programme and a key addition to CNN’s roster of anchor/correspondents covering the Middle East.
The appointment of Lebanon-born Maktabi, one of the Middle East's most dynamic and well known prime time presenting talents, signals CNN's deepening commitment to the region and continued investment in its Abu Dhabi production hub.
The hiring of Maktabi - a prime time news anchor on Arabic news channel Al Arabiya who brings with her a wealth of experience in the region - follows the recent launch of CNN Abu Dhabi, the debut of the nightly primetime show ‘Prism’, and the decision to fully localise the production staffs of the high profile ' Inside the Middle East ' and ’CNN Marketplace Middle East' shows. The expanded CNN output is further bolstered by an extensive regional newsgathering infrastructure which today includes bureaux in Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Islamabad, Jerusalem and Kabul.
In a unique collaboration with Al Arabiya - for a two month period Maktabi will continue to present her Arabic prime time news show while filming throughout the region for CNN's ' Inside the Middle East ' .
Maktabi’s first appearance on CNN will be on the April 5th edition of ' Inside the Middle East ', ahead of joining CNN full time in June.
"CNN is delighted to announce the addition of Rima Maktabi to its line-up of Middle East based on-air talent as host of 'Inside the Middle East '. She is a strong talent with an impressive track record and we're pleased that this flexible partnership with Al Arabiya will allow our international viewers to get to know Rima much better as she becomes an integral part of our reporting from the region," said Tony Maddox, EVP and Managing Director, CNN International.
"CNN's appointment of Rima Maktabi is yet another acknowledgement by a highly-reputed global Newsmaker of the professional standards of Al Arabiya," said Abdul Rahman Alrashed, General Manager of Dubai-based Al Arabiya News Channel. "The fact that Rima Maktabi will first appear simultaneously on both CNN and Al Arabiya also gives this joint arrangement a greater corporate meaning and provides various audiences with tremendous added-value and synergies," Alrashed concluded.
In addition to hosting 'Inside the Middle East ‘, Rima also joins CNN's regionally based Stan Grant, Paula Hancocks and Ben Wedeman as a roving anchor/correspondent, reporting as and where the network's newsgathering needs require.