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Propagate develops with Jack Ryan actress

A+E Networks-backed US prodco Propagate has signed a development deal with actress Dina Shihabi (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan) for a scripted television series.

Dina Shihabi

Habibti, which is a term of endearment in Arabic, is based on Shihabi’s experiences as a Saudi woman living in the US.

The series will follow three Saudi women as they straddle two cultures, navigate life in the city, build lives for themselves in the US and return home.

The development was announced today by Propagate chairman and co-CEO Ben Silverman, and co-CEO Howard T Owens, the long-time collaborators who joined forces again to launch the company in 2015.

Shihabi is a Saudi Arabian-born actress based in Los Angeles. Living most of her life in Dubai, Dina moved to New York and became the first woman born in the Middle East to be accepted to both the Julliard and NYU Graduate Acting programmes.

She is best known for Sean Mullin’s independent feature Amira & Sam, which she starred in opposite Martin Starr. She appeared in a recurring role on CBS’s Madam Secretary and appears in the Amazon series Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.

Silverman said: “When we met Dina and heard her story, we were instantly hooked. Developing authentic voices has been part of Propagate’s DNA, and it has been our mission to identify unique talent like Dina and share their stories with the rest of the world.

“We believe this coming-of-age story of a young Saudi actress will tap into the cultural zeitgeist and will resonate with audiences worldwide.”

Shihabi, who will be creator and writer on the series, added: “Ben has been a champion for bringing unique women’s voices to television through critically acclaimed series like Jane the Virgin and Ugly Betty.

“Sharing this story comes from a deep rooted desire for Saudi women to be seen. People are always shocked when they find out where we come from because they have no idea of how we should act, sound and look. I’m excited Habibti is going to shatter those stereotypes, reveal how similar we are and also celebrate our differences.”

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