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Three years after finding unlikely success in Canada, the Western world’s first Muslim sitcom has gone mainstream at home and flourished abroad, reports Trends magazine.
November 2, 2009 3:38 by Ian Munroe
“There was an enormous amount of interest when it first came out,” says Jeff Keay, a spokesman at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the publicly owned TV network that airs the show at home. Ratings have since settled somewhere between 600,000 and 800,000 viewers per episode, “at the upper end of our entertainment programming,” Keay explains.
Since that first fateful half-hour, the show’s creator, Zarqa Nawaz, admits that “Little Mosque” has diminished somewhat in the eyes of the Canadian public (even though it would have been hard to keep up that level of interest).
“I think it’s become an establishment show. People are just used to it and taking it for granted,” she says, speaking from Saskatchewan’s capital city. “It was a miracle that the show happened, and that it was so successful.”
And by most measures it was indeed remarkably successful at the time. A year after it went on air in 2007, Nawaz’s sitcom won an international humanitarian prize called the Search for Common Ground Award. Past recipients include Muhammad Ali, Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter.
Fast forward to 2009, however, and “Little Mosque” has been denied a Canadian TV award nomination for the third year running, even though there are relatively few homegrown shows to compete with.
On the commercial side of things, the sitcom has been made available on DVD. There has been talk of adapting it as a stage play and taking it on tour. The upcoming fourth season is marketed on popular social-media websites, including an official Twitter page that delivers daily promotional updates, and fan pages on Facebook.