Abu Dhabi, UAE (CNN) -- CNN Abu Dhabi, the latest newsgathering expansion from the global news brand, opens its doors today, it was announced by Tony Maddox, MD and EVP CNN International.
Maddox was joined for the opening in Abu Dhabi by Phil Kent, chairman and CEO of CNN parent company Turner Broadcasting System, Inc, and by Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour and presenter Richard Quest, both in Abu Dhabi filming for the network.
Other senior executives attending from CNN included Katherine Green, head of programming for the network, Rani Raad, head of CNN's commercial arm in the region, and Abu Dhabi-based Tom Fenton, Managing Editor, Middle East.
CNN's new state-of-the-art production center and newsgathering hub for the Middle East will also be home to CNN's first ever daily live news show from the region.
"PRISM," hosted by news veteran Stan Grant, debuts this evening and joins existing feature shows "Inside the Middle East" and "Marketplace Middle East" as a major addition to its regionally based programming portfolio.
"The Middle East has played a significant role in CNN's heritage and is part of our DNA. Two of our earliest international bureaus were in Cairo and Jerusalem," said Maddox. "This region unquestionably plays an integral part in world affairs, and the new hub in the UAE gives us the opportunity to get even closer to the heart of the rich and diverse stories across the political, business, social and cultural spectrums."
"The establishment of a permanent broadcast and production center in the Middle East by CNN is a significant and unique move by a Western news broadcaster," added Maddox. "It gives CNN a powerful base from which to coordinate seven regional bureaus and also launch a new daily news show from the Middle East."
The new facility sits alongside CNN's existing 32 international newsgathering operations which also includes three other digital production centers in Hong Kong, London and Mexico City.
CNN Abu Dhabi will coordinate newsgathering for the seven CNN operations in the region: Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Dubai, Jerusalem, Kabul and Islamabad.
With more than two dozen staff, CNN Abu Dhabi not only consolidates CNN Worldwide's investment in global newsgathering; it also underlines CNN's growth strategy which includes the commercial launch of the CNN Wire, the unveiling of the new CNN.com and the addition of new prime time shows across CNN International and, in the United States, HLN.
Built as a fully HD and on-line production facility, CNN Abu Dhabi houses a four-camera digital studio, with 24/7 live capability, edit suites and fully integrated newsroom.
First daily scheduled show from the region
For the first time in CNN's history, daily live news show "PRISM," presented by Stan Grant, will be broadcast from the Middle East. CNN Abu Dhabi will also be home to CNN's perennially popular feature shows, "Inside the Middle East," now in its sixth year, and "Marketplace Middle East," which launched two years ago.
Launching November 3, PRISM -- the tenth new show to be launched on CNN International in the past 12 months -- joins the network's new primetime line-up, uniting Stan Grant, Christiane Amanpour, Richard Quest, Becky Anderson and Fionnuala Sweeney, Michael Holmes and Hala Gorani in a schedule that between them covers off business and current affairs programming, breaking news and behind-the-scenes reportage in distinctive formats.
CNN's content ownership strategy has provided a wealth of new material for all of CNN's platforms, across TV, on-line and mobile and CNN's commercial wire service, while also allowing that content to be aggregated to affiliates.
Since early 2008 CNN has opened seven new editorial operations across Africa, Asia, Latin America and now the Middle East, as well as placing additional correspondents in many existing operations.