'Desperate Housewives'

Wisteria Lane may be a cul-de-sac, but in some ways it stretches from Hollywood to France to Saudi Arabia. A February 2006 cable from Paris states that Socialist Party leader Segolene Royal "made clear, through a reference to watching 'Desperate Housewives,' that she did not reject American popular culture." And a May 2009 memo from the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh says that American TV programming such as "Desperate Housewives" being shown in Saudi Arabia is more effective at changing attitudes than the American-backed Al Hurra channel: "Over coffee in a Jeddah Starbucks, XXXXXXXXXXXX, and XXXXXXXXXXXX elaborated on the changes in the Saudi media environment. 'The government is pushing this new openness as a means of countering the extremists,' XXXXXXXXXXXX told Riyadh press officer. 'It's still all about the War of Ideas here, and the American programming on MBC and Rotana is winning over ordinary Saudis in a way that 'Al Hurra' and other US propaganda never could. Saudis are now very interested in the outside world, and everybody wants to study in the US if they can. They are fascinated by US culture in a way they never were before."
Danny Feld / ABC
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