What TV’s hot in Athens right now?

Fresh from my recent Lisbon posting about what’s hot on TV in Portugal, I’ve just spent a few days in Athens. So what’s hot on TV in Greece, judging from the advertising in Athens?

Well, purely from the advertising in the centre of Athens, you’d think nothing at all. There is none. Ewan McGregor, however, is everywhere and it turns out he speaks remarkably good Greek. He’s in the airport.

Ewan McGregor advertising NN in Athens airport

Ewan here is saying: “Our name is changing. The values, however, remain exactly the same.”

He’s also all over bus stops and the Metro.

Ewan in the Metro

Look carefully and you’ll spot two Ewans on the other side of the tracks.

2015-04-12 09.10.52.jpg

Here, Ewan is revealing that insurance group ING is now becoming NN: “New name, same vision,” Ewan there doing a nice bit of wordplay on “όναμα” (‘onama’ or name) and “‘οραμα” (‘orama’ or vision).

But TV? Nothing in the centre of Athens. However, head off towards the port of Piraeus, about 10-15 minutes down the road, and we start to head into more media-friendly territory, albeit radio. Pretty much every bus stop here is dedicated to 90.1FM.


In case you can’t read that: “ΝΕΟ ΠΡΟΓΡΑΜΜΑ, ΝΕΑ ΠΡΟΣΟΠΑ” (‘neo programma, nea prosopa’ aka ‘new schedule, new faces’). Basically, the entire station is (re)launching with new programmes and a whole new bunch of hosts, usually of the “schlubby older man, hot younger woman” variety. But sometimes two schlubby older men for a bit of variety.

Still no TV, though. But along said road to Piraeus (the unimaginatively titled “Athens-Piraeus main road”), you’ll find every side lined with adverts for the new channel Epsilon TV, “the new channel for young people”.

Epsilon TV

Epsilon TV poster

Epsilon TV

As the logo, the “ΠΕΡΙΟΔΙΚΟ” (‘periodiko’ or ‘magazine’) tag and the fact that EPSILON TV is spelt out in English suggest, Epsilon is somewhat akin to the US/UK E! channel. However, there is some scripted programming, too, including Σουλεϊμαν Ο Μεγαλοπρεπης (Suleiman the Magnificent), which is described as “A series set in the 16th century and depicting the powerful love/erotic story of Alexandra, who is captured by the Turks and ends up in the harem of Suleiman the Magnificent”.

However, this is actually a 2011-2014 Turkish TV show, Muhteşem Yüzyıl (Magnificent Century).

So repeated soap operas and reality TV. Ah, Greek TV – this is why I don’t write about you much

  • GYAD

    Greece is broadcasting Magnificent Century…that must be weird, considering the history.

  • Ish. It's not uncontroversial.



    Of course, Magnificent Century is being repeated on Epsilon – it's not a first run – so it's an argument that's already gone on. But Epsilon is intended for young people and I think there's less anti-Turkish sentiment there (at least I've noticed far less), despite national service. In general, anti-Turkish sentiment is dropping though (40 years of peace will do that) and if you look at even something as mundane as Eurovision, one of the main voters for Turkish songs is now Greece.

  • GYAD


    I thought the history – Constantinople and all that – might have been a bit more controversial though (especially with Erdogan's neo-Ottomanism and the changes made to the show after criticism).

  • It's a level of detail I'm not really sure I can address. But a quick skim of Εθνός shows that Epsilon's airing of the show doesn't even warrant a mention. Whether that's because the paper doesn't want to mention a young person's channel or whether it's because it's a bit like complaining about a re-run on Alibi in the UK, I can't say.

  • GYAD

    I'm sure it's probably just something that only history-politics nerds like me – but not young Greeks – care about.

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