BEIRUT: Rima Njeim, a prominent Lebanese talk show host, broke the Guinness World record for the longest talk show, staying on air for 46 consecutive hours.
The aim of the talk show was, not only to break the world record, but also to help an 11-year-old girl raise funds for a heart surgery.
Njeim and her crew raised an estimated $20,000 for the girl, Laeticia, who is scheduled undergo the operation on Dec. 24.
Director of the show, Kamil Tanios, said the 40-hour schedule was a challenge to develop and top Paul Sfeir, the former holder of the title.
“We did it. We broke the record and set a new one by staying on-air for an additional six hours,” Tanios said.
Although Guinness officials were absent from the studio in light of the country’s security situation, they watched the live broadcast on the newly-launched Aghani Aghani television channel and by using the TV’s phone application, while producers documented the entire show.
To meet the “extremely difficult” requirements and conditions of the Guinness World record, Tanios said Njeim and the crew prepared for at least three months to ensure a successful record-breaking attempt.
“We had a full line of stars to appear on the show with Rima but her friends and fans and even some journalists also came to the studio to show their support to keep her going,” he said.
“We not only prepared for this logistically, in terms of production, but also psychologically and physically...Rima’s intake of caffeine and sugar had to be periodic and she was closely monitored by her doctor and Lebanese Red Cross personnel,” Tanios added.
The Daily Star could not reach Njeim for comments. Close friends of the media personality told The Daily Star the talk show host was recovering and would not be available for comment until Monday morning.
Njeim hosted “Ya Rima” on Sawt al-Ghad Radio Station for 15 years. She quit the station earlier this year and joined Aghani Aghani as an executive manager and the host of a new show.
Speaking to a local television station prior to Friday's live broadcast, Njeim who seemed excited to start the "radio marathon," said the difficulty lied in the conditions set by Guinness.
"The most difficult part is the conditions ... the only break I could have was a five-minute one in which I can only be absent from the studio for a minute," Njeim told MTV, the mother company of Aghani Aghani.
Other conditions stipulate that Njeim could not stop talking for no longer than 59 seconds.
“When a singer would sing during the show for longer that than 59 seconds, Rima would have to stop them and we had people timing her and keeping her on track,” Tanios, a manager at Aghani Aghani, said.
Njiem’s Twitter feed was flooded with fans and friends sending her motivational messages while the hashtag #RimaNjeimBreakingRecords was trending on the social media website.
The hashtag was trending Saturday night through Sunday as messages of congratulations took over the new record holder's page.
Njeim’s last Twitter post before she left the studio shortly after a brief celebration was “#RimaNjeimBreakingRecords thank #God Love #jesus #virgin mary thx 4all your prayers Christians&Muslims u y blessing.”
Tanios who described the achievement as Njeim's "comeback on the air," said it was an international competition as previous record holders were from Japan and the U.S.
Lebanon also holds Guinness world records for largest plate of Hummus and Tabbouleh ever served.