BEIRUT: Rima Njeim, a prominent Lebanese talk show host, broke into the Guinness World Records book 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 and top Paul Sfeir, former holder of the title, 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.
The show’s director, Kamil Tanios, said the 40-hour schedule was a challenge to develop.
“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, Tanious 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.”
The Daily Star could not reach Njeim for comment. Close friends of the media personality told The Daily Star that 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.
Guinness conditions also stipulated 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 social media.
The hashtag was trending Saturday night through Sunday as messages of congratulations took over the new record holder’s page.
Lebanon also holds Guinness World Records for the largest plates of hummus and tabbouleh ever served.