THE BIG DEBATE BURSTS BACK - WITH REDI TLHABI

Monday, November 30, 2009

BREAKING. Winfrey loves Woolworths. Oprah has a new FAVORITE THING - and it's South African!


Oprah Winfrey loves Woolworths. Oprah just revealed that she has a new favourite things that she calls ''the best in the world''.

At this morning's breakfast with South African ad execs, Oprah said she simply loves Woolworths' low GI seed bread.

''Woolworths makes the best low-GI seed bread in the world,'' the talk show titan said to the hundreds of people in the audience hanging on her every word at this morning's breakfast in Bryanston. (See my blog post about that here).
Oprah said she likes the low GI seed bread of Woolworths so much in fact, that she has asked a bakery in California to replicate it - so far without any success.

I'm awaiting a response from Woolworths to hear if they have any comment, as if or as soon as I get anything, I will let you know here.

BREAKING. Having breakfast with Oprah in South Africa. ALL THE SCOOP!


You're reading it here first. I broke the news last month and was first with the scoop that Oprah Winfrey would be in South Africa today to talk to readers of O, The O Magazine as well as advertising execs. And so she was.

I have exceptional, super excellent and credible sources everywhere, and Oprah Winfrey's You Have the Power power breakfast with readers and advertisers this morning is no exception, so here is all the scoop.  The tickets for the readers' event sold out in 4 minutes flat earlier this month. Here's the lovely dish and all the scoop. . . first:

There were several gatecrashers who showed up at the venue anyway, longing to see Oprah and trying to possibly slip into the breakfast at The Wanderers building at The Forum in Bryanston. Security was exceptionally tight but lowkey and professional - as everything Winfrey usually is. No unauthorized people got through and there were no incidents.

For SIMPLY ALL THE DISH IN SUPER DETAIL, click through below! . . .

Thursday, November 26, 2009

BREAKING. MultiChoice's DStv grows subscribers by 11% to 3,7 million homes.


You're reading it here first. You'll read and hear it tomorrow, but I can tell you right now, today.

The pay-TV business of Naspers, MultiChoice has performed very well over the past 6 months.


DStv subscribers increased 11% over the past 6 months and now reaches 3,7 MILLION homes across Africa.

RIP. SABC's head of formal education division killed.

Paulette Tshiredo, head of the SABC's formal education unit has died.
It appears that she has been killed in what was a domestic assault.

She joined the SABC in August, 1995 and was soon promoted to education project manager. ''Her death is a great loss,'' says Simon Molaudzi, SABC Education's general manager.

BREAKING. Vuyo Mbuli of Morning Live accused of assault.


The co-presenter of SABC2's morning breakfast show Morning LiveVuyo Mbuli is accused of assault. That is after he was caught with another man's ''friend'' while Thabisa Nyamakazi was in her underwear and he was buttoning up his shirt.

Pat Legwabe has laid a charge of assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm against Vuyo Mbuli at the Johannesburg Central police station.  Vuyo Mbuli denies that he assaulted Pat Legwabe, but admits that he was at the woman's house in Winchester Hills late on Monday night for ''personal reasons''.

Pat Legwabe claims that Vuyo Mbuli threw a vase at him. Pat Legwabe claims that Vuyo Mbuli grabbed him by the shirt and said: ''I'm going to f- kill you'."

Vuyo Mbuli admits that he ''wrestled'' with Pat Legwabe to get himself out of his grip and then left. Vuyo Mbuli is still married to his wife.

BREAKING. BBC told to reign in BBC Worldwide


The BBC Trust that guards over the BBC has just said that BBC Worldwide (the British public broadcaster's commercial arm) must end merger and acquisition activities, get rid of its stake in international channels like Animal Planet which isn't a part of the BBC and keep away from activities ''not in keeping'' with the BBC brand.

BBC Worldwide is responsible for the BBC channels such as BBC Knowledge (DStv 251), BBC Lifestyle (DStv 180), BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) and CBeebies (DStv 306) that's broadcast in South Africa.

For the past year and a half there's been strong indications that the BBC Trust is NOT happy with the direction of the broadcaster's commercial division that handles program sales, licensing and international channel brands around the globe.

Sir Michael Lyons, BBC Trust chairperson said in a statement: ''Our commercial operations are not exempt from the BBC's public mission. They must keep the public purposes at their heart, engaging carefully with markets globally to help 'bring the U.K. to the world and the world to the U.K.'".

''We're satisfied that these changes will provide much-needed clarity and a greater alignment with the BBC's public purposes, without stifling BBC Worldwide's ability to perform as a thriving and profitable entity.''

BBC Worldwide had a turnover of $1.7 billion in the year to March 2009.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

BREAKING. Liezel van der Westhuizen's new TV gig.


You're reading and seeing it here first. Idols presenter Liezel van der Westhuizen is heading back to television with Soundcheck Live, M-Net's new interactive and live music show. Her co-presenter is Bongani Nxumalo.

Soundcheck Live starts on Wednesday, 2 December at 17:00. Soundcheck Live is an hour long, live music request show and will give viewers the opportunity to request music videos from a selection of the best local and international songs.

''The versatility of the show is great,'' says Helen Smit, M-Net's head of local productions. ''Soundcheck Live will have something for everyone, as we draw from a wide variety of music from all over the world and showcase the best local talent too.''

Every episode will have an acoustic performance by local bands and musicians as well as interviews with guests in-studio. Viewers will be able to send emails, SMS's and MMS's to Liezel and Bongani.

''Liezel and Bongani are the perfect hosts for this show. Their combined radio, musical and television experience makes them ideal for interacting with viewers on air.''

Soundcheck Live is produced by Blixem Productions.

RUMOUR! Is Solly the SABC's new CEO?


You're reading it here first. Is Solly Mokoetle going to be the new CEO of the SABC?

That is what the breathless rumour mongers are telling me. The biz is abuzz with appetizing stories that Solly, a former SABC executive, might soon be back at the public broadcaster.

Solly was chief operating officer at the SABC until 2006, when he left to go and work at Telkom Media (now Super5Media).

Solly is currently the chief content officer at Super5Media.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

BREAKING. Government approves R1,473 billion for SABC

You're reading it here first.


The SABC CAN BORROW R1,473 BILLION!

That's right billion with a ''b''.

Government has just approved the SABC's application for a government guarantee for R1,473 billion.

In normal language: What it means is that the debt ridden, cash strapped and mismanaged SABC can go to financial institutions, like banks, and borrow R1,473 billion. The government (meaning TAX PAYERS) guarantee those institutions that they will get their money back should the SABC default and not be able to make good on this R1,473 billion that it borrows.

R1 billion will be available IMMEDIATELY. For the remaining R473 million, the SABC will have to provide a detailed ''project plan'' to show show it's spending the money, has allocated it, what the revenue targets are, as well as cost cutting measures.

The new board of the SABC who will take pu their duties from next month, will have to sign, what will be called a Shareholder's Compact, signed as well as by the minister of communications, Siphiwe Nyanda, within 3 months of their appointment, detailing how they will fascilitate the monitoring of where all of this money is going, and how it's begin used.

Irene Charnley, the chairperson of the interim board of the SABC says ''the government guarantee - together with the October approval in the medium term budget of an additional R200 million will enable the SABC to begin the turnaround to develop a vibrant and viable public broadcasting service, responsive to the needs of all South Africans.''

The SABC made a loss of R900 million for the financial year that ended March this year.

''The application by the SABC is aimed at both paying back creditors and implementing a turnaround strategy,'' says Irene. ''The interim board has started the process of identifying cost cutting measures and putting in place governance systems to guard against wasteful expenditure.''

BREAKING. Oprah Winfrey talks about OWN.


You're reading it here first. By now everyone knows and has been talking about Oprah Winfrey's announcement on Friday that she will be ending her show on 9 September, 2011 to launch The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

Oprah has just send out an email, confirming that OWN will launch in January, 2011 and saying:

''Fifteen years ago, I wrote in my journal that one day I would create a television network, as I always felt my TV show was just the beginning of what the future could hold. For me, the launch of OWN is the evolution of the work I've been doing on television all these years and a natural extension of my show.''

You can catch a glimpse at the brand new OWN website with a new video clip RIGHT HERE.

BREAKING. 'Absolute Women' NEW NAME IS: 'Let's Chat. . .with Mel'.


You're reading it here first. I was FIRST with the news that Melanie Bala is doing an Oprah by getting her own brand new local talk show , then I spilled FIRST that it was tentatively going to be called Absolute Women, I did a set visit and was FIRST to bring you awesome pics from the show and a set reveal and now I can be FIRST again with the news that the show has changed it's working title from Absolute Women to: Let's Chat . . .with Mel.

The show looks awesome, Melanie Bala is uber intelligent and clever (but in a funny and completely relatable way to the female audience her show it pitched to) and I think the show is going to be a hit. It starts on 6 January on M-Net Series (DStv 110).

BREAKING. SABC3 hasn't signed for the new Survivor (yet).


You're reading it here first. TV viewers sitting ready to start with the new season of Survivor on SACB3 on Monday is in for a shock: SABC3 is not going to show the next season of Survivor from Monday.

The channel that's been alternating The Amazing Race and Survivor has NOT YET SIGNED THE CONTRACT for the 16th season (titled Survivor: Micronesia) with the international program distributor.

That follows ater SABC3 completely botched the finale of Survivor: China in September due to technical error. (SABC3 worker got a discplinary hearing; SABC3 had to repay R60 000 in ad income). SABC3 is now going to show third rate reality shows from Monday night, starting with the cancelled Momma's Boys, followed by Make me a Supermodel.

That means that Survivor: Micronesia could only be on air at the earliest in mid-April, although a SABC3 source tells me that SABC3 will move up the starting date IMMEDIATELY should SABC3 get the contract signed. SABC3's official answer to me is that they don't ''want to start a new Survivor during the end of the year and don't want it on air during December''.

Funny. That hasn't stopped the channel from airing either The Amazing Race or Survivor in the past.

It's excellent news for M-Net though, currently filming the new South African season (the 3rd one) of Survivor SA. In the past SABC3 had the American Survivor on and M-Net Survivor SA at THE SAME TIME (although different days). That created some viewer fatigue as fans tried to keep up with two different versions of the same show, on at the same time, at different stages of being played out on screen.

M-Net's Survivor SA debut on 20 January at 20:00 on the pay channel and is currently being filmed on Paradise Island off the Mozambique coast at Inhassoro with local celebs like Cindy Nell and Christina Storm.

CTV marching to parliament on Wednesday in 'Free The Airwaves' march.


The struggling community television station Cape Town Television (CTV) is marching to parliament on Wednesday to demand cheaper signal distribution fees and protection during South African television's migration to digital broadcasts.

In what CTV calls a ''Free the Airwaves'' march - the struggling broadcaster wants to draw attention to its plight as it says CTV is ''now coming under THREAT due to government's lack of support for community TV''.

CTV has to cease broadcasting early in October due to a cash flow crisis since it couldn't pay it's broadcasting transmission costs to Sentech, and also held a telethon at the end of October to raise funds. The public is now asked to join CTV's public march to parliament tomorrow (Wednesday), starting at 10:00 at Keizersgracht Street in Cape Town (opposite the Castle).

CTV that started broadcasting just over a year ago, says that it's ''critical that everyone stand up for its right to communicate'' if community television like CTV is to be saved ''from commercialisation''.

CTV claims that ''Icasa plans to take CTV off air early next year to make way for cellphone TV because it has not allocated any frequencies for CTV use'' and that community TV stations like CTV ''are charged commercial rates for transmission costs'' making it virtually impossible for community TV stations to viable continue to operate.

CTV also says community television stations are not protected during and after the migration to digital terrestrial television (DTT).

CTV demands that the station is (1) ''not switched off next year but that a frequency is located for its use'', (2) the channel wants immediate government support for community broadcasters' signal distribution costs and that (3) Sentech lowers its transmission fee or scrap it for community television stations. CTV also (4) wants community television to be protected during and after the migration to digital terrestrial television.

BREAKING. CNBC's latest doccie goes inside Google.

You're reading it here first. The business TV channel CNBC in America will debut its latest documentary, Inside the Mind of Google on 3 December - with a super high likelihood that South Africans should see it soon afterwards or possibly even on 3 December or shortly after that as well.

As soon as I get word from CNBC Africa (DStv 410) regarding schedule confirmation of this, you will read it here first.

This one hour doccie will be hosted by Maria Bartiromo.


Inside the Mind of Google will ''tell viewers the fascinating story of how two graduate students took a one-time research project and, in barely a decade, turned it into a global technological powerhouse.''
Maria bartiromo will ''examine the company's flagship search engine, go inside company headquarters'' (known as the Googleplex) and ''speak with vice president Marissa Mayer and chief mobile evangelist Vic Gundotra.''

Friday, November 20, 2009

BREAKING. ''Oprah will leave a HUGE GAP'' says SABC3.


You're reading it here first. I just heard from SABC3 and got an official response - the channel's first since the breaking news this morning that Oprah Winfrey is going to announce on her show in America tonight (SA time) that she's calling it quits on 9 September, 2011.

Renette Bengis, SABC3's acting channel head said losing The Oprah Winfrey Show would leave ''a huge gap'' on SABC3.

''The Oprah Winfrey Show is one of the key pillars as well as a signature property that is aligned and reflects the SABC3 brand,'' she says.

''It is a key audience and revenue driver for the channel.''


I can confirm that SABC3's current contract to air The Oprah Winfrey Show runs until December 2010, which SABC3 will undoubtedly renew for the additional year that it will be on in America (which would mean that it's on-air in South Africa until the end of 2012).

''It is unfortunate that the show will come to an end,'' says Renette. ''Her show will be sorely missed. SABC3 will have to find a property that will be able to fill THE HUGE GAP that Oprah will leave to satisfy our audiences as well as be a revenue driver.''

BREAKING. SABC3 privately pissed off about Oprah!


You're reading it here first. SABC3 is in total shock, and taking in the news about the demise of The Oprah Winfrey Show - after the earlier announcement this morning that Oprah will bail out of her talk show on 9 September, 2011. Oprah will announce it officially on her show later today in America.

I've learned that SABC3 is privately very pissed off about it all - not that Oprah decided to quit her lucrative TV property but about the WAY they had to hear about it.

I'm doing the phones since early the morning.

''Why couldn't they tell us first?'' a staffer told me.

''It's so embarrassing that we had to hear it over the radio,'' another high level SABC3 staffer told me.

''It's incredible that this news comes out and that they can't tell a TV station like SABC3 that has the show, news like this first,'' another one said.

''I hear it this morning on the radio. I came into the office and everyone went: 'What??'' They went: ''You must be joking.'' said another.

The Oprah Winfrey Show is a big money spinner for SABC3, builds audience in its timeslot that it then passes on for the early primetime block on the channel.

The show is distrubited by CBS Distribution International to 140 countries around the world, of which South Africa and SABC3 is one.

BREAKING. Oprah ends her talkshow on 9 September, 2011.


Oprah Winfrey will announce live on her show later today in America that she will be ending her talkshow after 25 years on 9 September, 2011.

Below is the letter that Tim Bennett, president of Oprah's production company, Harpo, sent out:


Dear Friends:


Over the past several weeks, my team and I have had conversations with many of you to help address your questions about the future of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Of course, the one question we couldn't answer was the one that only Oprah could. And tomorrow, she will do just that.

But before she speaks to her loyal viewers, we wanted to share her decision first with you -- our valued partners for more than two decades.

Tomorrow, Oprah will announce live on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" that she has decided to end what is arguably one of the most popular, influential and enduring programs in television history. The sun will set on the "Oprah" show as its 25th season draws to a close on September 9, 2011.

We welcome you to share this news this evening with your colleagues and viewers. As we all know, Oprah's personal comments about this on tomorrow's live show will mark an historic television moment that we will all be talking about for years to come.

We want to thank you for the partnership and friendship we have shared over the years. Your invaluable support has helped us to create the phenomenon of the "Oprah Show" that we've all been so proud to be a part of for the last 24 years. My staff and I will be calling all of you directly tonight and tomorrow. We look forward to speaking with you.

And, if you think the last quarter century has been something, then "don't touch that dial" as together we plan to make history in the next 20 months ... and beyond.

Yours sincerely,
Tim Bennett
President, Harpo, Inc.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

BREAKING. Nominees for the South African Film & Television Awards 2010.


You're reading it here first. Here are the nominees for the MAJOR CATEGORIES (this list is not complete, i chose the categories that matter) who could possibly win a Golden Horn in the 2010 South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas).

Best variety show
All Access M-Net
So You Think You Can Dance? SABC1
Strictly Come Dancing SABC2

Best magazine show
Carte Blanche M-Net
50/50 SABC2
Flash SABC3

Best news and actuality show
Carte Blanche (Xenophobia) M-Net
Carte Blanche (Lotz murder) M-Net
Carte Blanche (Zuma) M-Net

Best educational entertainment show
Shoreline SABC2
Carte Blanche M-Net
Healing Power of Nature II SABC2

Best talkshow
Dis hoe dit is met Steve kykNET
Late Night with Kgomotso SABC2
The Late Debate SABC1

Best reality show
Our House SABC1
Vodacom ThumbWars SABC2
Treasure Hunt SABC2

Best drama show
Sokhulu & Partners SABC1
A Place Called Home SABC2
The Lab SABC3

Best actor in a drama show
Ronnie Nyakale (A Place Called Home)
Patrick Shai (Noah's Ark)
Fana Mokoena (The Lab)

Best actress in a drama show
Shoki Sebotsane (Death of a Queen)
Jana Strydom (Erfsondes)
Linda Sokhulu (Sokhulu & Partners)

Best soap opera - this category will be a public vote

Best actor in a soap opera
Pierre van Pletzen (7de Laan)
Seputla Sebogodi (Generations)
Don Mlangeni Nawa (Isidingo)

Best actress in a soap opera
Vinette Ebrahim (7de Laan)
Katlego Danke (Generations)
Keketso Semoko (Isidingo)

Best soap opera emsemble
Isidingo SABC3
Scandal e.tv
Generations SABC1

Best feature film
White Wedding
Shirley Adams
Izulu Lami

Best actor in a movie
Ivan Botha (Bakgat)
John Kani (Nothing but the Truth)
Kenneth Nkosi (White Wedding)

Best actress in a movie
Sobahle Mkhabase (Izulu Lami)
Sannie Fox (Long Street)
Denise Newman (Shirley Adams)

Best movie director
Mdoda Ncayayiya (Izulu Lami)
Oliver Hermanus (Shirley Adams)
Jann Turner (White Wedding)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

BREAKING. 62nd Emmys on M-Net on Monday, 30 August 2010!



















You're reading it here first. The 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards should be going out on M-Net on Monday, 30 August 2010.

I just received word from NBC in America that the live Emmys will be broadcast there on Sunday, 29 August 2010. M-Net always have it the very next day, which would make it the Monday.

The nominations will be announced on Thursday, 8 July, 2010.

BREAKING. Survivor SA will be broadcast in High Definition (HD).


You're reading it here first. I've asked on 5 November for the first time (and I STILL haven't heard as much as a peep after asking a few times again) but I can now be first to EXCLUSIVELY CONFIRM that Survivor SA is filmed - and will be broadcast - in High Definition (HD).

Survivor SA, currently being filmed in Mozambique, will start on Wednesday, 20 January at 20:00 on M-Net. Viewers with an HD PVR will however also be able to follow the reality show that is filming a celebrity version on the Mozambique coast close to Inhassoro, in a spectacular High Definition version as well.

Survivor SA will also be broadcast in HD on the M-Net HD channel (DStv 170), since a source close to the Endemol SA production has finally confirmed what I've enquired about a while ago already: The show is indeed being filmed with HD cameras by Endemol SA, which means that Survivor SA would have an upscaled HD version as well - perfect to see all the celebs and all the action on Paradise Island up close!
The only current HD channel on DStv is M-Net HD, and Survivor SA is also an M-Net show.

Roland Schoeman says no to a 2nd island reality style TV show this year.


Here's is an interesting titbit of gossip that reached my ears on who will NOT be on Survivor SA currently being filmed in Mozambique on Paradise Island.

It's Roland Schoeman.

The producers approached the Olympic swimmer for the celebrity version of the show, says my source, but he declined.

''Roland was asked, but he said no because he was scared that he would be losing too much body and muscle mass and that it would take too long to get his body back in shape to swim competitively,'' my source close to the production tells me.

This is the second time in months that Roland Schoeman has had the chance to be part of an island style reality show. Earlier this year he was approached and agreed to be a part of e.tv's advertiser funded show Tropika Island of Treasure II. HThe last time I saw him and asked him about why he decided to pull out, he told me that he asked Stimulii who produced the show, to be let out so that he can partake in a swimming championship.


According to multiple sources involved with the production, all the celebs are paid R1000 a day over the course of 29 days. Even if they get voted out, they have to remain a part of the production until the end. That will limit the chance that people might find out who got voted out when.

Survivor SA starts on 20 January at 20:00 on M-Net.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

BREAKING. e.tv responds to SABC claims that HIV/Aids doccie is biased.


You're reading it here first. I asked, and just got a super quick response from e.tv. I asked e.tv for a response on the news from the SABC that I broke here less than an hour ago where the SABC said less than an hour ago that they declined to show a TV documentary critical of the government's position on HIV/Aids because it was one-sided.

e.tv will broadcast the documentary, entitled ''The Price of Denial'' tonight at 21:30 in the channel's award-winning investigative magazine show, 3rd Degree.

The channel just told me that ''e.tv is broadcasting this documentary this evening because it's a powerful program that looks at the issue of 10 years of HIV/Aids in the country. E.tv has worked with the producers over the past month to put the final touches to the show and has offered all parties the opportunity to respond. Some declined.''


E.tv is very gracious here. I will decode and say what the channel politely says between the lines and doesn't want to spell out:

(1) The original documentary, as the producers gave it to the SABC was a work in progress and not finished yet. The SABC turned down the documentary without really allowing the producers to complete the TV project.
(2) Of course e.tv and 3rd Degree gave all sides the opportunity to respond with fair comment. Some people just didn't want to.

MY OWN OPINION:
Wider than just this once-off documentary being declined for whatever reason, is the SABC's trend this year of visibly sterring clear of any politically sensitive editorial or news material.
Zapiro's ZNews is now a big hit on the internet, that languished in SABC development hell as well.

Programming note: The 4th season of O Access starts tonight.


You're reading it here first. The fourth season of O Access on Channel O (DStv 320) starts tonight at 21:00. The show has a brand new look and feel but Nonhle Thema is still the presenter and she travelled to America to interview the R&B superstar Keri Hilson.

''The show we did with Keri is a brilliant wat to introduce the 4th season of O Access,'' says Nonhle.

''I can honestly say that we took things to a new level this time around. Like what happened with Keri, we got to spend some real time with the world’s biggest entertainment stars and there were always things that happened that were not planned but that make for great television.''

BREAKING. SABC says 'Thabo critical' TV doccie was biased and one sided.


You're reading it here first. The SABC just said that the public broadcaster didn't refuse to air the documentary titled ''The Price of Denial''.

As background: The doccie, about 330 000 South Africans allegedly dying because of HIV/Aids related issues due to a loack of support of the previous president Thabo Mbeki, was allegedly supposed to be broadcast on SABC, but the SABC allegedly decided to can it. E.tv's 3rd Degree will now show it TONIGHT.

In a strong worded rebuttal the SABC just said that the broadcaster - as represented by the head of current affairs - looked at the documentary in question and decided that there were ''issues of balance that needed attention before it was ready for air''.
According to the SABC, these issues were raised with the producers.

The SABC says the doccie was ''flagrantly flouting'' the basic principles of fairness and balance. ''Both former president Mbeki and former health minister dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang were not afforded a chance to counter the allegations against them.''

The public broadcaster says: ''independent producers do not have an automatic platform on [sic] SABC. Their content has to be subjected to the SABC's own internal editorial policies as it was unsolicited material.''

BREAKING: SURVIVOR SA CONTESTANT 2: Christina Storm.


You're reading it here first. I can EXCLUSIVELY reveal that the top model Christina Storm who played Bienkie on Egoli on M-Net is a SURVIVOR SA CONTESTANT.

Yesterday I revealed the first contestant when I told you that Miss SA 2002 and Pasella presenter Cindy Nell is one of the contestants.

A source who leaked the news to me, said jokingly: ''There is definitely a Storm brewing in Mozambique!"

So far so good for M-Net with the selection of celebrity contestants! The show should be awesome when it starts on Wednesday, 20 January at 20:00 on M-Net.

Programming note: Pollsmoor's got talent with Jail Star.

Some sarcastically call it ''The Resort'', and for some offenders it's truly the final resort: a cesspool of gangs, drugs and violence. Tonight in Special Assignment at 20:31 on SABC3 the investigative magazine show takes a look at the power of television inside prison when Special Assignment visits Pollsmoor Prison and Jail Star.




Jail Star?

Yep. For the past 12 years Pollsmoor has been the training ground for an initiative that has seen the creation of a prison television station, called the Prison Broadcasting Network (PBN). PBN is the brainchild of Marius Boaden, a film industry veteran and sound engineer.

PBN has 3 offices in the prison section that includes a radio station, sound booth, TV studio and video editing suite.

The latest hit show is Jail Star, a reality talent show filmed by prisoners, that involves wardens and offenders as borh competitors and judges.

Monday, November 16, 2009

BREAKING. Oprah's 24th season starts with a block party on SABC3.


You're reading it here first. Make a note because on Monday, 14 Desember at 17:35 on SABC3 The Oprah Winfrey Show kicks off its 24th season.

The 24th season will officially really only start with the big two-day Whitney Houston interview, but a few days before that Miss O took her show to the streets. Chicago's Michigan Avenue was blocked off for a street party and that episode is what will be going out first, making it THE FIRST REAL new episode of the 24th season.

Some of the performers include the Black Eyed Peas, Jennifer Hudson and James Taylor.

Wizards of Waverly Place - The Movie does well for The Disney Channel.


You're reading it here first. There's not just magic in the Stone of Dreams - those kids from Waverly created some serious magic for Disney too.

The made-for-TV movie, Wizards of Waverly Place - The Movie with Selena Gomez that was broadcast on The Disney Channel (DStv 303) on Saturday 31 October, has become the kids satellite channel's biggest movie premiere in the last two years, ahead of Camp Rock.

The broadcast attracted 283 000 viewers. It was the most popular thing to watch for kids in that timeslot across all channels. Wizards of Waverly Place - The Movie was The Disney Channel's 77th original made-for-TV movie.

Knots Lands back at SABC3!


You're reading it here first. Before Wisteria Lane there was a cul de sac known as the Seaview Circle (and psst. Before she was Edie, Nicollette Sheridan lived here in this show, too).

Now SABC3 is bringing back the eighties primetime soap Knots Landing with the special 4 part miniseries going back to reunite viewers with the characters and wrapping up some of the dangling plot lines.

SABC3 will be showing the four part miniseries Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac from Monday to Thursday, 21 December at 17:35 on SABC3 in four episodes.

All the classic actors are back to reprise their roles. They look a bit older, some of the faces are pulled tighter, but they're still lovely to look at. Check out William Devane, Kevind Dobson, Michele Lee, the awesome Donna Mills, Ted Shackelford, and Joan van Ark.

And Desperate Housewives' Nicollette Sheridan who got her start on Knots Landing initially didn't want to go back to the dead-end street, but eventually said yes too.

SABC3 says . . . Cheers!


You're reading it here first. SABC3 is bringing back Cheers, the hit 80's/90's sitcom just for the holiday season.

The channel will only be showing the 11th and final season - but there is something cool:
The 27 episode run, that starts daily on SABC3 at 12:20 from Monday 21 December (it will run from Mondays til Fridays), will include one special episode that South Africa didn't see before when the SABC showed it originally.

Just before the final episode (that had Bill Clinton as an audience member) we get the Cheers special episode, entitled ''Last Call! A Cheers Celebration'': ''a look back at the series, showing some of the shows' best moments and a look behind the scenes of the filming of the last ever episode.''

Now that's something all TV lovers can toast to!

BREAKING. SURVIVOR SA CONTESTANT 1: Cindy Nell.


You're reading it here first. I can EXCLUSIVELY reveal that Cindy Nell, Miss SA 2002 and Pasella presenter on SABC2 is a SURVIVOR SA CONTESTANT.

The third season of Survivor SA is currently filming off the coast of Mozambique and Cindy Nell who got married in March, is one of the celebrities who will battle it out in this celeb filled version.

In her newly recorded voicemail on her cellphone she only says ''I'm not available right now'' and gives no time indication of when she would be available again - something most celebs does.

''A man here almost broke his neck when he saw Cindy Nell climb out of the bus,'' a resident of a nearby town told me.

I can PROMISE MUCH MORE DISH on the show, the contestants and gossip around Survivor SA as the week progress. Check back tomorrow for some news on a celeb who was approached for the show, but said NO.

BREAKING. Survivor SA on Paradise Island on the Mozambique coast.


You're reading it here first. I can EXCLUSIVELY reveal that the third season of Survivor SA is taking place on Paradise Island.
I've already told you first that the new celeb filled season starting on 20 January at 20:00 on M-Net will be filmed in Mozambique (and now production has started), and everything now seems to centre around a little exotic island you won't even find on a map.

Paradise Island - which as a name would fit in perfectly with the show - is better known as Santa Carolina. It has 3 BEACHES, is close to beautiful CORAL REEFS and contains A DESERTED HOTEL.

And some trivia: it's also the tiny island where Bob Dylan composed his song Mozambique. Paradise Island is one of five islands making up the Bazaruto Archipelago.

The closest place to Paradise Island is the small fishing and harbour town of Inhassoro where the Survivor SA production crew of Endemol SA is apparently staying, according to locals who are buzzing about all the new activity in their town.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

BREAKING. kykNET turns 10.


The Afrikaans satellite channel kykNET (DStv 111) is 10 years old.

kykNET started it's first official broadcast on 15 November 1999. Above is the brand new logo - still a blue chair and yellow star design - just updated and with a new letter font for the channel's name.

Besides a glam party to celebrate the channel's 10 birthday, kykNET is celebrating the decade anniversary with a special program, kykNET 10 this evening at 19:00 op kykNET (DStv 111).

kykNET 10 is an hourlong nostalgia filled clip show featuring brand new interviews as it travels through the ten year old history of the channel. The hour will contain scenes from more than 50 shows and highlights over the past 10 years, as well as insightful new interviews with the channel's most recognized faces over the years.

Over the past four months the producers worked through more than 600 hours of shows from kykNET's archives to compile the special hourlong program.
Old broadcast schedules were consulted to ensure the correct chronology and more than 72 hours' worth of interviews were filmed with the stars and the people who've worked at the channel the past decade.

Kristin Broberg is the producer of kykNET 10 and looks at the channel's weekly magazine show Kwêla that also turns 10, Fiesta that turns 9 as well as where it all started: shows like Mariëtta praat prontuit, the several Ja/Nee talk shows with different themes, the development of kykNET's talk show genre, the first drama shows like Song vir Katryn and reality shows like Zing!, till where kykNET is today: drama shows like Getroud met Rugby and Boer Soek 'n Vrou.

People interviewed for the show and who will appear in kykNET 10 include Mariëtta Kruger, Coenie de Villiers, Elana Afrika and Henre Pretorius.

''I think it's incredible to look back with this special program to where kykNET started and to where the channel is today,'' Haddad Viljoen, kykNET publicist tells me.

''We were literally an infant in the TV industry a decade ago. After 10 years kykNET is a completely transformed TV channel. It's important for us to look back and give people a view and a perspective on how we've grown, and how a part of the local TV industry and specifically Afrikaans television has developed through the creation of kykNET.''

Friday, November 13, 2009

BREAKING. First look at the new Survivor SA logo that reveals that it's set in Mozambique.


You're seeing it here first. Could this be the BRAND NEW SURVIVOR SA logo for the 3rd season of the show that is set to start on 20 January at 20:00 on M-Net with a celebrity version?

This is a screengrab I made of a DStv preview touting the new TV content for 2010, and included as one of the highlights last night was Survivor SA!

M-Net simply refuses to confirm what I've discovered long ago and broke first on this blog, THAT THE NEXT EDITION IS SET OFF THE COAST OF MOZAMBIQUE!

Take a look at the logo below again. Of course the official wording has been altered in the new official logo, but do you see similarities that finally confirm visually that I've known for months?

On the left is the flag of Mozambique. Notice the star design. Then notice the repetition of the same star design at the top in the middle of the new logo, where a symbolic indication is usually given - usually some representation or artifact of the particular place of where the reality show is set.
Interestingly in the Mozambique flag, the star actually represents the star of Marxism. DO NOT expect any sharing or communal attitudes when the bickering celebs version hits out screens early in the new year however.

BREAKING. Darren Rajbal wins first ever SA's Got Talent.



You're reading it here first. Darren Rajbal (19) from Mayville, Durban became the first ever winner of SABC2's reality show SA's Got Talent earlier this evening.

The solo hip hop dancer who used a sign-language interpreter during and after his performances in the show, received the most votes from viewers to win the title in the live broadcast of the finale on Thursday evening.

SA's Got Talent suffered in my opinion as a new TV property, it being a new TV format for local audiences that neither SABC2 nor the producers did any favours by a fast paced scheduling blitz. The show also suffered some technical glitches earlier this week during voting and simply had no big Susan Boyle-worthy break-out buzz building around a specific star to thrust the show into the popular consciousness. The foreign scheduling system that saw the show culminate in four live consecutive shows since Monday to build up to the final also detracted from what the show could have been. Much more could have been done to tell the viewing public how the show will end and what is required of them. Otherwise the live shows should simply have played out with one episode per week.

I've asked widely and TV experts agree that the show lacked real talent and break-out stars, which the producers could possibly improve on during a possible second season (and beyond) by allowing potential contestants (1) a longer time period to enter as well as (2) employing more devices to canvass wider for possible contestants.

Personally the one redeeming quality of the show was the producers' brilliant choice of pairing up Anele Mdoda and Rob van Vuuren as co-hosts. Their combined chemistry on-screen shined and the production company and SABC2 would be well advised to not just make use of them, but reign them in for even more potential TV work as well as other possible marketing opportunities for the channel. Ian von Memerty also deserves recognition for his smooth transition as Strictly Come Dancing host to TV judge. He did well.

I wrote some stories about acts who tried to enter but couldn't, and that after the producers promised that every entry would get a chance to audition. They should try again, should there be a second season. SA's Got Talent has talent, the TV show just needs to finetune and improve on what it can do and be, and showcase it better.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

BREAKING. First look at Melanie Bala's new talk show set for Absolute Women.

You're seeing it here first. I was first to break the news that Melanie Bala is getting a new local talk show, it was I who had all the details of it first, had the first official pics and spilled the name, Absolute Women. ,Before everyone else as well of course.
Here's another first - the VERY FIRST GLIMPSE of Absolute Women's very cool talk show set.

The show is recorded at Clive Morris Productions and starts on 6 January at 20:00 on M-Net Series (DStv 110). I just walked out of a recording and the show is funny (actually Mel is funny), it's clever without being too high-brow intelligent, it's different to everything else out there, the production quality is high, thought clearly went into every aspect of the show and guest line-up, and Melanie was great to talk to.

Also, the title of Absolute Women might still change. I've known it for a while, but I was told so again today, so I'll update with the new name - should there be one - as soon as I hear anything.

Where 3Talk with Noeleen on SABC3 is bathed in blue and darker aqua hues, Absolute Women is vibrant in shades of orange, and very bright. Also notice the circular and fluid wave pattern incorporated into the set design, the wavey curve distribution playing out in the back panels, the orange  bottom-lit floor panel insets, and the couches to compliment the set design colour palette.



BREAKING. M-Net starts a new VUKA! Awards category.


You're reading it here first. M-Net who took over the VUKA! Awards earlier this year, has unveiled a new category that will also help the winner of that category to enter a VERY PRESTIGIOUS international competition for aspiring filmmakers.

Earlier this morning M-Net unveiled a brand-new Contenders category for the VUKA! Awards for filmmakers between 20 and 28. The winner of the Contenders category will get automatic entry to the super prestigious Cannes Young Lions competition in June 2010 (M-Net throws in flights, accomodation and spending money).


The pay channel took over the VUKA! Awards earlier this year after MultiChoice started it a decade ago in 1999.

M-Net also established a brand-new M-Net VUKA! Hall of Fame for previous winners that was unveiled at this morning's announcement. It's a permanent wall with a display of tapestries and a video loop of their work. ''It gives deserved recognition to our past and future winners for the excellent work they do,'' said Koo Govender, M-Net's director for corporate and marketing communications.

This year's VUKA! Awards takes place on 25 November at a glam function in Johannesburg. The top 30% of entries will have their work broadcast on the M-Net channels, DStv and cinemas countrywide.

What if . . . you watch this? Being Erica starts tonight on The Hallmark Channel at 21:00.


If you just watch one thing during primetime this evening, make it the brand new show Being Erica starting on The Hallmark Channel (DStv 108) tonight (Thursday) at 21:00, followed by the second episode immediately after that at 21:50.

Erin Karpluck stars as Erica Strange who gets whisked away to her past aka 30 Going on 13 style back to her high school years to relive her past and (maybe!) make some different decisions. There's 13 episodes in the first season and the show has been renewed for a second season already running in America.

Last week I attended a GREAT launch party for Being Erica that The Hallmark Channel threw in Durban that was just a lot of fun, with lots of dancing (like it was 1989), great company and just perfectly done. I've already watched the first two episodes of Being Erica, and it's solid and good TV fantasy viewing for anyone who has an hour or so to spare.

In classic Back to the Future / Sliders /17 Again style, Erica, with the help of her enigmatic therapist Dr. Tom Wexlar, suddenly finds herself back in her past where she has the power to change things. She however retains all the knowledge of her own - and other people's futures. Will she change things? And if so, what?

I don't want to spoil anything, but Erica's brother Leo has died 13 years ago in a barn fire. Her biggest regret. Ethan is her guy friend who lives next door. They've been friends since varsity. Mmm. Might ''just friends'' turn into something else with different choices? Katie was Erica's close friend in high school but stuff happened. Can it be repaired? Kye has some secrets - like Erica he is from the future and with her in the past to correct some stuff, also thanks to Dr. Wexlar and Judith and Jenny are two more of Erica's friends.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

BREAKING. Happening in 7de Laan in January 2010 and next year's BIG 10th anniversary!


You're reading it here first. A little boo-boo cause TV writers to get their hands on the info regarding what is happening in the first week of 2010 in 7de Laan on SABC2, and I'm not beyond spilling immediately - as well as being the first to talk and remind everyone else out there about 7de Laan's BIG UPCOMING 10th BIRTHDAY in April. Bless.

First up, 7de Laan is silent on birthday plans but it should be HUGE both on-screen as well as off.
The soapie's first episode went out on 4 April, 2000, which would make this April its 10th BIRTHDAY. 7de Laan's 10th BIRTHDAY BASH should BE BIGGER than any event or celebration the soap has before, including it's shindig to celebrate its 2 000 episode earlier this year.

In the first episode of 2010, episode 2 126 on Monday 4 January, Gita will feel the baby kick.


A day later Altus and Paula will have a dramatic moment where both reveal exactly how they really feel towards each other. Both will ''pine'' for each other.
Diaan Lawrenson who left the role of Paula earlier this year is back with the Danie Odendaal production.
In other teaser news Zinzi will be ''spreading a rumour about Emma'' that will upset the poor thing and ''Gita reveals her plans for the Heights''.

I analyzed 7de Laan's latest viewership figures. In the first week of November the show had an average audience every night of 1,92 million viewers in South Africa, making it the second most watched show on SABC2 after Stokvel.