SABC: MILLIONS OF VIEWERS FLEE SCHEDULE DISRUPTION

Monday, October 31, 2011

BREAKING. E! Entertainment seems ready to 'share' the Kasdashian reality divorce drama; executives meeting to decide how to proceed.


E! Entertainment (DStv 124) seems ready to pounce on, and keep exploiting, the reali-trashian that is Kim Kasdashian - clearly ready to share the full fantastic divorce mess of the over-exposed star whose marriage to Kris Humphries is over.

While South African TV viewers are still to see Kim's Fairytale Wedding: A Kasdashian Event in January 2012 on E! Entertainment (which made $18 million for Kim Kasdashian plus another reported $2 million for a People magazine cover in America) cameras seem poised to fill the bitter break-up and divorce drama.

The set TV special shown to South Africans months after the marriage that only lasted 72 days, will now be incredibly dated and imbued with a sense of extreme dramatic irony.

The crass Kasdashian clan already has a rash of Kasdash-shows on E! Entertainment which will clearly start to incoporate the divorce news following the glam-trashian wedding.

''All of us at E! are surprised and saddened by this news, and we send our support to Kim and Kris at this difficult time,'' says E! Entertainment in a statement. ''The Kardashians have always been uniquely open with all aspects of their lives from joyous events to intimate moments to heartbreaking transitions. E! will continue to share the fascinating real lives and larger-than-life existence of this close-knit family."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, E! Entertainment executives and producers will be meeting on Tuesday to decide how to proceed and Kim and Kourtney Take New York has already filmed a scene in which the couple decide to ''take a break''. Kim Kasdashian is set to start shooting Tyler Perry's new movie, The Marriage Counselor.

BREAKING. Al Jazeera Sport launching 1 November will also start 'the most advanced live sport streaming service' on the internet.


 Just after Thursday's news that Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / TopTV 401) will start a sports channel, Al Jazeera Sports from tomorrow, 1 November, comes the news that Al Jazeera will also start Al Jazeera Sport.TV from November - an online sport streaming portal that will be streaming all of the content of Al Jazeera Sports on the web for 24 hours per day.


Al Jazeera Sport.TV launching tomorrow will be the ''most advanced live sport streaming service'' in the world, says Al Jazeera in a just-issued press statement.

Al Jazeera Sport plans to stream over 13 000 live sport events per year on Al Jazeera Sport.TV which will be available over the internet, cellphones as well as an iPad application on demand. It's a subscription service costing $10 per month, although subscribers signing up in November will get the month free as part of an incentive trial service.

"Al Jazeera Sport has built the most extensive set of sports channels in the world and we are pleased to take our service to another level with the launch of Al Jazeera Sport.TV,'' says Nasser Nasser Bin Ghanem al Khelaifi, the general manager of Al Jazeera Sport.

ALSO READ: Cape Town's community TV station CTV starts to stream the channel's daily broadcast on the internet.
ALSO READ: The Bloomberg Television business channel becomes freely available on the iPad.
ALSO READ: Sky News launches an amazing service of the news channel; makes its content available on the iPad.

BREAKING. M-Net wins big at the sixth annual PromaxBDA Africa Awards with Monarchy making M-Net Movies 1 HD a major winner.


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M-Net won big at the sixth annual PromaxBDA Africa Awards that took place on Friday night as part of the PromaxBDA Africa Conference at the Sandton Convention Centre, scooping the lion's share of awards for promos for its channels that include M-Net, M-Net Movies 1 HD, M-Net Movies 2 HD, Vuzu and music channel mk.

M-Net Movies 1 HD was the major winner of the night - thanks to design company Monarchy - with M-Net Movies 1 HD scooping a massive 7 Silver Muse awards - including silver for channel brand of the year. [Please see the UPDATE at the end of this story.] M-Net Movies 1 HD also scooped 4 Gold Muse awards in total and bagged both the Silver Muse and the Golden Muse in the best on-air ident design category.

SABC2 won a silver and SuperSport a gold for best sport promos - both for the Rugby World Cup 2011, while Monarchy also bagged a gold for M-Net's soap The Wild for best programme title sequence design. Monarchy got another gold in the category for promo directing, also for The Wild.

Nonhle Goes to Hollywood won an award too - yes, in this universe. Birthmark grabbed silver in the category for best entertainment promo. E.tv won a silver in the category ''something for nothing'' for a weather promo, while community TV station, Tshwane Television won gold in the category for its ''I am Tshwane Television promo''.

E.tv also won silver in the category for best news and current affairs promo for the eNews Channel, while DStv scooped the gold in this category for its ''A Right Royal Wedding on DStv'' promo. BBC Worldwide won a silver for best kids promo for the CBeebies channel and The Walt Disney Company won a gold in this category for ''Close Encounters of the Ferb Kind''.

Monarchy won silver for M-Net Movies 1 HD in the category for best television image campaign, while BBC Worldwide got the gold for BBC Lifestyle.

UPDATE Wednesday 2 November 2011 21:00 - I've just been made aware that M-Net, as in the M-Net channel (DStv 101) is actually a bigger winner than M-Net Movies 1 HD if the total number of awards won by the M-Net channel are added together.

I have now gone back to my document to count the individual wins for the M-Net channel compared to M-Net Movies 1 HD, and it's indeed the case that M-Net in total wins, got more than M-Net Movies 1 HD. It's still as I said, a big win for M-Net (the broadcaster) at the PromaxBDA Africa awards. M-Net (referring to the channel, not the broadcaster) scooped 4 Gold Muse awards by Orijin, and 4 Gold Awards by Clearwater, plus the ones Monarchy won for M-Net's The Wild.

Orijin also won 4 Silver Muse awards for M-Net, Clearwater got 12 Silver Muse awards for M-Net, and there's the Gold Muse award for the excellent Firefly promo that was won by Ogilvy/Black Ginger/Shy the Sun which is also M-Net's promo.

BREAKING. Cape Town's CTV community TV station starts to stream the channel's daily broadcast on the internet.



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The Cape Town community television station CTV has decided to stream its linear broadcast on the internet with the community station's feed that can now be followed 24 hours a day on CTV's website.

''This is a new milestone for CTV,'' says Karen Thorne, CTV station director. Last year the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) granted CTV a 7 year licence that now reaches an estimated 1,3 million viewers per month.

''Transmission on the web will enable Capetonians located in other areas to view CTV's programme lineup of documentaries, music and talk shows, movies and magazine programmes. Many of these programmes deal with the issues, lifestyles, events and attractions of our beautiful city and the Western Cape,'' says Karen Thorne.

CTV also started a daily news service, similar to the community television station SowetoTV. CTV now has news at 19:55, just before taking the Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / TopTV 401) channel feed between 20:00 and 21:00.

''CTV has grown substantially over the past three years and has doubled its income in each year of operation,'' says Karen Thorne. ''We are now on a sound financial footing and we are planning for the migration to digital broadcasting because we expect to be carried on a digital multiplex towards the end of 2013.''

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Bloomberg Television business channel becomes freely available on the iPad.


Following Sky News in March that made it's TV channel available on the iPad, Bloomberg Television (DStv 411) is now following by making its TV channel available in real-time, live on the iPad, with additional content and on-demand stories - all for free.

The global 24 hour business channel is making its channel available to anyone who downloads the iPad application which isn't tied to the iPad user having to be a subscriber.

The Bloomberg Television iPad application has two aims says Oke Okaro, the global head of Bloomberg mobile. ''To enrich the Bloomberg Television experience on the iPad, which means making contextually relevant information easily accessible, and to get people to spend more time with the Bloomberg brand.''

Viewers can of course watch Bloomberg Television live in portrait or landscape mode, while on-demand stories can immediately be played. Bloomberg Television also promises some iPad exclusive content as well soon.

Viewers can also customise a special ticket to show desired news from specific fiancial sectors or markets.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Programming note: CNN International working on a new half hour special, Leonardo - The Lost Painting, about the rediscovered work of art.


CNN International (DStv 401) will show a half hour special Leonardo - The Lost Painting on Saturday 12 November at 15:00 and 22:30 (South African time) getting remarkable access to the very rare and recently rediscovered painting ''Salvator Mundi'' by Leonardo da Vinci.

The work by the Renaissance master that depicts the head and shoulders of Christ and which is 500 years old, has been cleaned and restored and is in remarkably good condition.

Leonardo - The Lost Painting will explore the amazing discovery of this new Da Vinci painting - one of only 15 by the artist that still exist including ''The Mona Lisa'' and ''The Last Supper''.

Arts expert Nick Glass travels to New York and becomes one of the first few people on earth to see the painting first-hand. He meets meets Robert Simon, an old masters dealer acting on behalf of the painting's owners and talks to Dianne Modestini, the restorer who brought the painting back to its original state.

Nick Glass will also visit Florence to learn more about the life and work of this ultimate Renaissance man and interviews with world-renowned Leonardo experts give a fascinating insight into his contributions to science and medicine.

Leonardo - The Lost Painting will be shown on CNN International on Saturday 12 November at 15:00 and 22:30, Sunday 13 November at 11:30 and 22:30, Monday 14 November at 05:30 and 09:30, Tuesday 15 November at 11:30 and 18:30 and Wednesday 16 November at 06:30 (All South African times).

Limited version of the M-Net channel that excludes movies added to DStv Mobile and the DStv Drifta device from 1 November.


A truncated and reduced version of the M-Net channel (DStv 101) will be added to DStv Mobile and the DStv Drifta device from 1 November with the programming M-Net considers to be its prime time line-up - but excluding movies - that will be looped for 8 and a half hours per day as an M-Net Mobile TV channel.

The M-Net channel will join other mobile versions of channels such as E! Entertainment and The Cartoon Network on DStv Mobile which are not (yet) running full mirror versions but truncated programming while licencing rights are slowly but surely being negotiated with content providers.

The M-Net channel on DStv Mobile will start on 1 November and run between 14:00 and 22:30 daily and be the prime time TV shows seen on M-Net on DStv and that constitute the channel's ''prime time'' block. M-Net today didn't respond to media enquiries regarding what constitutes its prime time hours and which would give an indication of what shows subscribers would be able to watch.

The M-Net Mobile channel will not include movies since DStv has not (yet) had luck in clearing film rights for cellphones as a new platform in South Africa. ''M-Net is thrilled to be able to bring the Magic to subscribers on yet another exciting and enterprising platform,'' said Mpeo Makape, M-Net's new marketing manager in a press statement.

''Consumers have expressed great interest in having the channel on DStv Mobile and acquiring it is a notable occasion,'' said Motheo Matsau, DStv Mobile's head of sales and marketing in the same statement.

Major new 5 part documentary series, How We Invented the World, coming to Discovery Channel in 2012.


Discovery Networks International has commission and is working on its biggest documentary series yet - How We Invented the World - which will be seen in 2012 in South Africa as well as 209 other countries around the world on the Discovery Channel (DStv 121).

The documentary series of 5 hours will look at the most iconic inventions of our modern age ranging from cellphones to airplane black boxes, and will also make use of advanced special effects to show the possible future of certain inventions and technology used today - for instance transparent airplanes.

How We Invented the World will be filmed around the world. ''How We Invented the World is Discovery Networks International's biggest and most ambitious commission to date,'' says Julian Bellamy, Discovery Networks International's creative director and head of production and development.

''As the prototype for globalized TV in the future, this series is epic in scale, idea and budget, while simultaneously retaining local flavor. It's a fantastic way to kick-start our drive into more original productions that are international ideas that feed Discovery Channel's global footprint.''

BREAKING. Al Jazeera to launch a sports news channel in November; will initially be in Arabic in the Middle East and North Africa.


Al Jazeera (TopTV 401 / DStv 406) will launch a new sports news channel in November although unlike the current news channel that has an English and Arabic version, the sports channel will start with a Arabic channel feed only and be available in the Middle East and Nort Africa initially.

In a press release the Qatar-based news network said today that technical and editorial teams are ''working around the clock'' to launch Al Jazeera Sports News on Tuesday, 1 November at 16:00 (South Africa time). The launch of Al Jazeera Sports News in the region co-incides with the 15th anniversary of Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera Sports News will broadcast hourly news bulletins and 20 sports news programs that will discuss various types of sports. The sports news channel will initially be available on Egypt's Nilesat platform.

''The news programs will cover all the major international tournaments and sports events, especially those exclusive to Al Jazeera Sports, such as the Spanish, the Italian, and the French and the European football leagues. The channel will also feature weekly programs presenting news about popular sports like basketball, athletics, tennis and motorsports.''

In December 2010 Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament.

TopTV turns its 8 Top channels commercial, will start to sell TV advertising through its TopTV Airtime Sales division.

On Digital Media's (ODM) TopTV is turning the South African pay TV operator's 8 self-compiled Top channels commercial for the first time since the operator launched its commercial pay TV service in May 2010.

TopTV that has been running a testing phase will now be selling TV commercials on its 8 Top channels which include Top One, Top Movies, Top Movies +2, Top Movies +24, Top Crime, Top History, Top Explore and Top Gospel.

TopTV says the list of commercial enabled TV channels on the TopTV bouquet will grow over the next few months and will be extended to 3rd party channels.

TopTV Airtime Sales will work with a manual advertising booking process for now and has also entered into negotiations with Landmark, an airtime sales system used by other broadcasters in South Africa.

''We are very happy with the positive response from the advertising industry thus far,'' says Jean Meyer, the vice president of TopTV Airtime Sales in a statement. '' There is definite interest in the TopTV Airtime Sales offering and key decision makers at agencies. Advertisers seem to share our vision of where this business will be in a year''.

New drama Da Vinci's Demons to be produced by BBC Worldwide Productions and distributed internationally.


BBC Worldwide Productions will, in conjunction with America's Starz TV channel produce the new TV drama entitled Da Vinci's Demons.

BBC Worldwide and Starz that produced Camelot currently shown on Fox Entertainment (TopTV 180) commissioned Da Vinci's Demons from FlashForward creator David Goyer and will revolve around the life of a 25 year old Leonardo Da Vinci as a young Renaissance artist and inventor.

''The young life of this incredibly complex and brilliant man has not yet been explored," said Jane Tranter, head of BBC Worldwide Productions.

Da Vinci's Demons will begin production early in 2012 start on television in 2013 and will be distributed by BBC Worldwide and a possible first season will consist of 8 episodes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

BREAKING. Sanctuary drops Agam Dharsi as a regular cast member in the 4th season, as the character of Kate Freelander is written out for now.


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Mmm. Who's talked about this yet? No-one. Not here or Middle Earth.

Sanctuary has quietly dropped another main cast member. The 4th season of Sanctuary just started in America, and gone and seemingly written out is Agam Dharsi, who played Kate Freelander the past two seasons. She might be back. Who knows.

Agam Dharsi immediately disappeared from the opening title sequence, no longer standing with the other main characters. Her name also no longer features. She appeared in the first two episodes and has a few lines at the end of the second episode of the 4th season telling Magnus she's leaving to help with the resettlement of the destroyed Praxis (no, not the Klingon moon - Middle Earth).

I can also scoop that South African viewers are still going to wait a loooong time to see the 4th season of Sanctuary on M-Net Series (DStv 110). I can exclusively reveal that Sanctuary's 4th season will start showing almost a full year from now at best. Sanctuary's 4th season is ''tentatively'' I'm told, scheduled for September 2012.

ALSO READ: M-Net picks up the 4th season of Sanctuary.

BREAKING. Quick cancellation of the once-buzz new drama The Playboy Club sees it removed from M-Net, possibly going to another channel.


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I can exclusively reveal that M-Net that had - or actually has - the broadcasting rights to the brand-new, now canceled, initially high-buzz TV drama The Playboy Club, is now making plans to jettison the show to bunny pasture.

Sources are telling me that The Playboy Club set in the 60s which would have been seen on the M-Net (DStv 101) channel, won't happen anymore. It means South African viewers won't see The Playboy Club, or it will be moved to another M-Net channel like M-Net Series (DStv 110). The Playboy Club produced only 7 episodes, of which 3 were broadcast.

''Possibly M-Net Series; possibly not at all anymore,'' I'm told my one.

Discovery Networks International goes on a treasure hunt with new show Salvage Hunters to be shown worldwide.

Discovery Networks International has commissioned a brand-new TV show entitled Salvage Hunters that will be following treasure hunters looking for hidden riches.

Salvage Hunters will be shown in South Africa as well as elsewhere across Europe, the Middle East, South America, Asia and Africa, with a first season of 10 episodes. Salvage Hunters that will be following modern day treasure hunters through Britain is produced by Cineflix Productions UK.

BREAKING. The Walking Dead on FX just renewed for a 3rd season as the zombie show becomes a worldwide TV hit.


The Walking Dead that just started its second season in America on the AMC channel and shows simultaneously on FX (TopTV 110) in South Africa, has just been renewed for a 3rd season in America.

The second season of the zombie drama show on Tuesdays at 21:15 has made South Africa the 3rd country in the world to start the 2nd season of The Walking Dead after its American broadcasting date. The second season will have 7 episodes now, with a further 6 episodes starting on FX in mid-February 2012.

''Today we are pleased to announce that the 'dead' shall live as we proudly renew The Walking Dead for a third season on AMC and, globally, with our terrific partners at Fox International Channels (FIC),'' says Charlie Collier, AMC's president.

''We are thankful for everyone's contribution in front of and behind the camera as we continue to make The Walking Dead a unique television experience. And, we are so proud as it continues to set viewership records around the world.''

FIRST LOOK. New set for the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, weeknights on CNBC Africa.


The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, weeknights on CNBC Africa (DStv 410) at 00:30, just got a brand-new set.

The new NBC Nightly News set replaces the previous one which was used for exactly 4 years since 22 October 2007 and is housed in the 30 Rockefeller building in New York.

BREAKING. The Wendy Williams Show on BET renewed for a further 2 seasons until 2014.



The Wendy Williams Show, weekdays on BET (TopTV 190) at 12:00 and 21:30 (South African time) has just been renewed for a further 2 seasons.

Deadline is first with the news that The Wendy Williams Show , shown in America on Fox but distributed internationall and seen in Britain and South Africa on BET, has been renewed until 2014.

BREAKING. SOS public pressure group 'disillusioned' and 'disappointed' with SABC chairperson dr Ben Ngubane.


The Support Public Broadcasting Coalition (SOS), a pressure group representing a vast number of the biggest industry stakeholders in South Africa's public broadcasting sphere is blasting the SABC's chairperson dr Ben Ngubane, saying the group is disillusioned and disappointed in him as well as the unstable management at South Africa's beleaguered public broadcaster.

The SOS has just come out swinging in a strongly-worded open letter addressed and sent to dr Ben Ngubane directly, as well as to the new minister of communications Dina Pule, saying the group ''want to register our disillusionment and disappointment'' and demanding answers before 1 November of the struggling dr Ben Ngubane that the SOS Coalition says has failed in his ''promise to the citizens of South Africa when you were publically interviewed in parliament'' to ''place at the centre quality, local public programming reflecting the rich diversity of South African experience and opinion''.

In the scathing letter, the SOS Coalition says that the struggling SABC is besieged by ''a litany of problems including a complete lack of vision, poor corporate governance, ongoing financial mismanagement, and multiple resignations of board members. Since January 2010 there has been no stable management team at the SABC – including no permanent CEO, COO and CFO. Further, the SABC has failed to commission any significant local programming since 2008''.

The SOS Coalition demands answers as to the continuing delay of the appointment of a permanent new CEO, COO and CFO despite the overwhelming urgency of these appointments.

The SOS wants to know why the SABC has employed Justice Ndaba to run its critical turnaround strategy despite the fact that he allegedly has a credit default judgement against him and has business interests that conflict with his SABC employment. The SOS also demands to know from dr Ben Ngubane clarity on the employment status of Justice Ndaba and whether he is a full-time employee or a consultant, and if he is a consultant why he has been sent on expensive international executive training courses paid for by the SABC.

The SOS wants detailed information on the termination of the contract of the company secretary Thelma Melk and demands to know what happened with the SABC's R20 million car scandal and the reasons why inappropriate luxury vehicles were secured, not utilised, and not insured.

The group also wants detailed reasons why the SABC has refused to use its Request for Proposals Book - or so-called RFP Book - to transparently commission new local content. ''The 2009 interim SABC board requested that the 2010 SABC board prioritise this,'' says the SOS Coalition. ''The 2010 SABC board then promised the RFP Book would be released in June 2010, however only limited proposals were released. To date no full book of RFPs have been released with no explanations and no apologies. This system was an important marker in the transformation of the SABC.''

ALSO READ: SABC union Bemawu demands the resignation of SABC chairperson dr Ben Ngubane, calling him a liar.

BREAKING. New show, Global Exchange, coming to CNN International from November; anchored by John Defterios.


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CNN International (DStv 401) is starting a new show called Global Exchange which will start on the global 24 hour news channel on Monday 7 November and which will look at the impact and influence of emerging markets.

The hour long Global Exchange will be anchored by John Defterios and will be done from Abu Dhabi. CNN International is cancelling Icon and Revealed.

Global Exchange will look at the major trends and undustries shaping emerging market economies, from luxury brands and Western companies to commodity prices and what is driving growth in these markets, as well as the cost of doing business here, and the cost of this growth to societies. The new show will also include a full market update from around the world.

Dineo Moeketsi and Banksy W to be the hosts of the 2011 Channel O Music Video Awards on 11 November.


Channel O presenter Dineo Moeketsi and Nigeria's Banky W will be the hosts of the 2011 Channel O Music Video Awards broadcast live on Channel O (DStv 320) on Friday 11 November from 21:00.

The 2011 Channel O Music Video Awards which I will be attending at the Sandton Convention Centre as usual, will feature performances from AKA, Navio, L-Tido, Flavour and DJ Cleo.

SABC union Bemawu demands the resignation of dr. Ben Ngubane, SABC chairperson, for being a liar.


The SABC union, the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) is demanding the resignation of dr Ben Ngubane, the SABC chairperson, calling dr Ben Ngubane a liar and the beleaguered chairperson's statements regarding Justice Ndaba ''the last straw''.

ALSO READ: Shocker! Justice Ndaba who the SABC fronted as its acting head of human capital services is in fact an expensive private consultant, says the SABC.
ALSO READ: SABC trade union Bemawu slams the malmanaged SABC over the SABC's shocking claim that ''Justice Ndaba is an outsider''.

Last week dr Ben Ngubane told a shocked parliament that Justice Ndaba has not been permanently appointed by the SABC and was ''an outsider'' and a private consultant. The SABC trade union is enraged and says dr Ben Ngubane must resign.

''SABC staff records show that Justice Ndaba was appointed by an SABC board member in the corporation's turnaround planning unit (TPU) on a one-year fixed-term contract. This was done outside of the SABC's approved governance structures and recruitment processes. At the time, Solly Mokoetle (former group chief executive of the SABC) raised the same issue with the SABC board.''

'' Justice Ndaba was then reassigned by the chairperson of the SABC board to act as head of strategy as well as the head of human capital services – still as a permanent employee. Dr Ben Ngubane is acutely aware of this appointment,'' says Bemawu.

''It is misconduct in the extreme to lie to parliament – dismissible misconduct,'' says Bemawu.

BREAKING. Al Jazeera to start a brand-new, hard-hitting investigative magazine show, Africa Investigates, to cover the entire African continent.


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Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / TopTV 401) is becoming the first 24 hour global news channel to produce a brand-new weekly show as an investigate programme and devote a weekly timeslot to a hard-hitting investigative magazine show that will be specifically covering Africa and set out to uncover corruption and expose fraud and crime on the continent.

Africa Investigtes will start on Wednesday 2 November at 23:30 (South African time with several weekly repeats) on Al Jazeera as a groundbreaking new weekly show and a true world first for journalist in Africa.

Africa Investigates - with the first episode (2 November) that will talk to the various journalists who will be working on the show and who will explain the many dangers they face - will aim to uncover everything from corruption, fraud, abuse to child trafficking across the length and breadth of Africa.

The second episode of Africa Investigates on 9 November will focus on the gold fraudsters of Ghana.

Al Jazeera describes Africa Investigates as a ''hard-hitting investigative programme which gives some of Africa's best journalists the opportunity to pursue high-level targets across the continent'' and a show that will ''put wrongdoing and abuse under an international television spotlight''.

Monday, October 24, 2011

BREAKING. BBC Worldwide appoints Nina Laricheva as vice president for commercial development for the Africa region.

BBC Worldwide Channels that runs channels such as BBC Entertainment, BBC Knowledge, BBC Lifestyle and CBeebies in South Africa, has appointed Nina Laricheva  as vice president commercial development for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

Nina Laricheva will report to Ian McDonough, the senior vice president and general manager for the EMEA region for BBC Worldwide Channels who had the position before her until August last year. Nina Laricheva will be responsible for driving revenue growth and the strategic development of all of these BBC TV channels, as well as BBC World News seen in South Africa on both TopTV and DStv.

Nina Laricheva will be responsible for the sales and business strategy for the TV channels in South Africa and negotiating multi-platform distribution deals with local teams. She previously worked as sales director at Universal Networks International and as commercial director for Discovery Networks Europe. She will start at BBC Worldwide on 1 November.

''The portfolio has enormous potential for growth in EMEA and I look forward to developing new and existing business models with the view to creating greater relevance to our valued viewers,'' Nina Laricheva said in a BBC Worldwide press statement. This month saw the first original commission for the EMEA region - Come Dine With Me South Africa for BBC Entertainment (DStv 120).

Disney Junior commissions new ''animation Western'' preschool show entitled Oki's Oasis featuring Mandy Moore.


Disney Junior (DStv 309) has commissioned an ''animation Western'' show entitled Oki's Oasis aimed at preschool children which will start on Disney Junior from 2013 and which will feature the voice of Mandy Moore.

Oki's Oasis will be produced by Wildbrain Entertainment and will start from 2012 on Disney Junior TV channels worldwide as well as Disney Junior programming blocks. Oki will be voiced by Mandy Moore a sheriff cat who has to keep her Wild West town safe from evildoers in the episodes which will be 11 minutes long each.

''Oki's Oasis uses the legend of the Old West to impart social skills and lessons for young kids about being a good friend and neighbour," says Nancy Kanter, senior vice president of original programming and general manager of Disney Junior Worldwide.

BREAKING. Bloomberg Television appoints new head of American newsgathering and a new West Coast bureau chief.


Wendy Brundige has been appointed as West Coast bureau chief and Justin Dial as the head of American newsgathering at Bloomberg Television (DStv 411).

Wendy Brundige will be based in San Francisco and will oversee editorial content and production for Bloomberg West, the daily show at 00:00 South African time, presented by Emily Chang and Cory Johnson from the business news channel's studios there.

''We're thrilled to welcome Wendy and Justin to the Bloomberg team,'' says Andrew Morse, head of Bloomberg TV in America in a press release. ''Their experience and expertise will be invaluable as we pursue our goal of becoming the most influential business and financial news network in the world.''

Newly commissioned factual entertainment show exploring Britain's different counties to start on History in April 2012.

History (DStv 254), run by AETN Networks UK, has commissioned a new factual entertainment show entitled No County for Old Men that is scheduled to be shown on History in April 2012. There will be 8 episodes.

In No County for Old Men, the comedians and friends Simon Day and John Thomson attempt to uncover and discover the differences between different British countries as they travel from Cornwall to Cumberland, Surrey to Suffolk and from Herefordshire to Carmarthenshire.

''The counties of Britain are living historical artefacts and Simon Day and John Thomson's comedic peregrination through our county customs and characters will show how our history is alive and evolving all around us,'' says Adam MacDonald, AETN Networks UK's vice president of programming.

Programming note: Second season of Pair of Kings to start on Disney XD on Saturday 5 November at 08:30 with a double episode.

The second season of the live action teen sitcom Pair of Kings will start on Disney XD (DStv 304) with a two-parter on Saturday 5 November at 08:30, and then new episodes every Saturday.

The second season of Pair of Kings with twins Brady and Boomer started in June in America and will probably have 21 episodes similar to the first season.

In the season opener two parter entitled ''The King of Legend'' the pair of brothers awaken an ancient statue called Zadoc that expands the ''Dark Side'' of the island they now rule over, putting the entire island at danger.

BREAKING. eNews furious after eNews Channel disappears off DStv; viewers clueless and upset after the news channel freezes.


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MultiChoice's DStv ''froze'' South African pay TV operator's most popular 24 hour TV news channel today with no explanation as to why it happened or what is going on.

The disappearance today just after 14:00 of the eNews Channel (DStv 403) - the most watched TV news channel in South Africa - left viewers first puzzled and then fuming, on the day that big news broke about the ousting of South Africa's national police commissioner and a major cabinet reshuffle.

eNews is blaming MultiChoice's DStv engineers who were, according to the broadcaster, unable to switch-over to the supposed back-up system after a massive signal failure occured. MultiChoice told TV with Thinus that it first have to find out what happened before the platform can comment.

The eNews Channel wasn't able to broadcast from just after 14:00 today. Late today eNews had to issue an apology. ''eNews apologises to viewers after being off the air for 47 minutes,'' the broadcaster said in a statement released late today. The major signal failure of the eNews Channel occured at 14:08, causing a frozen image of the channel for an hour while big South African news was breaking.

Although a second redundant line - a so-called back-up - to MultiChoice was operational, eNews says that ''DStv were unable to switch over immediately''. According to eNews ''usually the switch over to the second signal would only take a few seconds, or minutes at most'' but viewers were left channel-less for an hour. ''DStv regrettably took longer than expected to switch over,'' Rob Brown, head of technical operations for the eNews Channel, said in the statement the channel issued.

eNews is fuming - and so are viewers. 'We are very disappointed that the switch over took so long,'' says Patrick Conroy, group head of news at eNews. ''We have redundancy lines in place for just this kind of problem and should never have been off air. We have received numerous complaints from viewers, which is entirely understandable.''

While MultiChoice is yet to respond to what happened and why MultiChoice wasn't able to make the switch immediately, eNews is compiling a report while e.tv engineers are planning to take up the matter with DStv management.

Meanwhile a high ranking eNews insider tells TV with Thinus that eNews feels ''embarrassed'' and ''let down''. ''It also exposes vulnerabilities in what is supposed to never happen - vulnerabilities in what is considered the back-up plan. Interesting conversations are going to be taking place because of what happened today.''

BREAKING. Roy is out; Dina is in. Dina Pule takes over as South Africa's new minister of communications as Roy Padayachie shuffles out.


South Africa's television industry is reacting with shock about the just-made announcement that Roy Padayachie is out and that Dina Pule is in as South Africa's new minister of communications.

President Jacob Zuma announced a ministerial shake-up and one of the government department's affected is the department of communications. Roy Padayachie is becoming the new minister of public service and administration. Dina Pule takes over from him. She used to be the deputy minister for performance monitoring and evaluation.

Roy Padayachie was South Africa's minister of communications for exactly a year, after he replaced the controversial Siphiwe Nyanda in a shocking cabinet change in October 2010.

Early reservations from South Africa's TV industry about Dina Pule's appointment mostly centres around two issues: the SABC, and South Africa's digital migration process to digital terrestrial television (DTT).

People I've spoken to the past hour are concerned that it will take Dina Pule (too much) time to get up to speed with the unmitigated melodrama of the beleaguered South African public broadcaster that is still for all intent and purposes on life-support.

Will Dina Pule have to ''remeet'' all the multitude of stakeholders again, just like Roy Padayachie had to do when he took over from a retired general? And secondly: does Dina Pule have the insight and communications background to steer South Africa's crucial transition to digital television?

With South Africa's television industry that needs immediate leadership, insight, right decisions, and speedy solutions to crucial matters regarding the SABC and DTT insofar it concerns public broadcasting, several people are immediately wondering not if, but how big, the setback will be with an industry that has to reset and grapple yet again with a new minister of communications.

''I think the big issue is that we must keep the broadcasting policy review process on track - it is critical to the long term health of broadcasting,'' Kate Skinner, coordinator of the Support Public Broadcasting Coalition (SOS) public pressure group tells TV with Thinus.

''We need new strong broadcasting laws in the public interest. The deep structural governance, oversight and funding problems in the sector stem mainly - although certainly not only - from gaps in the legislation. We need a commitment from the new minister and deputy minister that this will be prioritised,'' says Kate Skinner, commenting on the latest communication minister shuffle.

''Also, we certainly can not afford any further delays on the digital migration process. The new minister and deputy minister must very urgently communicate their plans on these issues. We very urgently need a new vision for public broadcasting - the hope is that the new minister and deputy minister will be able to craft this,'' she says.

BREAKING. Entries open for MasterChef South Africa on M-Net; contestants must first complete a set of pre-registration questions.


Entries has opened today, as I told you RIGHT HERE would happen from today for MasterChef South Africa on M-Net that will be producing a local version of the cooking reality show.

MasterChef South Africa will be co-produced by Curious Pictures and Lucky Bean Media and South Africans can now enter online at the M-Net website.

Potential contestants will have to complete a ''pre-registration'' online, since the MasterChef South Africa producers will want to see potential contestants first, just like the screening that happened for Survivor SA.

Contestants have to indicate on the pre-registration for MasterChef South Africa whether they have worked professionally in a kitchen before or not (it won't disqualify you), had any training as a chef, and whether Cape Town, Durban or Johannesburg are the closest city for an audition.

Then contestants have to then give their personal contact information, tell about your cooking experience, and give more personal information about who you are and why you would make a great contestant for MasterChef South Africa.

Potential MasterChef South Africa contestants have to answer questions such as: Who's your biggest cooking influence? When did you realize that cooking and making food is what you want to do? When did you first fell in love with food? Who taught you how to cook? What's your favourite dish? Of course there's no incorrect answers. Contestants also have to say why they want to ''change your life to become a professional in the cooking industry''.

Potential contestants are asked to tell more about their loved ones, their hobbies and share the ''great ambition in your life'', and separately say where you see yourself in five years' time. Contestants have to divulge the most difficult thing in their life so far and their greatest achievements.