SABC NOW WANTS MONEY FOR 'MUST CARRY'

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

BREAKING. StarTimes will be taking over TopTV; shareholders vote for StarTimes business plan, shutting out Wananchi and Dynamic TV.

TopTV will be effectively taken over by China's StarTimes already operating pay-TV services in several African countries and giving StarTimes and China with deep pockets its first - and very important - foothold in South Africa, the continent's most sophisticated, developed and lucrative satellite pay-TV market.

TopTV's television content partners threatened finally leave ODM if a deal wasn't voted through today, which would effectively have seen the TopTV service go dark exactly three years since it started its commercial pay-TV service on 1 May 2010.

TopTV owes Fox International a massive R43,8 million which amounts to 3% overall of TopTV's debt to creditors. Warner Bros. is owed R25,4 million or 1,7% of the total, Paramount is owed R13,1 million and Manchester United Television is owed R9,5 million which now shows why the MUTV channel was suddenly yanked in November 2012

TopTV also owes Turner Broadcasting System R6,4 million which is why Turner's channel's suddenly disappeared in December 2012 when Silver, Showtime and Star! was yanked.  Of course Top Junior and Top Movies +24 was suddenly discontinued earlier in April. TopTV also owes The Walt Disney Company R7,2 million.

In total ODM owes about R1,5 billion to creditors combined.

Shareholders of the beleaguered On Digital Media (ODM), currently in business rescue since the end of October 2012 and facing the liquidation of the loss-making TopTV voted overwhelmingly in favour of the StarTimes bail-out.

The StarTimes cash-flush rescue will not just keep the TopTV lights on and prevent liquidation immediately, it will also return TopTV to a solvent state for a minimum of the next three years.

TopTV was overspending at the pace of R25 million per month by October 2012.

ODM wants to start a separate TopTV porn bouquet of three sex channels with a R18 rating supplied by Playboy TV UK / Benelux Limited in England and got approval from South Africa's broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to to do.

TopTV workers are scared of the Chinese and the StarTimes bail-out; fearing job losses and bad Chinese TV content.

While a vote majority vote of at least 75% is needed to approve a business rescue bail-out plan, a whopping 99% of ODM's creditors and current shareholders which include the Industrial Development Corp (IDC), Development Bank of Southern Africa, the National Empowerment Fund and the European satellite operator SES, voted in favour of the StarTimes business rescue plan.

Dynamic TV which suddenly popped up as a contender to bail-out TopTV on Sunday - enabled through a loan of R100 million and massive capital backing from MultiChoice which is actually ODM's rival - tried desperately to keep TopTV out of Chinese hands. Dynamic TV would have paid creditors 20c for every rand of debt as opposed to the 10c per rand from StarTimes.

MultiChoice was willing to invest R30 million in TopTV per month to prevent what now effectively means a take-over by StarTimes of the TopTV service. StarTimes will install its own CEO according to its business plan.

The third bidder who suddenly emerged on Monday night was the Wananchi group of Kenya which is running the successful and growing pay-TV service Zuku in Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Malawi.

Both Dynamic TV and the Wananchi group seems to have taken too long to put in their offers. Shareholders already saw the StarTimes business rescue plan and had time to go through the details, and StarTimes was seen as the last and only remaining safety line to prevent TopTV from going under.

Shareholders were desperate for a possible deal from a new capital investor and wasn't aware of Dynamic TV and the Wananchi group's offers until 48 hours and less than 24 hours before the crucial business rescue vote.

The StarTimes deal which also offered TopTV a way out to prevent liquidation, made it very clear to ODM that StarTimes was not going to entertainment amendmends to the existing business plan and would immediately exit if shareholders voted no, or not for, StarTimes' offer today on the last day of April.

Meanwhile StarTimes had already done due diligence, blasted TopTV's terrible business practice and mistakes, and issued clear goals of how it wants to transform TopTV bad pay-TV service which - given the precarious position TopTV is in - made shareholders feel safer opting for the StarTimes deal as opposed to the other new two bidders.

TopTV's business rescue plan from StarTime was preliminary adopted by an overwhelming majority of 93,9% of creditors that voted and the business rescue plan was thereafter adopted by a unanimous vote of preferential shareholders (100%) and a majority vote of ordinary shareholders (99,3%) in favour.

ODM's  business rescue officer says the newly adopted business rescue plan is binding on TopTV, all the creditors as well as the shareholders.

ODM in a press statement says that Peter van der Steen, ODM's business rescue practitioner "is now required to take all necessary steps to satisfy all creditors and implement the adopted business rescue plan."

BREAKING. SA's Got Talent back for its 4th season on e.tv and looking for contestants in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town in May.


Just like with Step Up or Step Out 3 there's no press statement or official media announcement from e.tv but SA's Got Talent on e.tv and produced by Rapid Blue is back for a 4th season and now looking for contestants.

The fourth season of SA's Got Talent will start later in the year on e.tv and nationwide auditions is taking place in May when varied acts will have to prove their mettle in front of the judges Shado Twala,  Ian von Memerty and Kabelo Mabalane who will be joined by comedian Tats Nkonzo hosting the live shows.

The fourth season of SA's Got Talent is once again looking for acts of any age and audition doors will open on 07:00 until 12:00 on audition days which will be taking place in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town. Contestants will have to perform their act for 2 minutes and need an entry form which can be completed on the day, or can be pre-done by sending an email to talent@rapidblue.co.za.

Dancers must bring their own music on a CD, singers can use a backtrack or sing acapella and musicians need to bring along their own instruments.

18 May, Durban
Olive Convention Centre

25 & 26 May, Johannesburg
Focus Room

1 & 2 June, Cape Town
River Club

TopTV must now register as a porn purveyor with the Film and Publication Board (FPB) for its trio of sex channels.


On Digital Media (ODM) which runs the struggling TopTV satellite pay-TV service in South Africa will now have to register as a porn purveyor broadcasting sexually explicit content says South Africa's Film and Publication Board (FPB).

South Africa's broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) last week announced that ODM's application for authorisation for a trio of sex channels as part of a separate porn bouquet is approved.

TopTV is currently in business rescue and facing liquidation unless China's StarTimes or Dynamic TV with a loan from MultiChoice gets approval to become a new capital investor.

TopTV wants to broadcast the three TV channels - Playboy TV, Desire TV and Private Spice - as a separate bouquet and with a rating classification of R18.

The channels are provided to TopTV by Playboy TV UK / Benelux Limited in England and are uplinked through SES Platform Services in Munich, Germany to South Africa.

According to the FPB, the pay-TV operator will have to register "as a distributor of sexually explicit content".

According to the FPB, "distributors of sexually explicit content which may be classified as X18 must register with the FPB and must also be holder of a licence to conduct the business of adult premises (broadcasting)."

Monday, April 29, 2013

SHOCKING. Old and ailing Nelson Mandela shown in 'exclusive' SABC footage on television; SABC comes across as highly exploitative.


YouTube/SABC

The SABC and SABC Television News bragged and showed the nation tonight its "exclusive" yet highly tabloidized and shocking visuals of an old, frail and ailing Nelson Mandela, clearly not in good health.

It is raising questions as to why only the SABC - and accompanied by ANC officials - were granted access as the only television and news outlet to film the elderly statesman after his multiple recent hospital stays.

The SABC and the ANC visited Nelson Mandela earlier today at his Hougton home, with the SABC shockingly showing the highly undignified footage of a vacant-looking Nelson Mandela, most staring out in front of him, not smiling, grey-skinned, pale and gaunt-looking, and almost saying nothing.

President Jacob Zuma tries to hold the expression-less Nelson Mandela's hand and whose head has to be propped up by a pillow, but Nelson Mandela doesn't respond and Jacob Zuma just gives up.

While EVERYBODY WORTH THEIR SALT OR PROFESSIONALISM IN THE PRESS OR MEDIA who has ever covered Nelson Mandela knows (as I myself have done before, and you read and are instructed to, and obey it to a fault) is that NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY IS ALLOWED.

Yet the SABC shows one Mandela grandchild (clearly with no oversight or supervision or media intervention) blatantly asking him to "smile" as a photo is taken with a flash going off in the old man's face. Nelson Mandela who can hardly move, closes his eyes - extremely sensitive after years of working in limestone quarries.

The SABC's presidential correspondent Mzwandile Mbeje, took to Twitter earlier today to hype up the SABC "exclusive" with the ANC: "SABCNews brings you the first pictures of Mandela and the ANC top six, Zuma, Cyril (Ramaphosa) and (Baleka) Mbete among others since his discharge from hospital."

The shocking visuals are a far cry from the ANC statement from president Jacob Zuma saying that Nelson Mandela is "in good shape and in good spirits" and "that's he really up and about".

"Madiba looked more like a prop in that photo op with the ANC bigwigs. Made me feel uneasy," tweeted the eNCA's NewsNight co-anchor Iman Rappetti.

The Originals as a spin-off teen TV drama of The Vampires picked up as its own new series.


The Vampire Diaries seen in South Africa on M-Net Series (DStv 114) is getting its own spin-off entitled The Originals which will become its own stand-alone drama series about vampires in New Orleans.

The spin-off of The Originals will revolve around the characters of Elijah (Daniel Gillies), (Klaus) Joseph Morgan and (Rebekah) Claire Holt.

"As soon as we saw last night's episode of The Vampire Diaries, we knew we wanted more of The Originals.," says the American TV channel CW in a statement after The Vampire Diaries had broadcast an episode which served as a backdoor possible pilot to The Originals and which M-Net Series viewers will see a few months from now when the show resumes from May in South Africa.

"Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson have done a fantastic job with The Vampire Diaries, which is as fast-paced and well-written as ever, and Julie has created an equally compelling world for The Originals."

"It's almost like a war is brewing. It's on a grander scale - it's less about prom and more about a war between the vampires and the witches," says Joseph Morgan of The Originals.

Dynamic TV makes a bid for On Digital Media (ODM) and its TopTV pay-TV service, with Dynamic TV backed by a loan from MultiChoice.


MultiChoice which operates the DStv satellite pay-TV platform, is giving R500 million in financial backing in the form of a possible loan to Dynamic TV, the new consortium of MSG Afrika and Falk Trading, which launched a last-minute bid to bail-out MultiChoice's pay-TV rival in South Africa, the struggling On Digital Media (ODM) running the TopTV pay-TV platform hovering on the brink of liquidation.

Dynamic TV brought a last-minute offer to ODM's business rescue practitioner which means that Dynamic TV's offer will have to be entertained by ODM's shareholders who are set to vote tomorrow, Tuesday over the offer from China's StarTimes which put a deal on the table to flush TopTV with hundreds of millions in new cash.

As I've reported, Given Mkhari of MSG Afrika and Malose Kekana of Falk Trading are behind the new consortium trying to become TopTV's new capital investment partner.

The interesting thing is that Dynamic TV approached MultiChoice - actually ODM's rival - for development support. If Dynamic TV's offer is accepted above that of China's StarTimes, it actually means in a sense that MultiChoice is "investing" in its competition TopTV.

"The Dynamic TV consortium has the capacity, expertise, support, know-how and committment to turn around the business of On Digital Media," says Dynamic TV.

ALSO READ: StarTimes' business rescue plan and drastic overhaul proposals it has for TopTV.

"Dynamic TV consortium's approach to the business rescue of ODM is informed by the strategic desire to promote a successful South African business, to support local manufacturers, distributors and installers, and to stimulate the independent production of locally developed, home-grown African content," says Dynamic TV.

"Having analysed On Digital Media and the market, Dynamic TV believes there is a gap for another viable pay-TV operator. The business rescue plan is designed to be implemented in a way that promotes the developmental objectives of South Africa," says Dynamic TV.

New SABC interim board of 5 people already one member down as possible conflict of interest swirls around dr Iraj Abedian.

The new interim SABC board of 5 members are already down to just 4 members, since possible conflict of interest exists around the appointment of the well-respected economist dr Iraj Abedian.

Dr Iraj Abedian has not attended any SABC board meetings as part of the new SABC interim board since the new interim board took over due to a possible conflict of interest.

The exact nature of what the possible conflict of interest is, is not known.

After the SABC board resigned en masse in March, parliament's portfolio committee on communications, tasked with oversight of the beleaguered South African public broadcaster, didn't investigate exactly what led to the spate of resignations during an emergency meeting in parliament.

Instead the portfolio committee on communications rushed through the names of Zandile Tshabalala as the new chairperson of the interim SABC board, Noluthando Gosa as deputy chairperson who has resigned twice before as SABC board member, and as interim SABC board members the economist Iraj Abedian, the former public service commissioner member Vusumzi Mavuso, and the chartered accountant Ronnie Lubisi through the Nasional Assembly.

President Jacob Zuma then rubber-stamped and approved the names of the new SABC interim board at the beginning of April.

It's not clear why the portfolio committee on communications as well as president Jacob Zuma would put forth and approve an interim SABC board member who then turns out to possibly have a conflict of interest serving on the SABC board.

It's the portfolio committee's task is to verify, scrutinize and validate candidates and names put forward to the National Assembly after a process of due diligence.

Zandile Tshabalala has now written to parliament's portfolio committee on communications and informed the committee that there exists a possible conflict of interest regarding dr Iraj Abedian being on the SABC interim board.

The portfolio committee chairperson Eric Kholwane told the committee members last Wednesday that there  is a problem surrounding dr Iraj Abedian serving on the SABC interim board. The portfolio committee has now referred the matter to parliament's lawyers for advice and a legal opinion.

In the meantime dr Iraj Abedian has not sat in any meetings of the SABC interim board, which means that out of the 5 person board, only 4 members are actually functioning.

BREAKING. New rival bid from a South African consortium for struggling ODM's TopTV; will now compete with China's StarTimes.

There is a new last-minute bidder for a stake in struggling On Digital Media's (ODM) TopTV satellite pay-TV business with a South African consortium comprised of Given Mkhari's MSG Afrika and Malose Kekana's Falk Trading who have entered a business proposal which will now rival China's StarTimes.

ODM is currently in business rescue since the end of October 2012 and the cash-strapped and loss-making pay-TV operator is trying to prevent liquidation by getting a new capital rich partner to flush the Woodmead-based operation with an injection of new cash.  

ODM shareholders are considering China's StarTimes offer which has put forth a R100 million bid and wants to install their own CEO. 

ODM shareholders are supposed to vote on this offer tomorrow, Tuesday, but tomorrow they will now also hear of the new consortium's offer who wants to make a capital injection of R400 million into ODM's struggling operation. 

The consortium of MSG Afrika and Falk Trading has plans for local TV content; China's StarTimes has already put forth its own proposals for a radical and major overhaul of TopTV.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

REACTION. TopTV porn channels approval leads to widespread and mixed reactions after Icasa says ODM can start a separate porn bouquet.

A former TopTV subscriber showed how he crushed his TopTV decoder in this file photo from December 2011 when news first surfaced about TopTV's first attempt to start porn TV channels in South Africa. Reaction is once again widespread over TopTV's porn plans now given the go-ahead by the country's broadcasting regulator.


Reaction is widespread and mixed after South Africa's broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) approved On Digital Media's (ODM) plan for a separate porn bouquet of three sex channels.

ODM which runs the struggling TopTV satellite pay-TV service is currently in business rescue since October 2012. ODM is trying to prevent liquidation by attempting to get approval for a massive capital injection bail-out from China's StarTimes which could become a business partner and who is willing to pump millions into the loss-making Woodmead-based operation.

TopTV wants to broadcast the three TV channels - Playboy TV, Desire TV and Private Spice - as a separate bouquet and with a rating classification of R18. The channels are provided to TopTV by Playboy TV UK / Benelux Limited in England and are uplinked through SES Platform Services in Munich, Germany to South Africa.

TopTV's application for authorisation provoked a record reaction from South Africa's society to the regulator, with more than  285 submissions which had been received.

After Icasa on Wednesday announced that ODM is granted permission to start the separate porn bouquet on TopTV, reaction is as widespread, mixed and ongoing. TopTV said it was "pleased" with Icasa's decision and won't be commenting further on the matter since the company is under business rescue.

South African pay-TV executives working in content and across the local pay-TV industry and none wanting to comment on the record publicly since their views might not be reflective of their companies, were this week also split about TopTV's porn bouquet plan approval.

"There is a market for it. Some people are hungry for this kind of content," said one. "It [porn channels] helps to drive [pay-TV] uptake but you risk alienating and losing core subscribers who are your bread and butter," said another. "It's high time," said a a third longtime person working in pay-TV content; "it won't stimulate and grow the local TV industry, rands in fact leave South Africa to pay the foreign content providers supplying this premium priced content," said another.

Cosatu, South Africa's largest trade union federation says it it "shocked and disappointed" at TopTV's porn bouquet approval. Cosatu is a shareholder in TopTV through Kepano ke Matla Investment which is an investor in TopTV. Cosatu is Kopano ke Matla's sole beneficiary.

Cosatu said last month that after TopTV's first application for a porn bouquet which was denied, that it felt "betrayed" by Kepano ke Matla and that Kepano assured Cosatu that it would "not pursue the matter further".

Cosatu says it will be meeting with civil society organisations about TopTV's porn plan. Cosatu might consider a public campaign over TopTV's porn plan.

The South African Film and Publications Board (FPB) says it advocates the protection of children from exposure to harmful content. The FPB says it is hopeful that the protection of children will not be compromised.

The Family Policy Institute (FPI), a large Christian network, called Icasa's decision to allow TopTV to broadcast porn "disappointing". "The only recourse we have is to intensify the nationwide boycott. We are calling on all South Africans to cancel their TopTV subscriptions immediately," says the FPI.

The Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa, Assemblies of God of South Africa, the Baptist Union of South Africa, the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference, Church of England in South Africa, the Dutch Reformed Church, the Full Gospel Church of South Africa, the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa and the Association of Vineyard Churches in South Africa are taking part in and supporting a boycott of TopTV.

"It does not really matter that this would be offered on an extra bouquet. It is still TopTV, says the FPI. "This is a first for South Africa. The pay-TV operator is being allowed to introduce pornographic channels into the nation. We believe it will be extremely harmful."

"South Africa is a nation with one of the highest rates of sexual violence against women and children and this decision is bound to increase gender abuse. Tens of thousands of children have been exposed to pornography via the internet and television and now we have growing rates of children sexually abusing other children."

"TopTV has declared this as a 'victory' for democracy. There is no victory when men are reduced to slaves of their lusts and women are portrayed as mindless sex objects."

The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) calls the decision "shocking". The MJC says it "fully support the call for a boycott made against TopTV, its advertising agents and sponsors."

"We further condemn TopTV for promoting destructive material in order to save itself from impending financial ruin," and that TopTV subscribers should cancel their TopTV subscriptions. "The reason for this call is that their subscriptions gave TopTV the financial clout to now screen a pornography bouquet. It is the pornography that will sustain TopTV financially."

The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) says Icasa's decision to approve TopTV's porn channels application "will create a more competitive broadcasting industry with more vibrant players; in turn giving viewers more choice and value for money."

Saturday, April 27, 2013

BREAKING. Gavin Wratten and M-Net bringing Africa's Next Top Model to Cape Town; filming starts in August with 8 African models.


Africa's Next Top Model, an African version of Tyra Banks' America's Next Top Model will start filming in Cape Town from August for M-Net and with Gavin Wratten as co-executive producer who is also the man behind the reality show Idols on the pay-TV broadcaster.

CBS Studios International sold the rights to America's Next Top Model and the show which will be named Africa's Next Top Model.

In Africa's Next Top Model 8 models from across Africa compete with the Nigerian supermodel Oluchi Orlani as the presenter and the other co-executive producer.

New York's Lulu Productions will work with South Africa's Never Machine Productions. Never Machine Productions currently does Idols for M-Net.

Africa's Next Top Model will be shown on M-Net's AfricaMagic channels later this year.

Tyra Banks said that she is "excited" for Africa's Next Top Model to join the established reality show franchise.

There's no statement yet from M-Net. The show which will primarily shoot in Cape Town but also elsewhere in South Africa.

In a statement Roxanne Pompa, the vice president of international format sales and production at CBS Studios International says Africa's Next Top Model heading to Africa and South Africa on M-Net is "a testament to the universal popularity of the ever-growing America's Next Top Model franchise".

"Africa's Next Top Model is sure to be an entertaining celebration of the great beauty, fashion and unique stories of aspiring models from across the African continent."

In a statement Oluchi Orlani says "The African version of the franchise is long overdue and I expect the show to be a smashing success across the continent. My company, LuLu Productions will be partnering with Gavin Wratten as co-executive producer and also one of the giant media houses to help make this show a big success".

RENEWED. Beauty and the Beast, Hart of Dixie both renewed for a second and a third season respectively.


Beauty and the Beast currently shown in South Africa on M-Net (DStv 101) and Hart of Dixie seen on M-Net Series (DStv 114) have both been renewed in America for a second and a third season respectively.

NO Freedom Day for me as a journalist in South Africa as The Secrecy Bill is set to become law and curtail my right to bring you the news.


It's called Freedom Day in South Africa today - but I as a journalist and editor trying to cover news, and real news, and to bring you the truth as I see it, the facts, and the stories which matter and influence the industry I write about, don't have the same freedom to report freely anymore.

The draconian ANC led government in South Africa ironically passed the Secrecy Bill two days ago in Freedom Day week. The Protection of State Information Bill forced through the National Assembly well on its way now to become law, curtails my rights as a writer and as a journalist to bring you as a citizen of South Africa all the information that I think might matter.

The ANC is returning South Africa - and forcing me as a journalist who believes in open information and the sharing of ideas and news and freedom of speech - to the National Party and Apartheid era law and rules, fast turning back the clock to a culture of secrecy, disinformation and encroaching restrictions on press freedom.

People who speak out like whistleblowers, and I as a journalist, face 25 YEARS IN JAIL with this terrible ANC legislation which is set to curtail press freedom in South Africa.

Disclosing what might be unilaterally deemed "classified information" (imagine Nkandla or Marikana is suddenly "classified") and writing anything about it ... gets you 5 YEARS IN JAIL as a journalist or whistleblower.

Just one example: The SABC as South Africa's public broadcaster is in turmoil. It's also what is called a "key access point". It foreseeable that I as a journalist as indeed all press could be prevented from reporting certain things about the SABC. I wouldn't even be able to tell you that there is something which I can tell you.

You will just be blissfully unaware and think everything is fine, while it's actually not.

The shameful curtailing of media and press freedom in South Africa isn't an abstract idea. It's been turned into a reality, with civil society - you as the reader and the listener and the viewer - who won't even know what people like me perhaps know, but won't be allowed to tell you.

What a national scandal. There is no true Freedom Day until the press in a country is truly free to report what it wants to report. South Africa's independent press is under attack. It's Freedom, and by implication YOUR FREEDOM is under attack.

Don't say you didn't know.

Friday, April 26, 2013

RENEWED. Revolution, Chicago Fire, Grimm, Parenthood and Law & Order: SVU all renewed for further seasons and 22 episodes.


The American drama series Revolution (M-Net Series), Chicago Fire (M-Net), Parenthood (M-Net), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (SABC3) and Grimm (M-Net Series) have all been renewed for further seasons and all for 22 more episodes.

Missing is the new Hannibal (Sony Entertainment Television) which started this week in South Africa on DStv which started okay-ish and has now gone soft.

Also not renewed yet is The Voice (SABC3) which definitely will, as well as Community (M-Net) and Parks & Recreation (M-Net) which both have an average chance of returning as well.

Chester Missing rips Iman Rappeti 'those earrings! It's like you've got your own satellite!', Jeremy Maggs and TopTV on NewsNight.


You're reading it here first. 

The famous puppet Chester Missing ripped into Iman Rappetti and Jeremy Maggs as the co-anchors of NewsNight on the eNCA (DStv 403) on Friday night when they interviewed the enfant terrible plasticine puppet and his always-around friend Conrad Koch.

Chester Missing is currently on tour in South Africa with Conrad Koch.

The delightfully abrasive and outspoken puppet from Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola on e.tv and the eNCA has gained a large cult following across South Africa and the incorrigible puppet is now highly popular with South African politicians and the hoi polloi alike.


Chester Missing didn't hold back in the Hyde Park eNCA news studio and mocked both Iman Rappetti and Jeremy Maggs but also went for the jugular with several politicians across the political spectrum, TopTV which got approval to broadcast porn, and even referenced developing news events.

Chester Missing said Jeremy Maggs won't fit into a suitcase because it would scrunch up his hair.

Jeremy Maggs asked Conrad Koch about the "relationship you have with this..." when Chester Missing suddenly chimed in with: "it's perverted. It's gonna be on TopTV."

Asked who's the dominant person in the duo, Chester Missing said "we used to be like that 50/50 programme. Now we're more like 49/51." "Chester Missing's career has taken off and we're floating along behind him, which is what the Chester Missing Roadshow is all about," said Conrad Koch.


Other clever bon mots from the puppet, live on television on the eNCA?

"It's not right for a white guy to put words in a brown guy's mouth. You know what it's like Iman. You work at e.tv," said Chester Missing. "eNCA!"  Conrad Koch quickly corrected.  "I'm self-scripted," Iman Rappetti chimed in.

"Those earrings! It's like you've got your own satellite!" screamed Chester Missing about Iman Rappetti's large golden earrings.

About his amazing interview skills the always so shy Chester Missing said: "I'm like Debora Patta. With a thingie."

"Shut that puppet up!" Iman Rappetti said eventually.

"That was a tough interview that. Thank goodness its over," exclaimed Jeremy Maggs at the end of the funny interview.

BACK TOGETHER. NewsNight's Iman Rappetti and Jeremy Maggs simply shine as primetime news' power couple on South African television.


They're back together. And they remain unequivocally brilliant: Iman Rappetti and Jeremy Maggs as the co-anchoring, duotelly-terrific pair of NewsNight, the flagship daily newscast on the eNCA (DStv 403).

After an absence due to an eNCA-sponsored fellowship to Duke University in North Carolina, USA and with Jeremy Maggs who suddenly also haphazardly disappeared and was off some nights, both are back on NewsNight - not just co-anchoring but making news magic together.

Viewers and non-TV news technically minded people won't really always realise what they're actually watching, but Jeremy Maggs and Iman Rappetti co-anchoring NewsNight together elevates this newscast, and the eNCA, and themselves, to South African television's premiere must-watch television news expression.

With both together and on a roll, NewsNight is unstoppable - an audio-visual tour-de-force juggernaut, filled with gravitas yet infused with warm chemistry which you simply cannot manufacture.

These people clearly like each other and look out for each other, they're news pro's and together they unlock the day's news, do interviews, watch each others' back, overlap, supplement, support and create a TV news experience on South African television like simply no other.

The closest that South African television ever came to what the NewsNight television gestalt  delivers to viewers every night that Iman Rappetti and Jeremy Maggs are on together, is what Derek Watts and Ruda Landman on Carte Blanche on M-Net did for years. (But only once a week on Sunday nights, until Ruda Landman left.)

Iman Rappetti and Jeremy Magg's on-screen tele-nalities, their on-screen aura together, create a transformative television experience. And it's once they manage to get right over and over and over again.

NewsNight with Iman Rappetti and Jeremy Maggs is the day's news and actuality of record - but with a warm beat enveloping  and shaping the very delivery of that hard news, and done by incredibly informed voices. It also live. Which means you only get once chance.

Yet they hardly ever get anything wrong, or when there is an issue, don't swoop in instantly and make lemon juice out of a TV boo-boo lemon. You simply don't get better news television than that.

Part of the secret is making it look so easy. And just like morning television shows play on the fake or perceived real premise of being a family, primetime news is all about serious delivery (and if you can pull it off, humanitas).

NewsNight on the eNCA with these co-anchors have both in abundance and the newscast simply shines when both these news anchors together, become the co-joined conduit through which South African television viewers watch their day's most important news events.

NewsNight when Jeremy Maggs and Iman Rappetti sit next to each other, becomes a definitive, have-to-watch news broadcast, where the authenticity of the co-anchors, their deft skill being in front of the camera and listening to the control room and interviewing a news maker all comes together, perfectly.

It really is a little miracle to watch, and watch again, and watch again. And it happens without fail when these two move into their positions behind the gleaming news desk at eNCA headquarters in Hyde Park - a template for all the others to try and follow.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

BREAKING. Andrew Levy the new sports anchor on e.tv's Sunrise - confirmed today although I knew for 2 weeks already.


Another story I've been working for at least 2 weeks with no responses (e.tv tells me the email in Hyde Park  has mysteriously not been working) - with suddenly a press release (after I got no answers) announcing what insider sources told me weeks ago: Andrew Levy will be the new Sunrise sports anchor on e.tv's breakfast show.

Insider sources told me weeks ago that Andrew Levy has been practising television presenting and I asked e.tv's publicity department specifically that I've heard that Andrew Levy is joining Sunrise. I got zero response. Now today, a general press release to all.

"Sport is a big part of Sunrise and the country and we are proud to have acquired the services of Andrew Levy who will make sure that our viewers get the latest and most updated sports bulletins daily," says e.tv in a general press statement.

"The channel believes viewers will quickly warm up to Andrew as he will bring with him a fresh and new energy to an exciting Sunrise team," says Nicholas Maphopa, Sunrise's executive producer.

Andrew Levy's drop-in quote in the press release: "I am super excited joining such an amazing team, I am a firm believer of building South Africa, being part of ht solutions and changing mindsets. I really look forward to being part of the go-to morning show in South Africa."

Come Dine with Me South Africa on BBC Entertainment on DStv renewed for a 3rd season now visiting Port Elizabeth as well.


Yesterday I got word that there will be a third season of Come Dine with Me South Africa with sources which told me that a contract has been signed for a third series of the ITV Studios format show with a South African flavour - now today comes the official announcement that it is indeed the case.

Rapid Blue will once again be producing (which interestingly last month send me an invite to what I assume is/was the South African production company's 20th anniversary or birthday, just to get no answer after I asked are they aware that I'm based in Cape Town.)

Anyway, a third season of Come Dine with Me South Africa has now been commissioned in a deal with ITV Studios Global Entertainment for BBC Worldwide and will be broadcast on BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) on MultiChoice's DStv platform from September.

The deal for the third series was brokered by Andre Renaud, the senior sales executive, EMEA South & East for ITV Studios Global Entertainment and Sabrina McNally, acquisitions manager for BBC Worldwide.

Come Dine with Me South Africa will now also include a visit to Port Elizabeth as well as the usual South African cities of Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. South Africans who want to host a dinner party and want to be judged by attendees and in turn attend their with an overall score deciding a winner, can apply until 22 May.

Tracy Forsyth, the vice president for commissioning for BBC Worldwide will be the executive producer for BBC Worldwide. "Filmed in Port Elizabeth for the first time, alongside Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, we hope to make moments of compelling, unmissable television," says Tracy Forsyth.

"I can't wait to see what the next series brings," says Ian McDonough, the executive vice-president for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for BBC Worldwide in a statement announcing the new season.

"Come Dine with Me is a format that has become a returning staple of broadcasters' schedules, with versions now produced in 36 international territories," says Jennifer Ebell, the vice president SE EMEA at ITV Studios Global Entertainment in the statement.

SABC pays news head Phil Molefe R2,2 million to stay home for a year after being suspended; suspended CFO paid R1,5 million.


Exactly a year after he was placed on "special leave" in April 2012 by the SABC pending a disciplinary hearing which constantly got postponed, the SABC's head of news and current affairs Phil Molefe got R2,2 million to stay at home.

Meanwhile the SABC payed its suspended chief financial officer Gugu Duda R1,5 million as well.

The minister of communications, Dina Pule, told parliament's portfolio committee on communications on Wednesday that Phil Molefe got full benefits and was paid R2,278 million to effectively stay home and do nothing.

Gugu Duda got R1,563 million.

BREAKING. Minister of communications, Dina Pule, suddenly blames e.tv and SABC for the hold-up of South Africa's switch to digital TV.


After ongoing multiple delays for more than a decade, little if any leadership from the department of communications which is support to lead and coordinate the process, South Africa's minister of communications, the embattled and scandal-ridden Dina Pule is suddenly accusing e.tv and the SABC for holding up South Africa's long-delayed switch-over to digital terrestrial television (DTT), a process known as digital migration.

Dina Pule who fought with e.tv and the SABC over who controls control over the the controversial set-top box (STB) control mechanism and herself thereby delayed the already delayed process, is now suddenly saying that e.tv and the SABC are responsible for "the current delays" in the switch to digital migration.

"I hope the SABC and e.tv are listening. You are holding us up," said Dina Pule at a press briefing in Johannesburg today. "The SABC and e.tv have yet to advise us on the set-top-box control system. This has resulted in the current delays we are facing."

"They know they are supposed to be helping me finalise the issue of the set-top-box control," said Dina Pule.

e.tv tells me in response to Dina Pule's statements today that "the minister of communications only withdrew her appeal in February - we couldn't do anything before that. Since then we've tried to take the matter forward with Sentech in a manner that complies with the court order - but we've had no success in this regard."

"The SABC and e.tv have now agreed a way forward and will be in a position to progress this shortly," e.tv tells me.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

BREAKING. The colour purple (it's called 'Blackberry') comes to the Universal Channel as the channel refreshes its whole look.


The Universal Channel (DStv 117), the number one international entertainment channel in South Africa on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform is changing its look, logo and slogan from 3 May with a brand-new beautiful purple circular logo design and the new pay-off line "100% Characters".

The Universal Channel run by Universal Networks International (UNI) which also runs the successful programming polyglot of channel such as Studio Universal, E! Entertainment and Style on DStv is repositioning the brand as a TV channel where viewers will always find characters.

South Africa is one of the first countries in the world in a staggered roll-out of the brand-new Universal Channel rebranding exercise where the new look, logo and on-air imaging will be seen.

The Universal Channel brand refresh was developed in collaboration with NBCUniversal International Television's central marketing team, the award-winning creative division of Red Bee Media and the world-leading TV brand strategist Lee Hunt.

The Universal Channel is doing away with the interchangeable rainbow versions of the logo, settling for one, Blackberry coloured circular design and the channel name prominently balanced in the middle of a circle with a small "nick".

UNI says the nick gives the logo "character as well". In fact says UNI, "the nick is the piece which is going to add the characters". The process took 12 months.

The new logo, on-air imaging and idents  as well as upcoming print marketing material were shown to journalists, writers and TV critics today in Johannesburg and the new Universal Channel on-air look looks great. (If you can remember the 1980s Buck Rogers TV opening theme you will have a bit of an idea of how the new expanding concentric ring design is going to be used on air.)

"No other international TV channel has yet claimed the 'character' positioning, so we decided to use it for Universal Channel," says Colin McLeod, the managing director for emerging markets for UNI. He says the process borrowed a bit from the USA Network in America, a pay-TV channel which is part of the NBCUniversal stable where the slogan is "Characters welcome".

It was felt that slogan - although it was considered - isn't a perfect fit to apply internationally in the markets where the Universal Channel is carried, and it was amended to "100% Characters". The channel's brand refresh exercise will go into effect in South Africa on 3 May and will continue worldwide throughout 2013.

Colin McLeod told journalists today at the new Universal Channel brand reveal in Johannesburg that the channel's newly refined positioning is that of the home of character-driven entertainment.

"We've stripped away a lot of the clutter for a beautiful new look." He said UNI has a simple vision for the Universal Channel to be a TV channel which viewers "want to watch with everyone, everywhere".

Already 80% of South African viewers say that the Universal Channel "is important to me" when asked to rate the channel which is seen in 103 countries worldwide in 16 different languages.

Colin McLeod said UNI has been and is thinking "long and hard" when it comes to the content on the Universal Channel.

"We need to excite the audience; we need to keep bringing the audience back in." He said "100% Characters doesn't always mean positive and good characters" (although the Universal Channel wouldn't carry a show such as The Sopranos) but that watching the characters on the Universal Channel will always leave the viewer feeling fulfilled and feeling better.

Key shows for the Universal Channel and which will be build on, include The Mentalist, Rookie Blue, Two and a Half Men, NCIS, Psych and NCIS: Los Angeles.

"We arrived at our unique positioning because we believe that great characters are the magnets that draw viewers back to their favourite shows - week after week," says Lee Raftery, the executive vice president for marketing at NBCUniversal International Television, in the press statement.

"Universal Channel's new logo, look and '100% Characters' tagline are simple and intuitive enabling us to connect with the hearts and minds of our audiences, everywhere, and maximise the potential of this global entertainment brand."

BREAKING. SABC blames pay-TV growth in South Africa for failure to meet performance targets and to reach viewership levels.



The SABC's CEO Lulama Mokhobo blames the growth in pay-TV in South Africa for the beleaguered South African public broadcaster ongoing failure to deliver on most of its targets, with the SABC once again set to fail miserably to meet the majority of its set targets, falling short of maintaining its set average TV audience and losing upper income viewers.

The past four years has been dismal for the SABC. The suffering public broadcaster has been constantly lurching from the one corporate, executive and board room scandal to the next, corruption and charges of corruption, and forced to take a government bail-out of R1,4 billion in the form of a guaranteed loan after the SABC came to the brink of financial collapse in 2009.

The SABC has failed to meet several of the agreed-upon targets, deadlines and requirements under which the bailout was given and continues to miss targets. The broadcaster plummeted to a new low last month when the entire SABC board resigned en masse and was replaced by yet another interim SABC board. Jackie Motsepe, the SABC's former general manager of international content left the broadcaster at the end of last year.

Lulama Mokhobo - accompanied by the matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng who is suddenly back as acting chief operating officer (COO) although he was removed from the position by the previous SABC board - was in parliament in Tuesday to present yet another bleak third-quarter report of the struggling broadcaster as well as another three year corporate plan.

Lulama Mokhobo blamed the growth in pay-TV uptake in South Africa and the ongoing and increasing fragmentation of the viewing audience who are getting more choices and TV channels to watch, for the SABC's failure to deliver on targets.

Lulama Mokhobo said a more competitive environment and the growth in subscription television is fuelling audience fragmentation and that the SABC's situation has also been worsened by delays in procuring new content. The SABC continues to lose TV viewers, especially in the higher LSM brackets of upper income viewers, those which advertisers pay a premium to try and reach.

Furthermore the SABC failed to maintain an average TV audience of 60% which is the previous target which was set, and only managed 53% average viewing. The SABC failed to launch three new TV channels last year including a new 24-hour news channel and the SABC Sport channel.

Lulama Mokhobo told parliament that the SABC had fallen short on revenue targets and had also overshot expenditure targets.

For the current financial year the SABC has only met 15 out of the 25 key performance targets set.

"The SABC continues to strive to achieve the targets set and has intensified the focus on the corporation's turnaround initiatives," Lulama Mokhobo told parliament.

Officials from the auditor-general's office blasted the SABC's 2013 - 2016 corporate plan, telling parliament that 84% of targets were not well-defined or verifiable. Officials said that 76% of the SABC's targets were not specific and can't be measured.

The AG's office said this gave an error rate of above the 50% limit meaning that half of what the SABC wants to do can't be measured. This will force the auditor-general to issue an adverse opinion or disclaimer if an audit was done on the SABC's latest three year corporate plan.

BREAKING. Porn coming to South African television as TopTV's porn bouquet application is approved by South Africa's TV regulator.


South Africa's broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has given the struggling South African pay-TV operator On Digital Media (ODM) currently in business rescue and on the verge of liquidation permission to start its separate porn bouquet of sex channels which will be broadcast in what is known as the "watershed" time period between 20:00 and 05:00.

TopTV will broadcast the Playboy channels Playboy TV, Desire TV and Private Spice. It's was ODM's second application for sex channels - a lucrative driver of pay-TV revenue in countries where the channels are shown - although up until now in in South Africa and in comparable countries like India where pay-TV operators have not been allowed to do so.

ODM's first application a year ago for porn television was denied by the regulator but the fact that TopTV executives got into a public verbal fight with Icasa and also didn't show up to talk and answer questions at it's own public hearing could have played a role in the application being denied.

For the public hearing of the second application TopTV did show up for its public hearing, did do a presentation and amended its application to include a double PIN protection mechanism and also to limit the time period during which the porn bouquet's channels will be operational.

In a press statement TopTV says it is "pleased that Icasa has finally ruled in favour" of its application to bradcast the porn bouquet.

TopTV says the sex channels will "require a separate monthly subscription, age verification and other security features such as a secure PIN code, as outlined in TopTV's submission documents to Icasa."

TopTV says it won't be talking about the matter further and that "since TopTV is still under the provisions of business rescue, the decision on how to proceed regarding the launch of these channels will be taken with due regard to the particular requirements of this process."

Icasa in announcing the approval of the porn channels says the regulator "approved the application on the basis that the licensee shall ensure that programming on this channel which contains sexually explicit scenes, conduct and or offensive language intended for adult audiences shall not be broadcast before the watershed period; and all the security measures including the double PIN code as outlined in the application are in place to safeguard children's rights."

Icasa says in the press statement that the regulator "has also considered all submissions made in respect of this application from all interested stakeholders and it was found that most of the representations made were based on moral grounds; rather than research evidence to demonstrate some of the conclusive remarks linking pornography and gender-based violence. It is the authority's view that indeed there is no basis or law for the rejection of TopTV's application."

BREAKING. 'Illegal' matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng shows up at SABC meeting at parliament; is asked to leave since he has 'no mandate'.


The matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng - removed as acting chief operating officer (COO) of the SABC by the SABC board although he never left and remained - stunningly turned up at parliament on Tuesday for the SABC's meeting with parliament's oversight body where the "illegal" Hlaudi Motsoeneng was told that he must leave because he "has no mandate to be there".

The SABC made no official announcement that Hlaudi Motsoeneng is "back" as acting COO but he has been basking back in the limelight the past month and a half despite being removed by the former SABC board.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng showed up unexpectedly at the meeting of the SABC board and executive on Tuesday with parliament's portfolio committee on communications, the body tasked with oversight of the beleaguered South African public broadcaster. The SABC appeared to present its third-quarter report as well as its corporate plan for the next three years to parliament.

Zandile Tshabalala, the new chairperson of the new SABC interim board, told parliament that the new SABC board simply "condoned" the reappointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng who reverted back to the position of acting COO at the SABC. "We need a COO." The new interim SABC board did not take any decision to reverse the decision to have Hlaudi Motsoeneng removed.

"I maintain that any activities he [Hlaudi Motsoeneng] is doing are illegal," said Marian Shinn, the Democratic Alliance member of parliament (MP). "He has no mandate to be where he is. I think he should excuse himself," Marian Shinn said.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Nonhle Thema's TV tell-all on Vuzu following the 1 000th episode of V Entertainment will likely not be that revealing.

Nonhle Thema is set for a supposed exclusive TV-tell all - the only problem is that it won't really be a tell-all.

The most important question that would-be viewers (who will have to sit down for this) would want to know, can't be asked, and won't be answered in the TV special.

Following this coming Wednesday's 1 000th episode of the weekday entertainment news magazine show V Entertainment on Vuzu which will see the return of the Twitter-terror Nonhle Thema - now a mother and who used to be the first V Entertainment first presenter - will be another Nonhle Thema TV special event.

This Nonhle Thema special television event following a few days after the 1 000th V Entertainment episode, will see her open up about her life, being a mom, and what happened since she left Vuzu.

What viewers won't hear the now-notorious dark and lovely baby mamma name or discuss, is the name of her baby daddy.

That is off-limits since Nonhle Thema - whose TV career faded dramatically following a widely panned reality TV disaster and a resultant social media meltdown - agreed to a print exclusive for the true revelation of her child's father.

That means that Vuzu viewers won't see a true no-holds-barred interview, although the interview on Vuzu will still be billed as an exclusive.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Plan underway for new TV show on Mzansi Magic to reunite Bob Mabena and Melanie Son for music programme playing Studio Mix videos.

An attempt is being made to reunite Bob Mabena and Melanie Bala (then Melanie Son) as co-presenters of a new music show on South African television which will play classic music video hits.

Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) could see Bob Mabena and Melanie Bala reunite as the presenters of a music show years after they were the faces of the iconic SABC1 music programme Studio Mix.

In a twist, the music of the possible new show, will still be the music which was played on Studio Mix - which now would be considered classic pop.

Negotiations between Mzansi Magic and the production company is currently underway.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Eco Fashion on Fashion One starting its 2nd season on 22 April; will include South African designers creating eco-friendly products.

Eco Fashion, the eco-friendly docu-series looking at environmentally aware fashion designers and and fashion creation, will start its second season on Fashion One (TopTV 179) on 22 April at 20:30 (South African time) and will include a look at South African designers as well.

Viewers will see indigenous fabrics, grass reed mats, cloth scraps and hand made beads made from dirt and even discarded taxi upholstery which are all used by a new set of designer brands which will be shown in the second season of Eco Fashion.

South African designers will be included in the new second season, alongside those from the Phillipones, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Germany and the USA as viewers get a glimpse into these designers' studios. They will show their eco-friendly products from conception to completion.

"Not only are the materials and production process used sustainable, these products are made by the local people, thus creating livelihood to the communities in the region," says Eco Fashion.

"After we aired the first season, we were overwhelmed by the response we got from both the viewers and the industry, requesting more eco-labels to be featured in the show," says Ashley Jordan, Fashion One CEO. "This series is not just about the brand or the product, it's about the people and the visionaries that create them."

Glee seen on M-Net Series renewed in America for a 5th and a 6th season at the same time after lengthy negotiations.

Glee, the fourth season of which is currently on M-Net Series (DStv 114) has been renewed in America for a 5th and a 6th season simultaneously, following lengthy negotiations.

Glee received a rare two year renewal (its second such two year deal) with Kevin Reilly, the chairman of entertainment at Fox in America saying in a press statement announcing the renewal that "more than four years later, it continues to defy genres, break new ground and have a significant impact on popular culture."

Creator and executive producer Ryan Murphy said he is "very grateful" for the incredible support and "also want to thank our loyal audience, whose passion and enthusiasm continue to amaze and inspire us."

Glee is produced by Ryan Murphy Television and 20th Century Fox Television.

Friday, April 19, 2013

TOLDJA. MultiChoice renames its DStv Lite bouquet to DStv Access; adds two new TV channels, Mzansi Wethu and M-Net Movies Zone.


What I was told turns out to have been accurate: MultiChoice is announcing what I wrote about yesterday, that the DStv Lite bouquet is changing its name to DStv Access and that it will come with two new TV channels, Mzansi Wethu and M-Net Movies Zone on channel 139 which will start on 7 May as sources told me.

"From 7 May the DStv Lite package will be renamed DStv Access and two new channels will be added, which will enhance the overall value of this R99 package," says MultiChoice in a just-released statement.

"The two new channels, M-Net Movies Zone and Mzansi Wehtu will give DStv Access customers movies without ad breaks for the first time, as well as more South African local content.

M-Net also released a statement today confirming the news about the two new TV channels and providing more information on these channels after the pay-TV broadcaster, just like MultiChoice, wasn't willing to talk about it when I made specific media enquiries about it earlier this week.

"We are committed to bring great and relevant entertainment on our different packages to our customers," says Collins Khumalo, CEO of MultiChoice South Africa in the MultiChoice statement.

"For the first time, customers on our lower packages will  also be able to watch not only movies without ad breaks but also great local content that reflects South Africa today."

TOLDJA. M-Net starting 2 new TV channels - Mzansi Wethu and M-Net Movies Zone - on the new DStv Access package from 7 May.


M-Net is now confirming that it will be starting two new TV channels on MultiChoice's DStv pay-TV platform and indeed named Mzansi Wethu and M-Net Movies Zone which I reported yesterday is what the TV industry had been talking about.

Sources told me it would start on 7 May and M-Net now confirms it, saying the channels starting on 7 May will "welcome new viewers to the magic of pay-television on the newly-launched DStv Access package".

Also as I was told earlier, it is now confirmed that the two new TV channels will also be upscaled and be available on MultiChoice's DStv Family, DStv Compact and DStv Premium bouquets.

Mzansi Wethu on channel 163 will indeed a general entertainment channel, M-Net Movies Zone will be on channel 139 as a movie channel and as sources said "aimed at a black audience".

Mzansi Wethu will have locally-produced content but will start off with the bulk of content having been on other channels before. Similar to how kykNET & kie is a "cheaper" version of kykNET to make that type of channel available to a lower-paying viewership bracket, Mzansi Wethu will also be programmed with library titles such as iNkaba, Top Shayela, Nonhle Goes to Hollywood and Running with the Reps.

Mzansi Wethu will have its own brand-new studio-based soap however, filmed in the Lokshin-style entitled Zabalaza which will also be shown on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161).

Zabalaza with Seputla Sebogodi, Baby Cele, Thami Afrika, Matli Mohapeloa and Khanya Mkhangisa will be shown on weekdays at 21:00 on Mzansi Wethu and will revolve around the struggling Cele clan.

Mzansi Wethu will also have My Perfect Wedding with Thuli Thabethe, a wedding reality show following 12 couples across South Africa trying to create the perfect weddings.

"We are proud to introduce Mzansi Wethu to the pay-TV scene and we are delighted that it is available on an affordable package," says Yolisa Phahle, M-Net's director for local interest channels.

"Mzansi Wethu authentically reflects the day-to-day reality of many South Africans and we trust that viewers will love all the new vernacular programming and other not-to-be-missed shows. Our fantastic content can now reach a much wider audience and this can only be good for the local television industry."

Pierre Cloete, director for M-Net and M-Net Movies says M-Net Movies Zone is "all about great stars, great stories and great movies".

M-Net Movies Zone will go live at 13:00 om 7 May and Mzansi Wethu will go live at 18:00 on 7 May.

Rockville will try to rock as a new drama series on Mzansi Magic as the first TV drama of Connie and Shona Ferguson's Ferguson Films.


Everybody is tight-lipped but Ferguson Films will try to rock with its new drama series Rockville set to start on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) within months with husband-actors-producers couple Shona Ferguson and Connie Ferguson not only producing the drama series but also appearing in it.

Don't look for an on-screen reunion after Shona Ferguson's character literally died in the arms of Connie Ferguson's character in the shockingly negative and tragic ending of The Wild on M-Net at the end of March - they made a conscious decision not to appear in any scenes in Rockville together.

Rockville which had the working title of Black Diamonds and which is being produced by Ferguson Films revolves around two feuding families living in different places, similar to the Mzansi Magic telenovelas isiBaya and iNkaba.

In Rockville one family lives in Soweto (where Rockville is of course to be found) and the other in a leafy suburb.

Rockville's cast includes Minnie Dlamini, Luthuli DlaminiGail Nkoane, Boity Thulo, Bonnie Henna and Trevor Gumbi. Filming of the first season of Rockville ended on 2 April.

Mzansi Magic currently isn't able to give me a definite starting date for Rockville, doesn't want to officially reveal any actors in the show, or talk about the show at all.