SABC: MILLIONS OF VIEWERS FLEE SCHEDULE DISRUPTION

Sunday, March 31, 2013

TOLDJA! The SABC confirms that the News @ 7 on SABC3 is over, weekday news bulletin will now be an hour starting at 18:30 from 1 April.


It was the news about SABC television news which TV with Thinus broke exclusively and which readers have known for weeks: The SABC now confirms that the News @ 7 on SABC3 is moving from 19:00 to 18:30 and becoming an hour long broadcast on weekdays.

"From the 1st April we are extending our English news bulletin by 30 minutes from 18:30 to 19:30," says the SABC in a press statement issued on Saturday. The SABC says the change on SABC3's news scheduling is prompted by the "Make Your Voices Heard Campaign" which the public broadcaster ran last year.

The SABC says the longer hour long bulletin will allow the SABC an opportunity yo give coverage to stories from the respective provinces.

The SABC fails to explain why if this is indeed the case, the news bulletin in the smallest of the SABC's three TV channels is used to shown provincial news which many people in those provinces won't and can't actually see since SABC3 has the smallest footprint and smallest broadcasting reach of the three SABC channels.

The News in 60 Seconds at 20:59 on SABC3 is also getting canned, but the SABC fails to make reference to that.

SABC insiders told me last month that the SABC's television news division and SABC3 is trying to claw back viewers and news viewers.

SABC3's 80s comedies in the 18:30 comedy slot such as The Cosby Show wasn't working and not getting viewers and is getting dumped on SABC1, while more screen time for news on television will hopefully get more eyeballs for the SABC television news service.

SABC executives at the embattled broadcaster have seen viewers migrate to e.tv's eNews Prime Time and NewsNight on eNCA (DStv 403) as the subscriber growth of the DStv Compact bouquet continue to surge.

"SABC3 is now going to be, and focus on, 'bringing you the news first' - therefore 18:30 when everyone else is at 19:00," another well-connected SABC source told me. 

"Our viewers felt that our news broadcasts were too short," says the SABC in the issued statement. In order to address this issue, a decision was taken to extend the English news bulletin to one hour," says the SABC.

The matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng, inexplicable back as acting chief operating officer (COO) at the SABC without any actual official announcement (the last official statement from the SABC was that he was terminated from the position and is returning to his former position of looking after stakeholder relations and provinces), is quoted in the press statement instead of Lulama Mokhobo who is the SABC's CEO.

"As a public service broadcaster, our various programming has to continuously reflect the needs and wants of our audience. This decision was not taken lightly and we are cognisant of the fact that more work needs to be done, and this is but one step in that direction," says Hlaudi Motsoeneng

"We want the people to know that this is their SABC, and their opinion and input are highly valued and we will continue to engage them on various issues regarding the corporation," says Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The SABC says Lulama Mokhobo will "launch the new on hour bulletin on Monday 1 April" and that "SABC3 programmes which played at 18:30 will now be moved to SABC1".

Does DStv ♥ TopTV? DStv promotes the FOX channel which is currently on TopTV and coming to DStv with the hashtag #ihearttv.


The DStv pay-TV service comes awfully close in "loving" TopTV, MultiChoice's rival pay-TV service in South Africa, with its new on-air promos for the FOX TV channel which is currently only available on TopTV but which will be starting on DStv on channel 125 on 9 April.

In DStv's new on-air promo, an extension of its March teaser promo, it almost looks at first glance as if DStv is directing viewers to TopTV or to ttv on social media.

However the twitter hashtag of #ihearttv contains only two t's - heart and tv which creates somewhat of an optical illusion of "ttv".

Some viewers looking quickly could be forgiven for thinking they're seeing "#i heart ttv" or "i hear ttv" when DStv flashes the promo, although the hashtag doesn't have anything to do with TopTV.

Jeff Olde appointed as E! Entertainment's new head of programming and programme development.

Jeff Olde has been appointed as the head of programming at E! Entertainment (DStv 124).

Jeff Olde has been working at VH1 as the executive vice president for original programming, production and development, and will stake over as executive vice president programme development at E! Entertainment where will be reporting directly to E! Entertainment president Suzanne Kolb.

"Jeff is an incredibly gifted executive with deep industry relationships and a unique creative expertise," says Suzanne Kolb in a statement. "His passion for pop culture and proven track record for serving the audience will be invaluable to our long-term growth."

"E! Entertainment as always been a leader in high-quality pop culture news and entertainment and is among the most respected brands in television," says Jeff Olde in the statement. "I'm beyond thrilled and excited to join Suzanne in building upon E!'s success and bringing the network to new heights."

Saturday, March 30, 2013

SABC and THE NEW AGE BROADCAST BUNGLE: SABC turns the live Brics breakfast briefing into a babelic technical disaster.


The SABC and The New Age newspaper's SABC The New Age Brics Breakfast Briefing in Durban which was broadcast live on SABC2 on Wednesday morning was once again a terrible television fiasco, marred by amateur production values, sound problems and a babelic mess with no translation for viewers for the Chinese, Russian and Portuguese heard.

The SABC's acting chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, defended the gibberish teletrash shown to South African viewers on the public broadcaster, saying that it is "part of a learning curve" for the public broadcaster.

After Morning Live presenter Leanne Manas threw to the outside broadcast which the SABC showed live from Durban's International Convention Centre (ICC) for the 5th Brics Summit, viewers had to wait for 20 minutes of small talk before the first speech actually started. Sound problems and sound level problems were already evident.

Awkwardly Peter Ndoro had to walk from table to table to start asking questions from guests, trying to kill time as Lulama Mokhobo, the SABC's CEO was spotted at one of the tables. (Interestingly, the Russian president Vladimir Putin also turned down an offer from the SABC for TV make-up.)

Soon after the SABC TNA Brics Breakfast Briefing started, viewers on SABC2 were confronted with speakers from both the platform as well as using the handheld mic at the tables, speaking in languages which ordinary SABC viewers couldn't understand. Viewers saw guests sitting at the tables with little black headsets, getting translation services.

Meanwhile even the audio level of whatever was heard, fluctuated throughout the broadcast - even at the end when Peter Ndoro again spoke but viewers heard nothing. Then when Peter Ndoro was audible, he was drowned out with a surprised looking Peter Ndoro looking around when the moderator drowned him out with: "Members of the business council can you please come on stage, you are also in the photograph?"

Viewers started trashing the SABC and The New Age on social media for the shoddy live broadcast.

"SABC, what is going on?", "SABC2 attribute names to speakers! Turn up translation! I'm sure I'm not alone in not understanding Chinese or Russian", "Poor planning and total disregard for viewers", "Some idiot at the SABC forgot that all this dignitaties will be speaking in their mother tongue,so we get no translation", "SABC not translating the foreign languages", "Couldn't they at least try subtitles?" were just some of the comment from exasperated and upset viewers.

 "Technical issues are turning this into a disaster" said yet another viewer.

The New Age tried to do damage control with a puff piece spin story in its newspaper, calling the SABC TNA Brics Breakfast Briefing "highly successful".

Nazeem Howa, CEO of The New Age said that the response to the breakfast was "overwhelmingly positive, so it is very sad to see the continuous carping from some competitors" without actually mentioning what carping there was, or why.

The story included only comment from the Communications Workers Union (CWU) - interestingly the only SABC trade union publicly sympathetic to Hlaudi Motsoeneng - saying critics were inspired by their own hidden agendas. The newspaper story didn't make any mention of why there was criticism or what is was.

BACK, AND BASKING. The 'dethroned' and matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng back as the acting chief operating officer of the SABC.


He was officially removed by the SABC board from his position as acting chief operating officer (COO), but Hlaudi Motsoeneng who famously doesn't have matric is back as acting COO and once again basking in the limelight.

If it looked as if the enfant terrible Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the SABC's second highest ranking top executive was never gone, it's in a sense because he never was. Dispatched by the SABC back to the position of stakeholder relations and provinces, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, never really went back.

The SABC never officially confirmed that Hlaudi Motsoeneng actually remained acting COO. The SABC also never responded to media enquiries asking for clarification about Hlaudi Motsoeneng's position, or whether he is "back" as acting COO.

The last press release the SABC sent out, officially said that Hlaudi Motsoeneng is reverting back to his old position.

Yet, today, Easter Saturday, the SABC in a press release is for the first time again is casually referring to Hlaudi Motsoeneng officially again as the SABC's "acting COO" - no explanation that he was "reinstated" or when or why. Hlaudi Motsoeneng who loves the media limelight is often quoted in press releases and talks a press conferences, instead of the SABC's actual permament CEO, Lulama Mokhobo.

He came to prominence last year when he allowed SABC television news to film him standing in front of the burning SABC where the Isidingo sets at Henley Studios' studio 6 were going up in flames, saying "we don't know how to handle it" and "As SABC we're very shock [sic]. We're not expecting this. As you know,I mean, financially we are not sound."

The matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng's "reinstatement" as acting COO follows after the whole SABC board which terminated Hlaudi Motsoeneng's tenure as acting COO, self-destructed after in-fighting with the SABC board chairperson dr. Ben Ngubane and the minister of communications, Dina Pule.

The majority of the SABC board resigned two weeks ago over the Hlaudi Motsoeneng mess and has now been replaced with an interim SABC board.

Interestingly, after the SABC board had removed Hlaudi Motsoeneng who was supposed to be back looking after provinces for the SABC, parliament held an emergency meeting of the portfolio committee on communications about the beleaguered SABC implosion.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng, although not acting COO, was also sitting in parliament and right next to Lulama Mokhobo. It's not clear why he was still there if he wasn't the acting COO anymore.

CCTV News and CCTV Africa hard at work at building positive perceptions through television news of China and Africa.


China is flexing its media muscle in Africa and continues to grow its influence on Africa's television viewers and strengthening Sino-African perceptions through its CCTV News (DStv 409) channel which is giving constant, and overtly positive coverage to, and of, African stories.

It's also visible through bigger profile coverage on other TV sources such as South Africa's eNCA (DStv 403) channel.

Other 24-hour international news channels and international media platforms have remained slow and reluctant to cover Africa - or mostly keep with outdated stereotypical images of starving African children beset with flies, poverty, war and hopelessness.

CCTV News's African division, CCTV Africa is now pro-actively busy with changing the television news agenda of how Africa's stories and coverage is framed.

CCTV Africa, with its headquarters based in Nairobi, Kenia, is working hard on a transformative television news experience when it comes to covering the continent and by showing mostly positive profiles and TV news stories which are more balanced and less negative.

A year ago CCTV in partnership with MultiChoice, the Africa continent's biggest pay-TV platform, started the Great Wall bouquet - a separate Chinese channels bouquet with channels provided by China's state-run China Central Television (CCTV).

It was also a year ago that CCTV News started the daily dedicated hour long show Africa Live, providing viewers across Africa on CCTV News with news coverage, profile stories as well as breaking and leading news stories of the day of about what is happening in Africa as the CCTV Africa production office came into operation.

Besides the daily Africa Live, CCTVN has Talk Africa, the weekly talk and current affairs show with presenter Beatrice Marshall.

There also the documentary strand, Faces of Africa, on CCTV News which is a profile documentary series chronicling African leaders and positive role models like a female pilot in Ghana for instance.


Although CCTV Africa is headquarted in East Africa with a production staff of now almost 70 people, CCTV Africa and CCTV News has aggressive expansion plans. CCTV Africa is on an ambitious roll-out plan for new news bureaux across the continent.

Guy Henderson who worked for the BBC and was at Al Jazeera is for instance already based in South Africa as a correspondent for CCTV Africa.

South Africa's 24-hour news channel eNCA (DStv 403) also got into the act with extremely positive Sino-Africa media relations, marked by breathless reporting this past week with eNCA's John Bailey who conducted an "exclusive" interview with China's new president Xi Jinping.

The eNCA was quick to stress that it was "granted the first international TV interview" with Xi Jinping "ahead of other 24-hour news networks".

Th e.tv and Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI) publicity machine also went into overdrive to show Marcel Golding, the CEO of Sabido Investments (owner of e.tv and the eNCA) getting facetime with (and a photo-op!) with Xi Jinping in Beijing two weeks ago.

China which is heavily investing in Africa in order to secure energy and oil contracts as well as other resources for its own booming economy, is now ramping up its media relations, media coverage of Africa, and its media intercontinental ties with the continent, as part of that economic growth strategy.

As China's hunger for African resources grow to help supply its own energy demands, CCTV News is helping by building and fostering a positive image of China through not only portraying China positively through the state-run television news organisation, but also putting more of Africa's untold stories in a positive light.

That has the double-barrel effect of not only making Africa look good and China look good, but strengthening the overall relationship and business ties between African countries and China.

It's also giving viewers stories - and framing the continent - in a way never really seen before on television news about Africa before, interestingly being told by China and not by Africa itself.

Al Jazeera moving staff from London to Doha ahead of the launch of Al Jazeera USA in America.


Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / TopTV 401) is moving staff and journalists from Al Jazeera's newsroom in Knightsbridge in London in the United Kingdom to Qatar to staff its Qatar headquarters, after staff from Qatar are being moved to America ahead of the launch of Al Jazeera USA.

Since Al Jazeera is short of people in Qatar after sending workers to America to bulk up ahead of the launch of Al Jazeera USA, London personnel are now being roped in to help out in Doha where Al Jazeera 's head office is based.

Al Jazeera says staff are involved in "temporary placements".

Al Jazeera's Doha newsroom will be increasing its output over the next few weeks, and staff are needed to fill the temporary openings which has been created by the combination of this and the current Al Jazeera USA expansion.

Filming of new TV drama Atlantis set to start in April in Wales and Morocco where mythical city is under construction.


Filming of the first season of Atlantis, the brand-new TV drama commissioned by the BBC will start in April in Wales and Morocco with actors Mark Addy, Juliet Stevenson, Sarah Parish, Robert Emms, Jemima Rooper, Jack Donnelly and Aiysha Hart.

The new drama series - not to be confused with the similarly titled Atlantis which was a docudrama produced by the BBC a few years back and shown on BBC Knowledge in South Africa - is an ambitious new TV project which will have a first season of 13 episodes.

Atlantis is based on the Greek myth about the fabled city of antiquity.

"Atlantis is a brand-new thrilling fantasy drama, set in a time of legendary heroes, mythical creatures and gods," says the BBC in a press statement. "The action-packed 13-part series brings to life the vast store of Greek myths and legends re-imagined for a new generation."

"The mythical city is currently under construction at sites in Wales and Morocco. Filming will commence in April."

Jessie on The Disney Channel with Debby Ryan renewed for a third season.


Jessie on The Disney Channel (DStv 303) with Debby Ryan has been renewed for a third season with production which will start in July in America.

The sitcom about a babysitter looking after the Ross' family in New York and the various adopted kids together with a butler and her boyfriend, the building's doorman remains the number one show in its timeslot on The Disney Channel in America.

"Our viewers deeply connect with this cast of characters, and the upcoming season will focus on the Ross kids beginning to navigate young adulthood while challenging their favourite nanny with new and entertaining situations," says Adam Bonnet, the senior vice president for original programming for Disney Channels Worldwide.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Debora Patta of e.tv and the eNCA shows up as a correspondent on the CBS Evening News in America - and on Sky News.


You're reading it here first. 

South African TV news woman Debora Patta - the presenter of 3rd Degree on e.tv and often fill-in substitute anchor on the eNCA (DStv 403) - surprisingly showed up as a correspondent for the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley in America last night.

Debora Patta appeared on television in America and around the world when she did a story on the new hospitalisation of Nelson Mandela for the daily American evening news bulletin on Thursday evening.

Since the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley is also shown on Sky News (DStv 402), the adjacently located 24-hour British news channel next to the eNCA on the DStv channel number line-up, it means that although Debora Patta works for eNews and the eNCA, that she appeared on the direct competitor TV news channel to the eNCA to do a news story.


Debora Patta has been clocking up on face time on international 24-hour TV news channels this year.

Besides now having been on the CBS TV network in America and their daily news show, and being seen on Sky News last night doing the link from Johannesburg, Debora Patta appeared on CNN International (DStv 401) in February.

Then however she was not reporting a story as a correspondent, but appeared on the air as an analyst and opinion-maker for her perspective on the Oscar Pistorius case.

FX on TopTV to benefit from, and set to become a stronger channel as seen in Africa, with the launch of spin-off channel FXX in America.


FX (TopTV 110) programming, the male-skewed TV channel currently only available op On Digital Media's (ODM) TopTV satellite pay-TV service in South Africa, is set to get beefed up considerably with the launch of a spin-off channel in America, FXX - with that channel's new content which will undoubtedly filter through to its brother FX as seen in South Africa.

FX Networks which runs the Fox pay-TV channels in America and which is part of News Corporation, announced that FXX will start as a new general entertainment spin-off channel from FX. FXX will be aimed at viewers aged 18 to 34.

FX, FOX and Fox Retro are three Fox channels run by TopTV and seen in South Africa thanks to carriage agreements with Fox International Channels and Fox International Channels Africa (FIC Africa).

Since there's no current plans for FXX which will launch in September in America to be seen in South Africa, it stands to reason that some of the newly-commissioned programming which will be produced for FXX will make it way to FX.

While some of the programming seen on FX in America so far has been seen on M-Net in South Africa (The Americans, Nip/Tuck, Damages, The Shield, Rescue Me, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), some of it is also seen only on FX in South Africa like Archer, while South African viewers are only able to see Fox shows such as Bones, American Dad, The Cleveland Show and American Guy because it's on FX.

Since FXX will have new content and new TV series, its clear that Fox will in time have that TV content filter through to not just M-Net but also to FX as broadcasting and licensing agreements are signed.

While its almost a certainty that some FXX shows will make its way to M-Net (DStv 101) and M-Net Series (DStv 114), some will also make it to FX, meaning a stronger international FX channel being piped into Africa and South Africa.

In other words, FX Africa is going to benefit by becoming a stronger channel since it will be fed from both the FX stable as well as the new FXX stable in America in the future which will produce new sitcoms and drama series.

For FX in America Guillermo del Toro is for instance working on a new TV series, The Strain based on his trilogy of novels about vampires. Mayflower is a look at the founding of the Plymouth colony in America. Grand Hotel is about a luxury hotel in Paris attacked by terrorists.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

SHOCKING WILD ENDING: The Wild on M-Net gives viewers a Mad Max(ine) cliffhanger ending as Maxine gets shot, Itumeleng gets stabbed.


The Wild on M-Net, ending with a dramatic and over-the top-finale on Thursday night on the pay-TV broadcaster, gave viewers a cliffhanger send-off in the last episode with a deranged bride in a wedding dress wielding a gun who then got shot and killed herself, but not before she stabbed her lover which also led to his own death moments later as the camera panned back.

The Wild finale on M-Net was a King Lear/Macbeth-esque, "Who killed JR?, Dynasty finale "Alexis Carrington falling over the railing fighting" shocker all rolled into one for the cancelled soap.


The Wild went for big bloodletting - the soap was leaving television but it was taking people and casualties of its cancellation with it.

The raving mad Maxine with a gun first forced Itumeleng to recite wedding vows, after which they struggled. A shot rang out, and Itumeleng and mad Maxine both fell to the floor, her wedding dress splattered with blood.

In her dying breaths she looked as if she was grabbing Itumeleng's testicles when he got a weird look on his face with her behind his back, but the Lady Macbeth with her hidden knife was in fact stabbing him - causing his death as well a few minutes later.

"The King is dead," screamed Modise giving Tumisho Masha the soap's final line of dialogue ever, as the Dinaledi lodge characters came running and rain sifted downwards in a depressing tableau as closing scene.

Queue the end credits.

The best moment of The Wild's shocking finale was when Marang (Connie Ferguson) tried to make an emotional plea to the deranged Maxine (Khabonina Qubeka) who was pointing a silver gun at her. "Can you do it? Maxi, can you kill me and my unborn child?" asked Marang, desperately seeking sympathy.

The psycopathic Maxine then lowered the gun from Marang's face to her belly in a hilarious (but hilarious great moment because it's oh-so overdramatic).

"But I must," said the callously cold Maxine. (Brilliant!)

The delusional psychopath demanding her lover marry her, the shoot-out in wedding dresses (and the viewer teased about who got the bullet), the subsequent stabbing scene (also played for suspense), the dramatic dying scenes (oh how King Lear! oh how Macbeth!), blood-spattered wedding dresses and the terrible crying was classic soap telenovela stuff.

In its shocking finale The Wild on M-Net becomes not just a soap but similar to Shakespeare's Macbeth actually a dark tragedy.

The soap which struck a downbeat, dramatically somber and depressing tone in the end didn't have a happy ending. It ended with crying, sadness, tears, a sense of loss and a deathly cliffhanger which won't be resolved.


ALSO READ: Did you get it? The Wild ends on M-Net with a fight about soap in the soap in an in-joke.

Did you get it? The Wild on M-Net ends with a fight about soap in the soap.


You didn't watch it - that's why it got cancelled - but the viewers who tuned in to the final episode of M-Net's soap The Wild on Thursday night might have seen the in-joke: a fight in the soap about ... soap.

The final episode of the soap included a fight about soap dispensers, and the Croatians visiting the Dinaledi lodge apparently freaking out about the little soaps.

Diksie Lebone ended up handing in her resignation letter about the soap (the dispenser, not the show), but ended up staying.

Other noteable things:
- Milan Murray wore a dress with multi-coloured blades almost exactly the same as the logo and look of M-Net's M-Net Movies movie channels.

- M-Net knows and The Wild knows that the show is broadcast in high definition. So why is Diksie holding up a first written warning page which a viewer can clearly see is not filled in at all and not signed when producers know such detail are visible?

- Maxine's wedding dress and eye shadow? Exactly the same burgundy colour as the office walls.

- Is that a little round sticker on Maxine's gun? There's definitely a very big sticker under Marang's white high heel wedding shoe.


ALSO READ: Shocking Wild ending: The Wild on M-Net gives viewers a Mad Max(ine) cliffhanger send-off as Maxine is shot and killed by her own gun, Itumeleng gets stabbed to death.

The Wild on M-Net's other secret ending - if tonight's final scene of the soap leaked ahead of time.


So secret is tonight's finale of M-Net's The Wild and the producers so intent on surprising viewers right up until the end that a whole separate secret story and ending was prepared if the intended final scenes leaked ahead of tonight's climactic hour long final episode at 19:00 on M-Net.

The soap which went all out after it received it's cancellation news by wrapping up storylines and building up to tonight's climactic finale in a two week telenovela styled "condensed recap story", already saw several characters die the past few days, with the producers promising "a full circle" for the characters and the story's conclusion.

Many M-Net viewers were extremely irate and felt cheated when M-Net ended its longrunning other soap Egoli in March 2010 with a final scene of Brumilda van Rensburg descending down a staircase, staring vacantly. M-Net subscribers had to pay to watch an Egoli movie following after the soap ended.

"Some will have a happy conclusion, others' [ending] will be very sad," says the producers about The Wild which was done in by production problems and low viewership which ultimately wasn't enough to offset the expensive production costs. "[Tonight's] final episode will be filled with romance, shocking discoveries, tears and happiness," I was told.

The producers kept their options open in case storylines leaked "but most of the characters will be in the final scene, either way," I'm told. "A lot of effort went into the final two months to make sure that the series ends on a high and memorable note."

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

BREAKING. M-Net the big (and stable) winner as Elementary, NCIS: Los Angeles and a slew of other shows get further season orders.


Several TV shows such as Elementary, NCIS: Los Angeles, Person of Interest, The Mentalist, 2 Broke Girls, Mike & Molly, The Good Wife, Blue Bloods and Hawaii Five-0 have been renewed for further seasons in America.

The fact that these shows are on M-Net in South Africa and on M-Net first, coupled with more of the same, keeps solidifying M-Net's premiere position in the country as the most stable of the broadcasters and with the most consistent schedule in the market consisting out of the SABC (with its three TV channels), e.tv and M-Net.

The CBS network announced that these shows will all see another season, with the previously announced renewals of The Big Bang Theory (renewed for 3 more years already), CSI and NCIS as well as How I Met Your Mother (seen on e.tv) for a final season.

CBS also announced that it is busy with negotiations with the cast for a possible renewal of Criminal Minds (seen on M-Net Series) and another season of Two and a Half Men.

The new drama series Vegas (which will start on M-Net in May) with Dennis Quaid has not (yet) been renewed, neither has Golden Boy (also M-Net).

The Amazing Race (seen first on Sony Entertainment Television as well as then SABC3) and Survivor (seen on SABC3) has also been renewed.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Kollig coming to kykNET & kie from 12 April with Marco Spaumer, Kim Cloete and Johnny Davids as presenters of the new magazine show.



Marco Spaumer, Kim Cloete and Johnny Davids are the presenters of the new weekly entertainment magazine show in Afrikaans, Kollig, which will start on Friday 12 April at 19:30 on the new channel kykNET & kie (DStv 145).

All three bring a stronger pedigree to this type of show and this type of genre than the usual presenters seemingly plucked out a hat to do microphone-and-red-carpet as well as profile interview work.

Marco Spaumer was the jovial and sterling presenter of SER on MK and kykNET, Kim Cloete has an excellent and very strong telegenic presenting history and Johnny Davids, currently a radio presenter on RSG was also a kykNET continuity presenter and ZING-winner.

The addition of all three bode well for the show produced by Homebrew Films also responsible for the similarly approached Bravo! on kykNET and who did All Access Mzansi for Mzansi Magic.

Kollig will give kykNET & kie, positioned as mostly a rerun channel of previous kykNET fare, some original weekly "must tune to" television. "The tone will be fresh, light and trendsetting," says the production.

The first episode of Kollig which will debut on 12 April gives an indication of what viewers will likely be able to find from week to week when the show starts to go head-to-head with the rest of the entertainment magazine shows in South Africa.

The first Kollig episode will have a profile insert on the new Miss South Africa as well as Kim Cloete, visit the Suidoosterfees Burgemeestersbal and the Kaapse Karnaval, visit the EOAN book launch and the Midsummernight's Dream stage production at Maynardville with Terence Bridgett.

The Young and the Restless turns 40 years old today; marks 40th anniversary with cake-cutting ceremony.


You know that sweeping piano and violin theme and today The Young and the Restless, the American soap seen in South Africa on weekdays on e.tv at 16:40, turns 40 years old.

You would have seen The Young and the Restless on the cover of the soap and television magazines in South Africa this week and stories inside to mark the 40th anniversary of The Young and the Restless which was first introduced to South African viewers on TV1 with a dubbed in Afrikaans sound track.

The Afrikaans sound track of Rustelose Jare was eventually ditched in December 1994 when regime change took hold of the SABC, not long afterwards the soap was also gone.

e.tv resurrected The Young and the Restless but the viewership in South Africa has simply never recovered to what it was in its heydey on TV1 with the evil meddling Sheila, Victor and Nikki, Mrs Chandler on the bottle, and the evil fat Rose who kidnapped the poor pregnant Nina and held her at the clinic against her will, waiting for her to give birth and wanting to steal her baby ... (I've watched lots of television, don't judge.)

Of course in America, The Young and the Restless is the number one most watched soap, produced by Bell Dramatic Serial Company and Sony Pictures Television.

The Young and the Restless commemorated today's 40th anniversary - it started on 26 March 1973 - and more than 10 000 episodes filled with backstabbing, marriages, divorces, betrayals and softly-lit scantily-clad romance scenes with a private cake-cutting ceremony on the show's CBS Television City sound stage which was attended by cast, crew and the producers.

"The Young and the Restless has such a legacy," says Jill Ferren Phelps, executive producer. "My charge is to bring it into the next decade and do so without disrupting anything, particularly the viewers who are so important to us. Our goal is to keep it fresh, keep it going for another 40 years."


Kuli gets cancelled; Headline on Mzansi Magic gets the axe after six seasons with final episode on 4 April.

Kuli Roberts' Headline is getting cancelled; Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) is not ordering another season of the show which no longer fits in with the ethos of what the channel wants to be.

The final episode of Headline with Kuli Roberts and Trevor Gumbi will be broadcast on Thursday 4 April, Mzansi Magic tells me.

The M-Net channel is realigning it content strategy to attract more viewers and Headline isn't seen as such a show which will draw more of the viewers Mzansi Magic wants.

"In the fast-paced world of television it is not unusual to refresh channel content and Mzansi Magic is currently changing its line-up to create a general entertainment channel that will entice even more people to enjoy our unique local content offering. As a result of these changes, we have decided not to commission Headline for a seventh season," Mzansi Magic tells me.

The channel says it "values" the passion, dedication and enthusiasm of the Headline production team and the faces of the show. "We hope to work with them on new concepts in the future."

BREAKING. Jo-Anne Strauss starts own TV talker; moves from Top Billing on SABC3 to Glambition on e.tv starting on 8 April at 20:30.


You're reading it here first. 

Jo-Ann Strauss is moving from Top Billing on SABC3 to e.tv and her new talk show Glambition which will start on e.tv on Monday 8 April at 20:30.

Jo-Ann Strauss who's been a very recognised face for years on SABC3's weekly glam lifestyle magazine show, is now going to be seen on e.tv for the 13 week duration of Glambition and will no longer be on Top Billing as she talks about various facets "of being a woman in today's competitive business world" in her new local show.

Glambition - an amalgam of glamour and ambition - got a primetime spot on e.tv's schedule where Jo-Ann Strauss, besides being the presenter, is also producing the half hour weekly talk show together with Gerry Jennings who she's worked with for years at Top Billing.

Glambition and the former Miss South Africa will cover topics over the coming 13 weeks ranging from competitive beauty, beauty and power, hair, being photographed naked, cultural beauty, weddings, plastic surgery, ageing beautifully, metrosexual men, fitness freaks and the latest fitness trends, fame and celebrity power couples.

Because of the switch to a new channel and a new TV show, Jo-Ann Strauss will not be involved with Top Billing while she's doing Glambition on e.tv and which is currently in production. It's to be seen whether Jo-Ann Strauss would be returning to Top Billing in the future.

"We will not be using Jo-Ann on Top Billing for the duration of her show on e.tv and Jo-Ann is aware of this," says Patience Stevens of Tswelopele Productions, executive producer of Top Billing.

"We have enjoyed a very long and happy working relationship with Jo-Ann - so are wishing her all the best with this venture into production, and will be regrouping to discuss Top Billing with Jo-Ann in July."

Monday, March 25, 2013

FOX FIRST. Fox deal with MultiChoice to carry FOX on DStv was done 'quickly', even more first-run shows, big rebrand coming.


Exclusive details are starting to emerge after last week's announcement - first teased on-air - that MultiChoice and Fox International Channels Africa (FIC Africa) have signed a carriage agreement for FOX (Fox Entertainment rebranding as FOX and becoming available on DStv and remaining on TopTV) as a TV channel to start on DStv from 9 April on channel 125.

The deal was done "quickly" - it's described as a "very quick negotiation". All the best shows on FOX are going to be rerun from the beginning to help catch up DStv subscribers before new seasons roll out episodes close on the heels of American broadcasting dates. 

The carriage deal which is also giving FOX an even wider footprint will also help to bring even more first-run TV shows exclusively to FOX and South African viewers, with a very narrow gap between episodes being shown overseas.

FOX is switching on 9 April to high definition and a 16:9 aspect ratio - as well as rolling out a brand-new on-air look, and FOX is hard at work at creating "appointment television" for South African viewers. 

I asked FIC Africa about the FOX carriage deal, repeat programming, what TV shows are moving, what is happening to FOX and FX, how viewers feel about the channel since it's been available on TopTV, and the imminent brand refresh. Here is how FIC Africa, from their office in Johannesburg, responds:


When did negotiations first start to make FOX available as a TV channel on MultiChoice's DStv?
As we are already on DStv with the Nat Geo channels, it was our goal to expand our distribution with more channels, especially a Fox branded channel. We have been in various discussions over the past three years on extending the number of channels on the platform. We finally, a few weeks ago, entered into and agreed on a deal for FOX. It has been a very quick negotiation and we are very pleased with the outcome.

With The Walking Dead and Falling Skies et cetera, is FIC Africa now moving all of those big-profile, big-buzz shows exclusively to FOX - for instance no longer on FOX and FX but all on just FOX? If this is the case, are the first seasons of these shows going to repeat to catch up DStv viewers? Has there been plans and discussions and programming decisions which grew out of and happened because FOX is coming to DStv?
Only The Walking Dead has been shown on FX and on FOX - all other shows have been run only on FOX. We will be repeating all our big shows such as The Walking Dead and Falling Skies from episode 1, season 1, to give DStv viewers the opportunity to catch up on these shows and to prepare all subscribers of all platforms for the new upcoming seasons.

The press release says FOX will now be the flagship Fox channel. Does this mean FOX will become the main, most important Fox channel? How does it then also change what FX (currently on TopTV) is, and what FX will be doing or showing in the future?
Globally a decision was taken to make FOX the flagship channel of our entertainment portfolio. The rebrand if FOX follows this decision and will see future flagship shows that are the right fir for the channel coming to FOX first. FX is a male-skewed channel and will remain so. There are no major programming changes for the channel at this point in time and it will continue to carry series such as Hell on Wheels, our ever-popular Friday Fight Nights and our award-winning documentary strand, Only in Africa.

What has been the response to FOX from viewers the almost 3 years it has been seen in South Africa?
We have had excellent feedback from viewers who have loved shows such as The Walking Dead, Falling Skies, The Simpsons, Twin Peaks and our MMA specials. All platforms across the continent that carry the channel confirm that it is the most appreciated international entertainment channel and is a well-respected brand by audiences. The new carriage deal will allow us to further improve the quality of the channel and increase our first-run pipeline.

Like all other channels, there are complaints about the amount of repeats. What can FIC Africa say about the amount of repeats on FOX, and would it always remain so, or get less in future, or whatever response do you have on the issue of the scheduling of repeats?
It is the nature of the pay-TV environment to repeat programming and this is the key differentiator to free-to-air channels. The pay-TV channels are thematic by genre and the mission is to deliver great content to its viewers related to its positioning and promise.
The viewing habits of audiences of a pay-TV channel is different from a free-to-air (FTA). On pay-TV platforms there is much more on offer and audiences move across all channels looking for the content they want in any given moment.
In this scenario the repetition gives viewers the opportunity to view programming at a time convenient for them. Or see it the first time if they've missed it. Or they can view again their favourite series and episodes as they like. This is the nature of pay-TV all over, globally, not only in Africa and as a channel we need to deliver what is expected.

How is the branding going to change or be refreshed or be adapted with the change from Fox Entertainment to FOX?
Our new branding is fresh and it engages our show talent to talk about their love of TV and their love of FOX. There is a completely new on-air look and feel that will be coming to viewers' screens. The new branding will go love on 9 April - the same day that the channel launches on DStv - in high definition (HD) and our standard definition (SD) feed will see the new branding from the morning of the 10th of April as this is when we change aspect ratio's for the channel from 4:3 to 16:9.
This rebrand is not related only to the launch on DStv but is part of a global rebrand of the channel decided by the company and has been rolling out since late last year across all territories.


Da Vinci's Demons. A big-buzz new show which will start on 6 May on FOX. And in HD. Are you excited about this show and what kind of push would there be behind this show? Likewise with Falling Skies and The Walking Dead, is FOX looking at becoming or entrenching the feeling that the channel offers real must-see "appointment television"? Why should viewers tune to FOX?
We are extremely excited about Da Vinci's Demons. We have a major international marketing campaign as part of the launch of the show which will be rolled out in South Africa. Our content strategy is to ensure that we deliver "appointment television". We are doing this more and more through owned productions and sourcing content that uses the best talent available.
Why tune to Fox? Because it is the top television entertainment brand that will be delivering more and more exclusive content airing at the same time as the US.


ALSO READ: Starting date of Da Vinci's Demons on FOX moved out to 6 May at 21:45.
ALSO READ: Da Vinci's Demons coming to FOX in South Africa just days after it starts in America.

CNN International's Arwa Damon in special documentary, Iraq: 10 Years On, on CNN International on Tuesday at 19:30.


Ten years after the invasion of Iraq, CNN International's Arwa Damon will return for what is sure to be a must-see documentary on Tuesday on CNN International at 19:30 (South African time): Iraq: 10 Years On.

The CNN International correspondent goes back in Iraq: 10 Years On to see what's changed, and she reconnects with people she met through the years of conflict.

"The past, the present, and what the future may hold - Iraq: 10 Years On," says CNN International.

Oprah Winfrey, Arianna Huffington on CNN International on Wednesday at 19:30 in Leading Women.


Oprah Winfrey and Arianna Huffington will both be on CNN International (DStv 401) on Wednesday at 19:30 in Leading Women, the monthly programme which profiles leading women making a global difference.

"Oprah Winfrey and Arianna Huffington - two powerful people in global media creating opportunities," says CNN International.

Bloomberg Television changes it schedule as it adds another hour of Bloomberg West to its weekday programming from today.


Bloomberg Television (DStv 411) is changing its weekday schedule from today which also affects South African viewers on MultiChoice's DStv on which the 24-hour business news channel is run - Bloomberg Television is expanding its Bloomberg West show focusing on technology news from one hour to two.

TV with Thinus knew the schedule and programming change was coming but it was impossible to tell how it would affect the Bloomberg Television line-up in South Africa for South African viewers until it actually happened today.

The existing hour of the San Francisco-based tech show Bloomberg West which was one hour on the Bloomberg Television schedule is now two separate hours, which necessitates some programming changes on the schedule.

Where South African viewers could see Bloomberg West previously at 19:00 (South African time, as is all times in this article), the 19:00 hour long timeslot remains, but there is now also another hour of Bloomberg West at 14:00 on weekdays.

Bloomberg Rewind with Matt Miller has been cancelled immediately; that timeslot at 02:00 - mostly a recap of the day's news, is now a repeat of Bloomberg Bottom Line with Mark Crumpton.

Money Moves with Deidre Bolton which was at 14:00 is moving from today to one hour later for South African viewers to 15:00.

Bloomberg Bottom Line with Mark Crumpton which was at 15:00 moves into 20:00 with a repeat broadcast in the mornings at 02:00.

Andrew Morse, the head of Bloomberg Television in America told The New York Times last week that the 24-hour business channel "sees a real opportunity".

"The television world is flooded with mediocre content — this extra hour is more of a place for big names in the Valley to come on and talk, and to dig deeper into what the news means."

French Survivor 16th season immediately cancelled after the death of one of the contestants.

What would have been the upcoming 16th season of the French Survivor reality television series, Koh-Lanta has been immediately cancelled and scrapped following the unexpected death of one of the contestants.

ALSO READ: SABC1 refuses to pull Tropika Island of Treasure 5: Jamaica from the schedule following the death of Reeva Steenkamp, will continue to start broadcasting the show even though there been no funeral service yet.

Following the unexpected heart attack of one of the contestants, France's TF1 channel said the season will be cancelled immediately and that Koh-Lanta which was filmed in Cambodia won't be shown this year since the TV channel and production company's thoughts are foremost with the parents and family of the contestant. All the contestants were flown back to Paris today.

The 25 year old contestant Gérald Babin suffered an unexpected heart attack and died on Friday during the first day of shooting following a "shipwreck" challenge.

"The show will not take place in 2013," says a TF1 spokesperson. Koh-Lanta was produced by Adventure Line Productions (ALP). "The teams from ALP, TF1 and (presenter) Denis Brogniart are devastated and join in the profound sadness of Gérald’s family. All of their thoughts are with his parents, his sister, his girlfriend and all those close to him."

Die Boland Moorde coming to kykNET from 2 April at 20:00 as a new crime-solving forensic drama with a Boland detective duo.


Die Boland Moorde [English: The Boland Murders, denoting the "upper land" area just outside Cape Town famed for viticulture is a new local Afrikaans crime-solving forensic drama series starting on kykNET (DStv 144) on Tuesday 2 April at 20:00.

Die Boland Moorde for six episodes, each and hour and a half in length, is similar in scope, style and subject matter to such British series like Inspector Morse and follows two detectives André Fourie (Stian Bam) en Shane Williams (Brandon Daniels) solving cases in South Africa's winelands in feature length episodes.

Whether the actual scripts, production values and look of Die Boland Moorde will come across as quality art remains to be seen for this TV production which was shot over the course of two months at the end of 2012.

What is certain is that the episodic plots are quite intriguing and creative: In one episode of Die Boland Moorde entitled "Antjie Somers" officers Fourie and Williams have to investigate a mysterious death and find themselves on the set of a (fictitious, but oh so delicious sounding) Afrikaans film based on the very Afrikaans legend of Antjie Somers.

Louis Pretorius and Albert Snyman were responsible for the scripts and Die Boland Moorde was shot in and around Stellenbosch at more than 30 places, ranging from a caravan park and book shops to even a student residence.

Viewers will see more than 65 actors in Die Boland Moorde, including some very familiar faces such as Anna-Mart van der Merwe and Antoinette Kellerman.

Other actors include Martelize Kolver, Vicky Davis, Johan Esterhuizen, Marlo Minnaar, Marko van der Colff, Hannes van Wyk and AJ van der Merwe.

BREAKING. Travel Channel launches major rebranding with new on-air look and logo; promises new programming, schedule overhaul.




The Travel Channel (DStv 179) is rebranding with a new look, logo an on-air identity.

Scripps Networks Interactive which supplies the Travel Channel to MultiChoice's DStv has done a comprehensive brand refresh of the travel channel which is rolling out today in South Africa and other countries besides North America, and then later in America as well.

The Travel Channel is also going to see a major overhaul of its scheduling and programming, including what Scripps Networks Interactive says is "series premieres across 6 new programming genres" in addition to the staple core of programming which Scripps says "resonates with global audiences".

"As the leader in lifestyle media in the home, food and travel categories, Scripps Networks is proud to be investing in a brand-new identity for Travel Channel across its international territories," says Nick Thorogood, the senior vice president for content and marketing for Scripps for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

"We are building an even stronger brand," says Nick Thorogood. "We believe the new programming and presentation, alongside the new look will appeal to all our audiences, affiliate partners and advertisers alike - it's dynamic, fresh and delivers the experience and quality of a modern world-class channel."

The Travel Channel will be adding more than 400 hours of new content as part of the channel's scheduling and programming overhaul. Six new programming genres - adventure experience, factual travel, lifestyle, food, luxury and travel passions - will become a part of the channel's line-up.

The creative agency Lambie-Nairn worked with Travel Channel to devise new on-air materials. The interstitials were filmed in South Africa, and portray the movement and sensory experiences associated with travel.

New programming in March, April and May on Travel Channel include Middle Kingdom Ride (10 April at 20:00 and 20:30), It's a Women's World (6 May at 19:00), Hotel Impossible - After Anthony (22 April at 20:00), Jonathan Phang's Caribbean Cookbook (23 April at 21:00), Travel Like a President (15 May at 19:00 and World's Greatest Motorcycle Rides - Russia (27 March at 20:00).

IT'S A JUNGLE OUT THERE. Jungle Gold coming to The Discovery Channel from Monday 1 April at 21:25.


The new reality show Jungle Gold with Scott Lomu and George Wright is set to start on The Discovery Channel (DStv 121) on Monday 1 April at 21:25.

Deep in the jungles of Ghana, Scott Lomu and George Wright are looking for gold in this brand-new reality show. Five years ago both were high-flying real estate agents but then they lost everything when America's housing bubble burst in 2008.

Now they've gone on a daring, what most would call a "gamble" to get their fortunes back - they've left Amerca and travelled to the jungles of Ghana in West Africa, looking for gold in the continent's second largest gold-producing country.

In this African country with its vast reserves of gold in the rich ground, even amateur miners and prospectors can strike it very, very rich in an instant. But it's dangerous terrain, a dangerous environment and filled with some dangerous people and animals.

The guys have purchased an 80 acre claim close to the Mirim river and now they want to find gold. What they are going to discover is that it's more important to stay alive.

Finding gold, getting it out of the ground and staying out of danger in the heart of the Ghana jungle is going to become their big challenge as they struggle with mechanical difficulties, territory disputes and hostile people, deadly competition and the jungle itself which isn't willing to let go of its biggest treasure.

How are they going to deal with armed neighbours, broken roads, roadblocks manned by Ghanaian gangs as well as shady and ruthless gold buyers?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

MINISTER OF MESS-UPS. Minister of communications Dina Pule must be fired, blares the Sunday Times in its front page lead story.


With the "SABC imploding, the Post Office facing crippling strikes, and delays in rolling out digital TV" in South Africa, the Sunday Times newspaper today brazenly called for the red Louboutin wearing minister of communications, Dina Pule, to be fired, branding Dina Pule the "minister of mess-ups" in a front page above-the-fold story which has been making waves in South Africa's TV industry today with the headline:

Fire her now, Mr President

Besides Dina Pule also getting the red shoe treatment as a "godzilla" type monster with red Louboutins stomping around and leaving the destruction of institutions like the SABC in her wake as the Zapiro cartoon in today's Sunday Times, the Sunday newspaper is filled - filled! - with articles; various opinion-editorial pieces; on the massive meltdown at the beleaguered South African Broadcasting Corporation.

The Sunday Times is now the third publication in South Africa to ask for the head of Dina Pule within a year, following the disastrous track-record of her at the department of communications. "Calls to fire Dina Pule have intensified as evidence against her mounts," said the Sunday Times in its lead story.

"Euthanasia the SABC's best option," is the headline accompanying Redi Tlhabi's opinion editorial piece in the Sunday Times. "Do we need the SABC? No, we do not," writes Redi Tlhabi. "It may not be dead yet, but it is definitely on the verge of becoming obsolete. It suffers from a paucity of credibility and integrity. I wonder if any of the stakeholders actually care about creating a credible, efficient broadcaster?"

Redi Tlhabi writes: "The SABC is also failing to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the public. Yes, I know it broadcasts the plight of the truly desperate and claims to be "touching lives". The best way to touch lives is to roll up your sleeves and actually do the work."

In another opinion editorial piece in today's Sunday Times (oh the joy and seriousness of schadenfreude when the piling on starts) Jane Duncan, professor at Rhodes University's school of journalism and media studies writes: "The minister usurped the SABC board's right to appoint the SABC's three top positions. This had serious implications for the organisation's editorial independence, because the CEO is also the editor-in-chief and the chief operatiing officer has taken charge of news and current affairs."

"These provisions undermined the separation of powers and functions between the SABC and the executive. They are almost certainly unlawful, because they violate the requirement in the Broadcasting Act for the SABC board to control its own affairs."

"Inappropriate political deployments have also caused havoc at the broadcaster."

Jane Duncan writes: "The main reason why the SABC remains trapped in crisis mode is that those who benefit from a weakened SABC are more powerful and well-organised than those who do not."

ANOTHER NAIL in TopTV's coffin: With FOX's dual availability on DStv, TopTV has only ONE worthwhile and valuable channel left.


The value-offering and unique selling proposition of the pay-TV offering which On Digital Media (ODM) provides through it's TopTV service in South Africa has now been diluted to the point where TopTV no longer has anything left for which isn't already on rival MultiChoice's DStv and for which a pay-TV subscriber must get TopTV - except one last, lone channel.

South African viewers who wanted to watch high-buzz, high-profile TV shows such as The Walking Dead, Falling Skies, Camelot and others had to get a TopTV decoder. Fox International Channels Africa (FIC Africa) supplies FOX, FX and Fox Retro to ODM's TopTV - not exclusively - although TopTV had these channels exclusively since TopTV launched almost three years ago in May 2010.

With the new carriage agreement between FIC Africa and MultiChoice, FOX will start as a new TV channel on DStv on channel 125 on 9 April and in high definition (HD).

FIC Africa is also moving dramas which used to debut on FX to FOX, with FOX which is being repurposed as the main flagship channel of all hot and new TV content and the big-buzz dramas such as the upcoming Da Vinci's Demons.

With FOX's dual availability on both DStv and TopTV, it chips away further at the must-have uniqueness TopTV had at launch - the value-offering which would have made a South African pay-TV subscriber decided to get and stay subscribed to TopTV because of content that wasn't available elsewhere or on DStv as a competitor.

Since TopTV launched, TopTV lost Current, Star!, Showtime, Silver and MUTV to mention just a few, and Discovery Networks International has also signed a carriage agreement with MultiChoice to make TLC and ID: Investigation Discovery which was only on TopTV also available on DStv - similar to what has now happened with FOX.

What it means is that basically all of TopTV's unique attractiveness - channels only it had - has now evaporated. It's unique value proposition - what marketers call "UVP" - when it comes to TopTV's collapsed ecosystem of TV channels, is basically all but gone.

Out of the 3 Discovery channels on TopTV, two - TLC and ID: Investigation Discovery is also available on DStv - since they were added by Discovery Networks CEEMEA in October 2011. That was a huge blow for TopTV in terms of content, channel and competitiveness dilution.

The last and only remaining great TV channel which only TopTV has and which hasn't been taken by DStv is Discovery Science (TopTV 302). The high quality and interesting channel from Discovery which focuses on more scientific and scientifically-curious subjects, topics and shows, can only be seen in South Africa on TopTV.

With high-quality programming (because Discovery Networks International programmes it and is the largest content generator of all the remaining channel suppliers on TopTV) Discovery Science - out of the TopTV-only TV channels left on TopTV's existing channel line-up such as Natura, FuelTV and ASTV - is the last "must-get" reason to get TopTV.

With TLC and ID: Investigation Discovery available on both platforms and Fox's very strong and "exclusive" suit of channels which was a compelling incentive (and a "saving grace" of sorts of new and high standard content for TopTV) now aviailable on both South African satellite pay-TV platforms, it leaves only Discovery Science.

If you want to watch Discovery Science, you would need to be a TopTV subscriber to see exceptionally well-done and interesting documentaries such as a compelling virtual recreation in real-time of the magnificent inner nuclear fusion reaction of the sun.

Kelly Osbourne returns to Fashion Police on E! Entertainment after her shocking on-set seizure.

Kelly Osbourne is back on Fashion Police on E! Entertainment (DStv 124), having returned to the show on Friday in America and seen on Saturdays in South Africa, following her shocking on-set seizure at the beginning of the month after which she was hospitalised.

"We're so excited to have our little purple-haired cutey-pie back with us," said Joan Rivers, the moderator of Fashion Police on the latest episode, motioning to Kelly Osbourne.

Kelly Osbourne blew air-kisses to her co-presenters, Giuliana Rancic, Joan Rivers and George Kotsiopoulos.

The cause of Kelly Osbourne's seizure has not yet been revealed.

Anna Edwards joins Bloomberg Television in London as co-anchor of Countdown.

Anna Edwards has joined Bloomberg Television (DStv 411) as a co-anchor of Countdown with Mark Barton on the 24-hour business TV channel, she will be based in London.

Anna Edwards was last seen on television working as a freelance anchor for CNN International (DStv 401) where she anchored World Business Today. She also did work for CNBC.

"Anna is a strong addition to the Bloomberg Television presenting team here in Europe having covered many major global economic and financial events, interviewed countless business leaders and her experience of reporting on the rapidly moving developments in the markets will enhance our current output," says Malcolm Fried, the head of Bloomberg Television in Europe in a statement.

Countdown is seen in South Africa on MultiChoice's DStv in the mornings at 03:00 (South African time).

Saturday, March 23, 2013

E! Entertainment fails to bring South African viewers the orange carpet coverage of the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2013.

In a big fail E! Entertainment (DStv 124) which is supposed to specialise in Hollywood red carpet coverage of award show events will not be bringing South African viewers the red carpet (or in this case orange carpet) coverage of Nickelodeon's 26th Annual Kids' Choice Awards 2013 on MultiChoice's DStv - although E! Entertainment is showing it in America.

Nickelodeon (DStv 305) will be broadcasting the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2013 on Wednesday 27 March at 17:45 (South African time) but E! Entertainment will not be having any red carpet coverage - live or otherwise - today or later for South African DStv viewers.

E! Entertainment's Live from the Red Carpet: Nickelodeon 26th Kids' Choice Awards will be shown today in America anchored by Jerrence Jenkins and Khloé Kardashian and E! Entertainment also announced the coverage on E! News on television as seen in South Africa on Friday.

E! Entertainment continues to have a big programming disconnect, with the local channel feed of the entertainment channel as seen and experienced in South Africa on DStv which is marred, distorted and mutilated by heavy censorship in the form of excessive bleeping, blurring,  and strange programming decisions s

E! Entertainment's schizophrenic on-air content craziness becomes ever more blatant through something like not showing Live from the Red Carpet: Nickelodeon 26th Kids' Choice Awards

While almost everything gets bleeped, the announcements and interview with Josh Duhamel as host of the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2013 on E! News and that Terrence Jenkins and Khloé Kardashian will be anchoring wasn't - so South African viewers know that it will happen, but won't be allwed to see it.

E! Entertainment in the United Kingdom from where South Africa's channel feed originates, should then rather have censored and bleeped and cut that portion as well so as to not create some false viewer expectation.

E! also issued a press release about the hour of red carpet coverage which won't be seen in South Africa, telling viewers that "E!'s cameras will be front-and-centre to capture all the arrivals, celebrity interviews and spontaneity" of the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2013 carpet.

If Nickelodeon as a DStv channel from Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) could add the Kids' Choice Awards the past few years to its kids channel after it wasn't shown before but realized that the content was desired, valuable and important to their brand, certainly the emerging markets division of Universal Networks International responsible for E! Entertainment as seen in South Africa should by now have adapted too to clear their orange carpet coverage of this event because of its perceived importance.

The non-showing of this live red carpet coverage today adds to the perception that E! Entertainment on DStv isn't a TV channel actually getting unique programming attention for South Africa - that's it is simply pumped here without specific thought and care for the South African market and getting botched and limited with random censorship which makes no sense for, and isn't needed, for South African viewers.

Busi Lurayo the presenter of Million Rand Money Drop on M-Net starting on Wednesday 10 April.

Busi Lurayi has been announced as the presenter of the format game show Million Rand Money Drop which will start broadcasting on Wednesday 10 April at 19:30.

Busi Lurayi who've previously appeared on South African television screens in the role of Phumzile in City Ses'la as well as Generations and Sokhulu & Partners as well as international productions such as ER and Wild at Heart is called "the ideal choice" by M-Net as presenter of Million Rand Money Drop.

"When we were looking for a presenter for Million Rand Money Drop, the search was on for someone who could handle the pressure of a series with such high-stakes, while still being able to empathise with contestants, whether they are winning - or losing - large amounts of money," says M-Net in a press statement announcing Busi Lurayi.

Filming of the first season has been completed and Million Rand Money Drop is produced by Endemol South Africa.

"There have only ever been a handful of female presenters of this series internationally, and Busi Lurayi brought the perfect combination of skill, quick-thinking, humour and affability to the role of host ... not to mention her stylish good looks too," says M-Net.

In Million Rand Money Drop pairs of contestants working together as a team has to try and answer 7 questions correctly by placing physical cash on any of a number of possibly right multiple choice answers. The money placed on wrong answers fall through a trap door.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Koowee on DStv getting canned as a TV channel; name will continue to exist as a programming block on a set of DStv channels.


M-Net's Koowee (DStv 307) is getting canned as a kids TV channel on DStv with the M-Net produced channel which will no longer be supplied to MultiChoice's DStv, and DStv which will no longer be having Koowee as a separate TV channel on it's channel line-up.

Koowee as an M-Net kids channel targeting preschool kids with both an Afrikaans and Zulu sound track will be gone by 9 April.

"Koowee will no longer exist as a separate channel on DStv from 9 April onwards," said MultiChoice at the end of the press statement which announced earlier this week that FOX (DStv 125) and kykNET & Kie (DStv 145) are added as new TV channels to DStv.

No reason for the discontinuation of Koowee was given and why Koowee as a channel is getting closed down.

Koowee becomes the second kids TV channel which was compiled by M-Net for DStv which is ending, after DStv and M-Net ended K All Day (originally called KTV World, then K-World) on 31 March 2009.

Now Koowee as a TV channel is ending after 4 years - it was launched on 6 April 2009. It has since simulcast programming blocks on other channels like two daily blocks which was added on kykNET (DStv 144).

Koowee will now be folded into some other channels where the brand-name will exist only as a programming block.

M-Net didn't made specific mention of Koowee closing down but alluded to it in the pay-TV broadcaster's own announcement about the new kykNET & kie (DStv 145) TV channel.

"As from Tuesday 9 April the current Afrikaans children's shows on Koowee will move onto Koowee blocks on kykNET and kykNET & kie, with the latter having longer slots."

"In the mornings, the little ones can enjoy the antics of the cuddly Koowee characters on kykNET & kie between 07:30 and 09:30, with more to follow between 17:00 and 18:00 in the early evening. While Koowee personalities like Tjiff and Tjaff and Pikin will be regulars on the channel, moms should be glad to hear that familiar faces from their own childhood like Heidi will join in the fun too."

Besides the existing programming block on kykNET, Koowee will be available on kykNET & kie as a programming block, and will also be on Magic World (DStv 162) as a programming block with Zulu and Tswana language options.

Sky News sheds a 'tear' over the new British budget; but Joey Jones wasn't really crying.


The dangers of live reporting: It looked as if Sky News' Joey Jones was shedding a tear about the new depressing British budget which was announced - but it was actually just a raindrop which fell just so, under his eye and rolled down his left cheek as viewers saw it - all very visible on live television.

The professional he is, Joey Jones just kept talking with reaction about the 2013 budget, although viewers might have thought that he's looking sad or getting a tad emotional reporting live from Westminster.

Meanwhile Joey Jones wasn't crying or getting misty-eyed at all. The sparkly spot of water wasn't from his eye.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Phakamile Hlubi on the eNCA does a Glenda Kemp; pats a python around her neck as part of a missing snake story.


Phakamile Hlubi on the eNCA (DStv 403) has done a Glenda Kemp for her sensational reporting on the "runaway" black mamba at the Pretoria zoo - getting in on the act by draping a yellow Burmese Python around her body.

Gimmicky reporting - from running in a red speedo to riding an elephant is nothing new for the eNCA and its coterie of correspondents - but has it become too much?

While one of the world's most deadliest snakes has escaped its enclosure at the Pretoria Zoo, the eNCA's Phakamile Hlubi thought it well to lovingly stroke a snake around her neck to enhance her on-air reporting.

The danger of course is that the reporter risks becoming the story instead of reporting on it.

TV news reporters just like print journalists do have to immerse themselves in the stories, environments, events and the lives of those they cover, but they shouldn't become a part of it.

Testing or evaluating a service or product or experience - such as a story on advanced driving technique classes just before a holiday period as Iman Rapetti and Jeremy Maggs did at the end of 2012, or test-driving a solar-powered experimental vehicle is full-on real and proper reporting.

In such cases the reporter is qualitatively involved to be "the Johnny" - the guinea pig or model to relay experiential coverage to the viewer.

On the other hand draping a snake around your neck tot pop your story makes you part of the act - you become part of the circus sideshow instead of objectively telling about it.

Remember that this isn't Thabang Thabong mid-morning educational show-and-tell kindergarden television, a place where something like this ("let's learn about the zoo; let's learn about snakes") would be fine - it's (supposedly) a news story which has now been cheapened by begging for "ooh watch me" legitimacy.

That's why Phakamile stroking a python is lazy, opportunistic (and slightly exploitative) reporting by the eNCA.