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Thursday, August 10, 2017

M-Net CEO Yolisa Phahle reveals one of her TV career's 'Devil Wears Prada' moments - It's hilarious, it's magical, and involves David Copperfield, Dynamo, Koos Bekker and Trevor Noah.


The highly-respected M-Net boss Yolisa Phahle on Thursday surprised the media gaggle known as the Press Covering Television when she humorously revealed one of her personal TV career's The Devil Wears Prada moments - a moment that's connected to comedian Trevor Noah.

The Devil Wears Prada is a 2006-film, based on the novel of the same name, in which the patient assistant of a fashion magazine editor takes a lot of deep breaths as she valiantly performs miracle after miracle for her extremely demanding boss.

In the the film Meryl Streep's character demands impossible things - like copies of an unpublished Harry Potter manuscript for her twins, and suddenly wants a flight out of Miami although there are no planes due to a hurricane: 'Call Donatella, get her jet".

"Basically the M-Net 30th anniversary was a big thing because Koos Bekker who founded M-Net is very hands-off these days, but he becomes incredibly hands-on when it comes to M-Net's 10th, 20th and 30th anniversaries," Yolisa Phahle said.

She spoke during M-Net's press conference with Trevor Noah who is doing a new stand-up show in South Africa, There's a Gupta On My Stoep, in Johannesburg and Durban, as well as a new 13-part comedy TV series for M-Net (DStv 101) that will be broadcast in 2018.

"So the 30th anniversary was my first time as the manager of M-Net having to deal with this big event and I had to go to Cape Town to meet with Koos to present a concept for the show."

"So M-Net is all about magic. And I said to Koos Bekker 'Should we get David Copperfield? Maybe we must get Dynamo? And lets get Trevor Noah," said Yolisa Phahle.

"And he just said 'Forget David Copperfield, forget Dynamo - just get me Trevor Noah!"

"And he said I don't want anyone else."

"Meanwhile Trevor is in New York. He does his show which is live every single night. How on earth am I going to get Trevor Noah? It was like my Devil Wears Prada moment where in the media world someone is basically asking you to do something that is impossible."

But of course Yolisa Phahle did get Trevor Noah for M-Net's 30th anniversary, and with his help she did pull it off in a revolutionary and a very surprising way.

Since Trevor Noah simply couldn't physically be in South Africa during the specific week in November 2016 due to his Daily Show commitments, M-Net flew a film crew to New York to record him doing his special M-Net performance, and turned him into a larger-than-life hologram.

"So firstly it worked incredibly well, people were laughing in the audience as if Trevor Noah was really, really standing there," said Yolisa Phahle.

"Some people were even saying 'Can I go and meet Trevor' afterwards - very high-profile, intelligent people wanted to go and shake your hand."

"So the reason I still have my job today is because we actually managed to get Trevor Noah because I wouldn't be standing here today if you haven't done that," she said to applause and laughter.

"The hologram was an interesting idea," added Trevor Noah who is currently on holiday in South Africa during the end-of-season break as host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central (DStv 122).

"M-Net said 'hey we're celebrating our 30th anniversary, can we do something special? Let's try something crazy. Lets do a hologram."

"Let's see if you can do comedy and host your show from ... nowhere."

"Let's see if it works, and if it works, it works, and if it doesn't then we know we tried something new. It was a scary but exciting experience," said Trevor Noah.