Tuesday, August 21, 2018
e.tv has acquired and scheduled Lucasfilm's Star Wars saga with seven of the films in the ongoing series that is being broadcast on the free-to-air broadcaster since Saturday 18 August.
I still remember very well the first time I saw Star Wars. I knew about it as a kid and what it was about, have read books about it and seen multiple photos, but never had the chance to see it.
Then it was finally scheduled on public South African television and I watched the second film, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back on a Saturday night on what was then the CCV channel.
After M-Net for years showed the Star Wars films since the 80's, e.tv is finally, for the first time, showing the Star Wars films as a festival, starting with Episode IV: A New Hope and ending with Episode VII: The Force Awakes.
"Star Wars is one of the world's biggest film franchises, and e.tv is extremely proud to bring the action, drama and laughs of the saga to e.tv audiences for the first time. The force will be strong with e.tv and Star Wars this August and September," says Marlon Davids, MD of e.tv.
The interesting thing (and part of an ongoing debate) is whether viewers watching Star Wars or starting Star Wars, should watch the story chronologically - meaning from Episode 1 to Episode 8 - or how they were released, meaning, starting from Episode 4.
e.tv chose to start in media res with episode 4, which I believe is the right decision.
Episodes I to III of Star Wars are understood better, with added dramatic irony and contextual tension when those are viewed after Episodes IV to VI.
Here is e.tv's Star Wars movies line-up:
Saturday, 18 August 21:35: Star Wars: Episode IV - Episode A New Hope
Saturday, 25 August at 22:25: Star Wars Episode V - Empire Strikes Back
Saturday, 1 September at 21:40: Star Wars: Episode VI - Return Of The Jedi
Saturday, 8 September at 21:35: Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
Saturday, 15 September at 21:25: Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of The Clones
Saturday, 22 September at 21:50: Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith
Sunday, 30 September at 20:00: Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens
Ruda Landman back on Carte Blanche this Sunday on M-Net for the show's special 30th anniversary broadcast.
Ruda Landman will be back on Carte Blanche on M-Net (DStv 101) this Sunday evening at 19:00 for the weekly investigative show's landmark 30th anniversary that will take the form of a special 90-minute look-back episode.
Ruda Landman will return for a special appearance next to her former co-anchor Derek Watts with whom she shared the Carte Blanche stage for 19 years at the Combined Artistic Productions show until she left 11 years ago.
Together Ruda Landman and Derek Watts left an indelible imprint on South Africa's TV landscape with the iconic Sunday night show that it still going strong after three decades and Sunday's episode that will reflect on how "truth does brings change".
Sunday's special episode of the programme with its signature theme song, slogan of "the right to see it all" and currently with presenters Derek Watts, Devi Sankaree Govender, Claire Mawisa, John Webb and Macfarlane Moleli, will include a look back at Carte Blanche's memorable moments, highlights and groundbreaking investigations over the past 30 years.
The highly-successful Sunday night 19:00 TV staple on M-Net since its very start in 1988 with jaw-dropping stories over the years has seen South Africa transition through seismic political, cultural and socio-economic changes with a weekly mix of investigative and consumer journalism stories, profile interviews and agenda-setting exposes based on a similar format as America's 60 Minutes.
"Ruda Landman will be back for a guest appearance," Derek Watts told OFM in a radio interview. "Ruda was a great part of the show and she will be back and it will be the whole team there, all presenting segments."
"It's quite a thing to look back on 30 years and how many lives have changed, how many laws have changed. People have been affected. And you can't help feeling a bit nostalgic going back 30 years but it's been quite a trip for everybody on the team," said Derek Watts.
Devi Sankaree Govender who has been with Carte Blanche for the past 16 years, told Jacaranda FM in an interview that the special 30th anniversary episode will look back at some of the best stories over the years, "stories that have affected the country, stories that brought about change".
"We're looking at the investigative stories, the catching crooks stories, the happy stories, the adventure stories - marking 30 years, and 30 years of the fact that truth does bring change."
In an interview with 702 Devi Sankaree Govender said "Carte Blanche has been the greatest privilege of my life because I've had access to people and situations that ordinarily I wouldn't have access to".
"A big part of transformation for me, is transparency. And the only way you're going to get that, is if you're not afraid to ask the really tough questions. People don't like to be put on the spot," said Devi Sankaree Govender.
"When you're sitting across from somebody during an interview, it's just about you and that person. It's not about clever, fancy questions with big words. It's about keeping it real, asking questions that matter, but more importantly, finding some kind of direction."
"I'm a sucker for 'I'm sorry'. Very few of the people I interview actually say 'I'm sorry'. If you're sorry, then let's see how we are going to fix this together," she said.
Monday, August 20, 2018
MultiChoice finally switching off Mzwanele Manyi's controversial Afro Worldview on DStv as the channel's last-night discussion revolves around virginity testing and 'A, B and C-grade vaginas'.
Staffers at Mzwanele Manyi's Afro Worldview (DStv 405) were told on Monday to stay home from Tuesday as the day finally arrived that MultiChoice was cutting the channel, previously known as ANN7 and started by the Guptas, after its 5-year contract ran out and wasn't renewed.
Afro Worldview was set to go dark at 23:59 on Monday night as MultiChoice announced in January, with the channel that closed out Monday night, its final broadcasting night on DStv, with a discussion around virginity testing and "A, B and C-grade vaginas".
Employees at Afro Worldview said they were finally informed by Mzwanele Manyi on Monday during a meeting that Afro Worldview is going off the air.
It comes less than a month after the abrupt shutdown of Afro Voice, the newspaper previously known as The New Age that was taken over by Mzwanele Manyi's Afrotone Holdings through a vendor financing deal with the controversial Gupta family.
Mzwanele Manyi's Afrotone Media Holdings in June renamed The New Age as Afro Voice and ANN7 as Afro Worldview in an attempt to create distance from the tarnished brands mired in alleged Gupta corruption scandals as part of an announced "'strategic decision'' to take the media company "to greater heights".
Om Monday Afro Worldview staffers were told that they will be paid at the end of the month as planned.
There's been no statement from Afro Worldview on Monday about its shuttering that comes exactly 5 years after ANN7's utterly disastrous launch on 21 August 2013 on DStv. and that was recently recounted in Rajesh Sundaram's page-turner book, Indentured: Behind the Scenes at Gupta TV.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said it was disappointed at the way that Afro Worldview handled the channel's demise and that management were not more upfront with workers about what would be happening after Monday.
The Fedusa trade union said "we are concerned for the workers, however, it is difficult to ignore the propaganda history of the network and its previous owners".
Sometime on Saturday 18 August Mzwanele Manyi on Twitter posted a staff pic taken in the Afro Worldview studio, and pleaded: "Dear South Africa Please put this innocent team of Bread Winners in your prayers. They NEED their jobs."
MultiChoice on Monday reaffirmed to TVwithThinus what it announced earlier that Afro Worldview will be shut down on DStv on 20 August and said in response to a media enquiry that "our contract with Afro Worldview comes to an end today".
Afro Worldview closed out Monday night with a late-night discussion about virginity testing and talking about "A, B and C-grade vaginas".
"I know the lights are going off at the station but HTF is this allowed to air?" asked viewer Quinton Mtyala.
In a note to DStv subscribers, MultiChoice said it would make an announcement regarding the new TV news channel replacing Afro Worldview on 28 August.
TV CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK. That coolest M-Net announcement that came at the end of the Survivor SA: Phillipines finale, and what viewers don't actually realise it means.
On Thursday night Tom Schwartz from Port Elizabeth was announced as the winner of Survivor South Africa: Philippines on M-Net (DStv 101) but the coolest announcement was actually what host Nico Panagio started teasing midway through and revealed right at the end: that M-Net has renewed Survivor SA for a 7th season in 2019 that will be entitled "Island of Secrets" and that entries has opened.
Many South Africans viewers don't realise what this actually really means and signifies about M-Net, about Survivor, and about Survivor South Africa, produced by Afrokaans.
South Africa isn't America.
And our much-smaller TV industry - where commissioning of shows and scheduling works more like the British TV system than the American one, and less local content is produced than what gets made in the United States - doesn't really have the "luxury" of being able to announce another season of a show right at the back-end of a just completed season.
While the American Survivor on CBS has always announced the next season at the end of the reunion show, it's been virtually impossible for South Africa because these decisions for big-budget shows take much more time.
This makes what M-Net and Survivor South Africa pulled off on Thursday night when it announced Island of Secrets, extremely groundbreaking, significant and special.
During the post-show press briefing a crucial part of this puzzle, is what became my most important question to ask: When during the just completed 6th season did M-Net decide to renew the show?
Kay Ann Williams, M-Net's head of local content and independent films for M-Net channels, explained that the decision was made midway during this season after analysing the ratings and viewer response.
It's incredible that M-Net was able to push to get all of the necessary paperwork and all of the must-sign-off-on's out of the way in order to make the announcement of Island of Secrets at the end of Survivor SA: Philippines.
It's a very smart and positive move, and a win-win for M-Net and for Survivor South Africa.
I would personally not be surprised if Survivor: Island of Secrets manages to get the most entries ever. Buzz builds buzz.
By announcing the next season immediately, M-Net and Survivor SA's new season can capitalise and build on the existing excitement, buzz, energy and general awareness of the programme.
It means that less effort and money needs to be spent by M-Net on marketing and publicity because the South African public and viewers know the show and haven't "forgotten" about it.
It also signals to people that M-Net remains serious about, and focused on, Survivor SA as a strong programme for the channel.
That in turn tells the media and the audience that Survivor South Africa is a programme that matters, deserves attention and is a desirable TV property to be a part of - like being a contestant in it.
Well done to M-Net for pulling off this announcement during the end of the show and everything it must have required from numerous people behind-the-scenes to get it greenlit and for the announcement to go ahead during the actual broadcast of the season finale.
The renewal announcement made Survivor SA and M-Net just that little bit more "American" in the best sense of the word - a plus for viewers, and for South Africa's local TV biz.
Sunday, August 19, 2018
TV CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK. A+E Networks' History in Africa gives new meaning to old content as the 4th season of Black Sails starts in Africa a year and a half after the rest of the world saw it.
How condescending and disrespectful to DStv subscribers and viewers and fans of the show in South Africa and elsewhere on the African continent.
It feels as if A+ E Networks UK and its A+E Networks Africa office think that African viewers don't know about a thing called "internet", can't use Wikipedia or Google, and are just one-directional, passive receivers of whatever programming a channel distributor decides to show, when it decides to show it.
Fans and viewers of Black Sails have literally been able to buy the 4th season of the drama series as a DVD and Bluray box set since August 2017 - 2017! - a year ago from places like Amazon and elsewhere.
If you just google searched "Black Sails", and "season 4" the past, uhm, year to find out when it might be shown in South Africa, Africa or on History or DStv, search results would have come up about the 4th season and its finale above other information on the show - information that's extremely hard to avoid or not see.
This obviously happens because the show literally ended in April 2017 already, followed by several articles to explain the ending.
For all the complaining that MultiChoice South Africa CEO Calvo Mawela did recently regarding the threat of subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services like Netflix and Netflix South Africa "coming to eat our lunch", there is really a lot of deliberate, self-inflicted damage being done by the likes of MultiChoice and channel distribution partners like A+E Networks UK.
It feels as if they don't seem to really get that it's really a no-no in this day and age to show a season of an international drama series like Black Sails a year and a half later on television.
Surely a lot of fans and viewers of the series - that was of course filmed in Cape Town, Johannesburg before it was destroyed by a fire and cancelled - would by now have bought the DVDs or would have gone to illegal torrent sharing and other download sites to find and watch the 4th season's episodes of Black Sails.
It's also been possible to rent the 4th season box set of Black Sails from DVD rental shops. Now DStv and History want viewers to tune in every Wednesday for one episode per week as a linear broadcast as if they're a captive audience with no other options as consumers.
Was it really not possible for A+E Networks in the United Kingdom to schedule the 4th season of Black Sails on History sooner?
MultiChoice expects DStv subscribers to pay a premium price to get access to A+E Networks' History channel that's only available to DStv Premium and DStv Compact Plus subscribers. But History in terms of its content doesn't seem to behave like a premium channel.
For added irony, compare how M-Net (DStv 101) as a proper premium subscription channel, has treated Vikings (that is actually an A+E Networks drama series) since M-Net acquired the rights.
M-Net very quickly scheduled the seasons and made a deliberate and focused attempt to catch up and brought South African and African viewers on DStv up to date until the 5th season of Vikings where History in America is with the show.
That is what A+E Networks UK should have done for its History channel in Africa with Black Sails from Starz.
Consumers have been able to buy the 4th season, region 2 DVD box set of Black Sails in their local DVD and music shop or on TakeALot for about R409 for the last 10 episodes - long before its been shown on DStv and History.
A+E Networks UK and DStv now presumably want viewers and ratings for Black Sails on History.
Sadly that ship, like the Walrus, long ago sailed.
Ghana's Fly TV in contempt of court over continuing to broadcast Premier League football matches although the rights belong to MultiChoice and SuperSport.
In June MultiChoice Ghana secured an injunction in Ghana's high court against Nour Vision, barring them from airing the 2018 World Cup in Ghana over Fly TV's unauthorised broadcast on the pay-TV service of World Cup matches, other sports content as well as other TV licensing rights violations.
Fly TV stopped, and then MultiChoice Ghana again went to the high court to get an injunction against Nour Vision Ltd to also prevent Fly TV from specifically broadcasting EPL matches.
When the EPL started in early August, Nour Vision Ltd literally disregarded the injunction and started broadcasting EPL football matches in Ghana despite not having the rights to do so, and despite several prior warnings from MultiChoice Africa to other broadcasters to stop the pirate broadcast of specifically sport content.
Rabih Fahs and El Akhrass Akoghe, Nour Vision Ltd directors, have now been cited for being in contempt of court, with an application seeking their imprisonment that will be heard on 28 August.
Cecil Sunkwa Mills, MultiChoice Ghana general manager said the pay-TV operator will continue to work with local authorities to enforce the protection of acquired and licensed content from operators who steal it for illegal rebroadcast.
Comic series, Watchmen, gets a series order from HBO, will likely make its debut on HBO and M-Net in 2019.
Watchmen will be produced by Damon Lindelof's White Rabbit, in association with Warner Bros. Television, and promises a new spin in the graphic novel.
The cast includes Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson and Louis Gossett Jr., Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Adelaide Clemens, Andrew Howard, Tom Mison, Frances Fisher, Jacob Ming-Trent, Sara Vickers, Dylan Schombing, Lily Rose Smith and Adelynn Spoon.
HBO said "set in an alternate history where 'superheroes' are treated as outlaws, Watchmen embraces the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel while attempting to break new ground of its own."
Damon Lindelof will be executive producer and writer, with pilot director Nicole Kassell joining as executive producer along with Tom Spezialy, Stephen Williams and Joseph Iberti.
TV CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK. When the TV execs go and sit in the back of the house when they actually run the house: A shout-out to the exemplary zookeepers of South African television who keep showing up - and showing up.
The majority of the people who filed into and took their seats inside the Silverline Studios set of Survivor South Africa: Phillipines to be part of the live studio audience for the season finale on M-Net (DStv 101) this week would have had no idea who, quite unassumingly, sat right next to them.
On Thursday evening, both Nkateko Mabaso, acting M-Net CEO, and Kay Ann Williams, head of local content and independent films for the M-Net channels, unpretentiously slipped inside on the rain-soaked night.
Even though they could have chosen or have demanded better seats - in fact they completely deserved front row seats - both of them literally went and sat in two of the worst seats in the house: right behind the back-end of the techno-crane to its immediate right, basically obstructing their view of the centre stage and blocking probably about 70% of what you can see in the front.
They seemed unperturbed.
Both stayed seated here for the full 2 hours of the Survivor SA: Phillipines finale, produced by Afrokaans - and for the first time from Cape Town - until they, together with M-Net commissioning editor Terja Beney exited stage left.
They then all mingled at the music, drinks and food-filled adjacent stage on the Silverlines Studios lot with media, guests, contestants, sponsors and ordinary fans.
Remarkable? At first glance, possibly not. But in reality, within the context of South Africa's TV industry, it's hugely significant and exceptional.
As they and their predecessors have done for years, and quite remarkably continue doing, M-Net's top level executives - similar to America's HBO, CBS, FX and a few others - keep showing up at things where they don't, at first glance, appear needed or having to be.
These executives literally show up on set and at events and they personally visit their channel's TV productions even though they strictly don't have to.
This continued, personal and hands-on approach, is quite different from how execs at the SABC, e.tv, and several of the other pay-TV channels carried on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform for instance, behave.
Although this hands-on behaviour is exhibited by several high-ranking American TV channel executives who remain intimately involved in, and in touch with shows even though they don't have to physically be there in person, it's not something that's really seen or experienced in the South African biz outside of M-Net.
The majority simply just don't do it.
It's also why a production like Uselwa on SABC1 "suddenly" implodes with SABC execs only then starting to scurry to set for the first time after months, get held "hostage" and don't know what to do or how to resolve a production crisis or gridlock. It's because they've never been there.
In almost two decades of covering South Africa's TV industry, this TV critic has never attended the final episode of a local SABC1, SABC2 or e.tv reality competition show where at least one or more of that channel's execs were also in attendance. Ditto for an episode recording.
For the end of SABC3's The Apprentice SA back in September 2005 I spotted some SABC executives who bothered to show up for this. SABC1's channel head was at the launch and filming of Uzalo.
It's not that they're bad. They're busy.
Beyond M-Net's executives, a precious few other high-ranking executives however perpetually show up and show up although they're very busy too.
They're there for their local shows during filming, for media events, for finales, at channels' upfront presentations and at things where their participation and presence are not strictly required, but that they personally deem to be important because it clearly really matters to them.
Count under them BBC Africa boss Joel Churcher. MultiChoice's head of content, Aletta Alberts. Director of M-Net channels, Jan du Plessis. Or someone like MultiChoice content bouquet manager Alet Bench.
The Walt Disney Company Africa boss Christine Service is equally at home doing a set visit at ABC's Cape Town filmed TV series Of Kings and Prophets as she is attending a film biz investment seminar or doing a presentation to journalists about the gains and reach of the Disney Junior (DStv 309) channel herself.
Viacom Africa boss Alex Okosi actually goes to things - to things where he's not talking and where he, if he didn't show face, wouldn't be missed. And yet he goes.
Earlier this year Yolisa Phahle, CEO of general entertainment at MultiChoice set-visited HBO's Warrior being filmed in Cape Town. Don't mistakenly think that she had to.
And when she sits in the audience for Dancing with the Stars SA in Johannesburg on a Sunday night, after hours it's not because of a lack of work or better things to do.
The interesting thing about South Africa's bold type execs who go far above and beyond the call of the job description and who continue to step away from their ever-full inboxes more than they have to, are that they maintain a much better grasp on what's really going on, who's doing what, and what the current industry challenges and movements are.
Instead of only peering through the gauze of middle-men PR, they also know the media directly and very often directly interact with members of the press when they spot them.
Although they run the zoo, they've learnt and know the times the hippo takes a snooze and when it's safe to peek inside. They know personally where the master key to the lion's cage is kept and has no problem to go and get the key themselves when something needs doing.
Seen in isolation, South Africa's 42-year old TV industry is big and continues to expand - the most sophisticated on the African continent by far - but compared across a wider perspective it's much smaller and younger compared to the United States or the United Kingdom where also more of an institutional history within companies and broadcasters reside.
As the country's local TV biz continues to mature, grow and add capacity, it's encouraging that there are TV executives - mostly within the fold of pay-TV - who really take their work seriously, and who really set an example of continuously going beyond the basics and bare minimum of what they need to do.
They're the people who not only show up at work every day because they have to but are TV execs who constantly journey ever further - showing up where they don't have to be because they really want to, inherently recognising the long-term dividends it unlock.
They're the indefatigable handful of TV executives who not only truly live their brands, but their work - and who, incrementally, all in their own unique ways, help to make the television you're getting to watch, better.
TV CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK: The basically perfect nominees announcement media event of Mzansi Magic's DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards 2018 gives hope that South Africa can get TV award shows right.
Tuesday's nominees announcement media event in Johannesburg, organised by Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) for its DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards 2018 set to take place on 24 November, was a normal, faultless, textbook case of near-perfection of how to do a TV award show nominees announcement.
The DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards 2018 nominees announcement was brilliant. Because it was so ... normal.
M-Net's general entertainment channels division overseen by director Reneilwe Sema got everything right, and did everything right, in terms of its nominees announcement event on Tuesday.
Why it's remarkable, and needs to be remarked upon, is because this nominees announcement event stands in massive and stark contrast to all of the other mangled nominees announcements from wannabe South African award shows foisting off trashly done events.
From the National Film and Video Foundation's South African Film & Television Awards to the majority of the rest when it comes to their award show's nominees announcements are unprofessional, awfully done and essentially time-waster trash.
While the nominees announcement last year of the inaugural DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards in 2017 created some frustration with the press, Mzansi Magic did a course-correction this year and got it perfect the second time round.
Meanwhile the actual DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards last year was (already) amazing, with high-quality production values, incredible organising, superb attention to detail, and literally none of the avalanche of TV trash that derail most of South Africa's local, live broadcast award shows.
While these constantly and perennially quickly devolve into primary school concerts, Mzansi Magic showed that its DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards is a cut above the rest.
It would serve the NFVF and its Saftas organisers - as well as everyone in-between from the Royalty Soapie Awards to the litany of bad in-between like the South African Music Awards, Metro FM Music Awards and the South African Sports Awards - well to study, observe and take a page from the playbook of M-Net and Mzansi Magic on how to do a nominees announcement event, and the live broadcast awards show that follows thereafter, properly.
Tuesday's nominees announcement event for the DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards 2018 was on point, short, comprehensive, inclusive, and extremely professional.
It included star-power, had an auditorium packed with media, had sponsors present, made execs and celebrities available for short Q&A sessions immediately, had multiple publicist standing by and hovering, was organised and timed to perfection and had a full, and properly prepared media pack with information and images for the press.
Mzansi Magic roped in Bonang Matheba on Tuesday who was fully-informed, knew names, knew how to pronounce them, and successfully worked the crowd.
The high-energy event stood in very sharp contrast to the NFVF's terrible nominees announcement "breakfast" for the 12th Saftas in February this year where the unprofessional Masechaba Ndlovu didn't know and didn't care to get the pronunciation of nominee names correct.
Mzansi Magic sent out a media advisory about the announcement event weeks in advance, quite different to the NFVF and other award show's shoddy and amateur attempts who don't know the media, don't care to know, don't know who to invite, and often even invite people as late as the day before.
Mzansi Magic furthermore made a point of including press from across the whole of South Africa and through that signaled not just the importance that the DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards 2018 wanted them there, but also that this award show is for all of South Africa.
It also signaled to the press that they matter (enough) to be included, instead of just announcing names to the isolated Johannesburg bubble of media.
Several journalists from Port Elizabeth, Durban and Cape Town were invited and joined Johannesburg media to cover the nominees announcement - something that instantly raised the event's stature.
It also served to underscore that this nominees announcement is important as a precursor that in turn lifts the credibility and perceived importance of the awards show.
The DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards 2018 was glamorous - unlike the dull, dreary, boring mess other nominees announcement events dish up. M-Net executives attended even though they didn't even speak, like acting M-Net CEO Nkateko Mabaso.
Their mere presence showed that they support what the M-Net channels put out and are doing. Celebrities like Somizi showed up, further underscoring the event's social calendar importance.
The DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards 2018 nominees announcement also started on time.
Categories with their various nominees were played out on a big screen in sophisticated, slickly-done videos - all names properly read out on the few quick AV's shown.
Media were emailed the press release quickly and got electronic press packs on USB that included all of the relevant information and images.
The room was full. Mzansi Magic invited press, sponsors, TV stars, celebrities and TV executives and they arrived and collectively packed into the auditorium at Summer Place in Hyde Park.
Again it stood in stark contrast to the badly organised Saftas of the National Film and Video Foundation and other award shows' nominees announcement events where the attendance is always shockingly lacklustre, nobody really gets invited, nobody really knows about it, almost nobody cares to attend, and the event looks empty with a few disinterested people just standing around.
The DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards 2018 nominees announcement event was inspiring - not for the announcements per se, but for showing that yes, South Africa can do things like a nominees announcement right and proper.
In 18 years of covering local awards shows and their nominees announcements, the DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards 2018 on Tuesday became this TV critic's best one I've ever attended.
It was a Goldilocks example of how to do a proper awards show nominees reveal event - everything was "just right".
May the rest of South Africa take note(s), learn, improve and come to the realisation that just like the Emmys, Oscars and Hollywood's other marquee-branded award shows, South Africa is fully-capable of pulling off the announcement of nominees in a proper and professional way.
TV CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK: The (long-overdue) time has come for M-Net or e.tv to vote out SABC3 and take over the broadcast of Survivor.
The time has really finally come - and it's really long-overdue - for M-Net (DStv 101) or e.tv to take over CBS's American version of Survivor and to vote SABC3 off the TV island over it's ongoing embarrassing and sheer incompetence for its ongoing botching of this show.
After SABC3 finally scheduled the 31st season of Survivor, Survivor Cambodia Second Chance that already aired in mid-2015 in America to start in May this year on SABC3, the channel once again abruptly postponed it to August, as the SABC's only commercial TV channel also did with previous seasons.
Then, this week when it was supposed to start, SABC3 once again horrifically mangled the first episode by entirely cutting out the immunity challenge, going straight to tribal council and playing music videos to fill the dead air on SABC3 until 21:00.
This is the 3rd time in a row that SABC3 completely botched the start of a new Survivor season during playout.
After deciding on Tuesday morning to show the first Survivor episode correctly played out on Tuesday evening - preempting the other scheduled SABC3 programming - the channel once again made viewers furious when it said the episode would repeat on Saturday at 15:00 ... only for Survivor Cambodia Second Chance to be an utter no-show.
Adding fuel to the fire is that SABC3 on Twitter on Saturday morning still said the show would be on at 15:00, only to go totally quiet afterwards when it didn't happen.
Last year I asked the SABC specifically - and this year again - how it will prevent another new season of Survivor being mangled when it's broadcast because of the ongoing previous problems.
The SABC didn't want to answer the question, and, as this week has shown yet again, either doesn't care or simply doesn't have the ability anymore to do better or to broadcast this show properly.
SABC3 is 5 seasons behind Survivor shown in the United States and has objectively speaking been doing an incredibly bad job for the past few years of broadcasting this show. Survivor remains beloved by many viewers locally and in America, but gets shoddy service on and from the South African public broadcaster.
It's time for M-Net, that has found renewed success with more seasons of the local version, Survivor South Africa to take over Survivor for its schedule for the sake of -long suffering South African viewers and fans of this show, who are disrespected and getting awful treatment from SABC3 in terms of the trash way this show is being handled.
If not M-Net, then e.tv could and should consider taking over Survivor from SABC3 and clinch the deal with CBS Studios International in the way that it picked up and took over Days of Our Lives when SABC3 tossed it away.
The Sony Channel (DStv 127) already took over The Amazing Race from SABC3, with Sony showing the latest seasons of this high-quality reality competition show.
The Amazing Race is also a great show and also used to be a jewel in the SABC3 crown. But the channel couldn't bother to keep up properly and fast enough with seasons of this show either.
It's sad that SABC3 continues to buy something like Survivor that it can't showcase properly. It's also sad that South African viewers are on the receiving end of a sloppy broadcast service for which there really are no excuses.
The self-inflicted mess like seen yet again this week, damages SABC3 and it damages Survivor.
After the always unexplained "technical glitches" happened with Survivor the first time, the SABC should have done two things - neither of which it has clearly cared to do the past three years inside its television division.
Firstly, the SABC should have made a very strong and clear statement to tell viewers that it's sorry and that these very preventable mistakes won't happen with Survivor ever again.
This would have built viewers' trust and would have kept more viewers staying tuned to SABC3 for Survivor.
Secondly, the SABC should have put very specific, more, and better logistics and management parameters in place to secure Survivor tapes, to check them before broadcast, and should have introduced more stringent controls in the final control room playout and have competent people overseeing it, instead of people who seem asleep behind the controls.
Very objectively, and very clearly, the people inside the SABC working with Survivor and the Survivor tapes - from content acceptance to checking to formatting to slotting and stacking and playout - are incompetent and are not able to do what is required for episodes to be broadcast correctly on SABC3. That is a problem.
As it stands, SABC3 viewers interested in Survivor have absolutely no more trust in SABC3 that it will show Survivor, or show the CBS Studios International show correctly - the same way commuters of a badly run bus service don't know when, or if, the next bus might actually show, and if it will be the right bus.
SABC3 has destroyed all of the goodwill, all of the trust, all of the patience, hope and expectations that viewers still had for Survivor.
It's high time for Survivor to switch from the SABC to M-Net, e.tv or elsewhere - where the mere broadcast exercise of just seeing Survivor as a basic, normal playout on air would be a massive improvement from what's been happening with this sorry show.
BREAKING. SABC3 fails to broadcast the Saturday repeat of Survivor Cambodia Second Chance after botching the season's Monday debut, once again leaving viewers angry and confused.
On Monday night, SABC3 once again mangled the broadcast of the start of a new Survivor season for the 3rd consecutive time, without explaining why it happened yet again.
SABC3 completely removed the entire immunity challenge, switching straight to tribal council after an ab break, and had to play music videos to fill the empty airtime until 21:00.
Angry viewers vented their anger and confusion against SABC3 for once again botching the broadcast of the show distributed by CBS Studios International.
The SABC that was asked what specifically went wrong and what caused the problem declined to respond to specific questions from TVwithThinus and said the broadcast was marred when "the channel experienced a technical glitch during the programme, Survivor".
The SABC on Tuesday morning decided to preempt the Tuesday evening's schedule on SABC3 and then showed the debut episode of Survivor Cambodia Second Chance correctly the next night.
The repeat of Survivor Cambodia Second Chance was however set for Saturday, with SABC3 on social media still marketing the show on Saturday morning for 15:00.
Then 15:00 arrived and there was no Survivor Cambodia Second Chance on SABC3, with the channel broadcasting Married to Medicine with no on-screen explanation and SABC3 silent on social media after it told viewers Survivor would be on at 15:00.
Viewers on Saturday again slammed SABC3 as they did on Monday night.
"What happened? Survivor was supposed to replay at 15:00. Instead Married to Medicine is playing right now. Why are you guys like this SABC?" asked Desiree.
"Cannot believe I missed the first episode. SABC3 this is disappointing.How do you start a new season of Survivor with no ads and then fail to air repeat!! Urghhh!" said Mizz Angela.
"Not even the SABC's Twitter team has a clue of what's going on with their scheduling. Saturday repeat of start of Survivor S31 cancelled without notice," said Jacques Rentzke.
David Makubyane, general manager for TV channels, now standing in as acting SABC3 channel head after Aisha Mohamed quit last month, said at the end of July that SABC3, struggling in the ratings, wants viewers to come back and is working to repair its reputation as a channel destination for quality content.Not even the #SABC's Twitter team has a clue of what's going on with their scheduling. Saturday repeat of start of #SurvivorS31 cancelled without notice. #SABC3 @TVwithThinus— Jacques Rentzke (@JacquesRentzke) August 18, 2018
"We want someone to say 'I can tune to SABC3 and get the latest local and international content at the quality that you can get on any other platform in South Africa," said David Makubyane.
THE NEEDS OF THE MANY. Ethan Peck cast as Spock in the second season of Star Trek: Discovery available on Netflix South Africa.
Ethan Peck, grandson of Hollywood actor, Gregory Peck, will portray the half-human, half-Vulcan science officer of the USS Enterprise made famous by Leonard Nimoy in the original TV series and will still be working under Captain Christopher Pike (portrayed by the recently-cast Anson Mount) in the short time period before Captain James T. Kirk took over command.
"Through 52 years of television and film, a parallel universe and a mirror universe, Mr. Spock remains the only member of the original bridge crew to span every era of Star Trek.," says Alex Kurtzman, Star Trek: Discovery showrunner in a statement.
" The great Leonard Nimoy, then the brilliant Zachary Quinto, brought incomparable humanity to a character forever torn between logic and emotion."
"We searched for months for an actor who would, like them, bring his own interpretation to the role. An actor who would, like them, effortlessly embody Spock's greatest qualities, beyond obvious logic: empathy, intuition, compassion, confusion and yearning."
"Ethan Peck walked into the room inhabiting all of these qualities, aware of his daunting responsibility to Leonard, Zack and the fans, and ready to confront the challenge in the service of protecting and expanding on Spock’s legacy. In that spirit, we're thrilled to welcome him to the family."
The second season of Star Trek: Discovery will unspool with weekly episodes on Netflix South Africa from sometime early-2019, with no specific release date announced yet.
FMR plays jazz ranging from mainstream smooth to classic soul, and classical music.
"We're thrilled to be on DStv. It really opens up the airways for more people to experience the magic of music that brings calm in chaos and restores the human spirit," says Mark Jennings, Fine Music Radio station manager.
Fine Music Radio will will be available to MultiChoice's DStv Family, DStv Compact, DStv Compact Plus and DStv Premium subscribers.
e.tv does Openview channel numbers change for BBC World News, Kwese Free Sports and Trace Sport Stars.
e.tv's Openview free-to-air satellite TV service is changing the channel numbers of three of the TV channels from Monday, 20 August on its platform.
BBC World News from the BBC, Kwesé Free Sports from Econet Media's Kwesé TV, and Trace Sport Stars from TRACE are all being shifted to new channel numbers from Monday.
BBC World News is moving from channel number 112 where it's been for 11 month since it was added in September 2017, and BBC World News will now be on Openview channel 121.
Kwese Free Sports will now be on Openview channel 115, and Trace Sport Stars will now be on Openview channel 116.
e.tv didn't bother to notify the media.
e.tv didn't give any explanation for the channel number shuffle but it's likely being done for the launch of OpenNews that will start on Openview sometime during October or November and that might take over BBC World News' spot on channel 112.
eMedia Investments is launching OpenNews as a new 24-hour TV news channel on Openview as a rival for its own eNCA (DStv 403) TV news channel that it is producing for MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.
OpenNews will be direct competition for eNCA, as well as SABC News and whatever new local TV news channel MultiChoice chooses to replace Afro Worldview.
Saturday, August 18, 2018
Rising TV news star, Thabile Ngwato, leaves the South African public broadcaster after 5 years and resigns as SABC News anchor.
Thabile Ngwato who has resigned, is leaving the South African public broadcaster after 5 years as a producer and anchor at its SABC News division with her last on-screen appearance today, Saturday 18 August.
She resigned to "pursue business interest" the SABC says.
The well-liked and respected Thabile Ngwato is gone from the SABC just three months after she was announced as part of the SABC News channel's "new line-up.
Then the SABC announced its rebranding of SABC News in June when the public broadcaster announced that Thabile Ngwato would now co-present The Globe with Mpho Tsedu between 21:30 and midnight.
Thabile Ngwato then moved to weekends but the SABC never bothered to make any further announcement about the SABC News changes.
Earlier this month 21st Century Group announced Thabile Ngwato as one of the personalities to appear at its now-dubious International Women in Media Conference 2018 that it claimed would take place on 5 and 6 September at the Sandton Convention Centre.
The event has since publicly imploded and it's not clear whether Thabile Ngwato is still attached with the event.
"I would like to express my gratitude for the knowledge, experience and lessons - and most importantly professional relationships built over the years.I am certain that this will add value in my journey and future as an entrepreneur," says Thabile Ngwato in a statement.
Nothando Maseko, SABC head of TV news, says "we are sad to see Thabile leave but we are happy to have had a chance to work with her. She has been an absolute pleasure to work with and as a public service broadcaster we are happy that we have contributed immensely to her news presenting career."
"We wish her well and we would like to extend our gratitude to her for being devoted throughout her tenure at the SABC".
Thabile Ngwato runs her own media company called Ngwato Media.
SuperSport adds its first Zulu/Setswana football magazine show, iBhola Lethu, for SuperSport 4 on DStv.
SuperSport is adding the sport pay-channels distributor's first football magazine show in Zulu and Setswana, iBhola Lethu, that will start on the SuperSport 4 (DStv 204) channel on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform from Monday 20 August at 19:00 as a new weekly programme.
The SuperSport commentators and presenters Phumlani Msibi and Baba Mtethwa will be the presenters of iBhola Lethu, meaning "our football".
Baba Mthethwa says iBhola Lethu won't just be covering Premier Soccer League (PSL) in South Africa news but ordinary football news and issues across South Africa and the rest of the African continent.
"We're going to tap into ordinary lives, ordinary football fans, ordinary happenings - past and present - of our football. We are going to tell African football stories, the way Africans would want to hear and see their African football stories," says Baba Mthethwa.
CBS Reality, owned by AMC Networks International UK and CBS Studios International, renewed both original series for a further season.
Written in Blood, produced by Endemol Shine North, follows author Simon Toyne as he meets 6 further popular crime fiction writers to discuss the influence true crime has had on their writing in 6 new hour long episodes.
Episodes will tackle a different criminal case using reconstruction and real-life footage, with authors including Mason Cross (the Carter Blake series), Sophie Hannah (writer of the Hercule Poirot novel The Mystery of Three Quarters) and Peter Robinson (the Inspector Banks novels).
Evidence of Evil explores the advances in technology that have transformed detective work through notable cases such as the murder of EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie. The series is produced by Peninsula Television.
BREAKING. Kaizer Kganyago out as SABC spokesperson after 13 years, replaced by Neo Momodu appointed as new marketing and corporate affairs exec at SA's public broadcaster.
Kaizer Kganyago who remains part of the SABC's communications division is being moved to another role at the SABC that the broadcaster didn't specify, with the SABC saying Neo Momodu will be taking up both roles "with immediate effect".
The now-fired former chief operating officer (COO) of the SABC, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, previously held this position of "group executive of corporate affairs" before he was abruptly fired in June 2017.
At most companies the marketing boss who deals with budgets, advertising and campaign strategies, is not also the official spokesperson - a specialised position where the publicist has to stand in to field often-difficult questions from the press on behalf of bosses as part of crisis communications, and maintaining public relations with the media.
Neo Momodu who previously worked for the SABC for four years from 2003, has a LL.B (Hons from the University of Hertfordshire and a post-graduate diploma from the Wits Business School and was head of corporate affairs at Media24 between May 2014 and April 2016.
The SABC said that in her new role Neo Momodu will work with the SABC's top execs to try and position the SABC as "an authentic and world-class public service broadcaster to fulfill its mandate of acting continuously for the betterment of our society".
Neo Momodu will "also be responsible for enhancing the SABC's engagement strategies with its key stakeholders, acting as the overall driver of corporate communications and marketing".
Madoda Mxakwe, SABC CEO said "I'm thrilled to welcome Neo Momodu to the SABC. She joins at a critical stage when we are working towards turning around the organisation.
"Neo Momodu brings an impressive career in the media and communications sphere, as well as valuable experience with our brands. We are confident that she is equipped to lead this critical division of the organisation. The board and management of the SABC wish Neo Momodu well in executing her duties."
Friday, August 17, 2018
Star Networks launches the Indian-fusion Star Life channel on DStv and Openview with Bollywood content as new competitor for GLOW and ZEE TV in Africa.
Despite a crowded TV channels field already offering similar content, Star India will launch Star Life on MultiChoice's DStv and GOtv, as well as eMedia Investment's Openview free-to-air satellite-TV service, on 27 August as a new Bollywood content channel.
Star Life, from Star Networks that is wholly-owned by 21st Century Fox, will compete with channels like GLOW and ZEE TV's existing offering of impressive ZEE Africa TV channels like Zee World and Zee Bollymovies.
Star Network didn't bother to say why or how Star Life would be different than existing competitors and what it would specifically offer viewers and Star Life didn't reveal any of the actual content, on-air talent or any titles that would actually be seen on the channel.
No channel schedule was shared, with no show or film highlights mentioned, but Star Life will be in English, and will run for 24 hours per day.
Star Networks apparently created Star Life exclusively for African audiences.
The Star Life channel looks as if it originated out of the Star Life OK channel that used to be available in South Africa for a while before it was removed, and last year relaunched and rebranded under the Star Bharat name in India.
Star Life will be a high definition channel on DStv in South Africa on channel 167 but standard definition elsewhere in Africa, and will be "showcasing a fusion of the very best family dramas, celebrity dance shows and blockbuster movies from Star's famed library of A-list Bollywood movies, adapted in English for local audiences".
Star Networks says "Star Life is appealing to a broader audience and brings to Africa extraordinary journeys of ordinary people, progressive story lines, inspirational characters and compelling dramas - produced to the highest international production standards".
Guarav Jandwani, the senior vice president and business head for the United Kingdom and South Africa for Star Network in a prepared statement says "At Star we believe in creating stories for the world, stimulating imagination and showcasing the limitless power of ordinary people".
"We have seen the need for quality Indian cross-over entertainment and with Star Life we are proud to bring to Africa engaging programming, in English, which will leave our viewers inspired, rejuvenated, moved and delighted."
"We are delighted to partner with DStv and Openview, the best platforms in the region, making Star Life the most widely available channel in its genre in Southern Africa".
7th season of Survivor South Africa: Island of Secrets on M-Net in 2019 promises even more game-changing twists, surprises as entries open.
The entry period has opened for the new 7th season of Survivor South Africa that will be produced and broadcast on M-Net (DStv 101) in 2019 with the season entitled "Island of Secrets" that will see 18 new castaways trying to outwit, outplay and outlast each other on a far-flung, exotic island locale.
M-Net renewed Survivor SA for a 7th season midway through the just-concluded 6th season that saw Tom Schwartz win, after the Philippines set season saw a 71% ratings spike for the competitive Thursday evening timeslot, and with the producers promising even more game-changing twists and surprises for next year.
Nico Panagio will once again be the host of Survivor SA: Island of Secrets that will again be produced by Afrokaans that took over production from the just-concluded 6th season that was set in the Philippines.
Survivor South Africa on M-Net is seen as such a must-watch property that the programme holds the distinction of being the only locally produced South African TV show that has its episodes being uploaded by fans to illegal torrent file-sharing sites after linear broadcast, with the latest season that was again downloaded thousands of times and watched globally far outside of the country's borders.
TVwithThinus asked Kay Ann Williams, the head of local content and independent films for M-Net channels, when during the 6th season the channel decided to renew Survivor SA for another season.
"When we saw our audience's response to it - and I don't just mean ratings, I also mean emotional engagement on social media and online, and obviously there's also the ratings - it was about halfway through when we saw that the combination of those things were extremely for Survivor South Africa and M-Net."
"This Survivor SA season proved to us that local content is really king for the audience. When they see themselves, and people like them - I think there's a part of South Africa that can identify with at one of the castaways. So the 6th season made a huge impact and it was a very easy decision to make."
"This tremendous season came about through Handrie Basson and Le Roux Botha, the series director's vision and I want to say thank you for their passion and absolute obsession with this game."
"Before Survivor SA: Philippines on Thursday evenings there were very strong international content on M-Net, and when Survivor SA came on it grew that timeslot's ratings by 71%," said Kay Ann Williams.
"So the ratings were phenomenal - it was more than what we expected, and as I've said it wasn't just the ratings, it was also the engagement of DStv subscribers and it was because of this local content on M-Net."
"Thank you for giving us excellent local content, thank you for being excellent visionaries," said Kay Ann Williams.
Handrie Basson, Survivor SA executive producer told TVwithThinus that Island of Secrets "is a secret, obviously".
"For the next season we are introducing some interesting, new, compelling elements to the show that will not only surprise the audience but moreover the castaways."
"We want to throw them curve balls - that's what this game is about, it's to keep them on their toes. And with the element of the island of secrets, the main reason behind it is to keep the game fresh - for the M-Net audience's entertainment, but also for the castaways and their game plan."
"With the firsts that unfolded on this Survivor SA: Philippines season on M-Net, it is a wonderful feeling to be able to have that as a first - not only for South Africa, but also for the world's audience," said Handrie Basson.
"Survivor is such a worldwide family, and there are so many countries that we don't even know about who are producing Survivor for their local audiences. We only sort of know of the English speaking franchises that we get to see sometimes."
About one of the castaways who decided to unexpectedly quit during this season, Handrie Basson said "when as castaway leaves unexpectedly, you need to be prepared for it. It can be a medical evacuation, it can be through their own free will, a lot of things can happen. So you build those eventualities into your planning and we plan for months ahead. So we have plan A, plan B, plan C's in place."
"Thank you to M-Net for giving us a platform to live out our passion. And for the faith in us and believing in us, and for seeing our vision and our crazy ideas through," said Handrie Basson.
Entries for Survivor SA: Island of Secrets close on 30 September at www.mnet.tv/survivorsa and no late entries will be accepted. In a change from previous seasons and moving with the times, contestants who have to be older than 18, must make and submit a video entry this time along with their photo.
A valid South African passport that expires after November 2019 is required.
Thursday, August 16, 2018
BREAKING. Tom Schwartz who lost 16 kg on the island, wins Survivor South Africa: Phillipines as M-Net announces a 7th season called Island of Secrets for 2019.
The season finale of Survivor SA: Philippines was broadcast as a special 2-hour live finale done from the Silverline Studios in Cape Town.
It was the first time a Survivor SA finale took place outside of Johannesburg in the local series' six seasons - first showing days 38 and 39 and the last immunity challenge and jury grilling, before switching to the live, in-studio winner announcement, and a 40-minute reunion show with the contestants.
In a massive improvement and glorious fan-service, Afrokaans that took over production of Survivor South Africa finally for the first time gave DStv subscribers what they wanted and should get: a proper reunion show instead of a few minuted at the end.
Host Nico Panagio asked all of the clean-scrubbed contestants questions and cleverly elicited explainers, feedback and comments from them on various things that happened, and what happened since they've left the island, in front of the in-studio audience.
Nico Panagio ended the show with a teased "big announcement" - that Survivor South Africa will be back for a 7th season in 2019 and that entries are opening immediately.
At the post-show press conference, Tom Schwartz, who lost 16 kg during his 39 days sent on the island, was asked what he wants to do with his R1 million and he said he wants to buy the house he is living in with his family "so that there never comes a time when my family doesn't have one".
About watching himself on television Tom Schwartz said "Do I really look that fat? And, why am I sitting like that? So watching yourself on TV there's little idiosyncrasies that you find out about yourself - from Mickey Mouse things to holy hell things."
Here's some of the 6th season live studio finale of Survivor SA: Phillipines in pictures:
BREAKING. On the day of the Survivor SA: Phillipines finale, M-Net pulls contestant, Tevin Naidu from its Bachelor South Africa speed-dating campaign after offensive molestation comments.
The controversy follows after Tevin Naidu, the 6th person voted out of Survivor SA: Phillipines, posted an image of himself standing next to a woman saying "Find yourself someone who looks at you the way I look at her (like a molester who found his next victim)".
After a backlash he deleted the comment and switched his Instagram account to private.
"I truly regret having posted what I did and I would like to categorically state that I had no malicious intentions. I can only ask that this unfortunate incident be put down to my lack of better judgement at the time."
"Molestation is clearly not an issue to be mixed with humor and I understand that the lack of judgement and error on my part has offended many people and I am truly sorry for this. I can only pray and hope that my indiscretion in this regard can be forgiven and my apology accepted."
M-Net told TVwithThinus that Tevin Naidu has been removed from its The Bachelor South Africa marketing campaign going forward with immediate effect and that involves speed-dating activations across the country.
M-Net says that the pay-TV channels supplier views his comments in a serious light and that he "will not be involved in the remainder of the campaign".
"M-Net does not condone any type of abuse, or references to it, in any context and viewed Tevin Naidu’s offensive Instagram comment in a serious light. Tevin was part of the initial marketing activities to recruit female contestants for the new dating show The Bachelor South Africa but will not be involved in the remainder of the campaign".
Dominoes continue to fall for 21st Century Group's Women in Media Conference as 1Magic pulls out as media partner, website removes info, and Sandton's convention centre doesn't list it.
The dominoes continue to fall for 21st Century Group's now-dubious International Women in Media Conference 2018 with the event's website that has removed all information, with sources saying M-Net's 1Magic is out as as "official media partner", that Bonang Matheba definitely won't return as organisers claimed, and with the Sandton Convention Centre listing nothing for 5 and 6 September on the dates it's supposed to take place.
Meanwhile on social media 21st Century Group has now mysteriously backtracked and deleted all its tweets and posted statements it made, going back to 8 August last week.
That's when the touted conference derailed after the Hollywood actresses Taraji P. Henson and Halle Berry who were announced as part of the line-up, denied they're involved and slammed the organisers over "fake advertising" and that it's "shameful that 21st Century Group would advertise this way".
Bonang Matheba hastily withdrew and dumped the conference, with Webtickets that halted sales.
Impeccable sources told TVwithThinus that M-Net's 1Magic (DStv 103) channel that was announced as the "official media partner" and that has officially remained silent over it's involvement with 21st Century Group's conference, has now also quietly withdrew.
M-Net's general entertainment division of which 1Magic forms part, will now focus its efforts on the unit's DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards 2018 set for 24 November at the Sandton Convention Centre.
After Julie Schulte, 21st Century Group sales director, on Friday in response to a media enquiry over Bonang Matheba's withdrawal said that "we have engaged with her management and they have agreed that once we re-open the marketing strategy they will come back onboard because they support the initiative of woman empowerment", a source very closely connected to team Matheba told TVwithThinus that the star will definitely not be back.
Meanwhile 21st Century Group's website for the conference at iwim.co.za has deleted all information without any explanation, now simply stating "website being updated. Please be patient".
After organisers claimed that the International Women in Media Conference 2018 would take place at the Sandton Convention Centre on 5 and 6 September and Unathi Mhlope, 21st Century Group head of marketing and communications, again confirmed it in a statement on Friday, the convention centre's public events calendar for these dates continues to list nothing related to the event.
It's not yet clear whether other local personalities likes Amanda du Pont, Connie Ferguson, Carte Blanche’s Claire Mawisa, Salamina Mosese and Thabile Ngwato are still involved with the announced conference.
21st Century Group said that "a legal lawsuit" has been lodged against Superstar Agency and the Hollywood PR firm 42West that it called "Henson's management firm" to "be able to verify who has misled 21st Century Group in confirming that the booking was made".
42West told TVwithThinus that "There is absolutely no truth to any of the claims regarding 42West attributed to 21st Century Group. To begin with, 42West is not a management firm and we have certainly never managed Halle Berry or Taraji P. Henson."
"Moreover, we have never signed any contracts on behalf of Halle Berry or Taraji P. Henson. Finally, to our knowledge, no legal action has been filed against 42West with regard to this matter."