Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Soweto TV co-presenter, Thembinkosi 'Mangethe' Zwane, dies at 45 after battle with diabetes.

A Soweto TV co-presenter, Thembinkosi "Mangethe" Zwane has died after a long battle with diabetes. He was 43.

Thembinkosi "Mangethe" Zwane died on Friday 11 January and was known as the longest-serving presenter at the Jozi FM radio station in Soweto, where he had worked for two decades.

Thembinkosi "Mangethe" Zwane was also the co-presenter of Izingi, a traditional music show on Soweto TV (DStv 251 / StarSat 488).

"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our friend and colleague, Thembinkosi Mangethe," said Soweto TV.

Big Brother Naija renewed for a 4th season as MultiChoice Nigeria and M-Net West Africa move production of the 2019 housemates reality series to Lagos, Nigeria to start after the upcoming general elections.

MultiChoice Nigeria and M-Net West Africa on Tuesday announced that a new season of Big Brother Nigeria will be produced in 2019 and that the 4th season of Big Brother Naija will be done in Lagos, Nigeria instead of Johannesburg, South Africa, where existing Big Brother house production facilities have been used until now.

MultiChoice and M-Net announced at a media briefing at the George Hotel in Lagos that auditions for the 4th season of Big Brother Naija will take place on 1 and 2 February in 6 different Nigerian cities, including Lagos, Calabar, Enugu, Benin, Ibadan, Warri and Port Harcourt.

Ebuka Obi-Uchendu will again be the host of the upcoming 4th season, with the former housemate who presented the second season in 2017 and the third season that started in January 2018.

The 4th season of Big Brother Naija will be only the second time that Big Brother Naija has been produced outside South Africa since it began in 2006.

Following 2016, the second season in 2017 and the third season in 2018 were both done in South Africa and shown in Nigeria and across sub-Saharan Africa on DStv's satellite pay-TV platform.

Despite harsh criticism from Nigerian press that doesn't understand basic TV production, MultiChoice and M-Net previously explained that Nigeria doesn't have good enough production facilities to produce Big Brother Naija; that using the existing Big Brother house in South Africa makes production costs cheaper, and that hard to find technical skills, constantly interrupted electricity supply, security issues, and other production issues would make Big Brother Naija's production costs soar if done in Nigeria.

MultiChoice and M-Net on Tuesday didn't explain the change in its stance and why production of Big Brother Naija for its 4th season is moving to Lagos. A new Big Brother house facility is currently being constructed in Lagos.

MultiChoice and M-Net plan to start broadcasting the 4th season of Big Brother Naija after the upcoming general elections in Nigeria for a duration of three months over 90 days.

"This fourth season of Big Brother Naija promises to be even bigger than previous editions and underscores MultiChoice's position as the biggest investor and driver of entertainment content on the continent," says Martin Mabutho, MultiChoice Nigeria's general manager for sales and marketing.

"From a cost perspective, it is always good to share the Big Brother house in South Africa where all the African versions of Big Brother can make use of the house."

"Now we are at the vantage position of hosting the show in Nigeria and give the global standard for which the show is known for. The Big Brother house is currently under construction and will be ready before the kick-off."

Trinity Broadcasting Network appoints Loyiso Bala as channel director of TBN in Africa.

The Christian-based Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) has appointed Loyiso Bala as the TBN channel director for the African branch of its international TV network.

TBN Africa says Loyiso Bala "brings with him an intuitive understanding of the business having not only presented and produced several television shows, including our very own TBN Meets, but has also run a successful talent management company since 2007 and is currently completing the final year of his MBA studies at the Henley Business School."

TBN says Loyiso Bala's role would be to lead an experienced team in increasing viewer experience. Loyiso Bala will oversee content creation, brand and channel identity, marketing, and new business strategies.

Lucky Mbiko, TBN Africa managing director, says "We are excited about bringing Loyiso Bala onboard as we believe he will form an integral part in our next phase of our development strategy".

"We have a big vision for both content production and distribution in Africa as we are looking at providing our viewers with good-quality, original content."

Loyiso Bala says "I am honoured and humbled to be granted the opportunity to lead such an amazing team that I've come to feel part of over the past 3 years presenting and producing for the channel. I look forward to the challenge and to continue building on the great success that has been achieved by TBN so far."

TBN is carried on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform on channel 343.

John Boyega to produce Cape Flats gangster film, God is Good, written and directed by first-time filmmaker Willem Grobler.

John Boyega will executive produce a film, God is Good, set on the notorious Cape Flats in Cape Town and written and directed by first-time filmmaker Willem Grobler.

Willem Grobler was a co-writer on the 13-episode Afrikaans drama series Spoorloos that just concluded on M-Net’s Afrikaans channel kykNET (DStv 144), with the British production company Bandit Country that will be producing the movie.

Deadline reports that the film, in English, will follow a reformed gangster that have become a pastor and a volatile detective who cross paths after a brutal act of violence. This leads them to a collision course with a heinous gangster boss. God is Good plans to start filming around autumn.

John Boyega told Deadline that God is Good is "a powerful and important story that explores themes of fathers and fatherhood, toxic masculinity, race and faith in a community that has become trapped in an unending cycle of violence and racial oppression, and where sometimes it seems for men that violence is the only way of achieving power".

"Willem has written a superb screenplay and we are looking forward to working with him to realise the vision behind it."

God is Good will have an accompanying soundtrack that will include songs from various artists across the African continent, that will be done through John Boyega's new record label, UpperRoom Records.

Shocking Surviving R. Kelly and Harvey Weinstein documentaries coming to Crime+Investigation in February.

South African and African viewers will finally get the chance to see the buzzed-about Surviving R. Kelly documentary series next month when Crime+Investigation (DStv 170) will screen the series, along with another documentary chronicling the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

The documentary series, Surviving R. Kelly that A+E Networks broadcast at the beginning of this month on Lifetime in the United States led to a big public uproar after multiple women and others spoke about about allegations of rape and assault over years by the controversial singer.

A+E Networks UK has slotted the documentary series for broadcast on the Crime+Investigation channel for Africa, with a double episode of Surviving R. Kelly that will start on Wednesday 6 February at 20:00, and single weekly episodes thereafter until the final episode on 6 March.

The 6-episode series includes over 50 interviews with victims and people from R. Kelly's inner circle, revealing new allegations about the sexual, mental and physical abuse they've suffered. Included in the interviews are Tarana Burke, musicians John Legend and Sparkle, talk show host Wendy Williams, ex-wife Andrea Kelly, and brothers Carey and Bruce Kelly.

The Harvey Weinstein Scandal will premiere on Crime+Investigation on 13 February at 20:50 and examine the rise and fall of the Hollywood mogul and predator Harvey Weinstein.

Besides tracking his life, career and creation of Miramax and The Weinstein Company, it also documents the shocking allegations that emerged on 4 October 2017 in an expose in The New York Times detailing his decades of abuse, and his fall from grace.

The documentary takes a deep look inside Hollywood and the abuse by powerful men in the entertainment industry, and includes interviews with people who knew Harvey Weinstein and women who have come face-to-face with him - as well as dramatic re-enactment scenes.

eNCA backtracks on NewsNight changes as Vuyo Mvoko is made sole anchor and political editor; Cathly Mohahlana back to anchor during the day with Vata Ngobeni appointed as eNCA sports editor.

eNCA (DStv 403) is undoing some of its line-up changes just 6 months after its introduction in mid-July 2018 with its prime time news programme NewsNight that is going back to starting at 18:00 and that will now be sole anchored by Vuyo Mvoko, with co-anchor Cathy Mohahlana going back to anchor a daypart.

Six months after eNCA's now departed news director Mapi Mhlangu changed the South African TV news channel's schedule and anchor line-up in mid-July 2018, eNCA is once again changing it, including breaking up its NewsNight co-anchor presentation that always had dual presenters.

From Monday night NewsNight that was shifted to 17:00 in mid-July is once again moved back to a starting time of 18:00, now with Vuyo Mvoko as the only anchor of eNCA's flagship news show.

Cathy Mohlahlana who anchored mid-mornings before her promotion to NewsNight in mid-May 2017 as co-anchor, is shifted back after a year and 8 months and will now once again be anchoring eNCA during the day.

Cathy Mohlahlana is now taking over as the anchor of eNCA Now between 13:00 and 15:00 on weekdays, replacing Jeremy Maggs.

Jeremy Maggs, eNCA acting editor-in-chief, will no longer serve as anchor during the week but will continue to present his weekly media magazine show, Maggs on Media on Sunday mornings.

Jeremy Maggs shifted from prime time in mid-July to the afternoon slot, but with the added duties of day-to-day management of eNCA and with 2019 being a general election year requiring additional management of news resources and logistics, decided to let weekday anchoring go.

Jeremy Maggs will be used as a special anchor on eNCA depending on his availability during key news events.

"I am very pleased that I can hand the lunchtimes over to Cathy who is one of the young stars in a very talented line-up of anchors," says Jeremy Maggs. "This will give me an opportunity to focus on the business of running a dynamic and demanding newsroom."

Following eNCA Now, Thulasizwe Simelane will now anchor on eNCA from 15:00 to 18:00 for an hour longer.

Besides now being the lone anchor of NewsNight, Vuyo Mvoko has been appointed as eNCA's political editor, with Vata Ngobeni from Pretoria News appointed as eNCA's new sports editor from February.

Risque new local Showmax series, The Girl from St. Agnes, releases official trailer; drama might shock some viewers, won't shy away from nudity and divisive topics avoided by other local South African shows.

The video streaming service Showmax has released its official trailer for its first locally produced drama series, The Girl from St. Agnes, with the risque series that might shock some conservative South African viewers and will likely come with a high age-restriction as the show won't shy away from nudity and divisive topics generally avoided by other locally produced TV series.

"South Africans normally turn to HBO series on Showmax for edgy content, rather than local series, which tend to be a lot more conservative, with nudity and divisive topics generally avoided. But conservative isn't a word anyone's going to use for The Girl From St. Agnes," says Showmax about the 8-episode series revolving around the murder mystery of a pupil at a private all-girls school.

The Girl from St. Agnes, produced by Quizzical Pictures and managing director and producer Harriet Gavshon, will become available on Showmax from 31 January and is distributed internationally by Red Arrow Studios International. 

"When I read the scripts, I absolutely loved them. They go to the heart of the story. The fact that it's on Showmax allows it to really go there," says actor Robert Hobbs.

"There are no limitations in terms of broadcasting this - no old-school rules and regulations about what you can show live. You don't have to imply stuff; we can experience it. That is its strength. That's what makes it unique."

"Sometimes it's nice to watch something with a satisfying ending, like finding out who killed Lexi Summerveld (Jane De Wet) and why," says actress Nina Milner playing the role of Kate Ballard. "The Girl From St. Agnes has that formula that the whole world has gone mad for: shorter seasons of extremely binge-able criminal content."

Zakeeya Patel who also has a role says she "read the scripts all in one sitting, so I'm so happy that all eight episodes will be released at the same time. Once I started reading them I couldn't stop ... I literally pulled my car over on the side of the road to finish them. It was dangerous but I needed to finish them. So I went into a parking lot and motored through them on my phone, in tiny, tiny writing."

The Girl from St. Agnes was filmed in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and Johannesburg with casting director Moonyeenn Lee, who handpicked the cast consisting of Nina Milner, Tyrone Keogh, Robert Hobbs, Graham Hopkins; as well as Tessa Jubber, Karl ThaningShamilla Miller, Jane de Wet, Paige Bonnin, Tristan de Beer; and including Zakeeya Patel, Makgotso M, Celeste Khumalo and Jocelyn Broderick.

Catharine Cooke and Cindy Lee are the co-directors.

TV NEWS ROUND-UP. Today's interesting TV stories to read from TVwithThinus - 15 January 2019.

Here's the latest news about TV that I read and that you should read too:

■ Brittany Noble-Jones, a former black news co-anchor of WJTV's This Morning in Mississippi alleges that she was fired after being told her natural hair was "unprofessional".
She says she was told to look more "beauty queen" and alleges that as a young black mother she experienced problems.

■ Netflix chose a new market over free speech. That sets a disturbing precedent.
Netflix bowing to Saudi Arabia's censorship demands is disappointing.

■ Two drag queens dazzle viewers on TV in Mozambique.
La Biba and La Santa delights viewers while as a national phenomenon they help fight the stigma of HIV

■ There's a reason why new flat-screen smart TVs are cheaper.
Manufacturers of TV sets are collecting and selling your data.

■ Netflix enters Hollywood's dark arts arena, desperate to secure a win for Roma as Best Picture at the Oscars.
Streaming service joins the myth peddling machine and is now an aggressive "awards player".

■ UNILAG TV channel launching on StarTimes.
The University of Lagos in Nigeria is launching its campus TV station on China's StarTimes pay-TV service on Tuesday.

■ WWE seen on SuperSport is getting elite wrestling competition in the form of All Elite Wrestling (AEW).
■ And dark clouds ahead for the WWE.

■ MultiChoice Africa ready to roll out its inaugural MultiChoice Talent Factory's Masterclasses between 17 January and 20 February.
People in the film and TV industry from across Africa will be able to attend the 2-day educational work sessions that will be held in Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique and Ethiopia to help develop technical skills in cinematography, audio and storytelling to improve the quality of local productions.

■ While the country goes to trash, a new game show, Tamba 263, is coming to Zimbabwe's ZBC.
The aim is "to test their mind's alertness and also boosts the speed of their brain's ability to react".

■ Man to report TV channel in Zambia to that country's Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) for allegedly allowing a panellist to call him a moron.

■ The Empire actor Morocco Omari seen on FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131 / Cell C black 201) visits Kenya to do a free actor and director workshop.

■ China's TV colonisation of Africa surges onward as StarTimes do more show-and-tell about its "1 000 Villages Satellite Project, this time in Nigeria, together with Nigeria's fawning and ever-clueless minister of information and culture, Lai Mahammad who gave the fraudulent TStv a multi-year Nigerian tax break.

■ Australia's version of South Africa's National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) actually gives millions of rands in funding to make films and TV shows.
Screen Australia gives $7.5 million (Rccc) in production funding to help Australian producers to make 4 TV series, 2 films and a web series.

■ Don Lemon is the new Wendy Williams.
The CNN anchor is the sit-in for The Wendy Williams Show on BET (DStv 129) while Wendy mendy her fractured arm.

■ NBCUniversal now also working on launching a video streaming service.
NBCUniversal plans to launch it in 2020 for Comcast pay-TV subscribers in America but also for Sky subscribers in the United Kingdom (Comcast bought Sky in 2018).

■ MUST WATCH. Female California TV news reporter attacked while reporting live on Facebook.
KRCR's Meaghan Mackey still asks "This is disrespectful. Do you understand that?" before she is attacked by a man in a frightful incident.

■ John Falsey, the creator of St. Elsewhere and Northern Exposure dead at 67.
He fell in his home and died from complications from a head injury.

■ Mario Lopez set to take over Access Hollywood after a massive revamp.
And Natalie Morales is furious about the cheeseball being positioned to be "the face of entertainment news at NBC".

■ The non-TV story of the day: 12 Chinese construction workers arrested in Zambia for growing dagga.

Monday, January 14, 2019

NBCUniversal announces plans to also start its own video streaming service, will launch it in early-2020.

NBCUniversal is joining the competition to launch and have a video streaming service and plans to launch its own in early-2020, run and overseen by NBCUniversal's longtime pay-TV boss, Bonnie Hammer.

In America CBS now has a streaming service, CBS All Access, there is DC Universe, and Disney plans to launch its streaming service Disney+ in 2019, as does WarnerMedia.

Meanwhile there are Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, the BBC is working on improving its iPlayer, and South African and African viewers are also familiar with options like Showmax and Acorn TV that just launched, while the rest of sub-Saharan Africa has Econet's struggling Kwesé iflix.

Along with NBCUniversal'sstreaming service plan, Jeff Snell is being promoted and put in charge of oversight of NBCEntertainment, International and Telemundo as well.

NBCUniversal's not-yet-named video streaming service will be launched in 2020 and not just in the United States for Comcast pay-TV subscribers but will also be available to pay-TV operator Sky in the United Kingdom as well as other parts of Europe where Sky has a presence - reaching a combined 52 million subscribers.

NBCUniversal's streaming service will be ad-supported but a commercial-free version will be available for a fee, while viewers who are not pay-TV subscribers will be able to buy a separate subscription to the service.

"NBCUniversal has some of the world's most valuable intellectual property and top talent, both in front of and behind the camera. Many of the most-watched shows on today's popular streaming platforms come from NBCUniversal," says Steve Burke, NBCUniversal CEO, in a statement announcing plans for the new service.

"Our new service will be different than those presently in the market and it will be built on the company's strengths, with NBCUniversal's great content and the technology expertise, broad scale and the wide distribution of Comcast Cable and Sky."

"People are watching premium content more than ever, but they want more flexibility and value. NBCUniversal is perfectly positioned to offer a variety of choices, due to our deep relationships with advertisers and distribution partners, as well as our data-targeting capabilities."

"Advertising continues to be a major part of the entertainment ecosystem and we believe that a streaming service, with limited and personalized ads, will provide a great consumer experience."

CBS announces yet another new spin-off Star Trek series in development focusing on the adventures of Michelle Yeoh's Captain Georgiou joining Section 31.

CBS in the United States is working on yet another new Star Trek series, the latest a spin-off from Star Trek: Discovery that will focus on the exploits of Captain Philippa Georgiou, who was played by and will continue to be played by Michelle Yeoh.

The second season of Star Trek: Discovery will start on 17 January in the United States on the CBS All Acces streaming service, with episodes that will once again roll out weekly globally outside of America and Canada on Netflix.

The Michelle Yeoh spin-off will revolve around Philippa Georgiou's adventures after the events of Star Trek: Discovery's first season, that will see her become involved in Starfleet's nefarious and secretive Section 31 intelligence division, first introduced during the 1990's spin-off series, Star Trek: DS9.

The latest series will be produced by CBS Television Studios, Secret Hideout and Roddenberry Entertainment with Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt as writers.

"Michelle has shattered ceilings, broken boundaries, and astonished us with her grace and gravitas for decades," says Alex Kurtzman, Star Trek executive producer in a statement.

"As a human, I adore her. As an actor, I revere her. Erika and Boey are remarkable, exciting writers who bring a fresh perspective to the world of Star Trek, and we're all thrilled to explore the next wild chapter in the life of Captain Philippa Georgiou."

"I'm so excited to continue telling these rich Star Trek stories," says Michelle Yeoh. "Being a part of this universe and this character specifically has been such a joy for me to play. I can't wait to see where it all goes – certainly, I believe it will go 'where no woman has ever gone before!'"

Besides Star Trek: Discovery entering its second season on Netflix, the new as-yet-untitled Michelle Yeoh Captain Geogiou series there is also an upcoming new as-yet-untitled series featuring the later life of Captain Jean-Luc Picard after the events of the last films of Star Trek: The Next Generation, with Patrick Stewart again playing the iconic role.

There is also a planned half-hour adult animated comedy series Star Trek: Below Decks in development.

Not available on Netflix South Africa are 5 Star Trek: Short Treks episodes serving as prequel vignettes to the second season of Star Trek: Discovery.

Final season of Game of Thrones' 8-episode 'mini-movies' to start on 14 April, with M-Net that will show it Express from the US from 15 April for DStv subscribers.

Winter is coming in autumn with the final 8th season of Game of Thrones that will start on Sunday 14 April on HBO in America with episodes that will be shown in South Africa and across Africa on M-Net (DStv 101) as an "Express from the US" title at the same time as in America, as well as on a yet to be scheduled date later during prime time.

For the 5th, 6th and 7th seasons of Game of Thrones, M-Net showed episodes of Game of Thrones as an "Express from the US" series in Africa, with episodes that were broadcast at 03:00 at the same time as in America.

For the upcoming 8th and final season, M-Net will again broadcast Game of Thrones Express from the US from 15 April very early in the morning for DStv subscribers who simply can't wait and who need to see the final part of the story unfold at the same time as it's being shown in the United States.

M-Net will also show Game of Thrones episodes during prime time although the channel has not yet determined a weekday and timeslot for the must-watch swansong of the megahit, although it will do so this week.

The shortened 6-episode 8th season will in terms of actual runtime minutes be longer than the entire 7-episode 7th season.

The 8 final Game of Thrones episodes are all longer than an hour without commercials and are described as being "mini-movies". Several episodes could be as long as 90 minutes.

Multiple massive battles and fighting sequences that each took weeks to shoot are included, including an "epic battle" and fighting sequence bigger than anything Game of Thrones ever did before, likely featuring a combined battle from the Seven Kingdoms against the Army of the Dead that is being led by the vicious Night King.

On Sunday announcing the 14 April date, HBO released a new one minute 44 seconds teaser trailer of Game of Thrones, showing Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) in the crypts of Winterfell entitled "Crypts of Winterfell".

A full-length, official teaser promo will still be released as well.

At least one prequel series is currently in production with several more that could be greenlit based on writer George R.R. Martin's source material.

SABC doesn't have money to pay for covering South Africa's upcoming 2019 national elections - report.

The embattled and commercially insolvent South African public broadcaster doesn't have money to cover the country's upcoming 2019 national elections.

This is according to the newspaper Rapport that on Sunday reported that the SABC doesn't have money for its SABC News division to cover the upcoming national elections in 2019, something that previously cost the embattled broadcaster around R35 million.

The Sunday paper spoke to unnamed SABC management sources, telling Rapport that the out-of-cash SABC needs tens of millions of rands in order to cover the 2019 national elections - in addition to freelance workers.

Ironically the SABC is doing away with freelance staffers. The broadcaster fired all the freelance producers working for SABC News (DStv 404) in 2018 and plans to do away with 1 200 freelance workers as part of its dramatic staff cost-cutting plan that forms part of its latest turn-around strategy.

A source told the newspaper that the SABC needs millions of rands to cover a national election as it had done in the past.

"This includes additional logistical expenses, the cost of distribution of video and sound recordings, technical staff and journalists to physically attend the respective election campaigns and voting points, the vehicles and outside broadcast units and the hiring of facilities."

According to previous SABC annual reports, the South African public broadcaster had to spend R2.4 million alone on connecting the SABC's network to that of the Independent Election Commission's (IEC) computer system in order to get voting results and to report it nationally.

Neo Momodu, SABC spokesperson, on Sunday told TVwithThinus in response to the report that "The SABC is unwavering in its resolve to meet its public service mandate of delivering compelling news and public affairs programming, including elections in line with its mandate"

Serious threat escalating of the SABC's content cupboard running bare with no guarantee that South Africa's independent TV producers will be getting paid after February.

The looming and serious threat of the SABC's TV content cupboard soon going bare in early-2019 is fast escalating as the public broadcaster approaches its own "Day Zero" when it becomes unable to pay its own staff salaries from the end of February.

Within months SABC viewers could be stuck with an increase of old repeats, blackouts or even reduced broadcasting hours with the SABC unable to fully pay external producers for staple programming - its weekday local soaps - with the SABC that can't provide a guarantee that independent TV producers will be paid after the end of February.

Rapport newspaper on Sunday, quoting unnames SABC management sources, reported that the SABC doesn't have money for its SABC News division to cover the upcoming national elections in 2019, something that previously cost the embattled broadcaster around R35 million.

Meanwhile South African TV producers supplying content to the SABC are now literally crying from stress as the casts and crews across programmes made by production companies are fearful of how they are to provide for their families and pay their bills this year.

In November 2018 the SABC board told parliament that by the end of February the commercially insolvent South African public broadcaster getting closer and closer to a financial cliff, will only be able to pay some of its permanent SABC staff salaries, and by end of March no salaries.

The SABC is prioritising internal staff salaries above anything else, along with things like "water and lights", and with the broadcaster already unable to settle its full electricity bill for its Auckland Park headquarters. 

Local producers 'subsidising' the SABC
The SABC - in desperate need of another bailout in the form of another government-guaranteed bank loan similar to its last financial meltdown in 2011 - owes millions of rands to South Africa's independent production sector who have not been paid and received a few sporadic, late payments for content it's producing and delivered to the SABC for broadcast over the past year, something that's continuing and creating immense stress, industry uncertainty and ongoing job losses.

Individual South African production companies and producers in business with the broadcaster and owed money whilst being asked to continue to provide content and carry the burden of "subsidising" the SABC out of their own pocket with constant promises of payment, are scared to speak publicly or to criticise the SABC openly.

Although not getting paid by the SABC, in a form of Stockholm syndrome, producers don't want to damage relationships with the SABC, or risk losing contracts or potential future production contracts and income, although they're extremely scared.

Producers are unable to make their own long-term plans and don't know what to tell their casts and crews about when they will get paid or when or if any of the people they employ in turn, will have work in 2019.

Besides multiple other shows, several production companies - collectively employing and paying thousands of people - are each producing hundreds of episodes annually of stripped timeslot weekday local soaps for the SABC's three TV channels ranging from Uzalo, Generations and Skeem Saam to 7de Laan, Muvhango and Isidingo.

These producers and others, some of whom already had to suffer through SABC non-payment in 2018 including forced production shutdowns, are now fearing for the future and not being paid for their prime time soaps from February. 

Without money and payment they won't be able to continue to provide episodes of the hugely watched local soap operas to the SABC. 

If producers individually or collectively stop delivering new episodes. the South African public broadcaster has padding of about a month's episodes before the video cupboard is empty.  

This will force SABC schedule managers to switch to repeats, old library content from the SABC archives or to programme something else in its place which the SABC likewise won't be able to pay for.

'No money to shoot'
"No money to shoot," a stressed production crew on one of the SABC's biggest shows told TVwithThinus this week half a month into the new year, saying "we haven't started production since we closed for holidays last year. The production hasn't received money from the SABC".

Asked what is most stressful, the crew member says "our concerns are [paying] bills".

Meanwhile Uzalo - the most watched show on South African television and on SABC1 that abruptly shut down in August 2018 and ceased production when the cast and crew downed tools over the SABC's non-payment - has allegedly been affected yet again by the SABC's non-payment troubles with production on the new 5th season in 2019 that has apparently been delayed again.

Asked for a response about the SABC's alleged latest non-payment, the show on Monday told TVwithThinus that "we can confirm that Uzalo resumed production last week, and shooting has commenced for season 5".

"As I'm sure you can appreciate, details of payment schedules between service provider and client are subjected to the principles of client confidentiality, and as such, we are unable to respond to your query on the specifics of payment," said the production company Stained Glass TV.

"Should there be any shift in the developments that necessitate us alerting the viewing public, we will communicate appropriately".

The SABC in response to a media enquiry about the ongoing non-payment of the country's independent TV producers repeated its earlier holding statement, with Neo Momodu, SABC spokesperson, again saying that "the SABC's financial situation is a matter of public record. Amounts owing to independent producers are being closely managed and monitored between the SABC and its service providers".

"The SABC has worked out a payment plan in consultation with the production companies for outstanding payments."

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Commercially insolvent SABC has now also stopped paying royalties to musicians; local artists owed millions of rands for music used on public broadcaster's radio and TV channels.

The SABC has now also stopped making royalty payments to South African artists and musicians, similar to local producers and production companies being owed millions of rands by the commercially insolvent South African public broadcaster.

On Sunday the City Press newspaper reported that the SABC owes the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (Samro) - the shambolic and controversial music rights organisation itself caught up in chaos and allegations of corruption - over R55.5 million by the end of June 2018.

Samro is South Africa's only music performance rights collection organisation and pays over hundreds of millions of rands to local musicians and artists annually.

Samro's annual report released in December 2018 indicates that the SABC owes Samro - and therefore South Africa's musicians and artists - millions of rands for music that have been used and that continues to be used on the SABC's radio stations and TV channels without pay.

The SABC is silent and doesn't want to say what the exact amount is that the cash-strapped South African broadcaster owes to Samro.

The SABC also owes millions of rands to South African producers and production companies for TV content it already received and broadcast and that it's not paying and can't afford to pay, in addition to non-payment to other service providers.

The SABC is also no longer able to pay its whole monthly electricity bill anymore and will from end-February 2019 no longer be able to pay all staff salaries, and from end-March 2019 no longer be able to pay any SABC staffers.

The SABC's royalties paid to Samro for music used on its radio and TV channels, and then to artists amounts to a third of Samro's income, with the SABC's that stopped paying that has put a dent of 22% less income in Samro and therefore local musicians' pocket.

While the SABC has been begging for another government bailout in the form of a government-guaranteed bank loan similar to the one in 2011 during its previous financial crisis, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, South Africa's latest minister of communications, has been publicly fighting and distancing herself from the collapsing SABC board, and has done little to solve the SABC's extremely urgent cash crisis.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

TV NEWS ROUND-UP. Today's interesting TV stories to read from TVwithThinus - 12 January 2019.

Here's the latest news about TV that I read and that you should read too:

■ Sherwin Bryce-Pease, the SABC's US and United Nations correspondent, based in New York, is in South Africa.
"At one point George Clooney leans over to me and says..." - Sherwin Bryce-Pease dish about his time as president of the United Nations Correspondents Association.

■ MultiChoice Nigeria again has to emphatically tell Nigerians that DStv won't operate a "pay-as-you-view' system in the West African country.
"We are not going to do it. Our contracts with our suppliers are on a month-to-month basis. The channels do not belong to MultiChoice."

■ The SABC in 2019 - New year, same problems.
Rebecca Sibanda, legal assistant at the Centre for Constitutional Rights, writes that Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, South Africa's latest minister of communications, has very little time to help turn this sinking ship around or the broadcaster may fail.

■ Seattle TV station fires video editor for doctoring footage of American president Donald Trump given a Cheetos-orange tint, a larger than normal head and his tongue hanging out.

■ Comedy Central (DStv 122) rolls out its first rebrand in 8 years.
No word yet from Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) on when the new look from US-based studio Loyalkaspar will be seen in South Africa and Africa.

■ Penn Badgley who was Gossip Girl, wants people to stop lusting after his character in You on Netflix who is not just a stalker but a murderer.

■ The showrunner of Star Trek: Discovery seen on Netflix, on the upcoming second season shakeup.
The Spock viewers meet in season 2 is not there yet.

■ Simply bizarre: Why is The Orville, seen on FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131 / Cell C black 201) trolling viewers getting rid of its female security chief?
Just like when Tasha Yar left Star Trek The Next Generation abruptly and prematurely, Alara Kitan (Halston Sage) has left the Orville.
■ Is Alara (Halston Sage) gone permanently?

■ The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) dumps R. Kelly's music from its music playlists while in South Africa the SABC doesn't feel a need arose following the multiple allegations of rape and abuse of the singer.

■ The upcoming new docu-drama Valley of the Boom on National Geographic (DStv 181 / StarSat 221 / Cell C 262) about the rise of Silicon Valley, that like MARS has talking heads experts in-between dramatic story, is too jarring here, awkward, and disjointed in an off-putting fashion.

Friday, January 11, 2019

SABC1 botches its local drama series, Diamond City, from Quizzical Pictures by mistakenly airing the final episode instead of the penultimate one; apologises for mislabeling error.

SABC1 botched the playout of its latest local drama series, Diamond City, on Sunday night, mistakenly showing the final 13th episode instead of the penultimate episode, and is apologising to viewers for the error due to a mislabeling mistake.

Viewers were confused and angry after the South African public broadcaster spoilt the local drama series produced by Quizzical Pictures on Sunday by suddenly showing and giving away the ending with a gap that made no sense.

"It's grossly disappointing to realise SABC1 skipped a whole entire episode - 1 hour of critical storytelling and hard work - and aired the final episode instead," said actress Nambitha Ben-Mazwi. "I apologise on behalf of them to our loyal audience. It's more disheartening for us, believe me."

Production company Quizzical Pictures called the SABC's mistake "really disappointing".

The SABC told TVwithThinus it won't show the "missing" episode of Diamond City because SABC1 doesn't want to make the schedule disruption worse.

It took the SABC 5 days to respond to a media enquiry about what happened with the broadcast mistake of Diamond City.

"SABC1 offers an unreserved apology to its viewers for the inconvenience caused due to the non-screening of episode 12 of the local drama series Diamond City on Sunday 6 January at 20:00," SABC1 said on Friday in response to a media enquiry.

"The unfortunate situation occured as a result of a mislabeling error which saw episode 13 - which is the final episode for the current season - airing instead."

"The channel's scheduling department has in the meantime taken a decision not to screen the skipped episode (episode 12) to avoid a further negative impact on the schedule."

SABC1 has adjusted its schedule for the next 3 weeks with Shakespeare in Mzansi: Death of a Queen, Shakespeare in Mzansi: Izingane Zobaba and Shakespeare in Mzansi: Ugugu No Andile that will be shown on 13, 20 and 27 January on Sunday nights.      

TV NEWS ROUND-UP. Today's interesting TV stories to read from TVwithThinus - 11 January 2019.

Here's the latest news about TV that I read and that you should read too:

■ The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) admits it has underpaid thousands of temporary staffers for years.
"This error should not have occurred, and we apologise to any casual employee who has been underpaid."

■ MultiChoice's DStv Now is broken - and things don't look good.
Problems in Kenya and MultiChoice tells a customer: "We do not have the turnaround time yet for when the services will be back on."

■ Netflix interested in opening a production hub in Toronto, Canada.

■ People from Cameroon picket outside the SABC in Cape Town.

■ British pay-TV customers actually pay a "loyalty penalty" for staying with one company too long instead of switching.

■ German viewers are different: They continue to pay for traditional pay-TV while the country is also seeing massive growth in the use of video streaming services.
Germany also has one of the highest levels of smart TV ownership in Europe.

■ As Anson Mount takes over as Captain Pike and hopefully brings more stability to Star Trek: Discovery's second season, his command style will hopefully mark a return to classic Trek storytelling.

■ Mozambique arrests another journalist.
Amade Abubacar, working for the state-owned Radio e Televisao Comunitaria Nacedje de Macomia in Mozambique's northern Cabo Delgado province, was grabbed by police at a bus stop while conducting interviews.

■ A 1950s TV show had a fear-mongering conman named Trump who wanted to build a wall.

■ A fishing boat from Deadliest Catch on Discovery Channel (DStv 121) capsizes, killing 3 in notoriously violent waters.

■ Turkey in shock as horrifying family secrets unfold on live television - ending with the police showing up and arresting an entire family as the audience and presenter applause.

■ Has Netflix won the battle for your TV screen?

■ The abusive has-been Jeremy Clarkson formerly of Top Gear on the BBC, slams the BBC for "suffocating the life out of everything".
Forgetting that he tried to suffocate the life out of the Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon who he physically and verbally attacked in 2015.

■ beIN resumes transmission in Egypt two days after the pay-TV operator started a blackout over a carriage dispute with Egypt's CNE over the commercial terms of providing sports content.

■ Kevin Hunter, husband of Wendy of The Wendy Williams Show on BET (DStv 129) tore into talk show's staffers blaming them for the stories about his alleged philandering.
Staffers thought he was going to give them an update about Wendy's bad health. Instead Kevin ranted for almost an hour about the leaks coming out of the show to the press.

■ A shirtless AJ Kapa and Cole Sprouse of Riverdale seen on M-Net (DStv 101) get wet and wild during a male bonding vacation in New Zealand as they frolick in Lake Wakatipu.

■ The best future-focused science fiction film and TV coming in 2019.

■ Kit Harington of Game of Thrones seen on M-Net (DStv 101) tells GQ Australia that "everyone was broken" by the time filming on the upcoming 8th and final season wrapped.

■ The Sopranos at 20: Television learned the wrong lessons from The Sopranos.

■ Surviving R. Kelly and the unstoppable power of true-crime documentaries.

■ The Bachelor's focus on Colton Underwood's virginity shows a bigger problem.
This season highlights the strange lens through which we as a society view sex.

■ 11 bizarre reality shows that weren't too weird for TV.
From Sperm Race to Splash, to a 23-year old naked man confined to a tiny apartment.

■ New American drama series, The Passage, is decent, at a time when decent might not be enough.

■ IMDb, the film and TV website owned by Amazon, is launching a free streaming video channel, IMDb Freedive, that will be available in the United States on its website.

■ Showmax slows everything down to 60fps for a derivative looking teaser trailer for its local drama series The Girl from St Agnes, copying MTV's Teen Wolf and Netflix's Elite with someone running through the woods and swimming in the school's pool.

Criminal Minds cancelled after shortened 15th season of 10 episodes.

The long-running American forensic TV drama series, Criminal Minds, has been cancelled, getting a final renewal for a shortened 15th and final season of 10 episodes for 2019.

Criminal Minds, seen on M-Net (DStv 101) with the 14th season set to start showing in April in South Africa and across Africa, is currently filming the finale of its 15-episode 14th season and will remain in production without a break to do the additional 10 episodes as a new and final season.

Criminal Minds revolves around a team of FBI profilers who investigate cases and track down the criminals trying to anticipate their next move before they strike again.

It currently has Joe MantegnaPaget BrewsterMatthew Gray GublerA.J. CookAisha TylerKirsten VangsnessAdam Rodriguez, and Daniel Henney in the cast.

Criminal Minds was created by Jeff Davis and is executive produced by Mark Gordon, Erica Messer, and Breen Frazier. ABC Studios produces Criminal Minds in association with CBS Television Studios.

"It is the quintessential hit. We are so proud to have aired it," says Amy Reisenbach, the CBS network's executive vice-president for current programming in a statement announcing the end of Criminal Minds.

"It speaks to everything we do best, which is air quality television. It's been successful not only on air but online, in syndication, internationally for ABC Studios".

Last year the alleged "ass grabber, nut grabber" Greg St. Johns, the long-time director of photography at Criminal Minds was accused of sexual harassment towards crew members and he has since left the show. Before that actor Thomas Gibson after on-set fighting with a producer and having kicked a writer.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

BBC News Africa sending 50 reporters to cover Nigeria's upcoming elections on the day and in the run-up to 16 February, election coverage fused into several BBC programming strands.

As Nigeria prepares to hold elections on 16 February the BBC News plans comprehensive coverage from the West Africa nation for local, African and international audiences, sending 50 reporters to cover it.

BBC News will do special programming on TV, radio and online across all BBC Africa's 12 language services including English and French as well as Nigeria-based BBC News Yoruba, BBC News Hausa, BBC News Igbo and BBC News Pidgin.

BBC News will also continue with its Countering Fake News information and educational campaign.

"BBC News pioneered fact checking programming in the United Kingdom. In 2018 I pledged that the BBC's international services would move beyond just talking about the global 'fake news' threat," says Jamie Angus, director of BBC World Service group.

"We commissioned in-depth research that helped us to understand the processes and motivations behind 'fake news'. We have taken action in Africa and in India to provide fact-checking services that will help audiences to identify reliable sources and disinformation from fact."

The BBC will be sending over 50 reporters to cover the elections - the largest election coverage deployment by an international broadcaster.

"For the first time, a pre-election fact-checking project will aim to verify or debunk claims made by candidates," says BBC News.

From 4 February each morning, the global breakfast show Newsday (6:00 to 10:00 South African time) will offer an insight into how Nigerians and people from various other parts of Africa view this election.

The BBC's TV programme for Africa, Focus on Africa on BBC World News (DStv 400 / StarSat 256 / Cell C black 501 / Openview 121) at 17.30 will be live in Nigeria for two weeks and will be analysing the media campaigns by candidates and bringing to you a variety of voices from across the country.

Fact Finder will present a special edition on the growing use of fake news in elections. The programme will be working with credible fact-checking organisations to evaluate the veracity of claims and counter-claims as well as pledges made through the Nigerian electoral period.

BBC Africa's daily business programmes Money Daily, Mitikasi Leo (Swahili) and Cash Éco (French) will all air live from Lagos on 13, 14 and 15 February ahead of the presidential election and after the poll.

The following daily TV news programmes which are rebroadcast by partner stations across Africa will also bring in-depth reporting around the elections: Afrique - BBC Infos, Hausa - Labaran TV, Swahili - Dira Ya Dunia, Somali - Caawa iyo Caalamka.

On 16 February throughout the day there will be commentary and analysis from the BBC's correspondents across the African continent and updates will continue daily as the results come in.

"We are prepared to deliver memorable coverage of what is set to be the most competitive election in Nigeria and even across Africa, says Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye, the BBC’s Head of West Africa Languages.

"Our audiences across the continent and around the world can now keep up to date with the action in 12 languages including English, Hausa and the newly launched Igbo, Pidgin and Yoruba languages."

"We will bring key interviews from politicians, commentators and viewpoints from voters on the ground. From every state, whatever the issue, BBC Africa will be there."

TV NEWS ROUND-UP. Today's interesting TV stories to read from TVwithThinus - 10 January 2019.

Here's the latest news about TV that I read and that you should read too:

■ "A vast wasteland": How the problems of the internet today is that of television half a century ago.

■ Australia's Channel Nine anchor Samantha Heathwood goes viral after reading the news wearing a "penis jacket".

■ MicroLED: The new technology that will change the face - and shape - of the TV set.

■ The 43 most anticipated shows of 2019.

■ In Zambia a policeman shoots another policeman in a fight over a TV set.

■ Pakistan bans any Indian TV content, claiming it would "damage our culture".
■ The showing of any intimate moments and "bed scenes" are also banned on Pakistan TV.
■ Pakistan broadcasting regulator says TV dramas are "too feminist".

■ British viewers furious that the upcoming third season of Victoria seen on ITV Choice (DStv 123) will be broadcast in the United States before it's shown on ITV in the United Kingdom.
"So it's a UK made TV show about a UK queen yet America gets it first."

■ China's StarTimes is going to have to work longer on its "1 000 Villages" project: In Zambia thieves steal StarTimes' satellite dish, TV, decoder, power generator from a health centre.

■ Nigeria gets a localised Rescue 911 type show focusing on the work of emergency management agencies.

■ Netflix finally reveals the key sequence to get to the Bandersnatch scene you might never see otherwise.
■ And the actor playing the lead character, Fionn Whitehead, reveals he is annoyed about a scene that got cut and it involves a knife and stabbing.

■ Insanity: A Japanese bikini model rubs her breasts 10 000 times to grow them on a bizarre Japanese TV show.

■ beIN Sports goes dark in Egypt on pay-TV operator, Cable Network Egypt (CNE), in a channel carriage dispute over (what else) money.

■ New wine series, It Starts With Wine, on Amazon Prime Video.

■ Jamie Lee Curtis is furious over being photo(water)bombed by Fiji water and the trashy 76th Golden Globe Awards stunt.

■ In the upcoming Star Trek Picard show, Jean-Luc's life will have been radically altered.
The Romulan Empire had been torn apart by the destruction of Romulus, consumed by a star going supernova, with Picard's life and mind radically altered by the dissolution of the Romulan Empire.

■ Sky News (DStv 402) and BBC World News (DStv 400 / StarSat 256 / Cell C black 501 / Openview 121) anchors and political reporters dump Westminster for outside interviews after abuse.
Kay Burley needs security at Westminster, racist verbal abuse hurled at Faisal Islam.

■ Bad eating habits of children linked to TV advertising according to new research.

■ 10 horror TV series coming in 2019.

Wendy Williams postpones her talk show return again; temporary panelists to now fill in from Monday.

Wendy Williams has postponed her return to her daytime talk show for a second time after pushing it out last week, and will now only appear on 21 January, although The Wendy Williams Show will start on Monday 14 January but with a panel of substitute presenters.

Last week Wendy Williams announced that instead of 7 January, The Wendy Williams Show, seen in South Africa and Africa on BET (DStv 129) will now only start on 14 January.

Now Wendy Williams' return has been postponed again by another week, although the show that contractually must deliver a certain number of episodes per season as well as for its current 10th season, will keep to the new 14 January 2019 date but without Wendy Williams.

Wendy Williams abruptly postponed her return date last Friday, apologising for "less than stellar episodes" before Christmas due to a shoulder injury and the pain she's been suffering.

"After fracturing her shoulder, Wendy is on the mend and wants to return pain-free and be 200%, delivering the best show that millions of viewers tune-in to watch," the show said on Saturday.

"3 days until I'm back. New year means new shows. Make sure you tune-in on Monday," said Wendy - but now her absence will be yet another week longer.

According to the distributor and producer, Debmar-Mercury, The Wendy Williams Show will be done from Monday 14 January by a panel of "Hot Talkers" instead of Wendy.

"As she has for the past 10 years, Wendy delivers an incomparable live talk show day in and day out and we want to give her the best opportunity to heal and recover," says Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein in a statement.

"Wendy has our complete and unwavering support and we look forward to her return to the iconic purple chair."

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Star Wars: Resistance on Disney XD renewed for a second season.

Disney on Wednesday announced that it has renewed the new kids animation series, Star Wars: Resistance, seen on Disney XD (DStv 304) for a second season that will start in autumn of this year.

While the second season is in development, Disney has not given any premiere date.

The last few episodes of the first season of Star Wars: Resistance resumes on 13 January in the United States and will then be shown on Disney XD in South Africa and Africa.

Star Wars: Resistance is set before the events of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens and revolves around the young pilot Kaz who's recruited to spy on the growing threat of the First Order.

Also on Wednesday together with the renewal news, Disney dropped a first season midseason trailer for Star Wars: Resistance containing new scenes from the last few upcoming new episodes.

Nat Geo WILD's 9th annual installment of Big Cat Month coming in February 2019 with 5 big cat specials.

Nat Geo WILD (DStv 182 / StarSat 221 / Cell C black 262) is doing its 9th annual Big Cat Month in February with 5 new premiere programmes that will be broadcast during the course of the month, featuring surprising behaviours and inspiring stories of big cats around the world.

February on Nat Geo WILD will start will Dereck and Beverly Joubert’s Birth of a Pride which follows the journey of lions returning to a reserve in Botswana as they grow from a single female and her cub into a fully formed, majestic hunting pride. 

Next up, Leopard Kingdom tells the tale of Karula the leopard, who ruled her South African kingdom for over a decade, and the struggles among her successors.

Showcasing rarely seen behaviour in Man vs. Puma, presenter Boone Smith observes pumas hunting penguins in Patagonia. 

Clash of the Tigers follows the extraordinary tale of a strong-willed mother tiger who risks everything to rear her young cubs, and Regime of the Queen puts a spotlight on the role of the lioness in a pride.

Big Cat Month is an extension of National Geographic's Big Cats Initiative, a long-term commitment by the National Geographic Society to halt the decline of big cats in the wild.

Birth of a Pride
3 February at 18:00
In Selinda, Bostwana, lions had been hunted to near extinction but, thanks to conservation, the number of lions has grown from two to over 60. 
Witness an incredible and heartwarming story of survival through the eyes of the lions that beat the odds. Follow six cubs as they navigate the world and learn to hunt, socialise and survive in the now flourishing wilderness.

Tree Climbing Lions
3 February at 18:45
Big cat biologist Alexander Braczkowski is on a mission: He's got 90 days to count lions in Uganda and learn how the population is doing. But these aren't ordinary lions. 
The prides in Queen Elizabeth National Park spend most of their lives up in the trees, a rare and mysterious behaviour unique to this part of Africa. 
On his journey, he'll witness mothers battling the odds to raise cubs through their first year of life, and the threats tree climbing lions face as the human population expands. Alex's experience will become more personal than he could have imagined, and he'll learn that saving lions can be about much more than counting cats.

Leopard Kingdom
10 February at 18:00
Karula, the Queen of Djuma, reigned over South Africa's Sabi Sand Reserve for over a decade. 
Throughout her rule she endured droughts, attacks on her territory, and staved off hunger. She had three suitors, six cubs, and five grand-cubs. Her kingdom was strong, but now she is gone. 
Between Thandi, Shadow, and Xongile - three of Karula's eldest daughters - a new queen will take the throne. But when an interloper finds his way into their domain and aims to take the thrown for himself, will the sisters put family first?

Leopard Huntress
10 February at 18:45
When a vicious fight with the male leopard results in her cub's death, Malika must reinvent herself after the loss. In the battle to survive, she faces dangerous enemies and must hunt way outside her comfort zone. Her desperation inspires ingenious new ambush techniques and each success slowly rebuilds her confidence till she has the courage to face her enemies and regain her former glory.

Clash of the Tigers
17 February at 18:00
Two royal Bengal tigers in Ranthambore, India, are sisters, natural born killers, granddaughters of the most famous queen tiger in the world and heirs to her magnificent throne. 
They live in a paradise that is one of the last tiger sanctuaries on Earth. And they want only one thing: to remove their mother, destroy the other sister and reign supreme. 

Man vs. Puma
24 February at 18:00
Big cat expert Boone Smith travels to Patagonia to observe pumas thriving in the wild under increased conservation efforts. The cats have not learned to fear humans, making this the one area in the world where people can observe their behaviour up close. 
Once there, Boone is fascinated to watch the pumas hunting penguins, an incredibly rare behaviour. The tables are turned when a big cat starts to stalk him and he comes face to face with a hungry mother on the hunt.

Regime of the Queen
24 February at 18:45
The lion is the king of beasts but it is the lioness that is the real power behind the throne. She is 135 kilograms of predator, part of a pride that forms family groups that work together to strike down prey and ferociously patrol the boundaries of their territory. 
The lioness will let nothing threaten her family’s rule. Through creating alliances and ruthlessly eliminating enemies, the land is hers to rule.

Kendis Gibson joins MSNBC, will anchor MSNBC Live over weekends from 19 January.

Kendis Gibson is joining MSNBC (StarSat 263) as a new weekend anchor starting on Saturday 19 January.

Kendis Gibson joins MSNBC from ABC News. Before ABC News he worked as a prime time anchor for FOX News and as an entertainment anchor at CNN.

Kendis Gibson will anchor MSNBC Live on Saturdays and Sundays between 21:00 and 23:00 (South African time).

TV NEWS ROUND-UP. Today's interesting TV stories to read from TVwithThinus - 9 January 2019.

Here's the latest news about TV that I read and that you should read too:

■ Disney won't make big-budget like Star Wars movies for its own upcoming Disney+ streaming service that will be competing with Netflix.

■ Does Netflix have a cash flow problem?
Netflix's cash burn is becoming increasingly expensive.

■ Today's TV Mom is raising viewers for a more realistic world.

■ Bloomberg in advanced negotiations to start a business TV channel in Israel.

■ Not the end of the Sky News (DStv 402) campaign to make TV debates for politicians compulsory.

■ Censorship-rife Saudi Arabia where a killer is king plans to launch a streaming video service to rival Netflix.
MBC, the Middle East's largest broadcaster, is already working on new films and shows to feed the video service as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman grapples with the fallout from the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

■ There for you: A Friends inspired coffee shop is opening in Dubai.

■ Host Chris Harrison opens up about The Bachelor's latest "virgin season".
"We've never done anything like this!"
■ The Bachelor really wants you to know that Colton Underwood's a virgin.
■ Why is The Bachelor obsessed with virginity?
■ A sociologist explains why Colton Underwood's virginity is such a big deal.
■ The new The Bachelor is a virgin but the new season will be even more sex-obsessed than before.
■ Colton Underwood as the first virgin The Bachelor is in way over his head.

■ American weatherman Jeremy Kappell fired after saying "Martin Luther Coon Park" instead of "Martin Luther King Park" who says it was an accident.
■ He says  "I spoke a little too fast when I was referencing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. So fast to the point where I jumbled a couple of words".
■ The same happened to the ESPN anchor Mike Greenberg in 2010 who wasn't fired.