Monday, March 2, 2015

MultiChoice adds 3 TV channels to DStv Now app for DStv Premium subscribers - Eurochannel, ShortsTV and Ginx TV - for 3 months.

MultiChoice is adding 3 TV channels to its DStv Now app for DStv Premium subscribers for 3 months: Eurochannel, ShortsTV and Ginx TV.

While the DStv Now app is free to download for all DStv customers, the video content can only be watched by DStv Premium subscribers.

The DStv Now app allows users to watch content on Android and iOS phones and tablets.

Eurochannel, Ginx TV and ShortsTV will be watchable through DStv Now from mid-March 2015 to mid-June 2015.

ShortsTV carries short films, including African short films.

Ginx TV based in the United Kingdom is a video gaming TV channel, offering video reviews and news from the world of video gaming and video gaming culture.

Eurochannel is an English language TV channel featuring European programming, including movies and TV series.

"We are pleased to acquire the new channels for DStv Now and hope they will resonate with short film junkies, video gamers and European culture lovers," says John Kotsaftis, CEO of DStv Digital Media.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

BREAKING. Kelly Osbourne leaving Fashion Police on E! Entertainment amidst backstage in-fighting and Zendaya racism comment scandal.


Purple coiffed Kelly Osbourne is leaving Fashion Police! on E! Entertainment (DStv 124) immediately - the troubled show mired in scandal with backstage in-fighting and tension following a racist joke about Hollywood starlet Zendaya's hair.

"Kelly Osbourne is departing E!s Fashion Police to pursue other opportunities," says E! Entertainment in a terse statement.

"We would like to thank her for her many contributions to the series over the past five years, during which time the show became a hit with viewers," says E! Entertainment.

E! Entertainment and Fashion Police announced no replacement for Kelly Osbourne.

There won't be any formal proper on-air goodbye, reflecting clip show or any of the usual proper farewells when an on-air TV talent leaves - indicative of the rancour and bitterness behind the Fashion Police scenes.

According to TMZ, citing multiple sources Kelly Osbourne has been wanting to get off Fashion Police since the reset without Joan Rivers and that tension started from the first episode of the "new" Fashion Police with Brad Goreski and Kathy Griffin and without Joan Rivers and George Kotsiopoulos in January.

According to multiple sources Kelly Osbourne was unhappy with how Fashion Police was being produced since 2015, and the E! Entertainment show's producers were equally unhappy with Kelly Osbourne's on-set attitude.

Kelly Osbourne's abrupt departure leaves the severely compromised Giuliana Rancic as the only remaining original member on the struggling fashion critique comedy show following her highly offense comments earlier the week.

Earlier the week Kelly Osbourne threatened to quit the show following Giuliana Rancic's racist comments and has now made good on her threat to dump Fashion Police, hurling ultimatums and saying "I'm giving everyone involved 24 hours to make it right or the world will hear how I really feel. Contractually I'm not allowed to speak!"

Kelly Osbourne tweeted that "I'm seriously questioning staying on the show!"

The backstage atmosphere at E! Entertainment's Fashion Police, produced by the late Joan Rivers' daughter Melissa Rivers, has been fraught with tension and scandal since Giuliana Rancic on Monday called Zendaya's dreadlocks looking like "she smells like patchouli oil" or "weed".

Giuliana Rancic, who is also the anchor of eNews on E! Entertainment damaged her credibility and reputation although she did apologise on Tuesday on eNews for her controversial remarks.

An insider told publication Us Weekly on Saturday that "Kelly hasn't been happy at the show for a while," and that "this whole situation solidified her decision to move on. It was time for her to go. She had five great years there, and the relationship she had with Joan there changed her life."

Friday, February 27, 2015

ILLOGICAL. Leonard Nimoy is not dead. He touched Dr. McCoy - and us - and secretly lives inside all of us until we can return to Vulcan to restore him.


Rest in peace Leonard Nimoy.

Watching you with my dad as a very little boy opened up an amazing world I love to this day and gave me my love for television.

Live long and prosper. Forever.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

MultiChoice increases DStv subscription fees from 1 April 2015: Here's what you'll be paying per month this year.


MultiChoice has announced its annual price increases for DStv which will come into effect from 1 April, with DStv Premium which will now be costing R699 per month from April and M-Net subscribers who will be paying R335 per month.

MultiChoice published the new April 2015 prices on its website today, 26 February, a day after finance minister Nhlanhla Nene revealed in his budget speech that South Africans in the coming year will have to get read for tougher times.

South African consumers will be paying more in personal tax as well as for fuel, electricity, alcoholic beverages and tobacco products and also for subscription television services.

From 1 April 2015:
DStv Premium will cost R699 (from R665)
DStv Extra will cost R425 (from R399)
DStv Compact will cost R319 (from R295)
DStv Select will cost R199 (from R185)
DStv Family will cost R199 (from R185)
DStv Access will cost R99 (unchanged)
DStv EasyView will cost R39 (from R29)
DStv Mobile will cost R49
M-Net as a stand-alone analogue service will cost R335 per month (from R315).

In 2014 MultiChoice made no change to the monthly subscription fees of DStv Access and is again keeping that price unchanged for a second year in a row.

DStv EasyView which also didn't see a price increase in 2014 from 2013 is however increasing in 2015 with R10 per month from R29 to R39.

Despite tougher economic times and with pay-TV deemed a luxury expense as part of discretionary spending, South Africa's pay-TV market remains buoyant with strong ongoing subscriber growth the past few years.

There's been no press statement from MultiChoice yet.

The end of 'M-Net Series' on DStv after 17 years: M-Net gets ready to name change M-Net Series Zone as the last remaining M-Net Series channel.

You're reading it here first. 

M-Net will finally do away with, and end the "M-Net Series" brand after 17 years on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

M-Net started The Series Channel in April 1998 on DStv, which morphed a decade later in 2008 into The M-Net Series channel.

The M-Net Series channel was split into three channels in July 2013 - M-Net Series Showcase, M-Net Series Reality and M-Net Series Zone.

The floundering ratings and under-performance of the channels saw M-Net Series Showcase and M-Net Series Reality closed down just over a year later in September 2014.

M-Net Edge was started on DStv, leaving M-Net Series Zone (DStv 115) as the sole M-Net Series channel.

In January 2015 when asked whether M-Net Series Zone on DStv will be undergoing a name change - since there's no longer a need for the very long "M-Net Series Zone" qualifier and TV channels prefer as short names as possible from a branding and optics point of view - several M-Net insiders told TV with Thinus that a name change was indeed being considered. 

Now insiders said M-Net Series Zone as the last permutation of a "M-Net Series" channel will be rebranded and name changed. 

The channel and its channel proposition as a catch-up destination for shows on MultiChoice's DStv will remain, but under a new name. 

It means the end of "M-Net Series" as part of a TV channel name and several channel logo and branding permutations on DStv after 17 years.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2015's 9th Saftas nominees announcement sees voters vote dropped for best soap and best TV presenter categories added.


The announcement Tuesday night of the 9th South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) was once again an amateur affair, with the SABC's soap Generations on SABC1 - like with the 2015 Royalty Soapie Awards - shut out since it went off air in 2014.

In a major departure the Saftas are dumping the viewers' vote for best soapie. The Saftas judges now shortlist the nominees in the best soap category and will choose either Binnelanders (kykNET), Rhythm City (e.tv) or Isibaya (Mzansi Magic) as the winner in the category.

Instead the NFVF and Saftas have adding several TV presenters categories. The Saftas' various film categories are a convoluted mess.

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) announced the list of nominees for the 2015 Saftas on Tuesday night at Atlas Studios in Johannesburg but NFVF CEO and Saftas chairperson Zama Mkosi didn't attend - she was in Brazil at the Rio content market.

The Saftas will this year take place on 20 and 22 March at Gallagher Estate in Midrand.

The Saftas aim to honour the excellence of the South African film and TV industry with Golden Horn trophies but every year the local TV awards ceremony is marred by a botched in memoriam segment which leaves out notable people the industry lost in the previous year, as well as a litany of mistakes and shoddy production values that make viewers and the industry cringe in embarrassment.

Like with the 2015 Royalty Soapie Awards SABC1's Generations - The Legacy has been shut out.

According to the Saftas "Generations did not participate partly due to the soapie being off television screens for a considerable amount of time".

Mzansi Magic's Isibaya, SABC3's Isidingo, SABC1's Skeem Saam and SABC2's 7de Laan received the most nominations.

The Saftas has added a best presenters categories with people like Bonang Matheba, Lungile Radu, Phat Joe, Thembi Seete, eNCA's Jeremy Maggs and several others being nominated in various categories.

Best TV dramas nominees are Swartwater (SABC2), 90 Plein Street (SABC2) and Donkerland (kykNET).

Best TV comedy nominees are StarSat's ZA News: Puppet Nation, Check Coast and Lastborn Does the Loeries.

Best reality show nominees are the cancelled Kabelo Boot Camp (Mzansi Magic), Ultimate Braai Master (e.tv) and I Want to Sing Gospel (SABC2).

Best film nominees are Inumber Number, Faan se Trein and Four Corners.

The Saftas awards show will once again be produced by Clive Morris Productions.

BREAKING. eNews anchor Pat Pillai dumps eNews as e.tv moves its English TV news bulletin out of primetime to a late night audience.


The longtime eNews Prime Time anchor Pat Pillai has dumped eNews as e.tv is moving its popular English language out of prime time to make way for a new Zulu TV news bulletin and moving its English news broadcast to a late night audience.

e.tv confirmed that Pat Pillai has resigned after a decade at e.tv. Pat Pillai in a statement says "I will miss the people I've worked with and the viewers who tuned in regularly."

Pat Pillai will read his final eNews bulletin on e.tv on Thursday 26 February at 19:00.

From Monday 2 March the eNews Prime Time news bulletin - what used to be South Africa's most watched English language TV news bulletin - is moved an hour and a half later to 20:30 to make way for eNews Izindaba at 18:30 and the soap Rhythm City moving to 19:00.

e.tv says the later English news will now "cater for a later evening news audience".

With its prime time schedule shift e.tv is aggressively going after SABC viewers and Zulu TV news viewers not getting what they want to see from the public broadcaster.

Pat Pillai now wants to "focus more on his youth development work at Life College, an organisation he founded in 1997".

"Pat Pillai has played an enormous role at eNews over the past 10 years," says Patrick Conroy, who is now the managing director of e.sat.

"He has helped us turn our nightly newscast into the most watched English news bulletin in the country," says Patrick Controy, saying Pat Pillai "remains a close friend of all of us at eNews".

E! Entertainment's racist Giuliana Rancic sorry for remarks over Zendaya's deadlocks; Kelly Osbourne threatens to quit Fashion Police.




E! Entertainment’s (DStv 124) E! News anchor and Fashion Police panelist Giuliana Rancic is apologising for her racist comments after saying the 18-year old actress Zendaya's dreadlocked hair at the Oscars "probaly smells like patchouli oil or weed", now saying "something I said last night did cross the line".

On Tuesday night's E! News, Giuliana Rancic who always does red carpet duty for E! and wants celebrities to trust her enough to talk to her, apologised.

"I want to apologize for a comment I made on last night's Fashion Police about Zendaya's hair," said Giuliana Rancic.

"As you know, Fashion Police is a show that pokes fun at celebrities in good spirit, but I do understand that something I said last night did cross the line. I just want everyone to know, I didn't intend to hurt anybody."

"But I've learned it's not my intent that matters, it's the result, and the result is that people are offended, including Zendaya, and that is not okay. Therefore, I want to say to Zendaya, and anyone else out there that I have hurt, that I am so, so sincerely sorry. This really has been a learning experience for me."

Kelly wants to quit
Meanwhile Fashion Police panelist Kelly Osbourne has threatened to quit the struggling fashion commenting show on E! Entertainment which has derailed in tone and enjoyment since the death of Joan Rivers and the addition of Kathy Griffin and Brad Goreski.

"I'm seriously questioning staying on the show," said Kelly Osbourne on Twitter, noting that she gave "everyone involved 24 hours to make it right or the world will hear how I really feel. Contractually I’m not allowed to speak!"

Monday, February 23, 2015

Al Jazeera's Mohamed Fahmy slams Al Jazeera for what the journalist calls 'epic negligence'; says Al Jazeera left him unprotected.

Mohamed Fahmy, the Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / StarSat 257) journalist and former Egyptian cellmate of the released d Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste is slamming Al Jazeera for what he calls "epic negligence" and says Al Jazeera left him and his Egyptian-based colleagues unprotected.

Mohamed Fahmy, who is also a former CNN producer and awaiting a retrial after more than a year in an Egyptian prison, told the Associated Press that Al Jazeera had its own political news agenda during the reign of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.

Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian, were jailed in June 2014 and were due back in Egytian court today, after the release last month of Peter Greste, but the case was adjourned to 8 March.

Mohamed Fahmy told Sky News (DStv 402) today that "Al Jazeera's shortcomings and the way they dealt with our security situation before our arrest and the epic negligence that they portrayed during the trial has also given the prosecution more firepower, basically."

Mohamed Fahmy said he raised these issues "constructively" through Al Jazeera "hoping that they would respond, and I hope they do".

No statement on any of this from Al Jazeera.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The 87th Academy Awards: 2015 Oscars coverage on M-Net, E!, CNN International, FOX News; Facebook; ceremony on M-Net Movies Premiere.


The 87th Academy Awards with host Neil Patrick Harris will be broadcast in South Africa on M-Net , with red carpet coverage leading up to the 2015 Oscars broadcast on E! Entertainment (DStv 124).

For the first time in a few years M-Net has also secured the official red carpet coverage run-up to the Oscars again, which is usually done as an additional add-on package by whatever American broadcaster which has the broadcasting rights to the awards show. 

This year it's ABC with the 2015 Oscars official red carpet arrivals show, called Oscars Opening Ceremony: Live From the Red Carpet starting on M-Net Movies Premiere (DStv 103) at 00:00 until 02:00, followed by Oscars Red Carpet Live from 02:00 to 03:46.

The presenters are Robin Roberts, Lara Spencer and Michael Strahan.

CNN International (DStv 401) also has an 2015 Oscars special entitled And the Winner Is... presented by Don Lemon from 01:30 until 02:00 from inside Hollywood's Roosevelt Hotel.

FOX News Channel (StarSat 261) also has 2015 Oscars coverage starting at 03:00 on Monday morning with entertainment correspondent Michael Tammero.

E! Entertainment will be doing the usual red carpet coverage with Live From the Red Carpet: The 2015 Academy Awards starting at 00:30 (South African time) on Sunday night until 03:30 Monday morning. 

Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana Rancic will present from the red carpet.

E!'s 2015 Oscars coverage will be repeated on Monday at 11:00 and 18:00.


The 87th Academy Awards will start at 03:46 until around 07:15 on Monday morning on M-Net Movies Premiere. It will then be shown, packaged, Monday night on M-Net (DStv 101) from 19:31 to 23:00.

Viewers will be able to watch what happens behind the scenes at the 87th Academy Awards through a "Director's Cut" live feed streamed on Facebook.

Three channels of live video feeds from over 20 cameras throughout the Dolby Theater will be streamed on www.facebook.com/oscars.

Video clips of the most memorable moments of the awards show – including all musical performances – will be posted almost immediately after they air to oscar.com/video, with a selection of those also being shared on the Oscar's Facebook page.

E! Entertainment has another special episode of Fashion Police on Wednesday, 25 February at 22:00 with Kathy Griffin, Brad Goreski, Kelly Osbourne and Giuliana Rancic to look back at the 2015 Oscars fashion hits and misses.

Friday, February 20, 2015

BREAKING. Royalty Soapie Awards 2015 announces nominees; SABC1's Generations and kykNET's Binnelanders shut out.


Nominees for the second Royalty Soapie Awards, set to take place on Saturday 28 March in Durban, was announced on Thursday evening in Johannesburg with Mzansi Magic's (DStv 161) Isibaya and e.tv's Scandal! leading the charge with 16 nominations each, followed by SABC2's 7de Laan with 14 nominations.

Notable changes include Mzansi Magic coming aboard as a sponsor this year of the Royalty Soapie Awards 2015 which has largely shut out SABC1's Generations, e.tv which removed both it's soaps last year allowing its soaps Rhythm City and Scandal! to take part, and bigger public voting paticipation with viewers who will get to have a say in the winner of several categories.

Generations on SABC1 which used to be South Africa's biggest and most watched soap in terms of ratings before its massive fall from grace as well in the ratings and now called Generations - The Legacy - was largely shut out in the nominations.

e.tv also allowed its Rhythm City and Scandal! to take part this year.

"After having numerous meetings with the organisers, we emerged with  a better sense of the objectives of the awards," said Monde Twala, e.tv's head of channels. "e.tv has two of the most loved soaps with talented casts, who deserve  recognition for their performance".

SABC2's Venda soap Muvhango only scored one nomination, with kykNET's (DStv 144) Afrikaans soap Binnelanders completely absent and shut out from this year's Royalty Soapie Awards although Villa Rosa is included.

This year viewers will get to vote for the winner in several categories in the Royalty Soapie Awards which include Outstanding Lead Actor, Outstanding Lead Actress, Outstanding Male Villain, Outstanding Female Villain, Outstanding Supporting Actor, Outstanding Supporting Actress, Outstanding Newcomer and Most Popular Soapie.

Notably no Generations or Binnelanders stars are included as nominees in any of these categories.

The nominee with the highest number of votes in each category will be the winner. Viewers can vote from 19 February to 20 March.

"The Royalty Soapie Awards hold a mirror to the industry, revealing the status of the sector on screen and behind the scenes, and they provide much to reflect upon," says Sindile Xulu, project director.

"The final outcomes will reflect industry sentiment and benefit all by encouraging healthy competition and ultimately assisting in growing the quality of our productions," says Sindile Xulu.

"Any awards ceremony is a good thing for the industry, Vinette Ebrahim from SABC2's 7de Laan, nominated in the category for Outstanding Lead Actress, told TV with Thinus on Thursday.

"Something like the Royalty Soapie Awards is important for the platform it creates to recognise the work of actors and technical people working in the industry. It gives recognition to people for their hard work," said Theodore Jantjies from SABC2's 7de Laan, nominated in the category for Outstanding Lead Actor.

"Actors always appreciate these kinds of awards because in showbiz we work at a tremendous pace, so you don't get time to think about it. So its a moment to stop and reflect and for crews and casts to get some recognition. So I'm thankful for the Royalty Soapie Awards for bringing some extra spice," said Izak Davel from SABC3's Isidingo, nominated in the category for Outstanding Newcomer.

"We have so many soapies and telenovelas now. The more serious the industry takes itself as a specific genre, then that actually unfolds in the creation of more shows. In South Africa the soapie genre is our Hollywood, and its time that it gets its recognition," said Kgomotso Christopher from SABC3's Isidingo, nominated in the category for Outstanding Lead Actress.

"Our soapie stars are the A-list stars and it is about time that they had a platform for themselves to be recognised and not to be diluted within the larger industry."

The nominees for the 2015 Royalty Soapie Awards for which viewers can vote, are:

Outstanding Lead Actor
Motlatsi Mafatshe as Sechaba in Isidingo
Siyabonga Thwala as Mpiyakhe in Isibaya
Theodore Jantjies as Xander in 7de Laan
Vusi Kunene as Jefferson in Isidingo
Zane Meas as Neville in 7de Laan

Outstanding Lead Actress
Kgomotso Christopher as Katlego in Isidingo
Marjorie Langa as Gloria in Scandal!
Masasa Mbangeni as Thembeka in Scandal!
Thembi Nyandeni as Mkabayi in Isibaya
Vinette Ebrahim as Charmaine in 7de Laan

Outstanding Male Villain
Andre Lotter as Liam in Villa Rosa
Robert Whitehead as Barker in Isidingo
Sello Maake ka-Ncube as Lucas in Scandal!
Vusi Kunene as Bhekifa in Isibaya
Wilhelm van der Walt as Tyrone in 7de Laan

Outstanding Female Villain
Dawn Matthews as Shakira in Scandal!
Jo da Silva as Gita in 7de Laan
Mampho Brescia as Iris in Isibaya
Therese Benade as Astrid in Villa Rosa

Outstanding Supporting Actor
Andile Sithole as Ndumiso in Scandal!
Bongani Gumede as Mandla in Isibaya
Jody Abrahams as Marcel in Scandal!
Kaz McFadden as Dewald in 7de Laan
Zakhele Mabasa as S'khaleni in Isibaya

Outstanding Supporting Actress
Dorette Potgieter as Wanda in Villa Rosa
Mampho Brescia as Iris in Isibaya
Mapaseka Koetle as Dintle in Scandal!
Natasha Sutherland as Layla in Scandal!
Nomzamo Mbatha as Thandeka in Isibaya

Outstanding Newcomer
Andile Gumbi as Zweli in Isibaya
Buhle Samuels as Matshidiso in Muvhango
Fulu Mugovhani as Anzani in Scandal!
Izak Davel as Bradley in Isidingo
Tessa Holloway as Sonja in 7de Laan

Thursday, February 19, 2015

SHOCKER. M-Net shutting down Maisha Magic channel on MultiChoice's DStv mere months after launching; what's going on with M-Net?


What on Earth is going on with M-Net, and is the sterling pay-TV brand starting to self-destruct and destroying its own image in Africa? That's what insiders are asking with the shocking news that M-Net is immediately shutting down its recently launched Maisha Magic channel on MultiChoice's DStv in East Africa.

TV industry insiders are buzzing over M-Net's abrupt about-turn - launching Maisha Magic as a TV channel on DStv and then canning it - raising speculation about very bad executive management appointments, absent oversight and a lack of adequate - if any - channel testing, planning and feasibility studies.

"You expect this from other African free-to-air [broadcasters] but not M-Net. What on Earth is going on?" said a veteran African TV business insider on Thursday night over the shocking news that M-Net is ending Maisha Magic on DStv mere months after it launched the channel with great fanfare.

"You don't just launch a channel - especially not on MultiChoice and then yank it. It's like opening a hotel, paying for the construction and turn-key set-up and then closing it down without any profit".

M-Net is dumping Maisha Magic in East Africa as a TV channel, raising concerns over what is happening - or not happening - under the management of Michael Ndetei who was appointed as M-Net's first ever regional director for East Africa exactly a year ago in February 2014.

M-Net says "an in-depth assessement of each of the channel's viability was concluded, including a review of the rankings and popularity of the channels" and that "a decision was taken to close Maisha Magic and refocus on Maisha Magic Swahili".

M-Net is dumping and getting rid of Maisha Magic on DStv abruptly at the end of March - raising serious concerns of what, if any, "in-depth assessement M-Net did before it decided to launch Maisha Magic with great fanfare from 1 September 2014.

Six months later, Maisha Magic is a disastrous M-Net failure - an unprecedented flop in the history of M-Net, bigger than GO and The Soap Channel which M-Net supplied to DStv and which were both terminated.

"Unfortunately Maisha Magic has not performed and grown as per our expectations." says M-Net CEO for Sub-Sahara Africa, Patricia van Rooyen.

Patricia van Rooyen says M-Net decided to can Maisha Magic saying M-Net made "the carefully considered but difficult decision to cease operations of the channel".

It gives Maisha Magic the dubious and shocking distinction of holding the record of shortest-lived TV channel ever on MultiChoice's DStv, and the M-Net packaged TV channel for DStv which lasted the shortest period of time - just 6 months.

It raises serious questions over why M-Net decided to launch the failure of a TV venture in the first place, why adequate market research and channel creation steps were not taken and what market research and intelligence M-Net is using - if any - to come up with new TV channels for DStv subscribers across the continent. 

M-Net says its "grateful" to Michael Ndetei and some of the most talented and creative people in the Kenyan media industry" but the Maisha Magic closure is flashing red lights over what exactly M-Net is doing in East Africa and whether its lost its magic.

"M-Net remains firmly committed to the Kenyan market and will ensure that it continues to support film makers by showcasing their talent on other M-Net channels."

"The film and television industry in Kenya will continue to be supported by M-Net's investment in channels made in Africa for Africa, thus ensuring that we assist Kenya in playing a role in the growth and future of African television and film on the continent," says M-Net.

Yet the shocking real-life actions are speaking much, much louder than words.

In 2014 Michaerl Ndetei said "there's definitely great potential for a customised East Africa television brand". Well, it seems that Michael Ndetei spoke too soon - or at least too soon as far as M-Net is concerned and is either clearly out of touch or not up to the job.

Either in reality there isn't great potential in general in the market for what M-Net offered, or there isn't an appetite  for subscribers to specifically M-Net's East African product.

The abrupt dumping of Maisha Magic means that nothing will come of M-Net lofty ideals and now lofty 2014 announcement that Maisha Magic will be followed by many more Maisha Magic branded TV channels in East Africa in the future.

With M-Net dumping Maisha Magic on MultiChoice, is not clear whether it's completely capitulated and given up on the red-hot Swahili market in East Africa where rivals like Zuku started Zuku Swahili Movies as a new channel in 2014, and StarTimes run channels like Star Swahili and Bollywood Swahili.

How will M-Net subscribers trust M-Net again when it again in future says its launching yet another Swahili or other M-Net type brand in East Africa? People won't trust it to last. What they will do is laugh it off. 

Like Mello Yello, Vanilla Coke and Fresca. 

All of them remembered - but laughed at - as shocking brand extension failures of their main brands which never should have happened. Add Maisha Magic to that list.

Writers' Guild of South Africa announces WGSA Muse Awards 2014/2015 nominees, adds M-Net as sponsor.


The 2nd WGSA Muse Awards 2014/2015 ,organised by the Writers' Guild of South Africa (WGSA), has announced its nominees for the awards ceremony set to take place late in April and has added M-Net as a sponsor.

The WGSA Muse Awards 2014/2015 will once again recognise writers in film, television, radio, stage and new media for their contribution to South African entertainment industry.

"A substantial number of entries were received for the WGSA Muse Awards and we would like to thank all the writers who submitted their scripts for consideration," says Harriet Meier, WGSA chairperson. 

"The top three scripts reaching or surpassing the standard set by the minimum judging criteria will make up the nominees. These screenplays will proceed to the next phase, where the winners will be selected by a new set of judges, which include big name international writers, agents and Writers' Guild representatives from around the world," says Harriet Meier.

M-Net has come aboard as the headline sponsor for the awards event.

"For the past 29 years, M-Net has remained a proud sponsor of local arts and culture initiatives. This event confirms our belief in the very important and often undervalued role which writers in various disciplines play in South Africa," says Kershnee Govender, M-Net's corporate affairs director.

"These writers bring the many diverse stories of our multi-faceted society to life, in so doing enriching the lives and cultural fabric of all who come into contact with their work."

The nominees for the WGSA Muse Awards 2014/15 are:


Animation: 1) Tracy Eccles: Wheelin’

Documentary: 1) David Forbes:  The Cradock Four
2) Meg Richards:  1994:  The Bloody Miracle
3) Peter Goldsmid:  Dance Up From The Street


TV Comedy / Sitcom: 1) Fidel Namisi: Call Centre
2) Joshua Rous: By the Numbers


TV Drama: 1) Amor Tredoux:  Danz! Episode 6
2) Marina Bekker:  Thola Episode 1
3) Shirley Johnston: Traffic:  Episode 25


TV Drama: 1) Amor Tredoux:  Danz! Episode 6
2) Marina Bekker:  Thola Episode 1
3) Shirley Johnston: Traffic:  Episode 25


Stage Play: 1)  Janet van Eeden: A Matter of Time
2) Janet van Eeden: In-Gene-Uity
3) Janet van Eeden: The Savage Sisters


Spec Script: 1) Fidel Namisi:  Bring Back Lost Lover
2) Hanneke Schutte: Meerkat Moonship
3) Zamo Mkhwanazi: The Good Doctor

No nominations were made for Radio Plays, and the over 100 Feature Film entries received were all for unproduced screenplays.

The WGSA organisers decideed to dedicate the Spec Script in Any Genre category this year solely to feature films, and to include unproduced work in other genres in their own genre categories.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Cape Town chef Neill Anthony cooking up exclusive dinner extravaganzas in new cooking show starting on SABC3 from 15 March.


Neill Anthony - The Private Chef will start on SABC3 as a brand-new 13-part lifestyle series from Sunday 15 March at 16:30, with the new show produced by Okuhle Media, which will give viewers a glimpse into the high-pressured world of what it takes to cater to South Africa's high society and A-list socialites.

Neill Anthony - The Private Chef is a joint venture production between chef Neill Anthony who spent 10 years in Europe honing his skills in the professional kitchens of Gordon Ramsay, Alyn Williams, Jerome Henry and Marcus Waering.

Back in Cape Town Neill Anthony became a personal chef, dishing up Michelin-star quality food for his demanding clientele in their homes who wants their end-of-the-month Salticrax with a bit of caviar and a splash of champagne. Please.

Neill Anthony - The Private Chef will also be sold to overseas broadcasters says Louise McClelland, executive producer.


Neill Anthony - The Private Chef, with director Chris Lotz, will give viewers a peek into the homes of Neill Anthony's clients and socialite friends as he takes on and prepares exclusive dining experiences.

Every half hour episode starts in Neill Anthony's contemporary lift apartment in the heart of Cape Town, before he heads out to source fresh ingredients for the day's event and shares cooking tips and sourcing secrets with viewers.

"Food is what I do. Keeping it local, seasonal and rustic," says Neill Anthony. "I'm thrilled to be working with Okuhle Media on my first TV show".

After a decade Syfy is finally returning to MultiChoice's DStv - but so far there's a catch to the genre channel's comeback.


Imagine this: After exactly a decade MultiChoice is finally returning the dumped Syfy channel to its DStv satellite pay-TV platform - but apparently only in the rest of Africa and not for DStv subscribers in South Africa. Yet.

The Syfy channel supplied by Universal Networks International (UNI) will be added back to DStv for the first time after it was taken off 10 years ago.

The Syfy channel was formerly known as The Sci Fi Channel until it was rebranded in June 2009 but by then it was already gone for half a decade from DStv.

MultiChoice removed The Sci Fi Channel in 2004 from DStv after several years because the so-called "genre" channel - dedicated to science fiction, fantasy and supernatural series and films - was underperforming.

Now MultiChoice told DStv subscribers elsewhere in Africa that Syfy will be enriching" their viewing experience and calls Syfy "an exciting new channel", saying Syfy "which features science-fiction, drama, supernatural, fantasy, reality, paranormal, wrestling, and horror programming will help enrich" the pay-TV offering.

Syfy will presumably start on DStv, outside of South Africa, on 1 April although the exact starting date is not yet certain.

Syfy, returning this time as a TV channel on one of the DStv add-on packages in Africa, replaces the Sport+ channel on DStv which is ending on 31 March.

MultiChoice has always maintained that Syfy is too niche a TV channel with too few viewers. Yet now Syfy is being added for viewers in African territories where the ratings and interest would presumably be even lower than for South Africa.

Helix

I asked Universal Networks International earlier this week how it feels about the "reintroduction" of Syfy to Africa.

The response was strangely muted, given that UNI is always happy when it introduces further new TV channels like Studio Universal and Telemundo Africa to the African market.

Thursday evening, through its South African PR agency UNI said in response to being asked about Syfy re-entering the African market on MultiChoice's DStv that "while we continuously review opportunities to evolve our channels portfolio in Africa, Universal Networks International has no announcements to make at this time".

I asked MultiChoice earlier this week if it can say why its's not adding Syfy to DStv in South Africa and why it deems the channel not suitable for South Africa.

Thursday evening MultiChoice said "as you are aware, we constantly add new content on DStv. We generally don't comment on our interactions with content providers for new content as these are confidential".

Ascension

With the slowly dying Style from UNI which was abruptly ended last month and finally and unstylishly euthanised, perhaps replacing it with Syfy on DStv is a good idea.

In 2015 so far DStv subscribers in South Africa are down two channels - Style and Blackbelt TV which are gonners.

Zee World was recently added, so with one TV channel less in 2015, the addition of Syfy in the place of Style to even out the score might lessen the pain for DStv subscribers when MultiChoice's upcoming annual price increase comes into effect on 1 April.

Syfy will however face an uphill battle initially anywhere where it is shown together with channels like M-Net and M-Net Edge which are already carried on DStv.

Like A+E Networks UK's Lifetime on DStv and Netflix (when it eventually arrives in South Africa within the next two years) Syfy will initially be a lobotomised, gutted TV channel with very little exclusive or territory first-run content since most of it has already been given away in signed distribution and licensing agreements with other broadcasters and channels.

Shows like Defiance, Dominion, Haven, Alphas, Being Human, Sanctuary, Warehouse 13 and others are all Syfy shows, including movies like the ongoing Sharknado schlock-franchise.

The latest new upcoming seasons of something like Haven on UNI sibling Universal Channel or Defiance on M-Net Edge won't instantly revert to Syfy should that channel start on DStv or On Digital Media's StarSat. Those shows are locked into existing licensing agreements.

There is hope however. Amazing-sounding, brand-new and real science fiction dramas have been announced and are in development which will soon make it to Syfy.

Just before Christmas, Syfy's new boss, Dave Howein an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, said Syfy's era of "genre-lite" is over and that Syfy is returning to its roots and is tackling genre-heavy smart TV projects.

This new dramatic slate of shows with solid budgets are set to dramatically enhance the channel proposition and content of Syfy which the past few years degenerated into low-budget reality shows and flimsy fare which wasn't really even science fiction (like the new Shark Wranglers on the History channel).

Just take a look at what you're not currently getting to see in terms of new upcoming Syfy shows, as well as some existing Syfy dramas that South African viewers, strangely (no pun intended) have not been seeing - not even on other channels:

The Expanse (upcoming (pictured above) Game of Thrones in space, with a detective and rogue captain racing across the galaxy to solve a conspiracy)
Hackers (upcoming a cyber hacker reality show)
Z Nation (existing the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse like The Walking Dead renewed for a 2nd season)
12 Monkeys (upcoming based on the 1995 virus and time travel movie. This drama will start on M-Net Edge on 16 March at 20:00)
Spin (a mini-series about a young scientists trying to save the world from a mysterious cloud)
Hunters (upcoming a straight-to-series 13 part story about a cop who track a group of alien terrorists)
Childhood's End (upcoming mini-series about invading Earth turning it into a utopia)
Helix (existing which we strangely haven't seen on M-Net about a virus outbreak in an isolated Arctic base filled with conspiracies, renewed for a 2nd season)
Ascension (existing drama aboard a generational space ship from the 1960's now decades into its journey which we haven't yet seen)
The Magicians (upcoming A young man who discovers he's a magician and then attends a college of magic in New York)