Saturday, July 4, 2020

Veteran actress Mary Twala dead at 80; 'Lala Ma,' says son Somizi Mhlongo.

by Thinus Ferreira

The veteran actor Mary Twala has died at the age of 80 with her son, the choreographer, reality TV star and Idols judge Somizi Mhlongo who said "Lala Ma".

On Instagram on Saturday Somizi Mhlongo wrote: "Today's my late father's birthday and my mom decided to respond to his call to join him in heaven. The tree has fallen."

"I'm shattered to the core but I'd be very selfish if I don't release her. My mom lived to the fullest, achieved beyond her dreams. It hurts like hell, I won't lie. A day without her calling to either say I love you or give me money."

"Thank you South Africa for loving the phenomenal superstar that is my mother. She left us peacefully around 11:00 at Parklane private hospital as I was on my way to drop off her gown and a few minutes earlier the doctor called to say, 'Come she's up and jolly now'. I arrived a few minutes late. Lala Ma".

Developing ...

Friday, July 3, 2020

Sky News presenter Jacquie Beltrao battling breast cancer again, says 'last 4 weeks myself and my family have been walking through a living nightmare'.

by Thinus Ferreira

The Sky News (DStv 402) presenter Jacquie Beltrao is battling breast cancer again after she discovered a new lump during the lockdown period in the United Kingdom.

Jacquie Beltrao (55) was first diagnosed with breast cancer during Christmas 2013, said that she is determined to win her fight against cancer and returned to work at Sky News in mid-2014 after she had completed her cancer treatment.

Now Jacquie Beltrao revealed that she has once again been diagnosed with breast cancer and this time grade 3 breast cancer which is worse than what she experienced before.

Jacquie Beltrao has undergone two chemotherapy sessions already with 14 more to undergo.

In a Twitter video message she says the cancer is "much nastier than the first one I had". She says it "felt weird going back to work on Sky and being on social media and acting like everything was shiny and perfect and fun when it wasn't."

"And for the last 4 weeks myself and my family have been walking through a living nightmare. But I am where I am."

Coronavirus: Growing collection of kykNET shows impacted by positive Covid-19 cases; current affairs show KN Verslag and primetime soaps to remain on-air.

by Thinus Ferreira

Multiple shows on M-Net's Afrikaans division channels kykNET (DStv 144) and kykNET & Kie (DStv 145) are now also affected by Covid-19 positive cast and crew cases behind-the-scenes.

Positive Covid-19 cases are now impacting the production of a growing number of kykNET programming.

This stretches from weekday primetime soaps and series like Suidooster and Arendsvlei produced in Cape Town, to Johannesburg where the soap Binnelanders, the call-in music show Kom Ons Jol, and even its current affairs strand KN Verslag are all done from; as well as Pretoria where the hybrid radio-on-TV shows like Die GROOT Ontbyt, GROOTPlaas and Kom Ons Praat Daaroor are produced.

After just two episodes back on the Johannesburg set following months of doing remote episodes from home, the Friday night sports variety show Toks & Tjops produced by CSAW Media is abruptly back to doing Zoom episodes from the various presenters' homes after Covid-19 positive cases at the Randburg studio.

This coming Saturday evening the weekly edition of the Kom Ons Jol call-in music video programme - already making heavy use of video conferencing technology because of Covid-19 - will now be done from the presenters' homes.

This week Die GROOT Ontbyt went into repeats while kykNET altered the schedule for the other two shows after The Pretoria community radio station shuttered for a deep-clean after Covid-19 in the studio.

It follows after eMedia's eNuus done from Hyde Park on Saturday evening had to broadcast a pre-recorded episode and had to shut the studio for a deep-clean also because of Covid-19.

Die GROOT Ontbyt will resume with a new episode on Monday 6 July.

Both Suidooster filmed at Atlantic Studios in Cape Town and produced by Suidooster Films and Arendsvlei produced by Penguin Films have now had positive Covid-19 cases.

Covid-19 is also affecting Binnelanders produced by Stark Films at Stark Studios in Johannesburg, as well as KN Verslag produced by Idea Candy and also making use of Stark Studios floorspace.

Binnelanders, Suidooster and Arendsvlei will however continue to broadcast new episodes.

kykNET couldn't immediately tell TVwithThinus on Friday afternoon when Binnelanders, Suidooster and Arendsvlei individually shut down production because of Covid-19 cases but said it would source the information.

kykNET that says "No disruption of daily dramas and telenovelas is expected because these programmes are filmed months in advance. Since the start of level 3 regulations, some of these productions have also adjusted their shooting schedules to six working days a week, using smaller, rotating crews."

The current affairs show KN Verslag will also continue.

Anchor Waldimar Pelser will continue to present the show either from his home in Cape Town or the studio in Johannesburg. The other KN Verslag anchors, Lourensa Eckard and Heindrich Wyngaard, will broadcast from the studio in Johannesburg.

"kykNET is committed to the safety of all crew and cast on productions, as well as that of our viewers. We wish to thank crew and cast members who are working hard under trying circumstances to keep kykNET viewers informed and entertained," says the channel.

South Africa's struggling TV and film industry has already shed thousands of jobs in the three months since April that cameras were first turned off and studio doors closed and now haltingly try to make a go of it as Covid-19 cases keep popping up everywhere forcing new shutdowns.

The kykNET Covid-19affected shows join a growing list of other South African local TV productions that had also already shut down and been negatively impacted by the coronavirus.'s Imbewu produced by Grapevine Productions in KwaZulu-Natal has now also shut down because of a Covid-19 positive case.

M-Net's The River (produced by Tshedza Pictures) on 1Magic (DStv 103) was the first show to shut down in May after local productions geared up again following the 2-months shutdown because of the national lockdown period which started in late-March.

That was followed by Skeem Saam on SABC1. Both The River and Skeem Saam are back in production again.

After them followed Muvhango (produced by Word of Mouth Productions) on SABC2; as well as Rhythm City (Produced by Quizzical Pictures) and Scandal! (produced by Ochre Media) both on and will all three of these who are still shut down.

7de Laan (produced by Danie Odendaal Productions) on SABC2 also shut down because of Covid-19 but is now back in production. Generations - The Legacy (produced Morula Pictures) on SABC1 and Lithapo (produced by Quizzical Pictures) on SABC2 were the next two shows to shut down and both are still closed.

Coronavirus:'s Imbewu drama series produced in KwaZulu-Natal also shutters over Covid-19 case; exposed cast and crew tested and set deep-cleaned.

by Thins Ferreira

Yet another local South African TV show has been forced to shut down with's Imbewu that has now shuttered because of a Covid-19 positive case.

Imbewu is the latest primetime series on South African television that will continue broadcasting episodes although the Grapevine Productions series filmed in KwaZulu/Natal is shutting down for deep-cleaning of the studio and sets.

M-Net's The River (produced by Tshedza Pictures) on 1Magic (DStv 103) was the first show to shut down in May after local productions geared up again following the 2-months shutdown because of the national lockdown period which started in late-March.

That was followed by Skeem Saam on SABC1. Both The River and Skeem Saam are back in production again.

After them followed Muvhango (produced by Word of Mouth Productions) on SABC2; as well as Rhythm City (Produced by Quizzical Pictures) and Scandal! (produced by Ochre Media) both on and will all three of these who are still shut down.

7de Laan (produced by Danie Odendaal Productions) on SABC2 also shut down because of Covid-19 but is now back in production. Generations - The Legacy (produced Morula Pictures) on SABC1 and Lithapo (produced by Quizzical Pictures) on SABC2 were the next two shows to shut down and both are still closed.

South Africa's struggling TV and film industry has already shed thousands of jobs in the three months since April that cameras were first turned off and studio doors closed and now haltingly try to make a go of it as Covid-19 cases keep popping up everywhere forcing new shutdowns.

" can confirm that a positive case of Covid-19 has been recorded on the late prime weekday show Imbewu. The KwaZulu-Natal local production premises have shut down, and the necessary testing for exposed cast and crew members is underway," says in a statement.

"The set will undergo deep cleaning to further minimize the risk of contamination, as per Covid-19 protocols. In respecting the privacy of our talent, cast and crew’s medical and health matters, we will not be issuing the names of any affected individuals." says that "the health of affected employees will be monitored over time, and filming will resume when it is safe to do so as set out by health authorities. All Covid-19, level 3 protocols, and guidelines will once again be adhered to with stringent controls once the required cast and crew are back on set."

Showmax permanently removes Leon Schuster films over blackface and racial stereotyping as MultiChoice's video streaming service says it's no longer comfortable hosting such content.

by Thinus Ferreira

Showmax has permanently removed 5 Leon Schuster films that contain blackface and that it decided is racially insensitive and contain racial stereotyping, along with 2 other films, and says it is not the place of MultiChoice's video streaming service to tell people what they should find offensive or not but that Showmax isn't comfortable carrying such content any further.

Showmax removed several of Leon Schuster's film catalogue two weeks ago for a review.

Out of the 6 films that were removed, Frank & Fearless will be made available on Showmax again, with You Must be Joking, You Must be Joking Too, Oh Schucks... It's Schuster, Sweet 'n Short and Schuks! Pay Back the Money will have been censored and removed from the service permanently.

In response to a media enquiry from TVwithThinus asking who did the review, Showmax said that the Showmax content team managed the review. No names were provided. Showmax was asked when the decision was reached and said that it was made during the course of this week.

"We have completed an initial review of the content on Showmax. Seven titles have been removed due to negative racial stereotyping and prominent elements of blackface," Showmax said in a statement on Friday.

"We recognise these movies are a product of their time and were created with positive intent. Showmax is an entertainment service and we don’t endorse the views or actions that take place in the shows and movies on our platform."

"It’s not our place to tell people what is right or wrong, nor what they should find offensive. But we will make decisions as to what content we are comfortable hosting."

"We believe that platforms such as ours have a role to play in bringing people together through shared experiences."

"We don’t want to shy away from polarising topics, but we also don’t want to sow division. We won’t always get the balance right, but we’ll do our best to listen and to learn from our mistakes."

ALSO READ: Showmax removes 9 Leon Schuster films with blackface characters that MultiChoice's video streaming service is reviewing over racially insensitive content.

It's a golden eye 5th season for Big Brother Naija with 'pre-sealed' contestants due to Covid-19; show kicks off 19 July as producers drop celebrity visits and crowds for launch and eviction shows.

by Thinus Ferreira

Because of Covid-19 the contestants - as well as a batch of "understudies" - for the upcoming 5th season of Big Brother Nigeria are already cloistered in pre-isolation in an unknown facility before they will enter the real isolated camera-house on 19 July, with producers who have axed both celebrity visits and the live audience for evictions in the new season.

With the growing global Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic also affecting Africa, the production company, as well as M-Net West Africa and MultiChoice Nigeria have had to make changes to the new 5th season of Big Brother Naija.

Season 5 of Big Brother Naija will once again be broadcast from Lagos, Nigeria across Africa on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform but the impact of the virus already changed the new season from the pre-production stage to how it will be playing out, produced and look this time.

Over 30 000 online entries were received in May from across Nigeria with producers who had to ditch the live audition process at venues across Nigeria because of Covid-19.

Neither the number of contestants who will be in the house in the 5th season, nor the prize money amount have been revealed, although M-Net says "this season's prize money promises to be bigger, including other surprises for viewers and fans of the show".

The selected contestants are now undergoing strigent Covid-19 and other medical testing during the 2-week wait before they enter the Big Brother Naija house.

"The contestants are currently in quarantine and we are working with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to ensure that due protocols are observed in monitoring the contestants," said Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, M-Net West Africa regional director during a virtual media briefing for Big Brother Naija's 5th season with journalists that was held on Thursday.

"In the case of contestants not being fit for the show, we have a wide pool of qualified contestants that we can choose from,” Mba-Uzoukwu said. She said enough potential replacements have been selected as well in case one of the primary housemates fall ill before the show kicks off on 19 July.

Due to social distancing rules, the live audience for Big Brother Nigeria Sunday night eviction shows have been axed, as well as the crowds who used to join the launch programme as well as the conclusion and winner announcement.

There will also be no celebrity visits or other people entering the camera-filled house once the broadcast of the season starts and that will roughly run for three months or 90 days from 19 July as part of measures to ensure "minimal contact with outsiders".

The Big Brother Naija production crew will also be working in socially-distanced shifts.

The 5th season of Big Brother Naija will once again be broadcast 24/7 on a dedicated Big Brother Naija pop-up channel on DStv in Nigeria and across Africa, with the live eviction shows and weekly highlights programme that will be shown on M-Net's Africa MagicShowcase, Africa Magic Urban and Africa Magic Family channels on DStv.

Like the GoldenEye satellite from James Bond, the livery of season 5 of Big Brother Naija features a golden eye embossed with a sliver of blue in the design.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

ViacomCBS Networks Africa boss Monde Twala adds BET International responsibilities to job title.

by Thinus Ferreira

The ViacomCBS Networks Africa boss Monde Twala has added BET International responsibilities to his job title and will now hold the title of senior vice president of ViacomCBS Networks Africa, Editorial and General Manager and peer lead for BET International. 

According to ViacomCBS Networks Africa, Monde Twala will now work closely with Kerry Taylor, the executive vice president of VaicomCBS Networks International's entertainment and youth brands, as well as the larger international division to guide editorial direction and identify opportunities to strengthen and grow the BET brand outside the United States. 

Monde Twala will focus on driving brand resonance across key markets says ViacomCBS Networks Africa while working on the media company's ongoing digital transformation.

"As head of BET’s largest international market, Monde Twala has an incredible track record of driving development and growth for all of our ViacomCBS brands across the African continent," says Kerry Taylor in a statement.

"He is a passionate champion of the brand and I have no doubt that he will drive it forward in a strong, impactful way while ensuring BET International elevates black culture globally."

Monde Twala in the statement says that "BET is the unifying platform for all-things black culture. I'm excited to collaborate with Kerry Taylor and the international team to unite, empower and elevate black culture and excellence around the world, spotlighting the diverse voices, stories, music and news that need to be seen and heard."

So far at ViacomCBS Networks Africa Monde Twala has helped with the creation of ViacomCBS Africa's major music events, including the Africa Day Benefit Concert at Home to help children and families in Africa impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the MTV Africa Music Awards.

Monde Twala has also worked alongside local production teams to create a range of programming including MTV Newsish, BET Breaks, scripted biopics and reality formats, and has overseen BET's expanding local production content slate.

Coronavirus: Cape Town has issued 70 film permits since April when Covid-19 lockdown eased as city's TV and film industry tries to adapt to producing content under 'new normal' on-set conditions.

by Thinus Ferreira

Cape Town has issued 70 film permits since April when the hard national lockdown due to Covid-19 was eased somewhat in the city as TV and film productions have started to gear up and film again amidst the growing coronavirus pandemic under "new normal" on-set conditions.

Cape Town's Film Permit Office has so far issued 5 245 permits during the 2019/2020 financial year with the industry in the Western Cape and across South Africa that has taken a big knock because of the shut down and again as several local productions continue to shutter when cast and crew test positive for Covid-19.

In Cape Town crews and cast working on productions have rebuilt sets, picked up their cameras and proceeded to continue their craft during this crisis although now under a strict Covid-19 compliance regime.

JP Smith, Cape Town's mayoral committee member for safety and security, has done a set visit of the South African action film Indemnity, produced by Gambit Films, currently shooting at the Cape Town Stadium.

Indemnity was one of the local productions in Cape Town that abruptly had to shut down in late-March due to the Covid-19 forced lockdown.

"The industry has taken a knock as a result of the global crisis but during the visit to the set of the locally-produced Indemnity, I was encouraged to see all those in the film industry value chain pull together to ensure that the sector continues to produce and retain jobs at this difficult time," says JP Smith.

"The well-being of staff, cast and crew on-set remains a priority and accordingly, the city's Film Permit Office, in collaboration with the industry, has developed a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to promote and ensure responsible film-making in the city," he says.

"The measures are informed by national regulations and international best practice including mandatory Covid-19 risk assessments and risk mitigation implementation measures for all production workplaces and staff, constant cleansing of workspaces, equipment and transportation."

JP Smith says he was "screened twice and had my temperature checked three times during my visit to the set at the Cape Town Stadium. It is important for us to work with the industry to get it back on its feet to ensure that a sector that contributes around R3,5-billion a year to the local economy continues to grow during and post the Covid-19 pandemic."

"The city is furthermore committed to evaluating how it can further assist the local film industry through, among others, assisting with promoting the city as a world-class film destination, lowering tariffs or other avenues."

Coronavirus: eNCA reporter Heidi Giokos tests Covid-19 positive, says she's speaking out to break down stigma around the virus.

by Thinus Ferreira

The eNCA (DStv 403) financial reporter Heidi Giokos has tested positive for Covid-19, days after her on-air colleague Shahan Ramkissoon at the TV news channel also got a positive test result and says she is speaking out because she wants to help break the stigma around Covid-19 people.

Heidi Giokos, the younger sister of TV reporter Eleni Giokos working for CNN International (DStv 401) from CNN's Johannesburg bureau, said that she wanted to make her Covid-19 positive result known and talk about it to help break down the stigmatisation that clings to Covid-19 people in some quarters.

Heidi Giokos is the latest eNCA journalist cloistered at home because of Covid-19 after Shahan Ramkissoon and other eMedia staffers tested positive for the virus at the Hyde Park headquarters of eMedia Investments.

On Thursday eNCA was asked if it had any comment but the TV news channel didn't respond to the media enquiry.

This past Saturday evening the Afrikaans TV news bulletin eNuus was also forced to broadcast a pre-recorded episode instead of live news on kykNET (DStv 144) after it was also forced to shut down for a deep-clean because of a Covid-19 case.

"I've tested positive for Covid-19. I've only had mild symptoms but I'm OK and I know I will overcome this. My priority remains to keep my family safe," Heidi Giokos revealed on Thursday.

"I wanted to speak out because for some reason there's a stigma and despite my constant efforts to wash hands, santise everything, wear a mask, I realise that many of us are exposed to people, will take on that risk," she says.

TV reporters and staffers at the SABC and its SABC News (DStv 404) division, eNCA and its News and eNuus divisions, as well as Newzroom Africa (DStv 405) have all been affected and are grappling with Covid-19 cases.

ALSO READ: Coronavirus: eNCA anchor Shahan Ramkissoon tests Covid-19 positive shortly after other 2 other Johannesburg-building staffers; will self-isolate along with rest of affected shift workers for 14 days.
ALSO READ: Coronavirus: eMedia's Afrikaans TV news eNuus on kykNET disrupted on Saturday because of positive Covid-19 case in its Hyde Park newsroom.
ALSO READ: Coronavirus: Newzroom Afrika staffers test positive for Covid-19, prompts more changes at the TV news channel's Linden newsroom including cordoning off sections, one-way corridors and an end to desk swapping.
ALSO READ: Coronavirus: A fourth SABC staffer tests positive for Covid-19, the second at its Auckland Park headquarters.
ALSO READ: Coronavirus: etv News boss Nisa Allie pays tribute to cameraman Lungile Tom who died from Covid-19: The loyal 'fist-pumping guy who documented everything and who liked a muffin and coffee for breakfast'.

MultiChoice's DStv Media Sales takes over from Mediamark to sell ad space for WarnerMedia's Cartoon Network, Boomerang and TNT channels.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice's ad sales division DStv Media Sales will now be selling commercial airtime across some of WarnerMedia's TV channels on DStv directly with Mediamark that is no longer selling advertising space for WarnerMedia's Cartoon Network, Boomerang or TNT channels from 1 July.

WarnerMedia runs channels like Cartoon Network, Boomerang, CNN International and TNT on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform with DStv Media Sales that has now taken over from Mediamark to sell Cape Town TV (CTV) and WarnerMedia's Cartoon Network, Boomerang and TNT.

"The performance of our multiplex, and the variety of our audience profiles, will give advertisers valuable media exposure combining reach, diverse content opportunities, and strong brand association, enabling valuable advertising return-on-investment (ROI)," says Guillaume Coffin, vice president and head of commercial and business development at WarnerMedia France, Africa and Israel, in a statement.

Piwe Motshegoa, head of sales for general entertainment at DStv Media Sales says "We are extremely excited to welcome our two favourite kids' channels and the Hollywood blockbuster channel to our platform".

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Coronavirus: kykNET's Die Groot Ontbyt in repeats after GROOTfm studio in Pretoria shuts for deep-clean due to positive Covid-19.

by Thinus Ferreira

The morning show Die Groot Ontbyt on kykNET has gone into repeats for the rest of the week after a crew member was diagnosed as Covid-19 positive on Tuesday.

The Afrikaans Pretoria-based community radio station that does a hybrid broadcast of its content for television on kykNET has been forced to adapt its programming for the next 3 days, affecting GROOTplaas, Die GROOT Ontbyt and Kom Ons Praat Daaroor shown on kykNET (DStv 144) and kykNET & Kie (DStv 145).

kykNET is now showing rebroadcasts of Die Groot Ontbyt between 06:00 and 08:00 until Friday 3 July 2020. Due to the lack of the TV part of Die Groot Ontbyt, the radio-only broadcast will continue with Francois van Rensburg as presenter.

The building has shut down for a deep-clean with staffers who might show symptoms who have been advised to self-isolate and will undergo testing.

Hardus Zevenster, chief executive of the Bloudruk Media Group, says in a statement on Facebook that "the safety and health of the GROOTfm and Die GROOT Ontbyt personnel remain a priority".

"At the same time we won't compromise on the quality of the product. We've planned for this and there will still be good content broadcast until we can return to 'normal' next week."

kykNET's eNuus daily TV news bulletin this past Satuday evening on kykNET and kykNET & Kie was a pre-packaged edition with no live news after the studio was shut down for a deep-clean because of a new Covid-19 case at eMedia Investments' eNCA headquarters in Hyde Park, Johannesburg.

A growing number of local TV shows and studio lots in South Africa are shutting down and are being affected by positive Covid-19 cases forcing them to turn off the cameras as crew and cast members self-isolate as the TV and film industry tries to re-emerge after the national lockdown period of two months that started in late-March.

After 3 months Showmax removes and ends the streaming of live linear TV news channels on the video streaming service.

by Thinus Ferreira

Showmax has ended and removed the live-streamed linear TV news channels and the educational Mindset Pop TV channel that MultiChoice's subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) added in late-March.

Showmax removed the set of linear TV news channels that it added on 26 March 2020 for users in South Africa and Southern Africa because of the growing Covid-19 pandemic that keeps expanding around the world with the coronavirus that keeps infecting more and more people in Africa, South Africa and around the world.

Showmax made BBC World News, CNN International, Sky News, Al Jazeera, euronews and Newzroom Africa available for 3 months that it removed on 30 June 2020. South African users of Showmax also got access to SABC News and africanews as live linear TV news channels.

Showmax originally announced that it would axe the live TV news channels at the end of May 2020 but extended it for June.

"We were given access to these channels as a temporary measure in the early days of the Covid-19 crisis in order to help everyone keep up-to-date on the latest developments," says Showmax.

"As lockdown is now easing and we’re slowly getting back to some kind of new normal, we're going to be discontinuing the news service. The Mindset Pop channel, which was added to help parents while schools were closed, will also be leaving Showmax."

"We’ll keep an eye on developments and, if the circumstances change, we’ll do our best to step in again."

MultiChoice is working and planning the launch of its DStv Streaming service that will carry the same collection of live linear TV news channels, very much like the existing DStv Now offering.

This so-called "DStv dishless" version will be a web-based look-alike version of DStv but not requiring any installation.

Coronavirus: Generations on SABC1 the next South African local TV series shuttered because of Covid-19.

by Thinus Ferreira

Generations: The Legacy on SABC1 is the latest South African TV show that has shut down because of a positive Covid-19 case as the list keeps growing of local series who have tried to return to a "new normal" production schedule are one by one forced to close their studio doors again because of the growing coronavirus pandemic.

Generations: The Legacy, produced by Morula Pictures in Johannesburg is now shut as well, and follows after SABC2's Sesotho telenovela Lithapo, produced by Quizzical Pictures, turned off the cameras last week on Friday because of a Covid-19 case.

A week before that SABC2's 7de Laan produced by Danie Odendaal Productions abruptly shuttered, along with both of's primetime soaps - Rhythm City produced by Quizzical Pictures and Scandal! produced by Ochre Media. All have positive Covid-19 cases and film at Sasani Studios in Johannesburg.

Before that SABC2's Muvhango, produced by Word of Mouth Productions shuttered because of Covid-19, and before that Skeem Saam on SABC1, and M-Net's The River produced by Tshedza Pictures for 1Magic (DStv 103). The River is back up and running again.

The shuttering of a growing number of TV series comes after the entire South Africa film and TV industry abruptly closed in late-March for the national lockdown period. The already-struggling industry already shed thousands of jobs in the three months that cameras were turned off and studio doors closed.

"Generations: The Legacy can confirm that a member of the production team has tested positive for Covid-19," says Nandipha Pantsi, Generations publicist, in a statement.

"The infected staff member is currently in self-quarantine and is receiving medical attention."

"For the safety of our cast and crew, we have decided to shut down production until further notice. Our cast and crew have been urged to self-isolate. In the meantime, our offices and studios will be deep-cleaned."

"Production will resume when it is appropriate to do so. We extend our support to the infected member of our staff and wish them a speedy recovery."

"Generations: The Legacy shoots months in advance so the break won’t affect airing episodes in any significant way."

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

South Africa's Human Rights Commission now looking into kykNET's disgusting Kwarantyn 'k'-word use, MultiChoice and kykNET not answering questions.

by Thinus Ferreira

The South Africa's Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is looking into the case where the now-axed contestant Jana le Roux uttered a racial slur in the kykNET-produced Kwarantyn Afrikaans reality show on DStv while MultiChoice and kykNET have so far remained silent on the matter and not answered any specific questions posed about it.

It took M-Net's Afrikaans channels division overseen by Karen Keiring a day to remove Jana le Roux on Friday evening after mom Jana le Roux on Thursday evening during a game of 30 Seconds used the offensive and derogatory "k"-word in Kwarantyn.

On Friday morning Karen Meiring told the media that what happened was "completely unacceptable".

kykNET acknowledged receipt of subsequent media enquiries and specific questions but haven't answered any and haven't held any media briefing about the incident.

This past Saturday morning kykNET - and after MultiChoice had removed Leon Schuster films from its Showmax video-on-demand service for a review of the comedian's use of blackface - went ahead with the broadcast of the 1954 Jamie Uys film Daar Doer in die Stad.

The film uses a racially offensive "H"-word, along with several other offensive terms - something that appears to be incongruous with MultiChoice and kykNET's public statements about not racially insensitive content and language in broadcasts.

MultiChoice and kykNET didn't terminate Kwarantyn but removed Jana with her husband and the rest of her family who continue to get public exposure and remain to compete as they try to win R250 000.

Kwarantyn is an Afrikaans reality show that MultiChoice and kykNET is running as a DStv pop-up channel, produced by Red Pepper Pictures from two adjacent Johannesburg homes populated by the white Le Roux and the coloured Scheepers families in each.

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) has opened a case after it received complaints about the broadcast from DStv subscribers and is waiting for MultiChoice to respond.

SAHRC commissioner Andre Gaum told TVwithThinus in response to a media enquiry that "the SAHRC is looking into the matter".

"The Constitutional Court has pronounced that they use of the 'k'-word amounts to hate speech. It is of great concern that derogatory expressions involving this word still appear to form part of some South Africa's vocabulary. South Africans should desist from using words that hurt others deeply and damage national unity and social cohesion."

"All of us should work together to undo deeply entrenched racist tendencies that unfortunately appear to surface every now and again".

MultiChoice previously responded to the media when the Randburg-based pay-TV operator said that it will no longer give the Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmeyr a platform on DStv, and that it canned the second season of the kykNET show before broadcast of the Bolhuis show after audio recordings surfaced of the disgraced private investigator Mike Bolhuis using racial slurs including the "k"-word.

Since Friday TVwithThinus posed several questions to MultiChoice about the Kwarantyn incident.

A media enquiry was sent to Aprio (the PR company doing corporate communications on behalf of MultiChoice), Joe Heshu (MultiChoice's group executive for corporate affairs), Benedict Maaga (MultiChoice's senior manager for corporate communications), as well as Nthabiseng Serote (MultiChoice senior corporate communications specialist) and Ntabiseng Motsei (MultiChoice marketing communications specialist).

None have responded by the time of publication of this report.

MultiChoice was asked why the pay-TV operator chose not to immediately remove the Kwarantyn contestant or family after the use of the racial slur and why MultiChoice decided not to end the Kwarantyn show.

MultiChoice was also asked whether Jana le Roux's remaining family in the show will still get any money, prizes, or derive any benefit from their exposure from being on the DStv channel and in programme, and why there was no on-air message from MultiChoice or kykNET on the Kwarantyn channel on Friday to apologise to viewers?

MultiChoice was also asked happens to the benefits that Jana le Roux and her family already received or might receive through MultiChoice by staying in the house and having been part of kykNET's Kwarantyn show.

Since Friday kykNET and its division boss Karen Meiring have also been asked questions about its content and acknowledged the media enquiry but haven't provided any answers to the questions.

TVwithThinus asked kykNET why it removed a contestant from an entertainment reality show on Friday but then broadcast a film like Doer in die Stad a day after on Saturday that contains extremely offensive and racist words that viewers notice. kykNET was asked how this lines up with MultiChoice and kykNET's statements of being against racism and removing someone for it, but allowing it in other content the next day.

kykNET was also asked why it decided not to end Kwarantyn immediately and why it chose not to stop the DStv pop-up channel and whether that was a consideration.

In the media enquiry, kykNET was also asked whether it's correct that the family of which mom Jana le Roux forms part, can still win R250 000, and if so, how this aligns with MultiChoice and kykNET's policy that people shouldn't benefit from discriminatory behaviour.

kykNET was also posed the questions of whether the families received any psychological counselling and if the Scheepers family was traumatised.

kykNET was asked why kykNET and Red Pepper Pictures decided to keep Jana le Roux on-air on Friday and showed her teary farewell and whether kykNET through that didn't make her into a sympathetic figure and someone that viewers are made to feel sorry for.

ALSO READ: MultiChoice's DStv in new racism scandal after Kwarantyn contestant uses 'K'-word racial slur in Afrikaans reality show; kykNET boss Karen Meiring calls shocking incident 'completely unacceptable'.
ALSO READ: As even more Mike Bolhuis racist slurs from the kykNET reality star surface including him using the 'k'-word, MultiChoice says it is still considering 'the reinstatement of the show'.
ALSO READ: After MultiChoice canned racist Mike Bolhuis' TV show on kykNET the private investigator starts a belated apology tour pleading for forgiveness: 'I used these terms in anger'.
ALSO READ: MultiChoice canned the Bolhuis reality show on kykNET after investigator Mike Bolhuis used racist and derogatory language including the 'n'-word. 

Monday, June 29, 2020

2020 BET Awards sees Nigeria's Burna Boy snag Best International Act while Amapiano vocalist Sha Sha makes history by becoming first Zimbabwean to win the award for Viewers' Choice Best New International Act.

by Thinus Ferreira

Nigeria's Burna Boy won the Best International Act Award for the second time at the 2020 BET Awards that was broadcast on ViacomCBS Networks Africa's BET (DStv 129) channel on Monday, while the Amapiano vocalist Sha Sha made history as the first Zimbabwean to win the Viewers' Choice Best New International Act Award.

The 2020 BET Awards with comedian and actress Amanda Seales as the host was held and broadcast virtually this year for two reasons because as she described it "outside it's all Covid and cops".

The French activist, Assa Traoré received the 2020 BET International Global Good Award. 

This year was the 20th anniversary of the BET Awards and the 40th anniversary of the BET TV channel with the 2020 BET Awards that ran under the theme of "Our Culture Can't be Cancelled" in the wake of civil unrest in the United States because of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

"The Best International Act categories over the years have honoured the outstanding achievements of some of the most talented international acts from across the world. BET is committed to shining a light on talent, elevating our culture and promoting diversity through song," said Monde Twala, senior vice president and general manager of ViacomCBS Networks Africa and Peer Lead BET International.

"This year’s winners and nominees reflect an abundance of creative expression. We salute all the nominees and winners.

The 2020 BET Awards this year - as a celebration of black culture, love, joy, and pride - made use of dynamic artist-generated performances and packages, filled with inspirational messages of Black Lives Matter and the need for racial equality.

During the show, Beyoncé was honoured with the Humanitarian Award for her years of philanthropic service which she dedicated to the Black Lives Matter protestors.

A slew of performers and stars appeared, including Alicia Keys, Chloe x Halle, DaBaby, D Smoke, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, Jonathan McReynolds, Kane Brown, Lil Wayne, Megan Thee Stallion, Roddy Ricch, SiR, Summer Walker, Usher and Wayne Brady

Several performances addressed the killings of black men and women while in police custody, the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests over police violence.

Some performances also referenced the coronavirus pandemic, incorporating Covid-19 into lyrics or masks into the performance. In addition, Lil Wayne paid tribute to Kobe Bryant while Wayne Brady honoured Little Richard. Both the NBA star and singing legend died last year

The complete list of the 2020 BET Awards winners is:

Best International Act
Burna Boy (Nigeria)

Viewers' Choice: Best New International Act
Sha Sha (Zimbabwe)

Best Female R&B/Pop Artist

Best Male R&B/Pop Artist
Chris Brown

Best Group

Best Collaboration
Chris Brown featuring Drake - "No Guidance"

Best Male Hip Hop Artist

Best Female Hip Hop Artist
Megan Thee Stallion

Video of the Year
DJ Khaled featuring Nipsey Hussle & John Legend - "Higher"

Video director of the Year
Teyana "Spike Tee" Taylor

Best New Artist
Roddy Ricch

Dr Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award
Kirk Franklin - "Just for Me"

Best Actress
Issae Rae

Best Actor
Michael B. Jordan

Youngstars Award
Marsai Martin

Best Movie
Queen & Slim

Sportswoman of the Year
Simone Biles

Sportsman of the Year
LeBron James

Album of the Year
Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial (Roddy Ricch)

BET Her Award
Beyonce featuring Blue Ivy Carter, Wizkid & Saint JHB "Brown Skin Girl"

South African police shoots Newzroom Afrika reporter Mweli Masilela with a rubber bullet in his face while covering taxi protest in Mpumalanga.

by Thinus Ferreira

The South African Police Service (SAPS) on Monday shockingly shot the Newzroom Afrika (DStv 405) reporter Mweli Masilela while he was covering taxi protest action at KaNyamazane.

The South African police shot the former SABC reporter with a rubber bullet in his face.

Mweli Masilela wrote on social media that he "just got shot while covering the taxi shutdown in KaNyamazane in Mpumalanga. Police fired rubber bullets just a few minutes after arriving in the area to disperse taxi drivers who were blocking the road leading to the township".

Newzroom Afrika told TVwithThinus in response to a media enquiry that Mweli Masilela was caught in the line of police fire while reporting news.

"Our immediate concern is always the safety of our team so we were distressed to see that our reporter Mweli Masilela had been caught in the line of fire while carrying out his duties. He is at home now and recovering after a visit to the hospital. We wish him a speedy recovery," says Zamahlasela Gabela, Newzroom Afrika's head of marketing and communications.

The South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) in a statement says it "condemns the shooting of Newzroom Afrika reporter, Mweli Masilela while covering a protest by taxi operators in Kanyamazane township outside Mbombela, Mpumalanga."

"Mweli Masilela was shot and injured when police fired rubber bullets just a few minutes after arriving in the area to disperse the protesters. There was a standoff between the police and taxi operators from the early hours of the morning over the taxi operators' demand to carry passenger loads of a hundred percent."

"I had just finished doing interviews with some taxi drivers who were protesting blocking the main road leading into the Kanyamazane township. I was taking some visuals of the blockade when police arrived on site and started firing rubber bullets," Mweli Masilela told SANEF.

"I was clearly visible carrying a video camera and tripod, that's why I still don't understand why they still had to shoot me. They didn't even give a warning for people to retreat. They just shouted move, move, and fired shots - that's when one rubber bullet hit me," Mweli Masilela told SANEF from the hospital where he was examined. He has opened a case against the police.

"SANEF believes that this violent incident could have been avoided had police considered the safety of everyone involved before firing. The police should have given reporters and protesters sufficient warning time. Also, they should have given journalists time to find a safe space before indiscriminately firing in their direction."

"SANEF calls on police leadership to take swift action and investigate the matter to identify and discipline those that compromised everyone’s safety. Further, we believe that public officials should respect the role of the media in our democracy. We intend to raise the matter with the National Police Commissioner in our upcoming meeting," SANEF says.

A year ago in July 2019 Mweli Masilela was also assaulted - that time by a group of men in Vosman where he was reporting about the death of a 16-year old boy who died after he was trapped underground in a mine.

Men stole Mweli Masilela's car keys and camera and forced him to delete camera photos.

Coronavirus: SABC2's Lithapo the next South African TV show to shut down as the Sesotho telenovela also gets a Covid-19 positive case.

by Thinus Ferreira

SABC2's Sesotho telenovela Lithapo is the next South African local TV production that has been forced to shut down after a Covid-19 positive case has been identified among the production staff.

Lithapo filmed at Fleet Street Studios in Ferndale, Johannesburg shut down on Friday 26 June and will be closed until at least 6 July, after the show shut down temporarily two weeks ago for a few days also over alarm around Covid-19 but one which turned out to be negative. Production resumed a week ago just for the shutdown to happen on Friday.

Lithapo is produced by Quizzical Pictures for SABC2. Quizzical Pictures' other how - the weekday soap Rhythm City on - is also shut down because of positive Covid-19 cases.

SABC2 spokesperson Lebo Malete told TVwithThinus that Lithapo "has shut down since Friday 26 June until further notice".

"The production house is currently following all protocols and measures that are in place. Once all has been completed, production will restart. The producers will advise when production will restart. SABC confirms that there will be no break in transmission ensuring viewers will still enjoy Lithapo."

M-Net's The River produced by Tshedza Pictures on 1Magic (DStv 103) was the first show to shut down because of a positive Covid-19 case after South Africa's film and TV industry reopened following the extended national lockdown period. The River is once again filming.

After The RiverSkeem Saam on SABC1, and Word of Mouth's Venda series Muvhango on SABC2 have both been forced to shut down because of positive Covid-19 coronavirus cases.

They were followed last week by SABC2's 7de Laan on SABC2 produced by Danie Odendaal Productions, as well as both of's weekday soaps Rhythm City produced by Quizzical Pictures and Scandal! produced by Ochre Media - all three of them filmed at Sasani Studios in Highlands North in Johannesburg.

Lithapo producers on Thursday last week informed the cast and crew in an email to "kindly note that we won't be shooting tomorrow, Friday 26 June, due to one of our crew members who has tested positive for Covid-19".

Lithapo crew and cast have bee instructed to self-isolate at home.

The shuttering of a growing number of TV series comes after the entire South Africa film and TV industry abruptly closed in late-March for the national lockdown period which has seen the already-struggling industry shed thousands of jobs in the two months that cameras were turned off and studio doors closed.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Coronavirus: eMedia's Afrikaans TV news eNuus on kykNET disrupted on Saturday because of positive Covid-19 case in its Hyde Park newsroom.

by Thinus Ferreira

eMedia's daily Afrikaans TV news bulletin eNuus produced for kykNET (DStv 144) and kykNET & Kie (DStv 145) on MultiChoice satellite pay-TV service was disrupted on Saturday after a colleague tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus causing a shutdown of the Hyde Park newsroom in Johannesburg for deep cleaning.

It's not clear when eNuus will be done live from its Hyde Park location again.

eNuus anchor Genée Heyl told viewers on Saturday evening at 19:00 that the daily episode was pre-recorded with an intro and won't cover the day's news but play a rebroadcast of Covid-19 related news inserts of the past few weeks.

eNuus ran an on-screen bumper notifying viewers that "eNuus tonight is broadcasting a pre-recorded news overview due to a Covid-19 case in our newsroom".

The eNuus Covid-19 shutdown comes days after eNCA (DStv 403) had to shut down its ground floor studio and several staffers and reporters were forced to go into self-isolation for 14 days after eNCA anchor Shahan Ramkissoon tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday this week.

The SABC's SABC News (DStv 404) and Newzroom Afrika (DStv 405), along with eNCA and eNuus have all been affected by shutdowns and even news bureau closures across South Africa due to Covid-19 cases over the past two months.

eNCA in a statement said that it can "confirm that a member of the staff tested positive for Covid-19 and it has a direct impact on the daily eNuus bulletin broadcast on Saturday at 19:00 on kykNET and kykNET & Kie.

"As a precautionary measure, all editorial staff responsible for the eNuus bulletin have bee asked to stay home while the company deep-cleans the newsroom. None of the eNuus team had direct contact with the infected employee."

"The company is undertaking the necessary track and tracing process to identify potentially exposed staff members who will be required to go for testing. eNCA will continue to monitor the health of affected employees."

Friday, June 26, 2020

MultiChoice's DStv in new racism scandal after Kwarantyn contestant uses 'K'-word racial slur in Afrikaans reality show; kykNET boss Karen Meiring calls shocking incident 'completely unacceptable'.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice and it's Afrikaans M-Net division have once again been engulfed by a racism scandal after a contestant in its Afrikaans Kwarantyn reality show broadcast on DStv shockingly uttered a racial slur on live television on Thursday night.

kykNET boss Karen Meiring on Friday morning in a video conference call with the media that was pre-arranged and supposed to highlight upcoming new content, cancelled the day's media briefing and told journalists that what "What happened last night in Kwarantyn is completely unacceptable".

"The Kwarantyn issue requires our full attention today. Unfortunately we have to postpone this because we have to take issue in terms of what happened last night and we have to handle that."
"It's really a serious issue for us and we will let you know the outcome. To sit with you for 2 hours honestly wouldn't feel right to me in terms of what is happening right now."

"Together we will, with all of these things happening in our society and the things we have to address as Afrikaans-speaking people in this country, together we will get through it. Today we have the responsibility to address something and we feel very, very serious about it and that is what we are going to do now."

So far there has been no official comment from MultiChoice or its Afrikaans M-Net division, or what is happening to Kwarantyn that runs as a kykNET-produced pop-up channel on DStv channel 149, or the contestant.

A contestant in the Red Pepper Pictures produced show uttered the "K"-word racial slur on Thursday night which broadcasts the Le Roux and Scheepers families living in two adjacent homes in Johannesburg competing for prizes with the first Big Brother South Africa winner Ferdinand Rabie as the presenter.

During an in-show competition on Thursday night - day 16 of the show that is supposed to stretch over 50 days - the 49-year old, "nice white mom" Jana le Roux uttered the derogatory and offensive "k"-word slur.

When her white family lost to the coloured Scheepers family, mom Jana le Roux exclaimed, "Wow, that's a k- beating!" in Afrikaans, as other contestants looked shocked.

By Friday afternoon kykNET has not decided to, or taken any action, to immediately remove Jana le Roux from Kwarantyn, and MultiChoice and M-Net failed to terminate the programme to show that it won't stand for racism or racist behaviour.

Jana le Roux has not apologised in any public statement.

kykNET in a terse statement Friday afternoon said that "Thursday evening in the programme Kwarantyn a racist remark was made that goes against the constitution, the spirit of the programme and kykNET".

"The channel apologises to everyone who has been offended by this. kykNET remains committed to a non-racial society, without discrimination."

"kykNET doesn't shy away from the responsibility to tackle and highlight historical and current complex issues. The situation requires decisive action and is managed with urgency," said Karen Meiring, the director of M-Net's kykNET channels in the statement.

South Africa's Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCCSA) told TVwithThinus on Friday afternoon in response to a media enquiry that it received three complaints, has opened a case over the Red Pepper Pictures produced show and is waiting for MultiChoice to respond. 

Unlike third-party acquired channels the Kwarantyn pop-up channel is produced by the Afrikaans channels section of MultiChoice's M-Net content division. 

"We received three official complaints and we are awaiting the broadcaster’s response," the BCCSA says.

UPDATE Friday 26 June 2020 17:00: Mom Jana le Roux is out and has been removed from the show, but MultiChoice and kykNET chose not to end Kwarantyn but to continue the show. The Le Roux family will continue to benefit from on-air exposure and could possibly win R250 000.

Mom Jana de Roux cut a (sym)pathetic figure on Friday afternoon as she cried with her family members on television and hugged her husband as kykNET continued to give her coverage and broadcast her family farewell moments.

Presenter Ferdinand Rabie said that Jana le Roux has been disqualified and is leaving the house.

The producers told Jana le Roux to leave the house at 17:45 on Friday late afternoon.

Earlier on Friday TVwithThinus asked MultiChoice, M-Net and kykNET specific questions in a media enquiry. By the time Jana exited there was no response yet on any of the questions.

Why has MultiChoice/DStv not immediately removed the Kwarantyn contestant and/or family who used a racial slur?

Why has MultiChoice/DStv/M-Net/kykNET not immediately ended/stopped the Kwarantyn show to show that it won't tolerate racism as the company said in the past and will this family still get any money/prizes/benefit/exposure from this DStv channel/programme?

Why has there been no intervention or counselling discussion with the Scheepers and/or Le Roux family?

Why is there no on-air on-channel message from DStv/kykNET to apologise?

What happens to the benefits the family/person already received/will receive through DStv and them staying in the house as part of kykNET's TV show?

UPDATE Friday 26 June 2020 17:45: Mom Jana le Roux leaves Kwarantyn after her on-air racial slur got her evicted from the show, with MultiChoice and kykNET that have chosen to keep the show going instead of terminating the reality series.

"Outside everything will be fine. Don't be worried about that," she tells her family as they all huddle and hug goodbye. "On the Lord," says mom Jana le Roux as she hugs her family goodbye. Then she walks.

ALSO READ: As even more Mike Bolhuis racist slurs from the kykNET reality star surface including him using the 'k'-word, MultiChoice says it is still considering 'the reinstatement of the show'.
ALSO READ: After MultiChoice canned racist Mike Bolhuis' TV show on kykNET the private investigator starts a belated apology tour pleading for forgiveness: 'I used these terms in anger'.
ALSO READ: MultiChoice canned the Bolhuis reality show on kykNET after investigator Mike Bolhuis used racist and derogatory language including the 'n'-word.

M-Net releases the first episode of HBO's new Perry Mason crime noir series as a DStv Catch Up preview before its linear TV broadcast.

by Thinus Ferreira

M-Net has added the first episode of the new adult American crime noir drama series Perry Mason to MultiChoice's DStv Catch Up service with DStv subscribers who can now watch the episode on-demand before the miniseries is broadcast from next month on the premium pay-TV channel.

Perry Mason, a new HBO series with Matthew Rhys in the lead role, is a prequel miniseries of the famed "Perry Mason" American legal drama that revolved around a criminal defense lawyer and that was broadcast decades ago on the SABC.

In the prequel, Perry Mason is still a private detective in 1932 in Los Angeles, taking strange cases for cash and even extorting money from people, as he struggles to sort out his messy personal life.

He is then asked to solve a sensational case involving the kidnapping of a baby boy who was killed and is quickly drawn into the dark and seedy underbelly of Los Angeles and a much bigger conspiracy set a century ago.

This is a period where where the Great Depression intersects with art deco LA, Hollywood's growing film industry, the American oil boom and evangelical Christianity - a time when people live one life in public, and a whole other life behind closed doors.

The debut episode of Perry Mason was broadcast on HBO in the United States on 21 June where it surprised with the biggest ratings for the channel, which means that the miniseries could perhaps be turned into the first season of a longer series.

MultiChoice has now made the preview episode of Perry Mason available until 5 July as an Express from the US title on DStv Catch Up with DStv subscribers who can watch it either through their DStv Explora decoders, or online through DStv Now.

The 8-episode Perry Mason miniseries will then start on 28 July on M-Net (DStv 101) as a linear series with weekly episodes.

Take note that the first episode has full frontal male and other nudity, sex scenes and a murder described by some as "gruesome", making the new Perry Mason prequel definitely an adults-only series - but one bathed in a beautifully subdued, sepia-tone infused Los Angeles, complete with art deco designs everywhere.

Robert Downey Jr. would originally have played Perry Mason but was forced to drop out because of a scheduling conflict, but he's still one of the executive producers.

John Lithgow plays attorney E.B. Jonathan who is a mentor to Perry, Tatiana Maslany from Orphan Black is Sister Alice McKeegan, Robert Patrick is Herman Baggerly, and Gayle Rankin appears as Virgil, the city morgue worker who is Perry's friend.