Thursday, May 5, 2016

ANC announces that Humphrey Maxegwana is taking over from Joyce Moloi-Moropa as chairperson of parliament's portfolio committee on communications.

Humphrey Maxegwana is replacing and taking over from Joyce Moloi-Moropa as the chairperson of parliament's portfolio committee on communications.

Parliament's portfolio committee, comprising members of parliament (MP's) from the various political parties in South Africa, are tasked with a governmental oversight role over parastatal and state entities ranging from the broadcasting regulator, Icasa, to the South African public broadcaster, the SABC.

The ANC political party announced that the communications committee will now be chaired by Humphrey Maxegwana, who takes over from Joyce Moloi-Moropa who decided to quit at the end of 2015 and resigned.

Humphrey Maxegwana's move is part of several portfolio committee chairperson changes in parliament that the ANC announced on Thursday.

SABC2 moves its long-running music variety show, Afro Café, yet again to a new day and timeslot, this time to Saturdays at 9pm from this Saturday.

The SABC is moving its long-running music variety programme Afro Café yet again on the schedule, this time yet again to another day and another time.

The show which has seen numerous different timeslots and broadcast on numerous different days since it first started airing in July 2005, will now premiere new episodes on Saturdays at 21:00, starting this Saturday, 7 May.

"Afro Café yet anow in its 12th season is one of our flagship programmes on SABC2," says Jacqui Hlongwane, SABC2 programme manager.

"We believe that the move to the earlier timeslot on Saturdays at 21:00 will not only yield better audiences and revenues but will also offer alternative viewing over the weekend as this slot is dominated by movies," she says.

"Music has a universal appeal and we feel this property is better suited for a weekend offering. Viewers will be able to catch the repeat episode on Wednesdays at 22:00," says Jacqui Hlongwane.

SABC2 soap 7de Laan slammed yet again over violence and insufficient and inadequate audience warnings; SABC fined R15 000 over strangulation scene.

The SABC's Afrikaans weekday soap 7de Laan on SABC2 has been slammed again for its depiction of violence during family viewing time and insufficient warning to viewers, with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) that fined the SABC R15 000 for the transgression of the broadcasting code.

The SABC must pay the R15 000 fine before the end of May with the BCCSA that slammed the public broadcaster after it said that "the broadcasting code has yet again been breached by 7de Laan".

It's the third incident in recent years of the BCCSA chastising the Danie Odendaal Productions soap for violence, and for the SABC failing to adequately warn viewers on SABC2 over violent content before the so-called "watershed" time period when children are still watching and part of the audience.

On 24 March SABC2 broadcast the 7de Laan episode in which the character of Willem was shown to strangle the character of Gita in a violent scene.

The SABC initially told the BCCSA that it had an audio advisory at the beginning and had a "13V" advisory.

Yet, after viewing the episode, the BCCSA found that the "13V" is not on the screen during the strangulation scene complained of, but is only visible in the non-violent scene screened after an interval".

"If the audio advisory was accompanied by a verbal warning of the violent scenes about to be screened, this would have assisted the broadcaster," said the BCCSA.

"Only after the 7de Laan scene complained of, the 13PG advisory is visible. Thereafter a commercial break followed the scene complained of, and at 18:40 the 13V was only visible long after the scene complained of, was screened," the BCCSA said.

The BCCSA found that the SABC didn't screen the "13V" in compliance with the code.

The BCCSA said it warned 7de Laan and the SABC after similar violent scenes in 2009, in 2012 and again in 2015 that the visual advisory of 13PG V was unrealistic and insufficient.

"By now, in 2016, it is not unreasonable or inequitable to expect a standard of conduct from the broadcaster ... in line with the code to protect children that are in its audience when screening violent scenes on 7de Laan," the BCCSA said.

The SABC told the BCCSA that "SABC2 would like to reaffirm its commitment to the protection of our young audiences and has already begun serious and costly interventions following an earlier similar judgment on 7de Laan".

The SABC said "an extensive workshop will be held with the drama department as well as the production house. All written scripts will be re-evaluated to ensure that there are no further grossly violent scenes. The Gita story is coming to an end as the actress is also leaving the show."

DEVELOPING ... Fire engulfs Starz' Black Sails set at the Cape Town Film Studios overnight; massive damage caused as one ship is destroyed.

Fire engulfed Starz' Black Sails set at the Cape Town Film Studios, with the fire that apparently caused massive damage in which one of the Black Sails ships were destroyed.

The cause of the fire and the extend and value of the damage to the Black Sails production is not yet known.

The American Starz' pirate drama, broadcast in South Africa and Africa on A+E Networks UK's History (DStv 186) channel on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform is busy working on its 4th season at the Cape Town Film Studios next to the N2 in Faure close to Somerset-West.

The fire caused massive damage according to the City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services and Cape Town fire fighters battled for multiple hours on Thursday morning to bring the blaze under control.

In February fire threatened the Cape Town Film Studios that was raging in the dry reeds between the N2 and Baden Powell Drive. That blaze was contained.

Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services tell TVwithThinus that they responded to the fire that caused massive damage at 00:40 this morning (Thursday).

Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services responded with two fire engines, one rescue vehicle and two water tankers. Resources were dispatched from Mfuleni and Khayelitsha and Belhar Fire Stations.

"The fire involved one large movie prop and was extinguished at 03:13. No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is still undetermined at this stage," says Fire and Rescue Services.

Photo: District Mail

"One of the ships burnt out," Nico Dekker, CEO of Cape Town Film Studios tells TVwithThinus.

"The fire bridgade was on the scene very quickly and contained the fire and no further damage was done. Luckily nothing else was damaged but one of the ships you would see from the N2 was destroyed," he says.

Nina Heyns, the head of production for Black Sails in South Africa said she can't comment and that they're busy.

She declined comment when asked about the extent of the fire damage to the production, what ship was destroyed in the fire and how the production feels about what happened.

Nothing yet from Starz and A+E Networks UK about the Black Sails blaze.

Developing ... keep checking back for more as I get more information ....

The Great South African Bake Off returning for a second season to BBC Lifestyle; applications open to find 10 new amateur bakers for the reality baking competition.

The Great South African Bake Off has been commissioned for a second season by BBC Worldwide and will once again be produced by Rapid Blue with BBC Worldwide's Kirsty Hanson as executive producer.

In March BBC Worldwide announced that it had invested an unspecified amount of money in Rapid Blue as part of its plans to ramp up its local TV production capacity in South Africa to produce more focused, locally-produced programming for its set of BBC channels available on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform across the African continent.

The Great South African Bake Off will be back for a second season on BBC Lifestyle (DStv 174) with 10 new bakers, with amateur bakers who can now enter at until 13 June.

Successful applicants will have to be available to attend the countrywide contestant auditions during the end of June and July.

Filming of the second season of The Great South African Bake Off will take place in Johannesburg and will be broadcast on BBC Lifestyle towards the end of 2016.

BBC Worldwide didn't release any ratings information and actual viewership figures for the show, but says The Great South African Bake Off was "the highest performing show on BBC Lifestyle for 2015" and on social media "trended" on Twitter during every new episode.

"BBC Worldwide is dedicated to commissioning shows that delight and entertain our local audiences," says Kully Kaur-Bains, BBC Worldwide's head of programming for Africa in a statement.

"The talented, vibrant and vivacious bakers found in South Africa are one of the reasons The Great South African Bake Off is so special and why we can't wait to embark on a brand-new series."

Right2Know Campaign: 'Woefully incompetent' Hlaudi Motsoeneng placing SABC at risk of running aground; 'those in charge at SABC no friends of press freedom'.

The Right2Know Campaign says the SABC's "woefully incompetent" Hlaudi Motsoeneng is placing the South African public broadcaster at risk of running aground, criticising the SABC for its low-quality programming and warning that the proposed new Broadcasting Amendment Bill threatens to destroy what is left of the independence of the SABC.

In a statement on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May, the South African civil society group that supports freedom of expression and citizens and the media's access to information cautions that "the recently introduced Broadcasting Amendment Bill threatens to undermine the independence of the SABC, giving the minister of communications greater power over the SABC board".

The Right2Know Campaign slams the SABC's controversial and famously matricless chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng, saying his "every ham-fisted move" is putting the once proud SABC at risk.

"Those in charge at the SABC have revealed themselves to be no friends of press freedom, with the broadcaster' conceited yet woefully incompetent and scandal prone COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, demanding 70% of stories aired to be positive."

"With his every ham-fisted move, our once proud SABC that was a flagship of transformation is more at risk of running aground and reverting to a state mouthpiece."

"Political interference, maladministration and self-censorship have had a crippling effect and have meant that the SABC is increasingly unable to deliver high quality programming and news that reflects a plurality of views, is fair, accurate and independent of government and commercial interests."

The Right2Know Campaign says South Africa's media "needs more diversity" and that "the country's massive inequalities are replicated in media consumption."

"While the middle class have a rich media experience and access to a wide range of local and international media on a variety of ever-improving platforms, those in poor rural parts of the country may have to make do with just a local language SABC radio station at best."

"The migration to digital TV has the potential to transform South Africa's media because many more TV channels available could add to diversity of content and ownership."

"However Icasa (the regulator) wants to give two-thirds (66%) of the channels to the private sector. The SABC has been given a quarter of the channels (25%)."

"The SABC does not have the resources to produce all these extra public interest channels and is likely to run them as profitable partnerships with the private sector. ICASA's proposed privatisation of the airwaves will see only 5% of stations being community non-profit."

"Commercial stations will compete for existing advertising funds. There will be less advertising to go around so we can expect to see many re-runs, old shows and low budget American productions," says the Right2Know Campaign.

E! Entertainment adds 4 new reality shows following the drama behind-the-scenes at Cosmo magazine, The Abbey gay bar, LA trophy wives and WAGS in Miami.

E! Entertainment (DStv 124) is adding 4 new reality shows to its schedule, including a spin-off of its WAGS series, one set inside a LA gay bar, and one showing the drama behind the scenes of Cosmo magazine in New York.

There's no word yet when these new series will show up on E! Entertainment's international feed from NBCUniversal International Networks carried by MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform in South Africa and the rest of Africa.

Besides a WAGS (Wives and Girlfriends of Sports Stars) spin-off entitled WAGS: Miami set in South Florida, 3 further reality series will follow the behind-the-scenes drama with the women working at the Cosmopolitan magazine in New York; the bartenders and waiters at Hollywood's gay bar The Abbey Food & Bar; and a Real Housewives type show following young women and their older husbands in Los Angeles.

While E! has failed to add its drama series The Royals shown on E! Entertainment in America to its international feed for South Africa and Africa, the channel is commissioning more shows and diversifying its show offering as viewership starts to wane for its long-running Kardashians reality series franchise.

"E! is known for buzzy unscripted programming, and these four new series will continue to boost our line-up with content that reflects and drives pop culture today," says Jeff Olde, the executive vice president for programming and development at E! in a statement.

The Abbey Diaries is the working title for the new reality series that will depict the lives of the employees at the gay bar, The Abbey Food & Bar, in West Hollywood.

Staffers deal with celebrities and relationship drama while pursuing their individual dreams in Los Angeles in the series produced by Banijay Studios North America with David Goldberg, Caroline Baumgard, Ray Giuliani and The Abbey's David Cooley as executive producers.

Cosmo Life is the working title for the reality series documenting the drama behind-the-scenes at Cosmo magazine in New York where women work and fight in a world of celebrity parties and VIP-nightlife experiences under the gaze of editor-in-chief Joanna Coles.

Cosmo Life is produced by Bunim/Murray Productions, with executive producers Gil Goldschein, Jeff Jenkins and Rob Bagshaw, as well as Joanna Coles and Holly Whidden from Cosmo.

Famously Married is the working title of E!'s version of Real Housewives, following young, recently-married or planning to marry Hollywood trophy wives alongside wealthy and successful older men.

"These women navigate the complications that come with being a second wife, including their husbands' exes and children, as well as their entrance into elite LA society," says E!. The series is produced by Studio Lambert and All3Media America with Stephen Lambert, Greg Lipstone, Greg Goldman, and Sara Quick as executive producers.

WAGS: Miami is a spin-off from WAGS documenting the lavish lifestyles and real-life drama of eight Miami WAGS, giving viewers a voyeuristic peek inside their world.

"These ambitious, strong women are spicing things up and bringing the heat as they work to make their own dreams a reality, while playing the most competitive game of all: getting and keeping that pro-athlete man," says E!. The show is produced by Machete Productions with Amber Mazzola and Lori Gordon as the executive producers.

Two African countries - Nigeria and Tanzania - included in top 10 list of biggest BBC News markets; BBC sees strong growth through non-English TV news bulletins.

Two African countries - Nigeria and Tanzania - are included in the top 10 list of biggest BBC News user markets, while the BBC says massive growth it is international audience is largely being driven by new TV news bulletins in languages other than English.

According to the BBC's latest BBC Global Audience Measure (GAM) that tracks the combined reach of its international content in both news and entertainment fare for the year 2015/2016, the BBC's weekly global audience has increased by a staggering 38 million people (13%) to 320 million.

For the second year in a row, TV (162 million) is a bigger platform than radio (147 million) for the BBC's international news services, which means that the BBC World News (DStv 400 / StarSat 256) channel is globally luring more people than the BBC World Service radio channel.

In what makes an interesting sidenote for the struggling South African public broadcaster and its English only SABC News (DStv 404) channel produced and packaged for MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform in Africa, the BBC says the strong growth in its reach is largely driven by new TV news bulletins broadcast in languages other than English.

"These are fantastic results which show the BBC going from strength to strength around the world and demonstrate the global appetite for accurate, impartial news," says Francesca Unsworth, director of the BBC World Service Group in a statement.

"BBC Worldwide continues to fuel international audiences’ appetite for premium content and in the second year of the Global Audience Measure, we've reached 36.4 million people per week across our owned and operated TV and digital platforms," says Tim Davie, the director, Global and CEO of BBC Worldwide.

Two African countries - Nigeria and Tanzania - show up in the BBC's top 10 markets  in 2nd and 7th place for the BBC's international news service.

The top 10 countries are the United States (35 million); Nigeria (35 million); India (23 million); Pakistan (13 million); Iran (12 million); Egypt (11 million); Tanzania (10 million); Brazil (8 million); Afghanistan (7 million) and Bangladesh (6 million).

Lumko Mtimde the new CEO of the Universal Service and Access Agency of SA; Clarinda Simpson the new chief financial officer at Sentech.

Lumko Mtimde has been appointed as the latest new CEO of the Universal Service and Access Agency of SA (USAASA), replacing the fired Zami Nkosi, while Clarinda Simpson was appointed as the new chief financial officer (CFO) at the parastatal signal distributor, Sentech.

The controversial Lumko Mtimde is a former SABC board member and former councillor at the broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) and voiced his support for the creation of a media appeals tribunal in South Africa.

Lumko Mtimde replaces USAASA acting CEO, Makhotso Moiloa who've been standing in after Zami Nkosi quietly went away after his contract wasn't renewed.

Clarinda Simpson's appointment as new CFO at Sentech comes 6 months after the appointment of Mlamli Booi as the latest new Sentech CEO.

CBS Evening News on Sky News changing to CBS Weekend News on weekends with new anchors Reena Ninan and Elaine Quijano from this Saturday.

The CBS Evening News seen in South Africa on Sky News (DStv 402) is being retooled, renamed and changed to CBS Weekend News on Saturdays and Sundays starting this Saturday, 7 May with  correspondent Vladimir Duthiers who will replace longtime Jeff Glor as anchor.

Correspondents Reena Ninan and Elaine Quijano will now anchor CBS Weekend News over weekends.

Around 10 people were fired in the reorganisation but moved elsewhere within CBS. The longtime weekend anchors Jeff Glor and Jim Axelrod will remain with CBS Evening News.

"It would be better for us as a news organisation to come up with what I think is a smarter, 24-hour approach to covering the world, and making sure we've got all the bases covered," says Steve Capus, CBS News executive editor and executive producer.

CBS Weekend News will continue to have original reports but will also contain rebroadcasts of stories from the week.

New Star Trek drama series to start filming in September in Toronto; episodes will be rolled out week by week; will M-Net or ShowMax grab it for South Africa?

The new Star Trek drama series that will start with one episode in late 2016 and then roll-out in early 2017 will not release the entire season's episodes in one go for binge-streaming but will release one episode per week.

With the SABC that's done with buying broadcasting licences of current international programming and further scaling back on the few older international titles it has, the onus basically falls on either M-Net or ShowMax to secure the new series that's sold internationally by CBS Studios International.

M-Net has a good and established relationship with CBS Studios International and is also broadcasting original streaming shows from Netflix and Amazon like House of Cards, Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle; Naspers' ShowMax meanwhile has also grabbed original programming like ITV's Jekyll & Hyde.

In America the as yet untitled Star Trek series with Bryan Fuller as co-creator and co-executive producer will be streamed on CBS' subscription video-on- demand (SVOD) service CBS All Access, but will be shown on normal television in the rest of the world.

In a conference call with journalists CBS on Tuesday revealed that the new Star Trek series will start filming in September in Toronto, Canada.

Episodes of Star Trek will also be released and become available on a weekly basis, instead of making the entire season available at once like the Netflix model.

"It will be episodic, week-by-week," said Les Moonves, CBS CEO.

ANN7 returns its election programming strand, SA Decides, for a second season; reveals some of its 2016 election coverage plans for later in the year.

ANN7 (DStv 405) has returned the programming strand, SA Decides, for a second season that will cover the 2016 local government election in South Africa over the coming months.

ANN7 debuted SA Decides in 2014 during the national election campaign, visiting towns and cities throughout South Africa.

While laudable, SA Decides on ANN7 suffered from very poor production values with live crossings and inserts often marred by incredibly bad video and sound quality, amateur correspondents who couldn't be heard and often also couldn't hear the studio and breaks in transmission.

ANN7 also made use of people with little or no TV and TV news reporting experience which often turned SA Decides into a grating viewing experience.

SA Decides II on ANN7's schedule at 10:00 and 17:00 will see 11 teams and a total of 55 people reporting and interviewing South Africans to give a view on the upcoming local elections.

ANN7 says teams will be "fanning out across the coutry" and will "travel the length and breath of the country to reflect on ordinary people's challenges".

"SA Decides will feature prominent leaders, analyst [sic] and public figures who will form part of a panel to discuss different issues, such as service delivery, local development issues, the economy, education and the increase in youth unemployment," says ANN7.

"For the 5th local government elections, ANN7's team, analysts and guests will broadcast live from the IEC centre in Pretoria and from the Midrand studios, bringing breaking news and results as they are announced."

"In addition the SA Decides teams backed up by outside broadcasting units and its team of journalists will provide 15 live sources to cover the elections from every angle and from each of the 9 provinces, and the ANN7 helicopter will be on standby to fly teams into election hotspots to cover the news on the ground."

Joy Reid replacing Melissa Harris-Perry in her old timeslot on MSNBC in a new 2-hour show on Saturdays and Sundays at 4pm, starting this Saturday.

Joy Reid is taking over the old timeslot of the fired Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC (StarSat 263) from this Saturday, according to MSNBC.

Melissa Harris-Perry was fired in February after 4 years after saying she's not MSNBC's "token little brown bobble head" after the incensed anchor lashed out over MSNBC for taking her show off the air for weeks for political coverage of the upcoming American elections.

Joy Reid, a national correspondent for MSNBC who joined the TV news channel in 2011, will now anchor a new 2-hour show on Saturdays and Sundays at 16:00 (South African time) in Melissa Harris-Perry's old timeslot.

Joy Reid's new show will start this Saturday, 7 May on MSNBC.

"Melissa did a show that was incredibly valuable," says Joy Reid in a statement.

"Instead of trying to replace it, we will fill the space with something new; something compelling, and something that adds to the conversation."

"MSNBC viewers crave not only the facts, but also in-depth discussion and analysis from a range of perspectives," said MSNBC president Phil Griffin.

"There is no one better equipped than Joy Reid to lead this new project, and create a place for the kind of unique discussion our audience has come to expect."

Longtime anchor Martin Stanford has left Sky News after 25 years; started with Sky News in 1990 shortly after it launched.

The longtime anchor Martin Stanford has left Sky News (DStv 402) after 25 years.

"So it's farewell to Sky News after 25 years. It's been fun," Martin Stanford said on Twitter in April, followed by "Now, as President Bartlett liked to say, 'What’s next?" referencing the TV drama The West Wing.

Martin Stanford was one of Sky News' longest serving anchors and started with Sky News shortly after it launched. He joined Sky News in 1990 at the height of the Gulf War.

Fox News correspondent Ed Henry taken off air after revelations of his extra-marital affair characterised by his alleged 'really high sex drive'.

Fox News Channel (StarSat 261) has taken correspondent Ed Henry (44) off the air following revelations of his ongoing extra-marital affair, characterised by his alleged "really high sex drive".

Ed Henry is Fox News Channel's chief White House correspondent.

The American gossip magazine In Touch exposed Ed Henry's extra-marital affair with his Las Vegas mistress Natalia Lima that includes a secret double life of secret get-togethers, steamy messages and photos.

"We would pretty much just have sex. He has a really high sex drive, Natalia Lima told In Touch.

Ed Henry has been with Fox News since 2011 and has been covering the unfolding American presidential campaign.

"We recently became aware of Ed Henry's personal issues and he's taking some time off to work things out," says Fox News in a statement.