Friday, November 15, 2019

kykNET adds new seasons of two Afrikaans series and a new series to its January 2020 schedule, rolling out Die Byl, Sara se Geheim and Projek Dina.

kykNET that is celebrating its 20th anniversary today will be broadcasting three drama series from January 2020: The second season of Die Byl, the third season of Sara se Geheim, as well as a new missing persons crime drama, Projek Dina.

The second season of Die Byl which was produced in association with MultiChoice’s video streaming service Showmax and that was already made available on it, will start on kykNET (DStv 144) on Sunday, 5 January at 20:00. 

Projek Dina will start on Tuesday 14 January, followed by the third season of Sara se Geheim from Thursday 16 January at 20:00. Each season of the three series will have 13 episodes and be on air until early April 2020.

Die Byl continues the story and investigations of Colonel Piet van der Bijl (Waldemar Schultz), a detective who specialises in catching serial killers. 

Ellie Bonthuys (Barbara Marié Immelman) has bid her days as a sensationalist journalist farewell, and is now a spokesperson for the South African police, while the team’s offices, the interrogation room and the laboratory has undergone a revamp.

Dr Fritz Barnard (Eric Nobbs) has a new assistant, Dr. Shani van Rooi (Trudy van Rooy), and Captain Lena Evans (Lika Berning) has gotten married and is now the mother of a young boy. 

Carien van der Bijl (Rolanda Marais), Byl’s ex-wife, also makes an unexpected appearance. In the second season of Die Byl, once more there is a series of cases, one in every episode, which has to be solved, but this time there are also a few narrative through-lines to keep viewers hooked. 

Byl gets emotionally and physically confronted, with increasing frequency, when his team becomes the target of a series of inexplicable and disturbing events.

Other well-known faces who will feature in the second season of Die Byl include Wilhelm van der Walt, Jody Abrahams, Marlo Minnaar, Jana Kruger, Geon Nel, Marius Weyers, Stiaan Smith, Cintaine Schutte, De Klerk Oelofse, Illse Roos and Denise Newman.

More secrets with Sara
A rebroadcast of the second season of Sara se Geheim will start on kykNET&kie (DStv 145) on Sunday 15 December at 20:00 with the third season, set in Athlone and Durbanville in Cape Town once again returning to the life of Sara Abrahams (June van Merch) who has been keeping a secret for decades in order to save the life of her eldest son (Johan, or rather Johnny).

At  the end of the second season Maggie accidentally shot her son Kelvin (Conway October), and not long before that, Maggie and her sister Lizzie (Qanita Adams) discovered that their mother Sara had been keeping a secret from them for years: Their brother, Johnny (Dawid Minnaar), is alive. 

The third season will continue where the second left off. 

Maggie’s ex, Ricky (Brendon Daniels), has appeared and told her eldest son, Aiden (Marlo Minnar), that he is his real father. 

In the new season Johnny keeps nagging with Sara to let him see his birth certificate, but Sara knows that it is precisely that birth certificate, which holds an even bigger secret. 

Ebert (André Weideman) is in mourning over the death of his wife and feels guilty that he assisted her in committing suicide – to such a degree that he starts losing touch with reality. 

Aiden and Inge (Lize-Marié Richardson) still have feelings for each other, despite the misgivings of their families. But will Aiden be able to focus on a relationship, when his family is on the brink of falling apart.

 The third season will branch out to include Tant Marie’s (Margot Luyt) farm in Stellenbosch, as well as to the Elgin valley for pastor Benjamin (Keeno-Lee Hector) and Lizzie’s honeymoon. 

But will Lizzie be able to enjoy her honeymoon when she finds out that her nephew has been shot? And will Sara survive the news that her daughter shot her grandson? Now she is faced with a massive dilemma – should she protect her child by helping her to hide or should she hand her over to the police?

Other actors making an appearance include Ivan Zimmerman, Roeline Daneel, Stian Bam and Monique Rockman.

Missing persons 
Projek Dina, produced by Penguin Films, revolves around the work of a missing persons crime investigative unit in Cape Town. 

The rapid response task force tries to curb the rapidly growing number of missing persons in South Africa, which is fast becoming a nearly impossible task. 

Viewers will see how three detectives, specially selected by Brigadier Patricia Dlomo, work days and sleepless nights to solve cases. 

Team leader, Captain Deon Visagie (Tim Theron), is a strategist and sleuth by nature. He obsesses over the smallest detail, but his capacity for reading people falls miserably short. He has particular trouble with sergeant Lux Dladla’s (Chumani Pan) approach to detective work, which relies strongly on intuition and the ability to build and utilise a large network of contacts. 

 The task force enlists the help of ’n non-official informant, the talented and efficient hacker, Charlene “Charlie” Botha (Kay Smith). However, even Charlie soon realises that these cases place her in more danger than she ever could have expected.

Deputy Officer Ronel Oosthuizen (Chanelle de Jager) is the one that keeps the team together. She is an honest, hard-working, family-oriented person, but certainly not one to be trifled with. She doesn’t abide trivialities and often gets stuck in the middle when Deon en Lux butt heads, but knows exactly how to handle them. 

She is also the one that dubs the task team “Projek Dina”. 

Other actors in the series are Lee-Ann van Rooi, Jana Kruger, Wilhelm van der Walt, Nadia Valvekens, Pierre van Pletzen, Jane de Wet, Zenobia Kloppers, Crystal-Donna Roberts, Christia Visser, Mila Guy, Neels van Jaarsveld, Paul du Toit, Trix Viviers, Elsabé Daneel, Illse Roos and André Roothman. 

Former Hawks investigator, Marcell van der Watt, as well as Nicky Rheeder and Bianca van Aswegen from Missing Children SA, acted as consultants for the series. 

Projek Dina is inspired by true stories and was developed from the combined knowledge of Van der Watt, Rheeder and Van Aswegen.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

MultiChoice boss calls for massive stimulus package for South Africa's film and TV industry as part of 'a national agenda' needed to elevate the local content production biz.

The general entertainment boss of Africa's biggest pay-TV service is calling for a massive stimulus package to be made available for South Africa's TV and film industry to help support local production companies in increasing their output of local films and series and for "a national agenda" to focus on what the local industry wants to achieve.

Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice CEO for general entertainment, was one of the headliner keynote speakers at the 3-day AfricaCom conference taking place in Cape Town, and said that the next African superhero needs to come from an African production studio, and that South Africa needs to tell the story of its 2019 Rugby World Cup victory before foreign actors do it.

In her speech, Yolisa Phahle stressed the urgency and importance of a massive South African stimulus package to support and expand local film and television production in the country.

"I've seen first-hand how economic success is often correlated with a national focus on arts, culture - and in the case of Hollywood and Bollywood - a thriving film and television industry."

"I’ve also seen how in recent times countries like Mexico, Turkey and Scandinavia have made their mark on the international stage with film and television that has found global audiences and brought great economic success."

"As a South African who lives and breathes the African dream, I know that we can also deliver incredible economic benefits because African storytelling can also find a home in the hearts and minds of global audiences," said Yolisa Phahle, using the new M-Net, HBO and German co-production Trackers as an example of what South Africa's film and television industry can produce.

"Trackers, an African story, is written by a South African writer. It features a South African cast, with local production crew and just this series created jobs for more than 1000 people and at the same time attracted millions of rands of foreign investment spent in SA."

"Now imagine 100 productions of this nature across Africa and the power of job creation becomes real. It’s a fantastic example of how we can leverage our collective capabilities – technical, digital and creative - for great success and in so doing, take African stories to the world."

"It’s living proof of what can be done if we leverage the best local talent, the latest film-making techniques and technology, and the abundant great African stories that have been written."

"I know we can do it - and so do the thousands of creatives who work in the industry - but what we need to make this a reality is a national agenda."

"Lebo M who created the music for the Lion King has spoken many times about the economic value lost to Africa as this movie was made by Disney rather than an African studio.  We’ve all seen the power of Black Panther and again, this is an African superhero."

"Let’s make sure that the next African superhero is created by an African studio and that the taxes and revenues flow back to Africa."

"As South Africa revels in the glory of a 2019 Rugby World Cup rugby victory, it’s worth asking: who’s going to tell the Springboks story? Who’s going to bring Siya Kolisi’s phenomenal life journey to the screen?"

"We’d better hope that it’s South Africans and that we don’t have an African American actor twanging his way through the scrum, or Matt Damon playing the role of Faf du Plessis… No disrespect to Invictus or Morgan Freeman or Matt Damon, but surely, it’s time South Africans brought more of their own stories to the world stage and screen?"

"This can only happen if we see consistent and growing involvement in the South African creative arts by government and the private sector in particular," said Yolisa Phahle.

"The biggest and most influential economies in the world all have strong film and television industries. They are a huge part of their national identity and their content travels the world. Film, in my experience, often has more impact on the national psyche than many politicians. Great stories contribute to democracy, to social cohesion, and to personal development."

"A massive stimulus package for the South African film industry would undoubtedly speed up transformation, build our economy, and strengthen the national consciousness at the same time."

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

MultiChoice adds the CBS Justice and CuriosityStream channels; returns euronews to Southern Africa.

MultiChoice is adding two further TV channels to DStv including CBS Justice and CuriosityStream and is returning the TV news euronews.

As a crime channel CBS Justice (DStv 170) will replace A+E Networks UK's Crime+Investigation Network and joins the existing channels set supplied by AMC Networks International UK (AMCNI) and CBS Studios International.

CuriosityStream (DStv 185), launched by John Hendricks who was the founder of the Discovery Channel, is a factual entertainment channel.

euronews (DStv 414) which used to be on DStv and was re-added in sub-Saharan Africa outside of Southern Africa after it was removed a few years ago, is being returned for DStv subscribers in South Africa and Southern Africa.

The three channels will become available from 21 November.

"We're thrilled to finally announce the launch of these channels that will expand the line-up of new programming for our DStv customers to enjoy," says Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice CEO of general entertainment.

"CuriosityStream will give our viewers informative entertainment that the family can enjoy together and it’s with great pride that we are able to launch CBS Justice, a new true crime channel which is part of the CBS AMC Networks EMEA portfolio of channels."

"We’re also delighted to expand our viewers' choice of news and actuality programming with euronews."

CuriosityStream has factual programming including original and exclusive films and series, with titles ranging from Deep Time History, The History of Food, Age of Big Cats and Breakthrough .

"CuriosityStream is thrilled to premiere on DStv, collaborating with MultiChoice as our inaugural bundled distribution partner in Africa," says Clint Stinchcomb, president and CEO of CuriosityStream. "Viewers are hungry for high-quality, engaging and entertaining factual shows and CuriosityStream is proud to offer our channel to this important media market."

CBS Justice will feature a curated selection of original and acquired programming. CBS Justice will become available with original productions like The Real Prime Suspect, Donal MacIntyre’s Murder Files, Secrets of a Psychopath, Evidence of Evil; and acquisitions Cold Justice, Fame Kills and Stalker!.

Crime experts include Jackie Malton (The Real Prime Suspect), the real-life inspiration behind Helen Mirren’s character in the award-winning UK drama Prime Suspect, and undercover investigative journalist and professor of criminology, Donal MacIntyre (Donal MacIntyre’s Murder Files).

"This new launch highlights the growing demand for true crime content in the region, and we are thrilled to offer MultiChoice’s DStv customers exclusive access to authentic documentaries and series for the first time on CBS Justice," says Louise Cottrell, senior vice president, affiliate partnerships for AMCNI UK.

"CBS Justice joins a lineup of our other popular brands that continue to deliver value and high-quality entertainment. We are looking forward to strengthening our partnership with MultiChoice in the years ahead."

euronews will become available to DStv Premium, DStv Compact Plus, DStv Compact and DStv Family subscribers in Southern Africa.

"We are thrilled to be partnering with DStv to reach even more households on the African continent," says Carolyn Gibson, chief revenue officer at euronews.

Disney+ launches although streaming service glitch out as consumers complain that they can't log in.

The Walt Disney Company on Tuesday started its new Disney+ video-on-demand service in some countries as part of its global launch although Disney was quickly inundated by irate customers who couldn't log in after the new video streaming glitched out.

Disney+ that won't be available in South Africa for quite a while and that carries a large collection of film and TV titles from Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, National Geographic and Disney’s own content stable, launched in the United States, Canada and the Netherlands on 12 November.

Disney+ will become available a week later on 19 November in Australia, New Zealand and Puerto Rico, while the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Germany and Italy will get Disney+ by the end of March 2020.

While South African consumers and viewers in sub-Saharan Africa are missing out with no definite launch date, a Disney+ boss has now been appointed for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, which bodes well for a potential future launch.

On Tuesday showed 7 600 consumers in the United States, Canada as well as the Netherlands who complained after they tried to access Disney+ but were unable to, while many vented their frustration on social media about an array of problems and errors.

Disney+ on various platforms would show unavailability screens using Disney characters like  Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet and Mickey Mouse and Pluto as astronauts adrift in space. "We are having a problem. Please exit the app and try again," Disney told users.

Disney+ users complained that they couldn't log in, couldn't set up profiles, or that content was missing and disappeared after they logged in. Other complaints ranged from episodes not playing to long waiting times and bad call centre customer service.

Disney said in a statement on Twitter that "The consumer demand for Disney+ has exceeded our highest expectations. While we are pleased by this incredible response, we are aware of the current user issues and are working to swiftly resolve them. We appreciate your patience."

Disney+ launched with 500 films and 7 500 episodes of various TV series, including new original Disney+ content like the well-received new first live-action Star Wars series, The Mandalorian.

The technical problems of Disney+ is similar to when HBO's streaming service buckled earlier this year during the 8th and final season of Game of Thrones, and MultiChoice's DStv Now streaming service that also struggled to cope with Game of Thrones episodes as well as during several matches in which South Africa played in the 2019 Rugby World Cup tournament.

Entire cast of Days of Our Lives dropped from their contracts - is this the end of Days?

In a shocking development the entire cast of Days of Our Lives has been released from their contracts - an ominous move that could herald the end of the longrunning American weekday soap broadcast on

Even if the 55-year old series were to be renewed for another year - it's currently the lowest-rated of the last four remaining American daytime soaps on the air - it's doubtful that all or most of the actors would be back since they might very well move on to new jobs and roles.

Corday Productions didn't respond to media enquiries seeking comment about the cast being released from their contracts, with TVLine that first reported the news. 

Days of Our Lives is produced for America's NBC network, with Sony Pictures Television that distributes it internationally and with in South Africa that is broadcasting it from Mondays to Thursdays at 16:45.

According to reports, Days of Our Lives has not yet been renewed for another season in the United States, but finished filming most of the current contracted season with enough episodes to last until the end of the season with no reason for Corday Productions to keep the actors for the time being with no further contract in place.

Days of Our Lives was last renewed in January 2019 for the 2019/2020 season and will go on an indefinite production break at the end of November.

Monday, November 11, 2019

kykNET to celebrate 20 years on DStv with a star-studded, 2-hour live broadcast TV special, kykNET 20 Jaar.

kykNET will be celebrating its 20th anniversary on Friday, 15 November at 20:00 with a live TV special entertainment broadcast entitled kykNET 20 Jaar, done from MultiChoice's Studio 6 in Randburg to look back at the 2 decades legacy of M-Net's Afrikaans TV channels division.

kykNET's 20th anniversary live TV special on 15 November is timed to the exact date 20 years ago when kykNET first officially went on the air on 15 November 1999 on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service when M-Net offered the first Afrikaans television content besides the SABC.

Friday night's kykNET special will include a retrospective look back at kykNET's video entertainment journey over the past two decades, filled with musical performances and some interviews, as well as comical highlights.

kykNET presenters from then to now - ranging from Tracey Lange, Henré Pretorius, Hannes van Wyk, Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp, Janine Oberholzer, Leah and Kim Cloete - will make appearances, including Emo Adams, Nadia Beukes, Willem Botha, Rian van Heerden and Terence Bridgett and the show will include a song about kykNET’s shows and presenters over the years.

Pedro Kruger, Rocco de Villiers, Coenie de Villiers and Clint Brink will be singing while Schalk Bezuidenhout will provide some laughter, and Hamilton Wessels, Lieb Bester, Toks van der Linde, Breyten Paulse and Pieter Koen will be doing dance moves.

kykNET's TV special will include Coenie de Villiers and Early B, as well as a Boer Soek ’n Vrou surprise, while Hannon, Cindy Swanepoel and Bennie Fourie will talk about the film industry.

Johnny Davids and Vivian Molauly who were the winning duo of kykNET's Zing! singing reality competition will be performing together for the first time in years, while Sandra Prinsloo and Amanda Strydom will also make an appearance.

kykNET's TV special will end with an "Afrikaners is Plesierig" item - perhaps a hint about Karen Zoid?

"We're going with the live broadcast - day and date 20 years after kykNET launched - from Studio 6 in Randburg. We're planning a wonderful, entertaining line-up the story of kykNET from beginning to now," Karen Meiring, M-Net's director of Afrikaans channels said on kykNET's weekly entertainment magazine show Kwêla on Sunday night's episode.

"For kykNET the challenge is renewal; new things; to keep in step with the viewer but also with what's happening in the world regarding TV content. There are so many new trends and to bring some of that to us and to kykNET is wonderful and exciting," she said.

M-Net scraps 2 of its award shows for 2019 - although one of them will make a comeback in 2020.

M-Net has quietly scrapped two of its televised award shows for 2019 with neither the Africa Magic Viewers' Choice Awards on Africa Magic, nor the DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards on Mzansi Magic, that will take place this year.

According to insiders the problem is finding sponsors to help carry some of the huge production costs associated with mounting the TV awards, the same issue that in 2016 led to the demise of both Viacom Africa's MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMAs) and MultiChoice and CNN International's African Journalist Awards which took place the last time in that year.

M-Net West Africa started the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards in 2013 that was broadcast annually across sub-Saharan Africa on MultiChoice's DStv, mostly during March, to promote and recognise African TV and film productions from across West, East and Southern Africa.

The 6th Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards however only took place in September 2018 in Lagos, Nigeria  - several months later than previous years.

For the 6th edition of this award show, the viewers' votes which were steadily reduced every year, accounted for only 25% of the winners, with Africa's viewers who by that time only had a say about who wins in 7 out of the 27 categories.

M-Net in South Africa started the DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards in August 2017 and held it for a second time in November 2018, to promote and recognise South Africa's entertainment industry.

One of them back in 2020
According to MultiChoice Africa, although the Africa Magic Viewers' Choice Awards isn't taking place in 2019 this award show might return in future.

According to MultiChoice the AMVCAs requires huge funding to make happen, as well as an alignment between the production, competition and commercial teams, as well as staging it in Nigeria where there are limited venues capable of a production of this scale.

According to M-Net, although the DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards isn't taking place in 2019, this awards show is not cancelled.

"We are still in deliberations at the moment and cannot say much without final approvals. Everything else regarding the awards will be communicated in due time," Mzansi Magic told TVwithThinus in response to a media enquiry.

M-Net said that the DStv Mzansi Viewers' Choice Awards will be taking place sometime in 2020 for a third time, although a specific time-frame is unclear.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

No further Confederation of African Football (CAF) coverage on SuperSport in South Africa or Africa after CAF scraps rights deal with Lagardère.

There will be no coverage of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) soccer championship on SuperSport in South Africa or across sub-Saharan Africa starting with the under-23 championship kicking off in Egypt this weekend after MultiChoice's SuperSport was unable to sign a contract for the broadcasting rights.

SuperSport previously acquired the CAF rights from Lagardère but CAF scrapped a $1 billion television and marketing rights deal with Lagardère Sports, meaning that SuperSport couldn't negotiate with Lagardère.

Neither this weekend's under-23 championship, nor the Afcon qualifier matches resuming on Wednesday 13 November will be broadcast on SuperSport.

It means that DStv subscribers won't be able to watch Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits with the teams who will start their CAF Champions League and Confederations Cup group stage assignments later in November.

SuperSport will also not be able broadcast Bafana Bafana’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations back to back qualifiers away to Ghana at the Cape Coast Stadium on Thursday and against Sudan on Sunday next week at the Orlando Stadium.

The tournament serves as the qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics men’s soccer tournament.

"We are in a difficult position where we cannot broadcast the CAF games when we don't have a firm contractual arrangement in place. SuperSport had previously acquired these broadcast rights from Lagardère," says Joe Heshu, MultiChoice Group's corporate affairs spokesperson.

It comes after CAF terminated its TV rights deal with Lagardère. CAF scrapped a $1 billion television and marketing rights deal with Lagardère Sports after court judgments that found that the deal breached competition rules.

CAF says that the Cairo court in Egypt in November 2018 ruled that the contract breached "Egyptian competition rules because Lagardère was appointed as CAF's exclusive agent for marketing and media rights for an uninterrupted 20-year period without any open tender".

The Economics Court of Cairo issued two judgements against former CAF president Issa Hayatou and former secretary-general Hicham El Amrani which found them guilty of anti-competitive and fraudulent conduct.

The court fined CAF with 100 million Egyptian pounds ($6.2 million).

In a another separate judgment, the Competition Commission of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (CCC) also found in 2017 that the agreement infringed competition regulations.

"Given the above developments, CAF had no choice but to terminate the agreement. Termination of the agreement is the legal consequence of the judgments of Egyptian courts and the recommendations and imminent decision of the CCC," says CAF.

"CAF had no choice but to terminate the agreement. CAF has repeatedly made it clear to Lagardère‚ including at a meeting this week‚ that its termination of the agreement was not a 'unilateral decision' as was wrongly presented in Lagardère’s recent press release‚" says CAF.

Lagardère says it will fight to enforce the contract and has slammed CAF's right's deal termination that was supposed to run from 2017 to 2028 as "unlawful, unreasonable and unjustified".

Arnaud Lagardère, managing partner at Lagardère, says "We have here a very, very strong case and we'll do whatever it takes either to maintain the contract, deal with more changes or get a significant amount of cash".

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Rapper and former YO.TV child star Luther 'Crazy Lu' Cohen dead after asthma attack.

The rapper and former YO.TV child star on SABC1, Luther "Crazy Lu" Yakanawa Cohen has died after an asthma attack in Cambodia.

Luther Cohen was one of the presenters of X-Attitude in the YO.TV block on SABC1 and later became a member of Jozi together with Lesley Mampe known as Da Les, Bongani Fassie and Ishmael.

His genre of music was hip-hop and his style involved mainly crunk, thug-rap and gangsta and was once accused of stealing 2 laptops and Burberry shoes from Da Les' car whilst performing at the MetroFM Heat Wave in Durban.

His brother Marvin Cohen, who is a former producer on the magazine show Live AMP on SABC1, said that the family was told about his death at 03:00 on Friday morning and that he apparently died from an asthma attack.

Luther Cohen fell into a coma a year ago also due to his chronic struggle with asthma.

The Cohen family will be travelling to Cambodia on Sunday where Luther Cohen had been loving for the past 3 years.

Lesley Mampe told 702 that "I think what drew everybody to him was his infectious smile and his ability to make everybody entertained and keep everybody happy".

"I think he transcended that attitude through his music, and we were able to build a career and great moments with him. He will be greatly missed."

Friday, November 8, 2019

South Africa's adds NBA coverage in new multi-year deal after implosion of Econet's Kwesé Free Sports. has signed a new multi-year deal to add sports coverage of America's National Basketball Association (NBA) to its channel as well as on its Openview free-to-air satellite service.

The new NBA coverage deal comes after the implosion of Econet pay-TV division, Kwesé and its Kwesé Free Sports channel that abruptly went dark in July 2019 and was subsequently removed from Openview.

Through Kwesé and Kwesé Free Sports South African saw some NBA coverage on South African community TV stations like SowetoTV thanks to sub-licensing deals which ended because of the debt-riddled Econet's financial problems.

NBA coverage on will start this Saturday and Sunday 9 and 10 November on and Openview with the broadcast of the game between San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics that will be broadcast live on at midnight, with a repeat on Sunday at 17:00 on Openview's News & Sport channel.

Two NBA games will be broadcast per week on News & Sport (Openview 120), including one live game and one shown on a delayed basis.

"South Africa has an insatiable sporting appetite, and our partnership with the NBA will most certainly appeal to that," says Marlon Davids, managing director.

"Over the past few years, we have been implementing strategic growth plans that will ensure that our sports content offering across our platforms is worthwhile for our viewers.  We are ecstatic about this announcement and we greatly look forward to a fruitful run with the NBA."

Amadou Gallo Fall, NBA Africa managing director and Basketball Africa league president, says "We have always strived to make the game of basketball more accessible to our fans through participation in our sport and exposure, and we are thrilled to partner with in South Africa".

"We have seen growing interest and look forward to reaching more fans in South Africa through live games and additional programming."

BH90210 reboot will remain a single season limited series.

Fox has cancelled BH90210 as a show-within-a-show rboot of Beverly Hills, 90210 which will remain a one-season limited series.

M-Net (DStv 101) will broadcast the 6-episode BH90210, that has concluded its first season in the United States, on Saturday nights in South Africa.

The original cast - who reunited to play heightened, fictional versions of themselves as they try to get a reboot of their show back on the air - said that they would like to see the limited series run for several seasons.

"We have so many stories to tell that this could keep going on season after season," said Tori Spelling.

Fox said in a statement on Thursday announcing the BH90210 cancellation that "We are so proud to have reunited in a very special summer event one of the network’s legacy series and casts with 90210 fans".

"Profound thanks to and respect for Brian Austin Green], Gabrielle Carteris], Ian Ziering, Jason Priestley, Jennie Garth, Shannen Doherty and Tori Spelling, who, along with the entire crew and everyone at Fox and CBS Television Studios, poured their hearts and souls into this truly inventive and nostalgic revival."

BH90210 was co-created by Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling who were also the executive producers alongside co-creators and showrunners Mike Chessler and Chris Alberghini, and was produced by CBS Television Studios and Fox Entertainment.

MultiChoice to post a significant increase in earnings for 6 months to end-September 2019.

MultiChoice says that the Randburg-based pay-TV operator expects to announce a significant increase in earnings for the 6-month period to 30 September 2019.

MultiChoice, that operates brands like DStv, GOtv and Showmax, is set to release its interim financial results for the period on Monday 11 November 2019.

In a trading statement released before the release of its interim financial results for the half-year until the end of September 2019, MultiChoice says that "Compared to the group’s results for the 6 months ended 30 September 2018, the group expects core headline earnings per share for the current period to be between 20% and 25% higher than the prior year´s 352 ZAR cents".

"The board considers core headline earnings per share and trading profit as the two most appropriate indicators of the operating performance of the group, as they adjust for non-recurring and non-operational items."

MultiChoice expects a 20% to 25% increase in trading profit for the same period despite tough economic conditions in South Africa, as well as across several countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

It's in fact improvements in reducing losses in the rest of Africa outside of South Africa that will contribute the most to MultiChoice's increased earnings.

MultiChoice says that "The improved financial performance expected for the current period is despite continued macro-economic headwinds faced across the continent, which are impacting disposable income at a consumer level".

"Management has remained focused on tight cost controls to offset these challenges and continued to reduce losses in the Rest of Africa segment, which has been the largest contributor to the improvement in group performance."

Monday, November 4, 2019

Apple launches its video streaming service Apple TV+ in South Africa at R84.99 monthly.

Apple has launched its Apple TV+ in South Africa costing R84.99, as well as in over 100 other countries and territories with its new

Apple's new global video streaming service will now compete with the likes of Netflix South Africa, Amazon Prime Video, and MultiChoice's Showmax - along with WarnerMedia's HBO Max that also just launched and Disney's upcoming Disney+, both of which won't be available in South Africa for a number of years.

Apple gives a free year subscription to Apple TV+ to consumers who buy a new iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac or an Apple TV.

Apple TV+ is available with a free 7-day trial period, with Apple TV+ granting access for up to 6 people, with content that can be streamed or be downloaded and watched offline

Apple's Apple TV+ at R84.99 (international pricing is $4.99) is cheaper than Netflix South Africa and Showmax both starting at R99 per month, and Amazon Prime at R29.65, but it also has much less content and limited new shows at launch.

The first three episodes of the new drama series revolving around the chaos behind-the-scenes of an American breakfast show, The Morning Show (not to be confused with's actual The Morning Show) with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon has been made available, as well as an episode of See, a new science fiction drama series in which a future mankind lives blind in a post-apocalyptic world.

For All Mankind is an alt-history drama series in which NASA is in crisis after the Soviets become the first nation to land a man on the moon in 1969.

Dickinson is a period drama set during the period of author Emily Dickinson (Hailee Steinfeld), as a young woman boxed in by the constraints of society, gender and family expectations.

The Elephant Queen is a natural history documentary with Chiwetel Ejiofor as narrator, telling the story of Athena, a mother elephant who tries to protect her herd when forced to leave their waterhole.

Other new exclusive Appel TV+ content includes Snoopy in Space, Helpsters, Ghostwriter, Servant and Truth Be Told.

Apple TV+ will add more content including series, documentaries and films, including with Oprah Winfrey who has revived and moved her Oprah's Book Club to Apple TV+ as well and with the first new episode that is a sit-down with the author and essayist Ta-Nehisi Coates to discuss his debut novel, The Water Dancer.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

EXCLUSIVE / BREAKING. It’s Halloween and the living dead are alive! MultiChoice to keep axed History and Lifetime on DStv after reaching new channel carriage deal with A+E Networks.

TVwithThinus can reveal that MultiChoice has made a U-turn after reaching a new channels carriage deal with A+E Networks and will no longer take away the History (DStv 186) and Lifetime (DStv 131) channels from DStv subscribers although the Crime+Investigation Network (DStv 170) will still go dark on Halloween.

Negotiation brinkmanship between MultiChoice and A+E Networks led to a breakdown in the relationship between the Randburg-based pay-TV operator and A+E Networks UK that operates a local affiliate office, A+E Networks Africa, after channel carriage negotiations failed when neither companies could settle on the terms and price that MultiChoice had to pay to keep the channels set.

Following MultiChoice's shocking announcement that History, Lifetime and C+I would disappear from DStv at the end of October,  renegotiations started up again between MultiChoice and A+E Networks although it's still unclear who blinked and made the first overture.

Furious DStv subscribers added massive pressure when they started a petition that by Thursday morning had over 8 700 signatures and comments since it started in early-October, while shocked and angry South African production companies making content for the channels were also vocal in their unhappiness about losing channels as platforms that allow them to make shows and earn a living.

Disgruntled local producers who were commissioned by A+E to do local shows were upset that their productions - some just-commissioned and some already in post-production - won’t be seen and that they have been kept in the dark about what's going on. 

South African production companies who spoke privately to TVwithThinus were extremely upset, saying they were kept in the dark that A+E Networks didn’t have a channel renewal when their recent content was announced at A+E Networks Africa’s upfront showcase. 

Producers said that they have been kept out of the loop about what is going and about what will be happening with their shows - including programming already commissioned, produced and scheduled for November 2019 all the way to February 2020. 

These shows range from plans to do Don't Tell the Bride SA, to Crime Stories SA (from Clive Morris Productions), Loved Like Crazy (from Nala Media), as well as Your People, Our People (from Pillay Media). 

Dean Possenniskie, the managing director of A+E Networks for the Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, spoke at A+E Networks Africa's content showcase upfront on 19 September in Johannesburg and touted the ongoing, increasing production spending going to the creation of local South African programming on its set of channels. 

Possenniskie described it's channels supplied to MultiChoice as its "core business" and part of a long-standing partnership with DStv, and that A+E Networks had already invested R30 million in creating local content in South Africa in 2019.

Trick or treat: Two further channels to be added
MultiChoice on Thursday morning told TVwithThinus in response to a media enquiry that both History and Lifetime will now remain on DStv after the signing of a new multi-year contract with A+E Networks but that C+I will still get axed.

MultiChoice will also still add the two further replacement channels that it promised to give in the place of the channels that would have been removed.

MultiChoice has removed the channel termination notices for both History and Lifetime from its electronic programme guide (EPG) on DStv.

Similar to the radio silence of the past 4 weeks when it had no comment, A+E Networks publicists didn't respond to a media enquiry on Thursday about A+E Networks Africa, led by Yusuf Nabee, as general manager, and its latest channel carriage developments.

"We're reached an agreement with A+E Networks for terms that we think are acceptable to our DStv subscribers for both History and Lifetime but Crime+Investigation is still ending," Mark Rayner, MultiChoice SA CEO said.

"Two further new channels will still be announced before the middle of November as a replacement for C+I from another provider, as well as another factual documentary channel from a new provider. We're just finalising technical launch plans so that we can be clear on a launch date."

MultiChoice was asked what the damage has been to both the pay-TV provider, A+E and South Africa's TV industry because of the earlier announcement that A+E Networks' channels are getting axed when negotiations stalled.

"Some customers voiced their concerns and the media. The reality is that the two parties just couldn't find each other and expectations were not met on either side. As soon as we realised we can't, we're obligated to give proper notice. We can't just cancel channels at short notice."

"As soon as we realised we don't have a deal that triggered our legal obligation to advise our customers of a potential change. I think it's worked out well for everybody that we've come to agreement on those two channels."

"We welcome History and Lifetime back and look forward to continuing with those and there's no break in service because they haven't gone down and won't go down."

Plumstead single mom Jamie-Lee Domburg and Kuhle Adams win SABC3's Expresso presenter search.

SABC3's weekday morning show Expresso will add Jamie-Lee Domburg and Kuhle Adams as the show's two new presenters after they won the Presenter Search on 3: The Expresso Edition on Wednesday night.

Jamie-Lee Domburg, a single mom from Plumstead, and Kuhle Adams from Port Elizabeth who now lives in Johannesburg, will replace Ewan Strydom and Zoe Brown who exited the morning programme earlier this year.

The winners who took part in the latest edition of the Presenter Search on 3 talent reality show were announced in the final episode at Cape Town's Mount Nelson hotel last night.

Both will start on Expresso, produced by Cardova Productions, on Monday 4 November.

"We've been warned about the hard work that is ahead, about the early mornings and the late nights but we are so ready," says Kuhle who will have to move from Johannesburg to Tokai in Cape Town where the Expresso studios are now located.

"This is not television – this is dreams come true," says Jamie-Lee.

For their final challenge, the remaining four finalists - Nathaneal Davids, Jamie-Lee, Deen Woodman and Kuhle - had to conduct an interview with a high-profile guest in the Expresso studio.

"All four of them are so talented – they all have the potential to do the job – and after spending so much time watching them grow, and take notes, and improve from one episode to the next, it was really hard to have to make that final choice," said Presenter Search on 3 judge Thando Thabethe.

In the end the judges were unanimous in their final decision. "It was a really tough call, but I feel confident that we made the right decision here tonight," said judge Roger Goode.

Patience Stevens, executive producer, said "Congratulations to Kuhle and Jamie – I am extremely excited to welcome them on to Expresso and can’t wait to see them develop as they grow in confidence and experience".

"But I know that we have not seen the last of Deen and Nathaneal either and look forward to seeing how they take the exposure they had with this show and make that work for them in their future careers."

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Game on: HBO scraps one of the Game of Thrones prequel pilots but gives the prequel series House of the Dragon a straight-to-series order.

Although it was almost finished with post-production, HBO has scrapped a struggling Northern Ireland produced Game of Thrones prequel series with most of the other pilot ideas that are also dead in the water - although it has commissioned one prequel series, House of the Dragon, that has been given a straight-to-series order.

Out of 5 possible Game of Thrones spin-offs, House of the Dragon - for now, looks like it will be the only one going forward and will likely go straight to M-Net (DStv 101) on MultiChoice's DStv satellite py-TV service for South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa and its video streaming service, Showmax.

Late on Tuesday Deadline first reported that one of the possible Game of Thrones prequel series of which a pilot was made and shot, was abruptly scrapped.

That possible prequel series set thousands of years before the Game of Thrones series starred Naomi Watts, and was co-created by George R.R. Martin and Jane Goldman, with both writing the story. It dealt with the transition in the fabled land of Westeros of the "Age of Heroes" to "The Long Night" that was often referenced in the TV series.

Deadline reported that the pilot, that was ordered in June 2018, suffered from "lengthy post-production, which included re-editing of the initial cut after it was not well received", as well as rumoured production problems around the filming in Northern Ireland where Game of Thrones was also done.

The cast and crew were told that HBO decided to pass on the possible series and HBO had no comment about the scrapped pilot series.

In a separate statement HBO on late Tuesday however announced that it has given a series order to House of the Dragon as a Game of Thrones prequel series, with the announcement timed to coincide with WarnerMedia's media launch event and presentation of its new HBO Max video streaming service that will launch in May 2020 in the United States.

HBO in its statement says that House of the Dragon is based on the Game of Thrones companion book, Fire & Blood that is set 300 years before the events seen in the hit TV drama series.

It will tell the stories of previous Targaryen kings like Aegon the Conqueror, the first ruler of Westeros, and Aegon the Dragonbane, all of whom are ancestors of Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington).

House of the Dragon is co-created by Ryan Condal and George R.R. Martin, with Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik who will both serve as co-showrunners.

"The Game of Thrones universe is so rich with stories," says Casey Bloys, president of HBO programming. "We look forward to exploring the origins of House Targaryen and the earlier days of Westeros along with Miguel, Ryan and George."

HBO Max is launching as another global video streaming service - but although it will go global it won't be available in South Africa initially.

Another video streaming is launching - HBO Max - that will go global just like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, but it won't be for South African or African viewers and consumers - at least not initially.

HBO Max, from AT&T Inc.'s WarnerMedia division, will launch in May 2020 in the United States the company revealed late on Tuesday during a media upfront presentation event it held at its Warner Bros. studios lot in Burbank, California in America at the price of $14.99 (R219.39) per month.

Unlike Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max won't be available globally or rolled out in South Africa initially.

HBO - that does have a presence in South Africa and throughout sub-Saharan Africa thanks to mutually beneficial output deals and programme licencing contracts with MultiChoice's M-Net on DStv and its streaming service, Showmax - does plan to eventually make HBO Max available globally, including Africa.

Initially though, South Africans won't have access to HBO Max and its exclusive new content, similar to The Walt Disney Company's Disney+ subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service that will be launching on 12 November and is rolling out in some countries like Canada, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand as a start.

Apple will launch its streaming service, Apple TV+ on 1 November in over 100 countries and regions.

After the United States, HBO Max will target Europe and Latin America.

"In the era of Amazon, Apple, Google and Netflix, scale is no longer defined by distribution to a quarter of US consumers," said John Stankey, AT&T’s president and head of the WarnerMedia division, as part of his presentation. "It’s a global game. HBO Max will have positive and immediate impact on stickiness of wireless, pay-TV and broadband".

Bob Greenblatt, WarnerMedia’s entertainment and direct-to-consumer chairman, at the presentation said that "When you live in a world with dragons - like Netflix, Amazon and Apple - it feels very good to have one of your own in the game. Welcome to House AT&T, everyone."

The projection is to have 25 million HBO Max users in America by 2025, and 90 million globally.

Besides a carousel of library series, HBO Max is producing and adding new series.

These will include a new Green Lantern-inspired show from the Arrow and Flash producer Greg Berlanti, a reboot of Gossip Girl, and Strange Adventures, an hourlong DC Comics anthology series that will feature various DC characters that will explore the intersecting lives of normal people and superhumans.

Raised by Wolves, produced by legendary filmmaker Ridley Scott, will revolve around two androids who have to deal with raising human children on a mysterious planet.

Late-night talk show host and comedian Conan O’Brien will be doing 5 stand-up specials for HBO Max but won't necessarily be appearing in all of them.

Elizabeth Banks is doing DC Super Hero High, a half-hour comedy that follows a group of students at a boarding school for gifted kids; Issa Rae is doing Rap Sh*t (working title) as a half-hour comedy that follows an all-women rap group in Miami as they try to make it in the music industry; with Mindy Kaling responsible for College Girls as a half-hour comedy series following 3 first-year student roommates in Vermont.

Other new HBO Original content for HBO Max will include a Riverdale spin-off entitled Katy Keene, Stephen King’s The Outsider; Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams' horror series Lovecraft Country; Joss Whedon doing The Neversand Julian Fellowes from Downton Abbey-fame doing an American period drama entitled The Gilded Age.

It will also have David E. Kelley's The Undoing, a  prequel to Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic entitled Rules of Magic, The Boondocks; as well as Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai.

A slate including several original documentaries and film features have also been commissioned for HBO Max.

Vinette Ebrahim slams 7de Laan after Charmaine’s forced exit when producers told the actress her character had no more story: 'They should get better writers!'

Vinette Ebrahim, for decades known as the character of Charmaine in SABC2's 7de Laan, is slamming the soap after producers told her they've run out of stories for her character, with the beloved actress saying it's the weakest excuse ever and that they should have hired better writers.

After no longer being good enough for 7de Laan, Vinette is jumping to rival Afrikaans soap Binnelanders on kykNET (DStv 144) where she will start on 7 November, for a 6-week guest appearance role.

The character of Charmaine who've been a part of 7de Laan since the first episode on SABC2 on 4 April 2000 bowed out on 24 October after Danie Odendaal Production shocked in July by announcing that another veteran actor's contract wasn't renewed in an ongoing exodus of talent from the long-running weekday Afrikaans soap.

"In long-running television series, it often happens that a character's journey comes to an end. After evaluating past and current storylines of 7de Laan it has transpired that all potential stories around Charmaine and Vivian have been exhausted," the production said in its July statement.

The shock-decision left fans aghast and shocked, especially since it came after the exit of Pierre van Pletzen (Oubaas), the exit of Annelisa Weiland (Hilda) and other stalwart actors like Theodore Jantjies who have been shown the door or decided to pack it in.

While the production said in July that "the time has however come for her to bow out with grace and flair" in relation to the Charmaine character, it turns out that Vinette's exit wasn't that gracious behind the scenes, with the actress who is sounding off about her departure in the latest 30 October issue of Kuier magazine that is on sale now.

In the cover article, Vinette unburdens for the first time about being forced to start a new chapter of her life, aged 62, in South Africa's cut-throat entertainment and TV industry and how emotional she felt when she was told she no longer has a job on the SABC2 soap.

About her abrupt 7de Laan exit Vinette tells Kuier that "it's been coming for a while" but is unwilling to share more specific details.

"There was a long run-up and I had a feeling that something was about to happen. But to say that there were no more storylines for Charmaine made me laugh out loud. It's the weakest excuse ever. Then get better writers!"

"I'm not someone to stay silent," she tells Kuier. "They asked me to stop commenting on Facebook, but I said that I comment in my private capacity. I don't cuss and I never spoke ill of other people or 7de Laan."

She tells the magazine that her first 15 years with the soap was her happiest time. She says she misses Ingrid Paulus (Vanessa), Hildegardt Whites (Bonita), Christo Davids (Errol) and Theodore Jantjies (Xander).

"I miss them all terribly, as well as the people who did my hair and make-up. I miss them so much and it makes me so sad. It's 19 years of my life that's just suddenly gone ..."

She started to panic when 7de Laan told Vinette that she's out of a job because she still has bills and a bond to pay. She's careful when it comes to spending but she had to look even more carefully after every cent.

She tells Kuier that "I still have a bond to pay and my first thoughts after I got axed was that I might have to sell my house and move to Cape Town. I have three dogs and two cats to look after and my partner Ivan is jobless."

Danie Odendaal Productions in a media enquiry was asked for comment about Vinette's magazine interview but didn't respond.

You can read the full interview with Vinette in Kuier.

In FOX’s new War of the Worlds science fiction drama series you can’t even hide in a shop’s ice-cream fridge from aliens.

It borrows all of the best tropes from Independence Day, Falling Skies, The Walking Dead, Jurassic Park and Terminator - with unexpected twists in a modern-day setting - with viewers who won't be able to guess where the story of the TV adaptation of H. G. Well's classic science fiction novel, War of the Worlds, will go that starts on FOX (DStv 125) on Wednesday 30 October at 20:45.

FOX's new reimagining of H.G. Well's timeless classic is one of two this year with the BBC that also made a War of the Worlds although that mini-series is set in Edwardian England.

The 8-episode War of the Worlds FOX series is set in modern-day France and London since it's a co-production between Urban Myth Films in partnership with CANAL+, as well as Fox Networks Group Europe & Africa and AGC Television.

War of the Worlds is Fox Networks Group's second production after the Deep State series.

The cast includes Gabriel Byrne, Elizabeth McGovern from Downton Abbey, Léa Drucker, Adel Bencherif, Natasha Little, Daisy Edgar Jones, Ty Tennant, Stephen Campbell Moore, Bayo Gbadamosi, Aaron Heffernan, Stéphane Caillard and Guillaume Gouix.

When French astronomers detect a transmission from another galaxy, it is definitive proof of alien life ... but are they friendly or evil?

Humanity waits for further contact but then a devastating attack follows with surviving humans scattered and fighting for their lives. 

As aliens hunt and kill those left alive, the survivors ask a burning question: Who are these attackers and why do they want to destroy humans?

FOX's War of the Worlds adaptation is from writer Howard Overman who says that the science fiction series will show a post-apocalyptic world but one that isn't very disturbed. "If you look out your window and the city still looks the same, it's a strange experience because your life has totally changed but outside it's all very still and familiar".

"Our War of the Worlds is, at its core, a story about humanity. If aliens attacked tomorrow and life as we know it was destroyed, how would we cope? What would it tell us about each other, and more importantly, about ourselves?"

Evert Van der Veer, in charge of media networks at The Walt Disney Company Africa, says "We can’t wait for this bold recreation to premiere on African screens".

"We look forward to this world-class production based on a timeless story, that promises a unique combination of character-driven human drama and the very best science fiction."

Monday, October 28, 2019

Hold My Balls and Four Letter Words as hilarious new game show, Celebrity Game Night, kicks off on E! with Anele Mdoda as host.

It's fun and games galore on Monday nights from Monday 28 October at 20:00 on E! (DStv 124) with Anele Mdoda holding sway as the host of the perfectly-adapted format game show, Celebrity Game Night.

Celebrity Game Night produced by Rapid Blue and done for NBCUniversal International Networks's E! channel, the crisp and hilarious South African version is filled with real South African celebrities, competing in two teams and playing a variety of games that make the viewer feel instantly at home and as if you've just stepped into the living room on a Saturday on Sunday late afternoon while a group of friends got a board game out.

In each episode, two teams of celebrity guests face-off as they play hilarious and outrageous party games that test pop culture knowledge, acting skills and nerves of steel with Jason Goliath and Ayanda Thabethe as the two team leaders.

"I’m so excited to host Celebrity Game Night on E! and can’t wait for viewers to join the party," said Anele Mdoda. "Hanging out with Jason, Ayanda and our top celebrity guests on my sofas is going to be hilariously wild. Let the games begin."

Jason Goliath has a warning to viewers: "This isn't a typical game show. Joining Celebrity Game Night as a team captain and trying to wrangle a crowd of stars with Anele and Ayanda is epically entertaining".

Ayanda Thabethe said "Celebrity Game Night is going to be the hottest A-list ticket in town. If you've ever wondered how the rich and famous let their hair down and have a good time, this is the show. It's going to be so much fun I don’t think it will feel like work".

The first episode's celebrities include Joey Rasdien, Chris Jaftha and Minnie Dlamini Jones who are part of Team Ayanda; as well as Majozi, Lorna Maseko and Tracey Lange who are part of Team Jason.

Hilarious games in the debut episode include Hold My Balls, Get with the Programme, Where You Going?, Clue Boom and Four Letter Words. The various games differ from episode to episode.

ALSO READ: E!'s Celebrity Game Night game show starts filming this week with Anele Mdoda as presenter; Jason Goliath and Ayanda Thabethe as team captains.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

South African actors Anthony Bishop (48) and Andile Gumbi (36) dead after a car accident and heart attack.

The South African actors Anthony Bishop (48) and Andile Gumbi (36) both died this past week.

Anthony Bishop, known for his roles in drama series like Jacob's Cross died on Monday together with his girlfriend Nathalie Alberts in Sandton, Johannesburg in a three-car collision.

Anthony Bishop appeared in drama series like Innocent Times and Erfsondes, 7de Laan on SABC2, as well as Binnelanders on M-Net and kykNET (DStv 144). He appeared in local feature films like Neill Blomkamp's District 9, as well as in several stage productions.

Andile Gumbi, known for his roles like Zweli Ntshangase in the soap Isibaya on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161), died on Friday in the ICU of the Shaare Zedek Medical Centrelin in Jerusalem, Israel, from a heart attack while working on the Daniel - The Musical musical in Israel.

He was also known for starring as the adult Simba in The Lion King stage production.

"As Mzansi Magic, we are saddened by the passing of our former Isibaya actor Andile Gumbi," said Philly Khubheka, the head of publicity at M-Net's general entertainment channels, in a statement.

"Andile was very talented, with lots still to offer to the entertainment industry. Our deepest condolences to his family and friends. He will be greatly missed."

Michelle Harding, in a statement on behalf of Andile family on Friday, said that "On behalf of Mrs Hlengiwe Gumbi and family it is with profound sadness we share the news that our beloved Andile passed away this morning. Andile received the best medical care possible. We request that the family be given space to grieve and that their privacy be respected in this very difficult time".

SABC1 in a statement said that "SABC1 management and staff is overcome with shock and sadness to learn of Andile Gumbi's untimely passing on Friday 25 October 2019".

"Andile is currently making an appearance on our TV screens in his role as Pastor Siyabonga in the channel's recently-introduced dramedy, Makoti.

"We were all looking forward to him making an impactful contribution to the industry and the SABC1 brand as we believed he still had so much more to contribute to his industry and the SABC1 brand."

"We would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and fans during this time."

Tonight M-Net will be doing Open Time for DStv subscribers to debut its new Trackers drama series on Sunday night in the 8pm movie timeslot.

After more than two decades M-Net (DStv 101) is returning Open Time on Sunday evening when the channel will be opening the channel on 27 October for more than just DStv Premium subscribers to enable sampling of its new drama series, Trackers, to a bigger audience.

On Sunday M-Net - with the premium channel inhabiting the pole channel number position of 101 on DStv decoders and only available on MultiChoice's most expensive subscription tier - will do an Open Time block and be made available to DStv Compact Plus, DStv Compact and DStv Family subscribers as well between 18:00 and 22:10.

M-Net hasn't done Open Time since April 2007 when it ended its long-running, daily 2-hour open window marketing initiative that was used to showcase its premium content to prospective pay-TV subscribers.

Tonight DStv subscribers on lower-tiered packages will get to watch M-Net's local dating reality show, Finding the One at 18:00, its revitalised weekly investigative and current affairs magazine show Carte Blanche at 19:00, followed by the debut of its new 5-episode local drama series, Trackers at 20:00, for 4 hours of availability to millions more DStv subscribers.

For the first time in over 30 years M-Net is also upending its Sunday night schedule - swopping its Sunday 20:00-timeslot dedicated to a new film premiere for the drama series based on the Deon Meyer novel.

"One of the biggest shifts and changes on the M-Net schedule in terms of local content is with Trackers. Because we believe so much in this show we decided to give it the best possible slot on the M-Net schedule which is 8pm on a Sunday night," says Kaye-Ann Williams, the head of local content and independent films for M-Net channels.

"The first episode of Trackers is basically feature-length and will be about 90 minutes long and thereafter we will have 4 more episodes. Trackers is very action-driven, the plot's twists and turns are amazing and we have a great cast as part of Trackers as well."

While M-Net will show Trackers as an international co-production in South Africa and across sub-Saharan African on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service, ZDF will show it in Germany while Cinemax gets the remaining worldwide rights for the United States and areas beyond Africa and Germany.

Trackers, produced by Three River Studios in the United Kingdom and Studio 23, will also be available on MultiChoice's subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service, Showmax.

The rest of the four episodes will have an hourlong duration with the Sunday films starting at 21:00.

"Trackers shines the spotlight on the incredible talent working in the African film and television industry," says Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice CEO of general entertainment.

"We are immensely proud of this milestone production. It’s one of the biggest ventures in the history of M-Net and we trust that it will be the first of many enticing and authentic stories from our continent to reach global audiences."

"Tonight is a big night for MultiChoice and we would like to share the pilot episode, which has the feel of a movie, with more of our customers."

Trackers, set against Southern African landscapes – from the Karoo to Khayelitsha and Limpopo to the Bo-Kaap - spins a web of intrigue that involves conspiracy, terrorism, corruption, diamonds, rhinos and smugglers with a cast that includes James Gracie, Sandi Schultz,Rolanda Marais, Thapelo Mokoena, Brendan Daniels, Sisanda Henna, Jill Middelkop, Trix Vivier, Jerry Mofokeng, Grace Olifant, Albert Maritz and Ed Stoppard.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Giuliana Rancic once again exits as co-anchor of E! News on E! the as entertainment news show relocates to New York.

Giuliana Rancic is once again leaving as the co-anchor of E! News on E! (DStv 124) just over a year after her full-time return - this time because NBCUniversal is restructuring and relocating E! News from Los Angeles to New York City from January 2020.

Giuliana isn't willing to uproot her already-busy family life and says "I love E! News but what’s best for my family, as well as my current schedule, just won’t allow for the commitment a daily show takes".

Giuliana, who've battled infertility and breast cancer, plans to remain involved in her several other business ventures, while she and her husband Bill are also pondering whether to add to their family with their son Duke (7).

She is also adamant that she will return to E! News on occasion, and will continue to anchor E!'s red carpet coverage for big award shows.

In an announcement on Instagram, Giuliana Rancic (45) says "As the show moves to New York City in January, many of you have asked if I will be returning full-time. I wanted to let you hear firsthand that I’ve decided I won’t be able to make this big move at this time."

"I love E! News but what’s best for my family, as well as my current schedule, just won’t allow for the commitment a daily show takes."

"As you may know, I lead several businesses ... my clothing line G by Giuliana, Fountain of Truth skincare, and my role at RPM Restaurant Group, which is about to open its sixth location, keep me very active. In order to properly serve these and my other endeavours, flexibility is paramount,” she writes.

"Nothing is more important than spending time with my family, which we are hoping to grow soon."

"That said, I will of course continue hosting Live from the Red Carpet and promise to pop into E! News from time to time," Giuliana wrote.

"I adore and appreciate the great folks at E! for continuing to be incredible partners and understanding my decision and I appreciate you all for always being so supportive and kind. Love you all and I will see you next month at the E! People’s Choice Awards."

View this post on Instagram

Returning to E! News this last year was an incredible homecoming. As the show moves to NYC in January, many of you have asked if I will be returning full-time. I wanted to let you hear firsthand that I’ve decided I won’t be able to make this big move at this time. I love E! News but what’s best for my family, as well as my current schedule, just won’t allow for the commitment a daily show takes. ⁣ ⁣ As you may know, I lead several clothing line G by Giuliana, Fountain of Truth skincare, and my role at RPM Restaurant Group, which is about to open its sixth location, keep me very active. In order to properly serve these and my other endeavors, flexibility is paramount. And nothing is more important than spending time with my family, which we are hoping to grow soon. ⁣ ⁣ That said, I will of course continue hosting Live from the Red Carpet and promise to pop into E! News from time to time 🥰 I adore and appreciate the great folks at E! for continuing to be incredible partners and understanding my decision and I appreciate YOU ALL for always being so supportive and kind ❤️ Love you all and I will see you next month at the E! People’s Choice Awards ✨
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