Friday, February 21, 2020

Disney's FOX channels set quietly flickers back to life on StarSat in Africa after 4 months following commercial disagreement and contract dispute.

by Thinus Ferreira

Disney has quietly returned it yanked FOX channels as well as the two rebranded ESPN channels to the Chinese-run StarSat pay-TV operator after an absence of four and a half months following a commercial disagreement and contract dispute.

The Walt Disney Company removed its entire FOX Networks Group channels set - FOX, FOX Life, FOX Portuguese, National Geographic, Nat Geo WILD, National Geographic Portuguese, Baby TV, Voyage, National Geographic French, and Nat Geo WILD French – from the Chinese-run StarTimes StarSat with the channels that abruptly went dark without warning in October 2019.

StarSat bizarrely claimed that it decided to remove specifically the FOX channels (although not FOX News) because of alleged "5G cellphone signal testing interference" affecting just these channels.

The Walt Disney Company however said that it decided to remove its channels from StarTimes/StarSat since it became fed-up with ongoing commercial issues at the pay-TV operator and decided to pull all of its FOX-supplied channels after negotiations had failed.

In addition, the FOX Sports and FOX Sports 2 channels that were rebranded to ESPN and ESPN following the Disney takeover of 21st Century Fox, failed to materialise as promised in mid-September on StarSat which caused huge embarrassment to both Disney and StarSat.

The FOX channel set quietly flickered back on StarSat on Thursday with no announcement from Evert van der Veer, the vice-president, media networks of The Walt Disney Company Africa or Christine Service, senior vice president of The Walt Disney Company Africa.

Jared Stokes, senior communications manager at The Walt Disney Company Africa said in response to a media enquiry on Thursday from TVwithThinus that the company won't issue a press release but that "We can confirm that our channels are currently being provided and are available on StarTimes/StarSat" and referred media enquiries to StarSat.

Disney was asked why the FOX channels and ESPN were returned to StarSat but didn't want to answer the specific questions.

In a mobile message sent to just subscribers on Thursday, StarSat said: "Dear Customer, all FOX channels are back on StarSat now".

StarSat on Thursday said it would respond with answers posed in a media enquiry but hasn't by the time of publication of this report on Friday morning. A response when received, will be added here.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

eNCA anchor Xoli Mngambi, producer and cameramen held at gunpoint and robbed in Mamelodi East.

by Thinus Ferreira

eNCA (Dstv 403) reports that the eNCA anchor Xoli Mngambi and his producer and cameramen were all robbed on Wednesday afternoon.

The eNCA group was held at gunpoint on Wednesday afternoon with their equipment that was stolen.

Two cameras and a tripod were stolen.

Xoli Mngambi was busy filming an insert in Mamelodi East, east of Pretoria, when they were suddenly confronted by 3 armed men.

The robbers fled in a silver-grey Volkswagen Polo with no registration plates. A case has been opened at the Mamelodi East Police Station.

eNCA in a statement said that anchor Xoli Mngambi, producer Koketso Dlongolo, and camera operators Mbudzeni Bulasigobo and Gift Shabalala were at the Wellness Today Clinic when the robbery occurred.

"eNCA would like to state that although the TV crew's equipment was stolen, the team remains safe and unharmed. The matter has since been reported to the police."

"The channel takes this matter seriously and will be assisting the staff members with trauma counselling."

Friday, February 14, 2020

Nominees announced for 2020's 14th South African Film and Television Awards as NFVF looks to improve the credibility of the Saftas.

by Thinus Ferreira

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) announced the nominees of the upcoming 14th South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) on Friday morning at a media event held at The Mall of Africa, with M-Net's telenovela The River on 1Magic (DStv 103) that lead the nominations in the TV category with 15 nods, and the film Fiela se Kind that scored 11 nods as the feature film with the most nominations.

The SABC's soap Generations on SABC1, 7de Laan on SABC2, as well as Isidingo on SABC3 were all locked out of this year's Saftas after they failed to enter the South African awards show.

The production companies Word of Mouth Productions producing SABC2's Muvhango, as well as Ferguson Films producing The Queen and The Throne for M-Net's Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) dropped their Saftas boycott they've maintained for several years and entered their respective soaps and telenovelas again.

Besides having discussions with production companies who have been boycotting the awards show, the Safta organisers have also relooked and refined the judging guidelines for the awards show, with the various scriptwriting categories which are being returned to the main (and televised) award ceremony after they were abruptly dumped last year.

The various Saftas categories have also been relooked, adjusted and reduced to 70.

The 14th South African Film and Television Awards that is moving back from Sun City to Johannesburg, will take place at the Johannesburg’s Sandton Convention Centre over two-nights with the Craft Awards set for Friday 27 March and Main Awards taking place on Saturday 28 March and which will be broadcast live on South African television.

In television the telenovela The River scored 15 nominations, followed by Isibaya and the 4th season of Lockdown which all got 11 nods, and The Republic grabbing 10 nominations.

"I would like to congratulate all our 2020 SAFTAs nominees for telling authentic stories that resonate and connect with the people of South Africa," says Makhosazana Khanyile, NFVF CEO.

"As the NFVF we couldn’t be prouder of the immense contribution that these women and men make to the local film and television industry, not forgetting the broadcasters that provide the platforms for these stories to come alive".

"A key priority for us this year was to bring credibility back to the SAFTAs judging process," she says.

"It is no secret that many production companies have voiced their frustration with our appraisal system, some going as far as to boycott the SAFTAs altogether."

"Having taken this feedback to heart, we’ve taken every measure possible to ensure that the judging process is fair, transparent and without bias. Today I’m proud to announce that as a result of these efforts we’ve received over 300 entries for the SAFTAs," says Khosi Khanyile.

Viewer votes will once again decide the categories of Best TV Presenter and the Most Popular Soap/Telenovela.

The 14th South African Film and Television Awards will be hosted at Johannesburg’s Sandton Convention Centre over two-nights: Craft Awards on Friday, 27 March 2020 and Main Awards on Saturday, 28 March 2020 – with the Saturday show broadcast live on television.

Full nominees list to be added here (updating)

Thursday, February 13, 2020

#SONA2020: South African TV coverage of the State of the Nation 2020 Address today.

by Thinus Ferreira

Several TV channels will be doing live coverage and analyses today of the State of the Nation Address 2020 of South African president Cyril Ramaphosa.

The State of the Nation Address is divided into three different parts - the ceremony where the Civil Guard of Honour welcomes the president and his guests as they walk along the red carpet at parliament; then the state ceremonial which includes a 21-gun salute and the South African Air Force flypast, and lastly the official address from the president.

The SABC will broadcast the State of the Nation Address 2020 (#SONA2020) live on TV, radio, its online SABC News channel on YouTube and on its website on Thursday, 13 February.

The SABC will do preview coverage and analyses on various programmes on SABC News (DStv 404) leading up to the address. These shows will cover the Civil Guard of Honour, red carpet arrivals coverage and the 21 Gun Salute.

The SABC says that SABC News reporters and anchors will be on location at parliament and in the Auckland Park studio in Johannesburg to cover the event.

SABC News roving reporters will also be spread across South Africa bring citizens' expectations and reactions in various communities in the run-up to the speech and afterwards.

The SABC will have leading political and economic analysts in studio and on-location helping the audience to make sense of the president's speech.

The red carpet arrivals will be live streamed from 16:00 on the SABC News channel on YouTube until the end of the proceedings as members of the judiciary, cabinet ministers and members of parliament (MPs), including the speakers of the various provincial legislatures, premiers and diplomats arrive at the Company Gardens entrance in Government Avenue to the Old Assembly.

The president's address will be broadcast live at 19:00 on SABC News (DStv 404) and on SABC2.

Following the president's address, a post-analysis of the speech will be broadcast live with experts and reaction from various political parties.

On SABC2 coverage of the State of the Nation Address 2020 speech will start at 18:00 and continue until 21:00, preempting the channel's normal schedule. On Thursday there won't be an edition of the Afrikaans TV news on SABC2. It will be followed by the day's episode of Muvhango at 21:00.

eNCA (DStv 403)
eNCA didn't respond to media enquiries about its SONA coverage and presentation plans but the channel will be doing rolling live coverage of the State of the Nation Address 2020 kicking off from 16:00.

The State of the Nation Address Build-Up starts at 16:00 for three hours after which the channel plans to show the State of the Nation Address 2020 from 19:00 live until 21:00.

In past years eNCA had a pop-up studio in Cape Town's parliamentary precinct and will likely have one again this year.

Newzroom Africa (DStv 405)
Newzroom Afrika says the channel has planned special broadcast coverage of today's event with a senior team of anchors and reporters in both Cape Town and its studio in Linden, Johannesburg.

"Our full day of coverage means live crossings from early in the morning until late into the evening with much analysis and reaction."

"Our seasoned anchor, Cathy Mohlahlana together with our politics editor, Sbu Ngalwa will be hosting our special broadcast from Cape Town - while Stephen Grootes makes his Newzroom Afrika debut from our Linden studios."

Newzroom Afrika says its reporters Ziyanda Ngcobo, Athi Mtongana and Nasiphi Same will be covering the SONA2020 red carpet, the parliamentary precinct and surrounds while Pelane Phakgadi and Malungelo Booi will do the wrap-up coverage, getting reaction and analyses.

CNBC Africa (DStv 410)
CNBC Africa says the channel will broadcast the State of the Nation Address 2020 live from 19:00 until 20:00.

Business Day TV (DStv 412)
Business Day TV will broadcast the State of the Nation Address 2020 live and do post-analysis coverage afterwards until 21:00.

Parliamentary Channel (DStv 408)
Build-up: SONA 2020 coverage kicks off on the channel at 15:00, with a live broadcast of the State of the Nation Address 2020 speech from 19:00 until 21:30.

From 21:30 there is a half-hour Wrap-up: SONA 2020 carrying reaction from various politicians, after which a repeat of the speech is broadcast at 22:00 tonight.

The same coverage will be streamed on parliament's YouTube channel.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Yusuf Nabee out as A+E Networks Africa boss after embarrassing channel carriage conflict with MultiChoice; Johannesburg office restructured as Nazarene Khan takes over as regional manager.

by Thinus Ferreira

Yusuf Nabee is out as A+E Networks Africa boss following the hugely embarrassing and highly damaging channel carriage conflict in late-2019 between A+E Networks UK and MultiChoice in South Africa.

Nazarene Khan, currently head of marketing and sponsorship for the past two and a half years at A+E Networks Africa, is taking over as A+E Networks Africa regional manager from Yusuf Nabee who is gone from the end of February 2020. He was appointed as A+E Networks Africa general manager in May 2016.

A+E Networks Africa held a channels upfront in mid-September 2019 despite no contract extension that was in place for its channels on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform for South Africa and MultiChoice Africa in sub-Saharan Africa despite MultiChoice that warned A+E Networks Africa not to go ahead with an upfront media event.

A+E Networks Africa did it anyway, followed by brand damage and embarrassment when MultiChoice shortly after announced that it's dumping the A+E Networks' Crime+Investigation Network and History and Lifetime channels provided by A+E Networks UK from November 2019.

MultiChoice executives were adamant that they won't pay what A+E Networks wanted for the channels and that the pay-TV operator isn't willing to accept the terms of a channels carriage agreement renewal.

Angry DStv subscribers started a petition that lured thousands of signatures.

Following the public channels termination announcement, MultiChoice went back to the negotiating table with A+E Networks and hammered out a new deal to keep carrying only History and Lifetime and dropping Crime+Investigation Network.

Yusuf Nabee and the A+E Networks Africa office declined multiple interview requests since November and refused to talk to the media about the embarrassing channel negotiation skirmish which further damaged media relations between A+E Networks Africa and the South African press.

In contrast high-level MultiChoice executives spoke to the media several times about the unfolding matter.

A+E Networks Africa also damaged its image and relationships with local South African production companies who were kept in the dark by A+E Networks Africa after it commissioned them to do shows, not knowing if their shows would go ahead or what's happening.

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. 

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 2019 in Johannesburg where he touted the ongoing, increasing production spending going to the creation of local South African programming on its set of channels. 

The media and content producers slammed A+E Networks for being having been dishonest and secretive, creating a perception that everything was fine and remaining "as is" while A+E Networks in reality didn't disclose that it was at risk of losing its entire set of channels in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa.

"Yusuf who has been instrumental in establishing A+E's local presence and building our brands has decided the time is right to step down from his role," says Adrian Pilkington, senior vice president for commercial and strategy at A+E Networks for the Africa, Middle East, Nordics and Benelix region, in a statement.

A+E Networks Africa will now be overseen by Nazarene Khan who is promoted to regional manager.

"Nazarene Khan has been a key part of the team for the past few years and working alongside Fatime Kaba, our head of programming and scheduling, we have two very talented executives to build upon the foundation that Yusuf has created. I'm delighted to have her heading up our Africa team."

The SABC says it's not planning to sell off its struggling SABC3 TV channel, nor its 5FM, Good Hope FM or Metro FM radio stations.

by Thinus Ferreira

The South African public broadcaster says that the SABC has made no plans or decisions to get rid off and to sell of either its SABC3 TV channel, nor its Metro FM, 5FM, or Good Hope FM radio stations.

The SABC has been evaluating what the struggling broadcaster's "non-core" assets and services are which it should get rid of, but the broadcaster says SABC3, Metro FM, Good Hope FM and 5FM have not been targeted.

"The SABC has been made aware of an article by Inside Politics African Narrative published on 4 February 2020, claiming to have exclusive access to a document titled ‘Repurposing the State-Owned Enterprises as Instruments for Economic Growth’," Mmoni Seapolelo, SABC spokesperson says in a statement.

According to the article, the public broadcaster could sell off SABC3, Metro FM, 5FM and Good Hope FM and dump its entire commercial broadcasting services as part of reducing its broadcasting mandate.

"Because of the potential uncertainty this information can cause the SABC believes it is necessary to clarify that it is not intending to sell the assets mentioned in the article and has had no discussions with government in this regard," the SABC says.

"As requested by National Treasury and the ministry of communications and digital technologies, the SABC is conducting a thorough process of assessing all its assets, determining which are core and non-core, taking into account a range of factors including public mandate, licence conditions and financial contribution."

The SABC says that the SABC board has approved comprehensive assessment criteria for determining its "core media assets",and says that this includes not only TV and radio channels which are contributing to its public mandate but also ones which help to fund the SABC's public service obligations.

"The SABC board has already identified non-core property assets and has drawn up a list of properties for disposal, as required by National Treasury preconditions."

"The potential disposal of any of the SABC's media assets involves a much more complex decision matrix, with factors such as the public interest, the public mandate and the future financial sustainability of the SABC being central to any decision," the SABC says.

"The SABC remains committed to ensuring that the public service broadcaster fulfils its public service mandate and at the same time striving to be a financially sustainable institution," says Mmoni Seapolelo.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

M-Net adds Oscars 2020 red carpet special with Anele Mdoda for 92nd Academy Awards + full broadcast coverage list for the red carpet and 'cyclone stage' ceremony.

by Thinus Ferreira

M-Net (DStv 101) has added a half hour Oscars 2020 red carpet special for its prime time schedule on Monday night to intro the 92 Academy Awards with Anele Mdoda who will interview some stars as they make their way into the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

It's the second time that Anele Mdoda will do the Anele at the Oscars special that she presented last year for the first time. It's the third time in history that a South African TV reporter is doing red carpet duty at the Oscars, and the third time that South Africa will have its own red carpet Oscars TV special.

Anele at the Oscars as a recorded show will be broadcast at 21:00 on Monday night, 10 February 2020, on M-Net (DStv 101), followed by the prime time showing of the 92nd Academy Awards at 21:30.

M-Net will also broadcast the awards ceremony as a live simulcast on Monday morning at 03:00 on M-Net Movies (DStv 104). This year the Oscars will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide with MultiChoice and M-Net that have the rights for sub-Saharan Africa.

This year's Oscars stage with be a glittering "cyclone" - a Swarovski-covered stage created by Jason Sherwood.

Important to note is that NBCUniversal's E! (DStv 124) for the 5th year in a row will again not have any actual red carpet coverage during the last hour of red carpet arrivals since those rights belong to the ABC network in America that gets exclusive live red carpet access.

While E! will carry the beginning of the red carpet arrivals live, viewers will have to switch to M-Net Movies to watch the red carpet arrivals live from 23:30, as well as for the official red carpet show starting at 01:30 on Monday morning. M-Net acquired these official red carpet pre-shows as part of the Oscars broadcast package.

Here's your comprehensive TV guide on exactly how, the channels, and the times, where you can watch the show as well as the surrounding red carpet coverage:

Oscars: E!'s Insider Guide
21:00 Sunday 9 February, E! (DStv 124)
A recorded special counting down to one of Hollywood’s biggest nights spotlighting the biggest names who might make a showing this year on the red carpet.

On the Red Carpet: Oscars 2020 The Arrivals 
23:30 Sunday 9 February, M-Net Movies Premiere (DStv 104) LIVE
The official red carpet coverage broadcast kicks off looking at the fashion as the stars arrive and interviews with the stars.

E! Live From The Red Carpet: Oscars 2020
00:00 Monday 10 February, E! (DStv 124) LIVE
E!'s live coverage red carpet coverage of the 2020 Oscars starts. The "E! Glambot" makes a return to the Oscars to capture one-of-a-kind red carpet moments. Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana Rancic are the hosts.

E! Stream the Red Carpet: Oscars 2020
▪ 00:40 Monday 10 February, Twitter @enews
E! does a digital show covering the Oscars red carpet as part of its second screen coverage.

The Oscars Red Carpet Show
01:30 Monday 10 February, M-Net Movies Premiere (DStv 104) LIVE
The official red carpet pre-show with presenters Billy Porter, Tamron Hall, model Lily Aldridge and film critic Elvis Mitchell. Beginning at 02:30 when E! must cut away, Ryan Seacrest, for a second year in a row, will switch from E! to join this show as a presenter to cover the last half hour from alongside the red carpet before the ceremony starts.

Red Carpet Rundown: Oscars 2020
02:30 Monday 10 February, E! (DStv 124) LIVE
Since E! is no longer allowed alongside the actual red carpet at this time, fashion correspondents and experts analyse the looks from the stars who've already arrived for Oscar night with photos and commentary.

92nd Annual Academy Awards 
03:00 Monday 10 February, M-Net Movies Premiere (DStv 104) LIVE
The ceremony from inside the Dolby Theatre. The Oscars will once again be hostless this year for a second consecutive year.

Anele at the Oscars 
21:00 Monday 10 February, M-Net (DStv 101)
A pre-recorded half-hour with Anele Mdoda in Hollywood covering the glitz, glam and excitement of Hollywood's biggest night.

92nd Annual Academy Awards 
21:30 Monday 10 February, M-Net (DStv 101)
The prime-time rebroadcast of the awards show.

E! News
▪ 10:20 Tuesday 11 February, E! (DStv 124)
Lilliana Vazquez and Scott Tweedie do a special Oscars 2020 lookback episode with news and commentary about this year's ceremony and red carpet coverage. E!'s team of correspondents will do a special Oscars recap with all the insider secrets, surprises, snubs and backstage shockers, plus the biggest fashion risks and hottest after-parties.

Pop of the Morning
▪ 10:50 Tuesday 11 February, E! (DStv 124)
Lilliana Vazquez, Scott Tweedie and Victor Cruz do a special Oscars 2020 edition of the daily talk show looking back at gossip, issues and sharing their insights of this year's ceremony and red carpet.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Jeremy Maggs out as eNCA acting editor-in-chief; Norman Munzhelele taking over as acting managing director at the scandal-hit TV news channel.

by Thinus Ferreira

Jeremy Maggs is out with immediate effect as acting editor-in-chief at the scandal-hit TV news channel eNCA (DStv 403), saying he's stepping down because of stress, a month and a half after the firing of the politician-made-news-boss Kanthan Pillay in mid-December 2019.

Jeremy Maggs, who is also an anchor on eNCA, has been acting editor-in-chief at eNCA for the past 12 months but asked to step down because he couldn't cope with the stress-load anymore which was having a negative impact on his.

Norman Munzhelele is taking over as acting managing director of eNCA. Norman Munzhelele has been with the eMedia Investments group for 3 years.

Jeremy Maggs will continue to co-anchor the SA Tonight timeslot - the prime time timeslot he originally anchored, then left for the afternoons and then returned to.

"This has not been an easy decision, but for the past few months the stressful nature of the job has caused me to re-evaluate both my position at the station and my life choices. I've been stressed and unwell for some time and I’ve made this decision in my own best interests and that of the station," Jeremy Maggs says in a prepared statement released on Tuesday morning.

Antonio Lee, eMedia Investments COO, says in the statement "We acknowledge Jeremy’s contribution during his tenure as acting editor-in-chief, and accept his wish to step down".

"Jeremy remains one of our top-rated presenters and is inextricably linked to the eNCA brand.  We are exploring other programing opportunities with him.  We thank Jeremy for the job he has done as acting editor-in-chief, and we look forward to continuing our working relationship with him."

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

BBC News announces it will get rid of 450 staffers in newsroom restructuring as the BBC plans to cover less stories, reduce spending on investigative reporting and journalists will increasingly be 'pooled' together to reduce duplication.

by Thinus Ferreira

The BBC's BBC News division is preparing to get rid of 450 staffers as part of a cost-cutting drive with the job cuts plan that was announced by the broadcaster on Wednesday.

BBC News has to save £80 million by 2022 (the BBC overall has to save £800 million) and retrenching part of the 6 000 staff complement is part of the plan. From this 6 000, 1 700 BBC News staffers work outside of the United Kingdom.

The job cuts and newsroom restructuring will very likely impact the BBC's global TV news channel BBC World News (DStv 400 / StarSat 400) although it's not yet exactly clear how.

The BBC's Newsnight will axe around 12 positions while production of its in-depth films will be halved and spending on investigative journalism will be reduced.

On-screen BBC news presenter jobs willalso be cut down.

Fran Unsworth, BBC News director, says "The BBC has to face up to the changing way audiences are using us. We need to reshape BBC News for the next decade in a way which saves substantial amounts of money".

"We are spending too much of our resources on traditional linear broadcasting and not enough on digital."

BBC journalists will increasingly be "pooled" in centralised teams, instead of working for specific programmes to reduce duplication by doing multiple versions of a story for different programming parts.

Fran Unsworth told BBC News staff that BBC News covers around 100 news stories daily across all of its output platforms which is "overwhelming" the public and not reaching audiences.

"Producing fewer stories means we have to be a smaller organisation. Never in my career have I felt this organisation is quite under the threat that it currently is. There are many that believe that how we are funded is no longer appropriate when consumers seem to prefer to pay just for what they use."

"I do need to be honest with you: this organisation has to face up to the changing way that audiences are using us. We have to adapt. We need to create a modern newsroom that is built for the future and not for the past."

"A modern newsroom needs to work smarter. We need to collaborate more and put the BBC News brand first."

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Simon Kariithi quits as MultiChoice Kenya GM for commercial, follows Eric Odipo out the door at the pay-TV operator in East Africa.

by Thinus Ferreira

Simon Kariithi has quit MultiChoice in Kenya where he was the MultiChoice Kenya general manager for commercial, leaving shortly after Eric Odipo quit as MultiChoice Kenya managing director in late-2019.

Eric Odipo joined MultiChoice Kenya in September 2017 from Westcon Africa, and has now been replaced by Nancy Matimu.

Simon Kariithi left MultiChoice Kenya at the end of December 2019 with no announcement from the pay-TV company. He joined MultiChoice Kenya in March 2017 as the general manager for GOtv Kenya.

Monday, January 27, 2020

SABC: No defamation court papers received after broadcaster's fired former legal boss said she's suing over her tarnished reputation.

by Thinus Ferreira

The South African public broadcaster has not been served with anything despite the SABC's fired former legal boss, Nompumelelo Phasha who alleged that she's taking the SABC's CEO and news boss to court.

"The SABC can confirm that it has not received any court papers relating to a defamation case, therefore we are unable to make any further comment," says Mmoni Seapolelo, SABC spokesperson.

Nompumelelo Phasha allegedly filed a case in the Johannesburg High Court two weeks ago, arguing that Madoda Mxakwe, SABC CEO, as well as Phathiswa Magopeni allegedly defamed her in interviews.

Nompumelelo Phasha alleged that a statement issued last year about her dismissal stated that she was facing charges of misconduct and conflict of interest after she failed to recuse herself from a procurement process that involved a relative.

The statement also mentioned that Nompumelelo Phasha was allegedly involved in a fraudulent trade exchange deal at the SABC amounting to R8 million.

Nompumelelo Phasha said that she's going to court for defamation demanding R14 million from Madoda Mxakwe and Phathiswa Magopeni in their personal capacity as the statement was wrongful, malicious and unlawful and had tarnished her reputation.

eNCA adds property show, Property Matters, with DJ Euphonik.

by Thinus Ferreira

eNCA (DStv 403) has decided to add a new property show, Property Matters, which will be presented by DJ Euphonik.

Property Matters will broadcast on Mondays on eNCA at 09:55 with DJ Euphonik (Themba Mbongeni Nkosi) as the presenter.

eNCA didn't provide the media with any information about the show or that Property Matters is starting.

Property Matters is an advertiser-funded production (AFP).

In an interview on eNCA DJ Euphonik said that "a lot of South Africans don't understand the jargon that comes with property so I wanted to do something that's very layman's terms and that explains things in street language so that it's not so complicated".

"We literally look at from the day you decide to buy a property, what do you do?"

"If we put the knowledge in the hands of the people in the streets it will easier for everyone to get involved in something."

Sky News marks the 200th anniversary today of the discovery of the icy continent with a documentary special, A New Climate: Antarctica.

It has lost three trillion tonnes of ice over the last 25 years. Half of that has been in the last five years.

To mark the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica today, 27 January 2020, Sky News (DStv 402) will be broadcasting the documentary A New Climate: Antarctica on Monday (time(s) not known).

The first recorded sighting of Antarctica was on 27 January 1820 by the Russian naval officer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen. He spotted an ice shelf on the Princess Martha coast. Three days later a British expedition led by Edward Bransfield sighted land on the Antarctic Peninsula.

In A New Climate: Antarctica, which once again doesn't show up on MultiChoice's DStv Guide which makes it impossible to set a reminder or a recording on a DStv PVR, Sky News' science correspondent Thomas Moore travels to Antarctica to investigate how climate change is affecting this remote continent.

Antarctica faces a growing threat from fishing and mining as its ice melts and the world's population swells.

Friday, January 24, 2020

BBC News' Africa editor and correspondent Fergal Keane stepping down from reporter role after revealing he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

by Thinus Ferreira

BBC News'Africa editor and correspondent Fergal Keane is stepping down from his editor and reporter role after revealing that he's been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for several years.

The multiple award-winning veteran war reporter who was seen on BBC World News (DStv 400 / StarSat 400) covered and reported from multiple international conflict zones for years, including the genocide in Rwanda.

Jonathan Munro, the head of BBC News newsgathering in an email to staff announced that Fergal Keane is leaving his position and that "the reasons behind the decision are personal. For several years, Fergal Fergal has been dealing privately with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stemming from several decades of work in conflict zones around the world".

"He has been supported throughout this time by friends and colleagues in News, as well as receiving professional medical advice. However, he now feels he needs to change his role in order to further assist his recovery. It is both brave and welcome that he is ready to be open about PTSD."

Jonathan Munro praised the highly-respected foreign correspondent for bringing "huge insight, experience and thoughtfulness to the role, covering a wide range of different stories across the continent".

Fergal Keane is in discussions with BBC News over a new role "that will enable him to continue to provide original and compelling journalism". He will also "help to "guide and nurture emerging talent in the United Kingdom and around the world".

The Irish Fergal Keane joined the BBC in 1989 as Northern Ireland correspondent and became Southern Africa correspondent in 1990, after which he also became Asia correspondent for the BBC. He was later appointed as BBC News Africa editor.

More than 1 000 MultiChoice staffers gone after the African pay-TV operator's latest round of restructuring.

by Thinus Ferreira

Over 1 000 MultiChoice staffers have lost their jobs after the Randburg-based pay-TV operator started its latest process of mass retrenchment in June 2019.

In June 2019 MultiChoice announced that it wants to get rid of of thousands of staffers in its call centre division and walk-in centres as part of a restructuring of its "customer service delivery model".

At the time MultiChoice said that DStv subscribers have been making use less and less of the MultiChoice call centres and also emailed them less. MultiChoice's walk-in customer service centres have also seen a decrease in customers visiting.

MultiChoice said that its restructuring process would affect up to 2 194 workers.

The Information Communication and Technology Union (ICTU) trade union at the time said that the union would fight MultiChoice's plan to fire workers and that the union was not consulted.

MultiChoice confirmed that the pay-TV operator had shed just over 1 000 workers who took voluntary severance packages.

Over 1 000 workers decided to accept other positions within the company's structure.

MultiChoice opens some further channels to lower-tiered DStv subscribers, will make upcoming Nigerian love reality competition series Ultimate Love available to South African viewers.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice is opening access of 3 TV channels to lower-tiered DStv packages, adding two pop-up channels and will be making the upcoming new Nigerian love reality competition series, Ultimate Love available as a channel to South African viewers.

The Nick Jr. (DStv 307) channel from ViacomCBS International Media Networks is made available for DStv Compact Plus subscribers, while DStv Family subscribers are getting access to the National Geographic (DStv 181) channel from Fox Networks Group as well TRACE Urban (DStv 326) supplied by TRACE.

M-Net Movies is running the M-Net Movies Blackout: The Leading Men Edition (DStv 109) pop-up channel for DStv Premium subscribers between 24 January and 16 February 2020.

The channel will showcase some of Hollywood’s greatest black actors in their biggest films with over 100movies starring actors like Morgan Freeman, Samuel L. Jackson, Martin Lawrence and Eddie Murphy.

MultiChoice is opening the Moja Love (DStv 157) channel from SiyayaTV to DStv Access subscribers from 7 February until 6 March 2020.

MultiChoice is also making its new Big Brother Naija-type love reality show, Ultimate Love, available in South Africa. 

The Ultimate Love channel (DStv 198) will run from 9 February until 5 April 2020 in what the pay-TV operator says is a "first-of-its-kind Nigerian reality show".

Sixteen contestants - 8 men and 8 women - will be living together for 8 weeks in an isolated mansion looking for love until there is only one potential couple left who could win a traditional wedding and a home. 

According to the producers "participants will be paired based on their mutual attraction to one another and will compete to emerge as the ultimate couple of the competition".

Mark Rayner, MultiChoice South Africa CEO, says "We are continuously looking at ways that will ensure that customers across all our packages are able to access some of the great content that is available on our platform".

"Having these channels available for our customers is part of our ongoing commitment to bringing a wide variety of the best in local and international content that touches the lives of our viewers."

See Meghan in a movie: SABC2 adds Meghan Markle's final romantic comedy film, Dater's Handbook, to its Saturday 25 January 2020 schedule.

by Thinus Ferreira

With the drama and upheaval surrounding Prince Harry and his wife Meghan that the British tabloids labelled "Megxit", the SABC has jumped to schedule a rom-com starring Meghan Markle with Dater's Handbook that will be broadcast on Saturday afternoon at 16:00 on SABC2.

"Meghan has a royal time searching for Prince Charming," says SABC2.

The channel's schedule shows Dater's Handbook supposedly airing at 16:00, although the on-air promo showing and saying 21:00 as the starting time, so try and tune-in to check at both times or set recordings for both film timeslots on Saturday.

In the Hallmark Channel Original film from 2016 that was part of the TV channel's Valentine's Day week line-up, Cassandra Brand (Meghan Markle) plays a successful business woman that appears unsuccessful in her personal life.

She then decides to try the so-called "Dater's Handbook" of the relationship expert Dr Susie at her sister's encouragement and dates several guys to test the process. In the end she must choose between reliable George (Jonathan Scarfe) or the fun-loving Robert (Kristoffer Polaha).

Dater's Handbook is Megan Markle's final film before she retired from acting prior to her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018.

Moja Love forced to yank hyped Babes Wodumo and Mampintsha tabloid shock doc after Gqom couple goes to court.

by Thinus Ferreira

SiyayaTV's Moja Love (DStv 157) was forced to yank its hyped tabloid documentary series about Babes Wodumo and Mampintsha just two hours before it was supposed to start screening on Thursday night after Gqom's most notorious couple went to court to stop its broadcast.

The 3-episode tell-all tabloid TV special entitled Impilo: Mampintsha West Ink, detailing the ongoing explosive claims of abuse suffered by Babes Wodumo (real name: Bongekile Simelane) in her turbulent relationship with Mandla "Mampintsha" Maphumulo, was axed just hours before it was scheduled to be shown after the couple took legal action against the channel.

Viewers were up in arms about the lurid promo even before the docu-series started and slammed Moja Love for allegedly exploiting domestic violence and abuse and the couple's relationship troubles.

In Moja Love's disturbing promo for the doc series Babes, wearing a hat and visibly drunk, slaps and pushes Mampintsha while accusing him of cheating on her and taking pictures with mistresses. he denies it and hurls insults at Babes.

Presenter Jub Jub who is the host of Moja Love's controversial Uyajola99 had done a sit-down interview with he couple.

In 2019 Mampintsha was caught physically abusing Babes in a live Instagram video which instantly went viral and led to a police case being opened against the former Big Nuz member.

In addition the 25-year old was also charged with assault by a friend who leaked footage of her discussing the case with friends before it was heard in court.

"Jub Jub as a close friend to Mampintsha and Babes wanted to offer the couple an opportunity to explain the abuse incident," says Bokani Moyo, the new Moja Love channel head.

However Babes and Mampintsha decided to go to court on Thursday to stop the shock doc and the interview they did from airing.

"Because the issue is now in the hands of the court and the matter will be heard on 2 April 2020, Moja Love had decided not to broadcast the programme," she said.

"Moja Love doesn't condone any form of violence and take all cases of assault very seriously. The channel is committed to broadcast fair and honest programmes reflecting the lived experiences of all South Africans."

Bokani Moyo says "We believe that that it is important that we confront all topical issues, especially if those that are involved can deliver a first-person account of their experiences and present insight of what the motivating factors are behind their actions."

The South African Film and Television Awards drops Sun City, shifts award show back to Johannesburg as NFVF makes changes and gets boycotting producers back onboard.

by Thinus Ferreira

The South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) is dropping Sun City as award show venue with the far-away and expensive money-waste of the past few years that is being curbed under new leadership and with the awards show returning to Johannesburg for 2020.

Local production companies who have been boycotting the awards including Word of Mouth productions and Ferguson Films are once again entering their shows for possible Golden Horns following discussions with the organisers.

Under new National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) CEO, Makhosazana Khanyile, the 14th Saftas will once again be taking place in Johannesburg - this year at the Sandton Convention Centre on 27 and 28 March.

The NFVF inexplicably moved its annual award show to Sun City for 2017, 2018 and 2019 with critics and the TV and film industry who derided the decision and saw talent who had to drive there and often back afterwards late at night, also curtailing easy access and making it difficult for various media to try and cover the awards.

The NFVF wanted on-screen talent and producers to pay a "discount" price of between R3810 and R5566 to stay at Sun City in March 2019 for one night in order to attend the far-flung awards ceremony.

In late-2019 the NFVF decided to scupper Sun City and the huge additional expenses associated with mounting the days' long awards show at the holiday resort in the North West province and to return the awards show to Johannesburg.

The 14th Saftas will once again do a two-day awards show - on 27 March for the various crafts honouring technical categories, as well as on 28 March as the main awards show which will be televised on SABC2 from 19:00.

The NFVF has not yet said whether the important writers' categories will be returned after all writing awards were abruptly dumped without any prior warning from 2019's main show, angering the scriptwriting community and the larger TV and film industry.

"We are cognisant of the criticism that has been levelled towards the Saftas in past instalments and we are keen to show the industry our commitment to benchmarking against best practise," says Makhosazana Khanyile.

"To that end, the NFVF team met and consulted with the Baftas team to see what learnings could be incorporated into making these awards better and as a result, some categories were revised, and we feel we are inching closer to having an award show with proper and continued industry buy-in".

"Ensuring the credibility of the awards within the industry meant reaching out to some production companies that had previously boycotted the Saftas and we are pleased to announce that both Word of Mouth productions doing Muvhango on SABC2 and Ferguson Films producing The Queen on M-Net's Mzansi Magic have once again entered their work for consideration into the awards".

"We continuously aim to improve the prestige of the Golden Horn," she says.

Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi series with Ewan McGregor put on hold as Disney reduces script order and looks for a new writer.

by Thinus Ferreira

The planned Star Wars live-action Obi-Wan Kenobi drama series has been put on hold and the script order reduced as Disney is looking for a new writer.

According to The Hollywood Reporter pre-production on the new drama series for the Disney+ streaming service has been put on hold after the first couple of scripts from writer Hossein Amini have been scrapped.

Ewan McGregor who played Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequel film series will reprise his role in the TV series with director Deborah Chow but the initial scripts - revolving around how Obi-Wan takes a young Luke Skywalker under his wing - wasn't good enough.

The script order for the as-yet-untitled Obi-Wan series has now been reduced from 6 episodes to 4 episodes. Disney had no comment.

Disney+'s The Mandalorian as the first live-action Star Wars series made its debut in December to huge success, praised by viewers as well as critics and has been renewed for a second season.

Ewan McGregor told IGN that the series delay won't change the release date of the show in 2021.

"I've read about 80, 90 percent of what they've written so far, and it’s really, really good. Instead of shooting this August, they just want to start shooting in January, that's all. Nothing more dramatic than that."

"It often happens in projects, they just wanted to push it to next year. It will have the same release date, I don’t think it will affect the release date. They're still shooting towards having the show release when it was going to be originally."

The new series is set 8 years after the events of Star Wars - Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Disney drops the official trailer for the final spectacular-looking 7th season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars - but South African viewers won't get to see it.

Disney has dropped a fantastic official teaser for the final 12-episode 7th season of the revived animation series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars announcing that it will become available on its Disney+ streaming service from 21 February, with a new episode released on a weekly basis.

South African and African viewers watched Star Wars: The Clone Wars first on WarnerMedia's Cartoon Network (DStv 301) and then followed it to the Walt Disney Company's Disney XD (DStv 304) channel, and then to Netflix.

Now however there will be no legal way for them to see the final season's episodes when it debuts on Disney+.

Disney isn't making its streaming service available in South Africa or anywhere on the African continent which means that viewers who had invested their time in watching it, can't see how it ends.

by Thinus Ferreira

After its cancellation, Star Wars: The Clone Wars that has now been revived, will seamlessly resume where the unresolved storylines left off.

In the final and 7th season viewers will see with the same characters like Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein), Captain Rex (Dee Bradley Baker), Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Arnold Taylor) and Darth Maul (Sam Witwer), using the same voice actors and taking place at the same time period in that galaxy far, far away.

The show is set between the period of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith with the final episodes that will overlap with the events transpiring in Revenge of the Sith and that ends with the Jedi order being decimated through Order 66.

The official trailer shows what looks to be a spectacular duel between the failed Jedi padawan Ahsoka Tano and Darth Maul on the planet of Mandalore.

E.K. Johnston's novel Ahsoka revealed that the Siege of Mandalore was brought to an abrupt end by Order 66, which means that the season might very well show how Ahsoka gets forced to break off her fight with Darth Maul to escape the Stormtroopers who will suddenly turn on all Jedi.

TV REVIEW. In sci-fi television's dark universe Star Trek Picard on Amazon Prime Video adds a speck of inner light.

by Thinus Ferreira

In an unsure, unstable world of Trump, Twitter, climate change and coronavirus outbreaks, the return of a character like Star Trek's Jean-Luc Picard in Amazon Prime Video's new Star Trek: Picard understatedly underlines just how much - just like Oprah - certain people are desperately needed back on television.

Although somewhat changed by time, Patrick Stewart's measured, thoughtful Picard is still one of the characters deeply needed on television, once again embodying an inner, collective moral consciousness in a galaxy where few care to care, or to listen.

"Let's behave like civilised men," says the former-Captain-then-Admiral-now-retired "Jay-El", once again elegantly portrayed in the 10-episode, first season of Star Trek: Picard.

The new series throws the well-known, well-worn, trusted Starfleet captain - as well as viewers - back into a tumultuous, angst-riddled, scared and gridlocked galaxy where everybody is unsure of themselves and their place in the world, and therefore scared of each other.

Set in 2399, the world and galaxy of Star Trek: Picard is still the one from The Next Generation, DS9 and Voyager, but in the 18 years since the Star Trek: Nemesis film in 2002, 18 years also passed in Gene Roddenberry's universe.

In the way that our lives changed over two decades with iPhones, airport screenings and an increasingly more unstable world, so Picard's world changed with LCARS morphing into hologram displays, now drinking his tea "Earl Grey decaf", the creation and banning of "synths" (androids) after they attacked Mars, and the Roluman homeworld that got destroyed by a supernova.

"I never dreamed that Starfleet would give in to intolerance and fear," Picard remarks during the 3 first three episodes made available for review, with viewers who get to discover how and why Picard left Starfleet as he is lured back to a new space-bound adventure.

"You need a crew. Riker. Worf. LaForge," suggest a character for Picard's latest mission  - to which he says "no".

It's exactly because they would help that he can't risk asking or taking them. This isn't "All Good Things" - the final episode of The Next Generation - but a new mystery and challenge that might bring proper closure and redemption for the story of the beloved Data android character in a clever and inventive way.

While The Expanse which dropped its fourth season last month (co-incidentally on Amazon Prime Video as well) remains the very best science fiction on television in the current zeitgeist, Star Trek: Picard could move itself to second place depending on how the season's story plays itself out.

Star Trek: Picard is what Star Trek: Discovery should have been and what a lot of flim-flam so-called "genre television" these days try to do but don't because of a lack of budget, and talent behind and in front of the screen.

Star Trek: Picard feels Next Generation-ey in a way that Star Trek: Discovery has never yet felt like Star Trek except for Anson Mount as Captain Pike.

Created by executive producer Alex Kurtzman and the screenwriter and novelist Michael Chabon, Star Trek: Picard has the TNG-genes but poured into a current day mould.

There are the familiar yet slightly adapted uniforms but newly fitted around a political intrigue story, transporter technology sparkling around new questions about legacy, appearance and reality, "Borg cube reclamation", secret assassins and interplanetary spy games.

"I've never cared for science fiction. Just never got it," Jean-Luc quips in one of several in-jokes.

Longtime fans of The Next Generation will have little to complain about. Yes, it's not as brightly lit. It's not as clean. Starfleet is no longer so perfect (was it ever, Pegasus?). Yet with the growing existence and investigation of synthetic beings, Star Trek: Picard feels even more human than Gene Roddenberry's utopian world.

Eagle-eyed fans will spot several small mistakes (will aircon outlet grills at convention centres really be the 2020-style in 2399?) but it's probably to be expected from a start-up show with a smaller budget than the syndicated TNG in its 1990s heydey.

Design-wise the production could have done more to include more Next Gen familiarity, but again, they probably didn't have the budget.

With interweaving character setting, setup and the time taken to assemble the new group of travelling stargazers, the first three episodes of Star Trek: Picard might feel a bit drawn out until it gets to "engage" at the end of episode 3.

Viewers who stick around for the new setup to be established will find it worth the wait.

In an era of antihero-filled television an older, wiser, and slightly more unsure Picard is a lot of things but not disappointing and not a sell-out. With a lot of dark television around Star Trek: Picard adds a speck of inner light.

The review is based on the first 3 episodes of season 1 of Star Trek: Picard.

Star Trek: Picard is available on Amazon Prime Video.

ALSO READ: Engage! Here's everything you need to know and see before you start to watch the new Star Trek: Picard on Amazon Prime Video.

South Africa's MultiChoice Talent Factory film academy ropes in film biz experts for a 3-day workshop in the Eastern Cape for emerging filmmakers.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice and its MultiChoice Talent Factory South Africa (MTFza) film academy held a workshop in the Eastern Cape this week from Tuesday to Thursday to help upskill young and emerging filmmakers in the country.

Emerging filmmakers were chosen by South Africa's department of arts and culture to attend the 3-day film workshop that took place at the East London International Conference Centre.

The training workshop consisted out of a series masterclasses, led by industry experts in the field of video entertainment and covered various elements of filmmaking, including, scriptwriting, producing, directing, sound, lighting and cinematography.

Industry experts who helped to present sessions included Mzansi Magic (Dstv 161) commissioning editors Sanele Shiba and Wanda Sondiyazi; the film director, screenwriter and producer Darrell Roodt known for producing Sarafina; as well as Phathutshedzo "Phathu" Makwarela, the scriptwriter and co-founder of Tshedza Pictures.

"The sustainability of the video entertainment industry in the country and on the continent depends on our ability to attract and develop fresh young talent," says Joe Heshu, the MultiChoice group executive for corporate affairs.

"Opportunities such as this, and particularly with the support of regional government and other key industry stakeholders, provide the perfect platform to identify and nurture aspiring young filmmakers."

"Our intention is to immerse participants in the world of filmmaking so that they leave with a better
understanding of the commitment and skills that are required to take this journey to the next level."

Phumeza Skoti, chief executive of the Eastern Cape Provincial Arts and Culture Council (ECPACC) that runs the Eastern Cape Film Office, says "The masterclass has been very informative and inspirational in our journey to develop the film and television industry in the Eastern Cape".

"The specialist skills and experiences shared by renowned industry players will go a long way in empowering local film makers to take up space and seize opportunities that exists in the industry."

Fezeka Bayeni, the Eastern Cape MEC for sports, recreation, arts and culture, says "Film has great potential to contribute to the development of the Eastern Cape economy and as such, we have made it one of the priorities of the department".

"The Eastern Cape has a rich heritage, great stories to be told and amazing locations for film. This partnership with MultiChoice is therefore a very important platform in helping to develop and train filmmakers as part of our effort to grow the film industry in the province."

Engage! Here's everything you need to know and see before you start to watch the new Star Trek: Picard on Amazon Prime Video.

by Thinus Ferreira

Make it so! With the first episode of the new Star Trek: Picard series diving right into the action and intrigue without explanation, existing Star Trek viewers and new ones need to know the following and should watch the following 6 old episodes and 2 films to fully enjoy the story of Captain-then-Admiral-now-retired Jean-Luc Picard's next exciting chapter.

Star Trek: Picard, taking place 18 years after the final Star Trek: The Next Generation film, Nemesis (in which the android character of Data died) is becoming available on Amazon Prime Video this Friday.

The 10-episode first season, with Patrick Stewart once again reprising his iconic role, will release episodes weekly and the series has been renewed for a second season.

Episodes of Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: DS9, as well as Star Trek: Voyager are all streaming on Netflix South Africa, although the new Star Trek: Picard series is on Amazon Prime Video for South African viewers and all viewers outside of the United States and Canada.

Jean-Luc, or "Jay-El" as one of the characters now refers to him and who has been quietly living on a wine farm in France, is quickly drawn into a brand-new mystery involving a possible Starfleet conspiracy and cover-up, a nefarious Romulan plot, a strange young woman seeking his help, and a new crop of androids now called "synths".

Since Starfleet doesn't want to help him, Jean-Luc assembles a new rag-tag crew aboard a new ship (although the iconic USS Enterprise NCC-1701 D does make a surprise appearance) to boldly go and solve the latest mystery.

Former Star Trek characters Brent Spiner (Data), Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine), Jonathan Del Arco (Hugh), Jonathan Frakes (William Riker) and Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi) all appear.

It's important to watch certain essential previous Star Trek episodes and films that provide all of the important background, character development and story to understand precisely who the characters are, and how they and the story fit together.

Before you zoom off at warp speed with the latest tale, watch these 6 essential episodes and 2 films:

Conspiracy (Star Trek: TNG, season 1, episode 25)
See how Captain Picard discovers that officers at Starfleet Command on Earth are acting strangely, eventually finding a big conspiracy.

The Measure of a Man (Star Trek: TNG, season 2, episode 9)
Dats is put on trial and defended by Picard when a scientist, Bruce Maddox, wants to dismantle and experiment on him to create android replicas.

The Offspring (Star Trek: TNG, season 3, episode 16)
Data creates an android daughter Lal and tries to raise her.

The Best of Both Worlds I & II (Star Trek: TNG, season 3, episode 26)
Picard battles the Borg.

I, Borg (Star Trek: TNG, season 5, episode 23)
The Enterprise crew meets the severed Borg called Hugh.

Scorpion I & II (Star Trek: Voyager, season 3, episode 26)
The introduction of the Borg character, Seven of Nine, who gets severed from the Borg collective and rejoins humanity.

Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
A bad film and the movie end of The Next Generation crew but it contains important background as to what happened to Data, Picard, and the Romulans. Data sings the song "Blue Skies" that features in the new series, as well as B4 (another android version like Data) that features in the film and in the new series. Data also makes a sacrifice that echoes into the new series.

Star Trek (2009)
Not part of the "real" Star Trek but set in the so-called "Kelvin timeline", this reboot film with Chris Pine as Captain Kirk is however important to see, since it deals with a supernova destroying the planet of Romulus. While this event happened in the new Star Trek parallel universe of J.J. Abrams, it also happened in the classic Star Trek universe.
The Picard of Star Trek: Picard references and deals with this aftermath from "his/our" side and the fact that original-version Starfleet chose not to help.

ALSO READ: TV REVIEW. In sci-fi television's dark universe Star Trek: Picard on Amazon Prime Video adds a speck of inner light.

SABC done with Zaziwa; once-hot music talk show with Pearl Modiadie that saw its big ratings destroyed by SABC1 finally cancelled for good.

by Thinus Ferreira

The SABC is done with its once-hot Zaziwa talk show with the Pearl Modiadie-fronted music magazine programme on SABC1 that has finally been cancelled for good despite earlier promises from the broadcaster that it would return.

The SABC tells TVwithThinus that a decision was taken not to renew Zaziwa for another season.

"SABC programmes are subjected to a review exercise for recommissioning with the intention of ensuring that the channels are able to deliver and become competitive platforms. Therefore, following a review of Zaziwa, a decision was taken not to recommission the show for another season," says Mmoni Seapolelo, SABC spokesperson.

"SABC1 is however exploring other content ideas and formats in the timeslot, allowing room to curate a diverse offering to viewers."

The once-popular Zazizwa, produced by Thabo Mphelo Films, drew between 3.5 and 4 millions of viewers to SABC1 as a ratings hit in its original Thursday night prime time slot of 19:30 until SABC1 executives decided to uproot it and destroyed its viewership in what became a self-inflicted wound.

In February 2017 SABC1 ripped Zaziwa from the schedule and transplanted it to Sunday nights at 20:30 - a lifestyle television "death slot" where, as predicted, viewers abandoned the show by the millions.

In August of the same year SABC1 quietly decided to dump Zaziwa from the schedule entirely to make space for yet another old rerun of Shaka Zulu, planning to bring Zaziwa back in a few months' time.

Nobody from SABC1 told a flabbergasted Pearl Modiadie that her show is off the schedule and off the air, with the Zaziwa presenter who had to hear from the media and not the SABC that Zaziwa has abruptly been shelved from its struggling Sunday evening timeslot.

Then SABC1 said that Zaziwa would return to a weekday and its erstwhile 19:30 timeslot but on Wednesdays, although it didn't materialise. 

On her Instagram page Pearl Modiadie in 2019 when she was asked if Zaziwa will ever return to SABC1, said that "When it does, I will put it out there right now I don't know. I've enjoyed it for the past 5 years, let's wait and see what happens next".