M-Net has decided to dump the soap and use its money for other local TV productions, calling it a "difficult decision". The M-Net channel doesn't have a channel head since April, but Theo Erasmus, M-Net's director for general entertainment channels under which the M-Net channel falls, said that The Wild, which is a high-cost production, is getting cancelled so that it's massive production budget can be used to create other new shows.
It "could be spent on other productions that could possibly produce better ratings in a shorter period of time," Theo Erasmus said. The Wild's viewership was "not in line with the vast investment," the pay broadcaster said.
M-Net officially told The Wild's cast members and crew that the soap has been cancelled this morning and that the production won't be renewed for a third season.
M-Net tells me that the farm in the Northwest which M-Net bought and has been trying to rezone to turn it into a type of "backlot film studio in the bush" from which to produce The Wild will now be sold.
M-Net cancelled its longrunning soap Egoli three years ago - which alternated with Carte Blanche as the number one and number two shows on M-Net viewership wise - to replace it with The Wild. In contrast The Wild, filmed in high definition, set on a game farm and which lured big names like real-life soap couple Connie and Shona Ferguson, hardly cracked M-Net's Top 10 list of most watched programming from week to week.
The Wild also has the dubious distinction of being the first and only South Africa soap which ever got picketed following a public demonstration by the Creative Workers Union of South Africa (CWUSA) during its launch from disgruntled actors and industry workers unhappy about the contracts.
M-Net moved The Wild around to several timeslots trying to find a bigger audience; the last timeslot change happened in January.
In April MultiChoice decided there was better content to use DStv hard drive space for and removed The Wild from its list of DStv On Demand shows on decoders.
M-Net twice tried to repurpose The Wild on the black sister channel Mzansi Magic (DStv 107) in a bid to lure a bigger audience and expose the show to more viewers. The Wild battled a wildfire which cause the production to shut down, faced ongoing rezoning challenges which could still take many years to resolve and saw tumultuous changes behind the scenes where writers, producers, heads of departments and the series producer left the show.
Bobby Heaney from Imani Media production company eventually stepped in as the new executive producer and M-Net's Magic Factory production arm took over full production.
M-Net says it plans to create "spin-offs" from The Wild, set in a more "settled, urban environment" bringing to an end after two years, M-Net's location-based filming experiment.