Debora Patta and e.tv is parting ways with e.tv's longrunning weekly investigative and current affairs show, 3rd Degree, anchored by Debora Patta, with 3rd Degree which will suddenly be ending next Tuesday 14 May after Debora Patta leaves e.tv.
So shocking and sudden is Debora Patta's departure that 3rd Degree is ending too.
There appears to be indications that Debora Patta and e.tv's split was possibly not entirely amicable - Debora Patta's shocking departure contains no finely-transitioned future for 3rd Degree and tellingly a press statement from e.tv and it's 24-hour news channel, eNCA, contains no drop-in quote from Debora Patta.
Debora Patta was the executive producer and anchor of 3rd Degree and is leaving to become a freelance broadcaster. Debora Patta's shocking departure comes just a few month's shy of 3rd Degree's 13th anniversary.
The show debuted in August 2000 on the then-new e.tv TV channel which started in 1998 and where Debora Patta worked since e.tv started.
Debora Patta and 3rd Degree quickly became a new South African television popular culture touchstone with her "take-no-prisoners" approach of strong and often brazen interrogation-type interviewing techniques.
When the eNews Channel started with Debora Patta who played an instrumental role in setting up South Africa's first independent 24-hour TV news channel, 3rd Degree also branched out with an additional half hour of the show entitled 3rd Degree Plus.
Debora Patta was appointed editor-in-chief of e.tv news in 2005 but four years later in September 2009 she resigned citing work pressure and that she wanted to concentrate more on producing the demanding 3rd Degree. She said at the time that she wanted to "follow my passion for journalism".
The 3rd Degree name became synonymous as a TV brand with Debora Patta's firebrand signature style and even almost 13 years later 3rd Degree still consistently ranks as one of e.tv top watched shows in terms of overall viewers.
Now 3rd Degree's production team will be reassigned to other shows while the eNCA looks at creating a new weekly current affairs programme for the two TV channels. "There were planned changed in the pipeline anyway," for 3rd Degree, says the eNCA, which the news channel says it won't be discussing.
TV with Thinus detailed the unusual and growing presence of Debora Patta this year on other TV news channels as she's started to clock up a lot of time in 2013 with appearances on international 24-hour news channels.
Debora Patta popped up on CNN International (DStv 401) in February to comment on the Oscar Pistorius drama. That wasn't so unusual since she was asked onto Amanpour as a local TV news expert.
Alarm bells however started to ring when Debora Patta suddenly showed up on the CBS Evening News in March - one of America's nightly TV news bulletins but which is simulcast daily on Sky News (DStv 402) and can hence be seen in South Africa but on a directly competing channel to eNCA. What's more is that Debora Patta wasn't on this news show as an analyst but as a full correspondent, reporting a story.
"Debora Patta will be leaving to pursue other interests as a freelancer for international news companies," says Patrick Conroy, the eNCA group head of news in a statement. "She tendered her resignation which was accepted by the management of eNCA and e.tv."
"It's simply time for a change," says eNCA.
"After 15 years of service Debora Patta wants to explore other options," says Patrick Conroy. "We've been in discussions about the future of 3rd Degree for several months. In the end she felt she wanted to try something new working as an independent freelancer. We agreed and will now explore a different on-air offering."
Monde Twala, the head of e.tv channels says "we'd like to thank Debora Patta for her 15 years of service and wish her well with her new business venture."