NBCUniversal which owns the international rights for local versions of The Real Housewives ... reality show says the woman named Barbie Brazil (real name Thembi Ennie Tshabalala) who says she is producing a local South African version of Real Housewives of South Africa does not have the local production rights for a local version of the reality show.
Barbie Brazil says she does have the rights and is producing The Real Housewives of South Africa.
A Sunday newspaper in South Africa, which didn't check with NBCUniversal, reported that Barbie Brazil said she is going to produce Real Housewives for South Africa. Also according to the paper, Barbie Brazil said that she was going to be in Real Housewives herself.
On her Facebook page Barbie Brazil says she registered the paperwork for the reality franchise "and I have done it through the South African department of trade and industry. Therefore Bravo! [the international TV channel in America which shows the Real Housewives versions] cannot have the name in South Africa, I own it."
Jonathan Tuovinen, the international director of formats and production in the United Kingdom for NBCUniversal says "I need to inform that Barbie Brazil does not have the format rights for The Real Housewives franchise in South Africa."
"NBCUniversal and its affiliate Bravo! - the original channel that airs the US versions of the show is in no way affiliated with Barbie Brazil. She has never been in touch with us, and we have never heard of her."
Several versions of America's The Real Housewives have already shown and are showing in South Africa across various TV channels set in Atlanta, New Jersey, Orange County and New York showing "real housewives" going on shopping sprees, throwing tantrums and bickering.
Barbie Brazil's manager Lelo Bikitsha says on Facebook "I would like to clarify that Barbie does own The Real Housewives franchise in South Africa."
"I have the paperwork with me, all the necessary documents. Americans seem to think that if you register something there, it applies to the rest of the world, but patenting law strictly states that before you own any name, company or franchise in any other country either than the one you have registered in, you also have to go through the process of registering in that country. That is the law. This is nothing but an unfounded claim," says Lelo Bikitsha.