I can break the news and reveal that Oprah Winfrey is returning to South Africa television from October with a dedicated programming block of her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), which includes her new talk show Oprah's Next Chapter, on the TLC channel on MultiChoice's DStv which is being renamed TLC Entertainment.
This is a story I've been tracking for months, and made specific media enquiries about it last week, this week, and the latest yesterday, and this afternoon the news that Oprah Winfrey programming is coming to South Africa as TLC on MultiChoice's DStv changes to TLC Entertainment.
The existing TLC channel will remain on On Digital Media's (ODM) TopTV and won't be changing to TLC Entertainment and also won't contain the Oprah Winfrey programming.
The move to make OWN programming available on South Africa on TLC Entertainment follows after Discovery Networks International (DNI) did a similar roll-out earlier this year in the United Kingdom, and also announced the same for Australia.
South African viewers will once again be able to watch Oprah Winfrey who is also visiting South Africa in October, when the OWN programming kicks in together with the renaming of the channel from 17 October.
Besides Oprah's Next Chapter, the talk show queen's highly rated new talk show, viewers will also be able to see Oprah Winfrey in programmes such as Oprah's Master Class and Oprah's Lifeclass and Super Soul Sunday.
Oprah's Next Chapter with Justin Bieber shown in 2012 on TLC in South Africa on DStv and TopTV was the number one programme on TLC for the year on the channel, while in January the two part interview with Lance Armstrong ranked number one in its timeslot across all channels and became the best ever rated portfolio show in South Africa, achieving a share above 7% with viewers aged 15 and older.
OWN programming will be shown in primetime on Thursdays and Sundays on TLC Entertainment on DStv, with repeats during dayparts during the rest of the week.
"It's no secret that South Africa and Oprah Winfrey enjoy a mutual affinity - so bringing the block to this special market is the right step," says Luis Silberwasser, the executive vice president and chief content officer for Discovery Networks International.
"Building upon the success of the block in the UK and the excitement surrounding its upcoming launch in Australia, we are proud to bring this unique offering to DStv viewers," he says.
"Oprah couldn't be more proud and honoured to share her new television programs with South Africa," says Erik Logan, the president of OWN. "This an exciting milestone moment in our continued international expansion."
"Securing the OWN programming block is crucial," says James Gibbons, the senior vice president and country manager for Discovery Networks for the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA) region, saying that the rebranded TLC Entertainment "will feature content tailored to suit our loyal viewers" which will make the channel "even more enjoyable and appointment-to-view".
Collins Khumalo, the CEO of MultiChoice South Africa is also chiming in with a "Welcome back to Africa, Oprah!"
"We have a great partnership with Discovery Networks International that benefits our customers, bringing extraordinary entertainment through their channels. The refreshed TLC Entertainment is yet another example, with the inclusion of the best selection of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network programmes," says Collins Khumalo.
Besides Oprah's Next Chapter viewers will be able to watch Oprah's Master Class in which globally recognised names talk about their successes and failures, Oprah's Lifeclass in which experts give life advice and Super Soul Sunday in which thinkers, visionaries and authors discuss themes such as true happiness, spirituality and personal fulfillment.