Thursday, March 5, 2015

BREAKING. kykNET cancels Afrikaans soap Villa Rosa; cast and crew in shock as they're told the soap is done after 11 years.

Villa Rosa is cancelled, with kykNET (DStv 144) which decided to end the long running Afrikaans TV soap - the shocked cast and crew were told at 16:00 on Wednesday afternoon about the decision, I'm told.

There's been no announcement, press statement or comment from kykNET which decided to axe the soap set at a fictional guest house in Bloemfontein - the latest in a spree of unexplained scheduling culling at the Afrikaans TV channel on DStv.

It leaves Binnelanders as the only Afrikaans language TV soap on South African pay TV.

Insider sources tell TV with Thinus that the shocked cast and crew were told on Wednesday afternoon at 16:00 at Atlas Studios in Auckland Park that Villa Rosa is over.

The rest of the 11th season of Villa Rosa will be filmed until the end of July after which the production is done.

Villa Rosa will remain on air in new original episodes from Mondays to Thursdays in the 18:30 timeslot which will be broadcast until March 2016.

Villa Rosa started in October 2004 on kykNET and was initially only broadcast on Mondays, after which the frequency increased to Mondays and Wednesdays, and later to four days a week.

Villa Rosa celebrated its 2 000 episode at the end of November 2014 and after 11 years several of the original Villa Rosa actors are still part of the main cast of the soap which is produced by Spectro Produksies.

The shocking Villa Rosa decision and the news to cast and crew comes after the Afrikaans channel, supplied to MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform, also decided to can its weekday breakfast show Dagbreek after just two years, as well as implementing dramatic cutbacks to its recently introduced late night timeslot strand - cutting back the hour long shows to half hours each and cancelling some programming outright just 4 months after starting it.

The cancellation of Villa Rosa - the channel's first Afrikaans soap - raises raises multiple serious questions inside South Africa's TV industry about what exactly is going on at kykNET, the reasons for the mass cancellations and original programming cutbacks, and why kykNET is suddenly making the cascading cancellation decisions.

The controversial decisions and mass cancellations rocking kykNET and its schedule will not be good news.

First off kykNET has not been transparent about announcing the decisions itself as a M-Net supplied TV channel on DStv before it received media enquiries about it, although it knew the decisions are coming.

Thursday night is also going to be particularly awkward for kykNET and the channel's executives attending.

Thursday night is the  live broadcast of the fifth annual 2015 kykNET Fi√ęstas award ceremony on kykNET from Cape Town's Artscape.

It's a given that the Afrikaans glitterati attending, will be talking and be whispering only about one awkward thing on the red carpet - or maybe three: the cancellation of Dagbreek, the cancellation of Villa Rosa and the apparent failure of kykNET's late night timeslot strand it introduced in October 2014 with such great fanfare.