SABC3's Presenter Search on 3 reality competition show concluded Friday night naming the three Capetonians Zoe Brown, Danilo Acquisto and Jade Hubner as the winners getting dream TV presenting gigs.
Zoe Brown (25) will join breakfast show Expresso, Danilo Acquisto (24) is added to afternoon variety and talk show Afternoon Express, and Jade Hubner (23) is the latest addition to the weekly glamarama magazine show Top Billing.
The 13-part reality show seeking new on-air talent for the three SABC3 TV shows and which previously unearthed Simba Mhere and Jonathan Boynton-Lee, ended with the three telegenic winners being announced in Zanzibar at a pool-side ceremony.
Like the previous two presenter searches also produced by Tswelopele Productions, the third iteration once again saw thousands of hopefuls line up across South Africa for the chance to audition and show their TV presenting skills.
Part of the SABC that works
Even more than before, the Presenter Search on 3 managed to incredibly successfully and in a unique way for South African television, both showcase to great effect other SABC TV shows and personalities.
Presenter Search on 3 promoted other SABC shows incredibly well while giving viewers a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of these productions ranging from shows like SABC2's Morning Live and Three Talk with Noeleen to SABC3's Expresso, Top Billing and Neill Anthony Private Chef.
While the reality show weekly kept whittling down the number of South Africans dreaming of stardom through becoming TV presenters, the Presenter Search on 3 also managed to show a not often seen and remarkable side of the local and vibrant TV production sector: the part of the SABC that actually works.
Viewers got a glimpse of the production companies and shows that are well-oiled machines, turning out thousands of minutes of TV airtime every year within the South African TV world, as well as another, almost "realer", side of well-known presenters like brilliant guest mentor Ursula Chikane who shined in her advice, hands-on approach and admonishment; and Leanne Manas revealing the secrets of success of doing early morning television.
Ordinary viewers who will never be on TV had the chance to see presenters like Ursula Chikane candidly give away secrets and coax contestants to be better on camera in various TV presenting challenges, making for fascinating Friday night viewing.
Fanning out across the SABC3 schedule
Although the original plan was to add another woman, Danilo Acquisto, the former Hectic Nine-9 presenter on SABC2, will now be added to Afternoon Express on SABC3 to try and boost the ratings of the weekday afternoon gaggle-fest with Bonang Matheba, Jeannie D and Bonnie Mbuli. The show debuted last month with flat viewership and a lukewarm reception from viewers and TV critics.
Zoe Brown with a degree in international relations from the University of Stellenbosch will join SABC3's perky live weekday breakfast show Expresso, while Jade Hubner will be doing recorded inserts for the style and lifestyle show Top Billing.
Besides the presenting work, the three get to each drive a Mercedes-Benz for a year, R10 000 in cash, and a R50 000 Woolworths gift card to buy a better wardrobe.
Excited for the future
"Our top three finalists have really exceeded our expectations this year," says Aisha Mohamed, SABC3 channel head. "It's not easy finding a presenter, let alone three who have all the qualities to appeal to our vast audience.
"We wish Zoe, Jade and Danilo much success as they pursue their dreams on Expresso, Top Billing and Afternoon Express. May their careers continue to grow from strength to strength".
"Winning still feels surreal," says Zoe Brown, thanking viewers for their support. "Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would make it all the way to the end."
"I am grateful to be a new presenter on Afternoon Express," says Danilo Acquisto. "I look forward to making magic on SABC3. A big thank you to all the South Africans from all walks of life who supported and encouraged me."
"It's hard to believe this is actually happening," says Jade Hubner. "I used to joke that if you had to match my personality to a job, it would be as a Top Billing presenter. Well, as it turns out it wasn't a joke. It was my destiny. I'm overwhelmed with joy and humbled and grateful. I'm so excited for the future and can't wait to get started."