Monday, August 31, 2015

BREAKING. Zabalaza cancelled; Mzansi Magic axes the struggling soap after just 3 years after ratings and viewer interest waned.

The Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) soap Zabalaza is cancelled, with the M-Net supplied channel on MultiChoice's DStv which has axed the soap which has been struggling in the ratings.

Zabalaza will end its run in April 2016 after just three years.

Zabalaza was launched with big fanfare in 2013 but tanked with viewers and interest waned.

Urban Brew produced the now cancelled Zabalaza - and is interestingly also responsible for the new Gold Diggers, a telenovela with almost the same theme and background, for free-to-air channel

Zabalaza followed the launch of the channel's first telenovela Inkaba and Isibaya but Zabalaza with its township backdrop never became appointment television with viewers as M-Net and Mzansi Magic hoped.

"Zabalaza will also create appointment viewing," said Yolisa Phahle, M-Net's director of local interest channels at the time and now CEO of M-Net South Africa, although it never happened.

Producers and the channel tried in vain to reset the struggling soap by literally burning down the setting at the end of the second season and starting "a new era" at the beginning of the third season, moving much of the story line to an urban milieu in the same way SABC3's troubled Isidingo moved from its mining roots.

Nkateko Mabaso, M-Net's director for local interest channels confirms that Zabalaza is cancelled but says Mzansi Magic is "proud of the success sustained by Zabalaza in its three year run".

According to Nkateko Mabaso, Zabalaza , shown Mondays to Thursdays at 21:00, has "upped the standard of the local soap offering and we hope that we can continue to raise the bar".

Mzansi Magic has not announced what will fill the Zabalaza space and timeslot once the cancelled local show broadcasts its final episodes early next year.