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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

E! Entertainment starts first local TV series, E! News Special, on DStv after more than a decade; 12-part series will profile South African celebrities.


E! Entertainment (DStv 124) is finally starting its first South African TV series which will profile some South Africans in the channel's well-known "fame-a-mentary" approach, more than a decade after MultiChoice added the American entertainment news channel to DStv.

The series, somewhat misguidedly just entitled E! News Special without making any reference to South Africa or a moniker to let viewers know it would be about local celebrities, will see episodes chronicling people like Bonang Matheba, Danny K, musician AKA and others.

NBCUniversal International Networks greenlit the local production for E! Entertainment, the first in longer than a decade since E! Entertainment was added to MultiChoice's DStv at the end of 2004 in a carriage agreement.

NBCUniversal International Networks has been very late to the party with local content for E! Entertainment as BBC Worldwide commissioned Come Dine with Me SA for BBC Entertainment, Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) started a flurry of local shows for MTV Base and other channels like MTV and BET, and even channels like History, Trace Sport Stars, TLC Entertainment and others got in on the act to regionalise their line-up with a sprinkling of some South African programming.

The fame biography genre which seemed new a decade ago to South African viewers has since become mundane viewing, with the E! News Special which some viewers might negatively compare to Nicky Greenwall's The Close Up on e.tv which will return for a 5th season of 13 episodes in November, as well as the just-concluded My Story on M-Net (DStv 101) all using the same approach.

E! News Special as a 12-part series, filmed in South Africa and produced by production company Brainstorm, will start on E! Entertainment on Thursday 10 September, profiling singers, actors, models, socialites and sport stars ranging from Terry Pheto to Sashi Naidoo.

"We are delighted to launch our first-ever local production on E! in Africa and add E! News Special to the channel's exclusive line-up of high-quality, original programming," says Colin McLeod, the managing director for emerging markets at NBCUniversal International Networks.

"We are confident that the profiles of local celebrities will resonate well with our audience, making E! the TV destination for the pop of African culture".