Monday, October 5, 2015 grabs Empire and Tumisho Masha; renews telenovela Ashes to Ashes, adds music game show MVP Jam and also brings back Umlilo, Z'bondiwe.

The free-to-air commercial broadcaster which has found mass appeal for its programming strategy of creating compelling and original local black drama series for primetime has renewed the highly popular funeral parlour set telenovela Ashes to Ashes and handed out further season orders to Umlilo and Z'bondiwe. has also scooped up the free-to-air broadcasting rights to the hit American drama Empire which just started its second season on FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131) with the first and second season which will be seen on

While the SABC continues to makes damaging headlines for outrageous executive salaries, court cases, and behind-the-scenes turmoil at the public broadcaster, is making rating inroads by quickly securing popular overseas programming like Empire and keeping the press attention focused on its programming, on-screen talent and schedule properties. recently grabbed the new big hit Lip Sync Battle, as well as the reality competition show Bullseye on Saturdays at 18:05 and announced that its hit soap Scandal! has added soap actor Tumisho Masha to the cast as a brand-new villain. will also be doing a local South African version of Lip Sync Battle in 2016.

TV with Thinus was first to reveal back in May that's biggest latest viewership hit, Ashes to Ashes, will very likely be back for a new season after it suddenly changed the billing from "series finale to "season finale".

The channel is ready to roll out a brand-new game show, MVP Jam with Dineo Ranaka and DJ Mulo from 4 November at 18:00 targeting a black urban audience similar to what SABC2's Noot vir Noot has been doing for Afrikaans viewers.

After its already taken over SA's Got Talent, The Ultimate Braai Master and She's The One which used to be SABC2 and SABC3 shows, has now also commissioned a new local black drama which will be set and filmed in KwaZulu-Natal and which will rival SABC1's Uzalo which was filmed in KwaMashu. is also bringing back its popular eKasi series for a 6th season with various stories filmed in Soweto, Malelane and Newcastle, starting on 9 November at 21:00, while the second season of the local police drama Traffic! debuts on 6 October at 21:05, this time following a muti serial killer.

Kasi-licious will be back for a 3rd season on eKasi+ (OVHD 105) from 14 October at 18:00 with Tol A$$ Mo cooking with local celebrities.

A 5th season of Nicky Greenwall's profile interview show The Close Up will start on on 19 November at 18:00 featuring local personalities like Maps Maponyane, rapper iFani, DJ Sbu, Katlego Maboe and Kelly Khumalo.

"We have secured the first and second season of Empire. We currently have Gold Diggers which will be followed, officially, by Ashes to Ashes, the second season. We're in production and Ashes to Ashes will be back on screen on from 14 March at 20:00," Monde Twala, director of channels announced at's summer press preview on Saturday.

"At we're quite focused on making sure that we remain relevant, that we remain local, we inspire imagination and that we're the window to the world and the window for progressive South Africans to really engage and mirror the culture and who we are and moving the country forward," said Monde Twala.

Umlilo's new season will start in March 2016 on at 21:00, Z'bondiwe will return for a new season in May 2016 at 21:30. Empire's first season will start on on 3 February 2016 at 21:30.

Below some images from's summer press preview day on Saturday held outside Krugersdorp: