Sunday, March 5, 2017

M-Net's new programming communication show, The 101, starts with Donovan Goliath - but co-presenters Ebenhaezar Dibakwane and Virgil Prins have mysteriously been dropped.

After being pushed out from its originally planned starting date earlier in 2017, M-Net's new programming communications show to help M-Net viewers and DStv subscribers, The 101, will start today, Sunday 5 March at 15:30 but now with only a single presenter - Donovan Goliath - with the previously announced other two co-presenters Ebenhaezar Dibakwane and Virgil Prins who have been dropped.

The 101, aimed at helping M-Net channels viewers and DStv subscribers stay more up to date and more informed about various programmes and programming and scheduling changes, has a somewhat bisarre timeslot of 15:30.

If the aim of the show it so help viewers, it's odd that M-Net is choosing to schedule The 101 in an act of odd self-sabotage, in a Sunday mid-afternoon timeslot where not a lot of viewers are available or likely willing to watch it.

For The 101 to be effective in its communication strategy - its purpose - it needs to be seen, and a 15:30 timeslot on a Sunday is not where The 101 will be seen by as many people as possible - presumably the over-riding aim of a show like this.

The 101 will be available on DStv Catch Up weekly from Mondays, can be streamed through DStv Now and can also be watched on M-Net's Facebook and YouTube pages.

Viewers can send questions on social media with the hashtag #The101 that might get answered.

Another big The 101 oddity: Donovan Goliath is mentioned as the presenter of The 101, although M-Net earlier said Ebenhaezar Dibakwane and Virgil Prins would be the three presenters.

M-Net officially revealed and announced them publicly, together, when all three made a showing at M-Net's media day programming upfront in late January in Johannesburg before TV critics and the press.

Ebenhaezar Dibakwane and Virgil Prins who told me in January that they've filmed several inserts and episodes, have apparently quietly been dropped from The 101 before a a single episode has even aired, now leaving Donovan Goliath as the only presenter.

The 101 will take viewers through an upcoming week's programming highlights on the various M-Net and M-Net Movies channels and talk to celebrities in inserts that has an education slant to help viewers and DStv subscribers understand more about the programming and options to get more from their TV viewing.

"This important new show has been added to M-Net's offering in order to communicate directly with its viewers on a regular basis," says Lani Lombard, M-Net's head of publicity.

Donovan Goliath - with no mention of Ebenhaezar Dibakwane and Virgil Prins - will answer DStv and M-Net subscribers' questions about M-Net shows and highlight new series, movies and TV specials.

The 101 will also be repeated on M-Net (DStv 101) on Mondays and Tuesdays at 14:50.

The 101 was originally set to start in January but was postponed by two months because MultiChoice and M-Net executives decided to kill off the M-Net Edge and M-Net Family channels on DStv from April, that will see a lot of content move between channels, for instance the M-Net (DStv 101) and M-Net Edge (DStv 102) channels.

Because The 101, in a sense modeled on E! Entertainment's cancelled The Soup with Joel McHale, deals with programming and has to be as accurate as possible, it's very sensitive to produce given all of the upheaval in M-Net programming and constant changes.

The decision was taken to push the starting date of The 101 out so that M-Net doesn't have to tell viewers one thing at the start of the year, and then other different things just two months later into 2017.