Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A real South African version of The Real Housewives coming to DStv as M-Net's new 1Magic reveals that it secured the international format rights from NBCUniversal for a local version.

A real South African version of The Real Housewives will be coming to DStv, with M-Net that confirmed that it had picked up the format licensing rights for a local South African version of the show for its new 1Magic (DStv 103) channel.

For the past few years M-Net has been showing seasons of The Real Housewives, and the various spin-offs from this American reality show franchise on the VUZU AMP (DStv 103) channel.

M-Net is now rebranding and relaunching VUZU AMP as 1 Magic on 29 January on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform, as it tries to court an upmarket black viewership demographic that's familiar with the existing Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) offering and who wants even more premium programming.

1Magic will be available to DStv Premium subscribers only, and although no broadcast date has been specified, the first real South African version of The Real Housewives will make its debut on this channel in the future.

It's not yet clear what exactly the show's title would be and where it would be set, for instance The Real Housewives of Jozi or Sandton, The Real Housewives of Clifton, or The Real Housewives of Soweto.

"1Magic has recently acquired the rights to produce a version of The Real Housewives format. There's no link to the SABC productions from some time back," said Reneilwe Sema, M-Net director of local entertainment channels, in response to a media enquiry from TVwithThinus following Tuesday's 1Magic media launch event held at Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg.

The Real Housewives is an NBCUniversal International format and is produced internationally in conjunction with NBCUniversal International Studios.

An official, "real" South African version of The Real Housewives for the country would be a long way coming.

In 2013 TVwithThinus reported on the drama when Barbie Brazil (real name Thembi Ennie Tshabalala) claimed that she was producing a local South African version entitled The Real Housewives of South Africa although NBCUniversal told me that Barbs doesn't have the rights to the show.

A year later in 2014, The Real Housewives of Johannesburg, reportedly produced by Tigere Media, became a hot topic again with several local well-heeled glitterati whose names were mentioned as being part of yet another attempt at the show. Production started and footage filmed, however the show was abruptly canned after just 6 months - again over format licensing issues.

In 2016 Divas of Jozi made its debut on SABC3. The reality series that was widely panned by viewers and TV critics alike didn't use The Real Housewives name but was a "refilm" of sorts of the 2014 project, with the exact same cast plus an additional woman, and was done by Bravoplex Media.

The Real Housewives has already seen several legitimate format licensing adaptations internationally - including series set in Athens, Vancouver, Melbourne, Cheshire, Auckland, Sydney, Bangkok and last year two, with one set in Toronto, Canada as well as one just called The Real Housewives of Hungary using the country's name.