Thursday, February 21, 2019

Trevor Noah will be on the Oscars stage for the 91st Academy Awards, joining the already announced Charlize Theron as a presenter.


The South African comedian Trevor Noah will be on the Oscars stage very early Monday morning South African time for the 91st Academy Awards in Los Angeles, when he, together with a diverse group of other stars, will introduce the 8 Best Picture nominees.

Besides Trevor Noah, Charlize Theron has also already been announced earlier this month as one of the presenters for this year's Oscars ceremony that will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

Trevor Noah is the presenter of The Daily Show on Comedy Central (DStv 122).

The producers of the 91st Academy Awards on Wednesday night in a statement said that Trevor Noah, Barbara Streisand, Serena Williams, Dana Carvey, Queen Latifah, Diego Luna, Mike Myers and some others will introduce the 8 Best Picture nominees during the ceremony.

"Movies connect us all," said producer Donna Gigliotti and producer-director Glenn Weiss in a statement from the Academy.

"They move us, and they create moments and memories that unite us. We are thrilled to assemble this well-known array of film lovers to introduce and share their reflections on the Best Picture-nominated movies."

The Oscars will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

The 91st Academy Awards will be broadcast on M-Net Movies Premiere (DStv 104) from 03:00 on Monday morning, 25 February, with a delayed broadcast later on the same day on M-Net (DStv 101) at 21:00.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Right2Know calls for urgent, full and transparent investigation into possible state capture of South Africa's TV and broadcasting sector.


The Right2Know organisation (R2K) and public pressure group in an open letter is calling for an urgent, full and transparent investigation into how possible state capture of South Africa's TV and broadcasting sector, and how this alleged state capture has impacted broadcasting and public broadcasting in the country.

Right2Know, in its open letter, is urging Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, chair of the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture, to investigate what R2K refers to as "evidence and allegations of state capture and associated corruption in South Africa's broadcasting sector".
    Lazola Kati and Dale McKinley of R2K say that R2K aligns itself with a previous submission done by the SOS Coalition and Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) non-profit organisations and public pressure groups acting as media and broadcasting watchdog organisations in South Africa.

    In September 2018 both SOS and MMA submitted a joint statement to the commission asking for an urgent investigation into the extent of state capture in South Africa's broadcasting sector.

    R2K refers to "serious allegations in the public domain" as part of the reason for a full and transparent investigation that is needed into South Africa's broadcasting sector.

    This in part relates to Naspers' MultiChoice pay-TV operator (that will be listing on the JSE at the end of this month), the notorious Gupta family's now-shuttered ANN7, the SABC as South Africa's public broadcaster, eMedia Investments' e.tv, Faith Muthambi as South Africa's former minister of communications and the department of communications.

    Big unanswered questions remain around South Africa's seriously delayed and allegedly "hijacked" switch from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT), a process known as digital migration that has been fraught with delays, corruption, infighting and incessant changes.

    Evidence "strongly suggests that various actors colluded to shape South Africa's broadcasting policy and sector to their advantage," says R2K.

    This severely affected "ordinary South Africans' access to affordable and quality public media and telecommunications".

    New Netflix documentary series coming in March, Formula 1: Drive to Survive, goes inside the heart of the world's fastest race as it's changing for the future.


    Netflix on Wednesday released the first trailer and information about its new 10-episode documentary series, Formula 1: Drive to Survive, that will become available from 8 March and attempts to give a look behind-the-scenes of the global racing competition.

    The documentary series got access to the drivers, teams, cockpits and paddocks throughout the Formula 1 racing season.

    Formula 1: Drive to Survive reveals not only the fight to be number one, but the battle for the heart, soul, and direction of this multi-billion-dollar business.

    Formula 1 is undergoing a huge revolution since the takeover in January 2017 by Liberty Media and all eyes are on the sport as they undergo a reinvention to build the sports' sustainability.

    Formula 1: Drive to Survive managed to get some unprecedented access to the top drivers, principals and owners, giving a deeper insight into the personal lives, and the sacrifices and challenges of those who have dedicated everything to their love of the world's fastest sport.

    As a new generation of drivers step out of the shadows of the older more experienced rivals and legends of the track, the scene is set for a new wave of gripping competition and challenges on the grid.

    Beginning in Melbourne where the world of high stakes, adrenaline and passion that underlies Formula 1 is launched.

    From there the series moves with the teams following each of the races; from Bahrain to Canada, Austria, Singapore, Austin to Brazil, before culminating in the final fight of the season in Abu Dhabi, where scores are there to be settled.

    "Netflix was the perfect platform on which to tell the inside story of this incredible sport," says Paul Martin from Box to Box Films in a statement.

    "F1 has long been a world of colourful characters and super-sized ego's, thrills and drama, victory and tragedy but until now that world has been largely hidden and secretive from fans. Formula 1: Drive to Survive takes the viewers right into the heart of this world and shows what it is like to live, work and race within the world's fastest sport."

    Formula 1: Drive to Survive is executive-produced by James Gay Rees and Paul Martin for Box to Box Films. Sophie Todd is the showrunner.

    Actors Rainn Wilson, Sasha Lane onboard Amazon's Utopia conspiracy drama series about adults hunted after they find a comic book.


    Actors Rainn Wilson and Sasha Lane are onboard Amazon Studios' Utopia drama series about people who are being hunted by a secret organisation after they find a comic book that contains clues and information about conspiracy theories that might actually be real.

    Amazon's version for Amazon Prime Video is an adaptation of the British series, written by Gone Girl author and screenwriter Gillian Flynn.

    The British thriller series that started in 2013 lasted two seasons.

    Utopia follows a group of young adults who meet online that are mercilessly hunted by a shadowy deep state organization after they come into possession of a near-mythical cult underground graphic novel.

    Within the comic’s pages, they discover the conspiracy theories that may actually be real and are forced into the dangerous, unique and ironic position of saving the world.

    The graphic novel The Utopia Experiments is rumoured to have predicted some disastrous epidemics in the past and there is an unpublished sequel which contains even more information for the survival of humankind.

    Rainn Wilson will portray Michael Stearns. Once a promising virologist, Michael is now a forgotten scientist who's lost his edge and who is under-appreciated and underfunded in his laboratory work.

    When a nationwide outbreak of a deadly flu arises, Michael offers his expertise, and soon finds himself involved in something much bigger.

    Sasha Lane will portray Jessica Hyde.

    The Amazon adaptation is a co-production between Endemol Shine North America/Kudos and Amazon Studios.

    Executive producing alongside Gillian Flynn are Jessica Rhoades, Kudos' Karen Wilson and Diederick Santer as well as Sharon Hall.

    kykNET quietly running 13 made-for-TV Afrikaans films on Sunday nights produced by Deon Opperman and Soné Combrinck.


    M-Net's Afrikaans channels division, kykNET has quietly commissioned and started a Sunday night Afrikaans film project, a series of 13 individual made-for-TV movies, that has been showing on Sunday nights since 20 January 2019.

    kykNET didn't respond when asked why it decided to commission the project and schedule the set of films over 13 weeks on the kykNET (DStv 144) channel.

    Five of the films have so far been shown on kykNET, with 8 films left over the upcoming Sunday nights at 20:00.

    Different directors - ranging for veterans to first-time directors - were given the chance to direct some of the films, with writers who adapted their stage plays, and with some original scripts.

    The films range across themes and genres from serious dramas like Die Dag is Bros and Stille Nag to lighter romantic comedies like Vat 'n Kans, and comedies like Die Skandaal.

    Deon Meyer's short story, Bottervisse in die Jêm has also been adapted as a film.

    Soné Combrinck and Deon Opperman were the producers, with the casting of the films including actors like Marius Weyers, Sandra Prinsloo, Franci Swanepoel, Simon Bruinders, Amalia Uys, Leandie du Randt-Bosch, Shaleen Surtie-Richards and Armand Aucamp.

    The remaining films are Playboyz (24 February), Aantrekkingskrag (3 March), Die Skandaal (10 March), Droomman (17 March), Draadloos (24 March), Oorlewing C-Blok (31 March), Soek jy 'n Lift? (7 April) and Die Dag is Bros ( 14 April).

    kykNET was asked for brief synopses of the various films but didn't send any.

    Actor Jussie Smollett won't be written out of Empire on FOX, praised as a 'consummate professional' by 20th Century Fox TV as police investigation continues.


    Actor Jussie Smollett (36) won't be written out of the drama series Empire on FOX (Dstv 125 / StarSat 131 / Cell C black 201) despite his scenes that were cut from this week's production schedule, with FOX in its latest statement praising the actor as a "consummate professional" while a police investigation continues into his claims of an attack on him last month.

    "Jussie Smollett continues to be a consummate professional on set and as we have previously stated, he is not being written out of the show," FOX that broadcasts the show and 20th Century Fox Television, the studio that produces it, says in a statement on Wednesday.

    Controversy continues to swirl around Jussie Smollett.

    In late-January Jussie Smollett ended up in hospital after a brutal attack and alleged hate crime in Chicago with the actor who alleged that he was attacked in a racial, homophobic altercation, punched, drenched in chemicals and had a rope tied around his neck.

    Then Chicago police announced that it now believes that Jussie Smollett paid two former brothers and suspects, Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo from Nigeria to stage the attack on him, with one of the brothers who had made an on-screen appearance on Empire during the show's second season.

    Chicago police say Jussie Smollett allegedly paid the extras $3 500 to stage the attack on him with Ola who played a prison inmate during the second season of Empire, while Abel (the other brother's nickname) says he also worked on Empire.

    Both brothers through their lawyer now admit that they know Jussie Smollett, with Jussie Smollett who said in a statement he's "victimised by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators".

    Jussie Smollett still hasn't talked to the police again after the new "developments".

    On Tuesday it was reported that Jussie Smollett is getting cut from Empire's production, with all of his scenes that were due to be filmed this week that have been removed from the filming schedule.

    TMZ on Tuesday reported that he was supposed to have 9 scenes and a big musical number in the second to the last episode of the current season which is being filmed, but that 5 scenes have been axed as well as his appearance in the musical number.

    George R.R. Martin's terrible horror science fiction drama series, Nightflyers, on Netflix and Syfy cancelled after its first season.


    The terribly done science fiction series Nightflyers on Netflix and the Syfy channel in the United States, has been cancelled after its first season that was quickly burnt off on the channel in December 2018.

    Based on George R.R. Martin's book, the Ireland-produced Nightflyers was a co-production with Netflix having the international rights and NBCUniversal's Syfy having the rights in America.

    The horror science fiction series that was slammed with bad reviews followed scientists, a reclusive captain and a telepath on a spaceship, The Nightflyer, on their way to the edge of the solar system to make contact with alien life, when things start to go wrong and malfunction.

    The original Nightflyers showrunner, Daniel Cerone left after two months and was replaced by Jeff Buhler as executive producer. Nightflyers was produced by Universal Cable Productions

    SABC needs a whopping R6.8 billion in cash as a government bailout to survive, South Africa's minister of finance, Tito Mboweni reveals.


    Forget the R3 billion, South Africa's commercially insolvent South African public broadcaster now needs R6.8 billion, the country's minister of finance, Tito Mboweni, revealed on Wednesday afternoon, saying the government will find a way to help the SABC.

    The beleaguered SABC is once again hovering on the brink of financial collapse, once again adrift with an unstable and inquorate SABC board for months now, in a national election year.

    Tito Mboweni revealed that the cash-strapped entity limping along and struggling to pay content providers like South African production companies and even to keep the electricity on, requires R6.8 billion to survive.

    Briefing journalists in Cape Town on his budget speech, Tito Mboweni said the "the SABC needs R6.8 billion and the director-general (Dondo Mogajane) is having conversations with them on what they need. But if you take, something has to give".

    "If they get the R6.8 billion they want, the chief restructuring officer that is dealing with Eskom will be on his way to Auckland Park. My advice to the SABC is to stay far away from National Treasury. But we will find a way to help them".

    "The National Treasury has been in talks with the SABC but make no mistake - the SABC will most likely be placed in curatorship if they receive a bailout. Gone are the days where money is given out without checks, balances and oversight," said Tito Mboweni.


    ALSO READ: South Africa to fund the creation of a new national theatre, a new national museum and possible funding considered for national orchestra and ballet troupe, finance minister Tito Mboweni announces in his 2019 budget speech.

    South Africa to fund the creation of a new national theatre, a new national museum and possible funding considered for national orchestra and ballet troupe, finance minister Tito Mboweni announces in his 2019 budget speech.


    South Africa's minister of finance, Tito Mboweni, in his Wednesday afternoon 2019 Budget speech, revealed that the South African government will fund the creation of a new national theatre and a new national museum.

    In addition, the South African government through the department of arts and culture will also consider financial support for the National Archives, a national orchestra and ballet troupe.

    "The global renown of South Africa's art and culture is an expression of our soft power and our heritage," Tito Mboweni said.

    "Our public funding choices should reflect an intention to preserve and add to our cultural canon."

    The Afrikaans crime drama, Die Byl, on Showmax and kykNET renewed for a 14-episode second season starting in July.


    The Afrikaans crime drama, Die Byl, seen on MultiChoice's video streaming service Showmax and kykNET (DStv 144) has been renewed for a 14-episode second season that will roll out from 2 July 2019.

    The first season of Die Byl with Waldemar Schultz, Marvin-Lee Beukes, Lika Berning and Eric Nobbs was broadcast in 2016.

    The second season of Die Byl, produced by Marche Media, will still contain one case being solved per episode but also incorporate more different, additional storylines as well.

    The second season of Die Byl will continue to revolve around Colonel Piet van der Bijl (Waldemar Schultz), a detective specialising in serial killer cases.


    Juan Stuurman (Marvin Lee Beukes) who is also back, has resigned from the unit, Byl's relationship with Nicki (Milan Murray) is on the rocks but his relationship has improved with general Neels van As (Tertius Meintjes).

    Ellie Bonthuys (Barbara Marié Immelman), once a journalist only looking for sensationalism, is now the police spokesperson, while dr Fritz Barnard (Eric Nobbs) has a new assistant, Dr. Shani van Rooi (Trudy van Rooy).

    Captain Lena Evans (Lika Berning) got married and is the mother of a young son, while Carien van der Bijl (Rolanda Marais), Byl's ex-wife, is suddenly back on the scene.

    Wilhelm van der Walt, Jody Abrahams, Marlo Minnaar, Jana Kruger, Geon Nel, Marius Weyers, Stiaan Smith, Cintaine Schutte, De Klerk Oelofse, Illse Roos and Denise Newman will make guest appearances in roles.

    Die Byl was written by Leon Kruger, Hein Eksteen and Anton Treurnicht and the directors are Quentin Krog, Liezl Spies and Leon Kruger.

    TV NEWS ROUND-UP. Today's interesting TV stories to read from TVwithThinus - 20 February 2019.


    Here's the latest news about TV that I read and that you should read too:

    ■ The Bachelor virgin Colton Underwood gets dumped again as the train leaves the station.

    ■ Australia's TV industry calls for Facebook news feed transparency and journalism tax breaks.

    ■ Row over Call the Midwife seen on BBC First (DStv 119) forces the BBC to provide abortion information after women complain.

    ■ New Zealand pay-TV in trouble as Sky Network Television profit falls as pay-TV viewership dwindles. It's hurt by increased competition from online video streaming services.
    ■ Grim forecast: Preparing for the loss of another 93 000 pay-TV subscribers by 2023.

    ■ Historians are starting to fight back as TV shows raid their research treasures; academics are starting to demand that producers ensure that their dramas and documentaries credit their work.

    ■ Forget Netflix. Going to the cinema alone is life's greatest guilty pleasure.

    ■ Russia's RT (DStv 407) furious after Facebook blocks its "wildly popular" page.

    ■ What no-one tells you about going on reality TV.

    ■ TV talk show participants start a physical fight live on on-air on Afghanistan TV as debate descends into violence.

    ■ With its inconsistent tone, Netflix's The Umbrella Academy lacks the whims of its source material.

    ■ Modern Farmer helps with a TV guide to farm reality TV shows.

    Rights of several shows seen on MultiChoice's DStv, M-Net and the SABC sold to The Africa Channel in the United States, and no, none of the actors, writers or crew are getting residuals.


    MultiChoice and M-Net have sold several of its locally-produced shows to The Africa Channel based in Los Angeles and broadcasting across the United States, with none of the actors, writers, crew or talent who will be getting any residuals.

    The Africa Channel is adding multiple M-Net series and shows that were broadcast on the SABC to its primetime schedule for 2019, ranging from The Wild and The Wedding Bashers, to The Hostess and High Rollers.

    "We have been extremely fortunate to be able to tap into the increasing pool of talent from the continent and beyond, and present world-class content that is bold, diverse and globally appealing to North American audiences," says Karen Juve, The Africa Channel's vice president for programming and acquisitions, in a statement.

    M-Net's former weekday soap opera The Wild that M-Net also licensed to e.tv in South Africa and started recently will now also be seen in the United States.

    None of the actors or talent of The Wild will see another cent from the broadcast of the show on e.tv or The Africa Channel.

    The Mzansi Magic drama series iNumber Number, as well as Hard Copy, High Rollers and The Hostess with Lorna Maseko that were broadcast on SABC3 will be seen by American audiences on The African Channel.

    Again none of the actors, writers or talent involved with any of these shows will see any additional payment for the sale of the works they appear in.

    The Wedding Bashers, another M-Net show, produced by [SIC] Entertainment has also been picked up by The Africa Channel, as well as Cooking with Siba that was on The Food Network.

    While premium South African TV back-catalogue content are being exploited and licensed - as it should - for re-airing in other countries, sadly the people who helped to make those shows, unlike what happens in America with American talent, are left behind and are not benefitting.

    Tuesday, February 19, 2019

    Sky News appoints Beth Rigby as new political editor, Sam Coates joins Sky as deputy political editor.


    Sky News (DStv 402) has appointed Beth Rigby as the British TV news channel's new political editor, with Sam Coates joining Sky News from The Times in the United Kingdom as deputy political editor to fill Beth Rigby's position.

    Beth Rigby replaces Faisal Islam who has left Sky News to join the BBC as its economics editor. She will take up her new role from May 2019.

    Beth Rigby joined Sky News in May 2016 as senior political correspondent and was promoted to deputy political editor at Sky News in July 2018.

    "I'm absolutely thrilled to be appointed Sky News' political editor," says Beth Rigby. "Huge opportunity and responsibility at such an important time in our political life. An honour to follow in the footsteps of Faisal Islam and Adam Boulton in such a crucial role."

    "We're delighted to appoint Beth Rigby as our new political editor," says John Ryley, head of Sky News.

    "Beth has a compelling vision for reporting politics differently at a time of great change and she has an excellent track record as a story getter at the Financial Times, The Times and more recently here at Sky News."

    Meanwhile Sam Coates will take Beth Rigby's position as deputy political editor later in 2019.

    "Beth's promotion to political editor in May gives us a great opportunity to add to our team and we're delighted Sam will be joining us as deputy political editor later in the year," says Dan Williams, Sky News head of politics.

    "It's a tremendous moment in our history and there is a huge responsibility in these positions. Sam has a fantastic track record in breaking stories and getting to the heart of the political world. We look forward to him joining the team."

    2019 BUDGET SPEECH WATCH. Pre-analysis, live coverage and post-analysis broadcast plans on Wednesday of the SABC on SABC News and SABC2, eNCA, CNBC Africa, Open News and YouTube.


    Several TV channels will be doing live coverage and analyses on 20 February when Tito Mboweni, South Africa's minister of finance, delivers his 2019 budget speech at 14:00 on Wednesday afternoon.

    Here is TVwithThinus's round-up of what the coverage on South African television on Wednesday will entail:

    SABC
    The SABC tells me in response to a media enquiry that SABC News (DStv 404) and SABC2 will start with preview interviews and live crossings on Wednesday morning on Morning Live from the parliamentary precinct in Cape Town.

    This will include economists, labour, politicians and various other experts. The SABC plans to do live crossings from the various regions on budget expectations from citizens on the ground, and also commissioned preview packages focusing on tax, Eskom, education, safety and security, and health.

    Budget speech preview-related coverage will also be carried on the SABC News channel programmes, The Agenda and On Point.

    Live coverage of Tito Mboweni's 2019 budget speech will start on SABC News and SABC2 at 13:50 as the minister of finance walks into parliament to deliver his address.

    The speech will be carried live on these SABC channels. Subsequent to the speech, the broadcast will consist of analysis with various experts, as well as live crossings to the steps of parliament for reaction from political parties and civil society.


    eNCA (DStv 403)
    eNCA tells me in response to a media enquiry that it will provide full coverage and detailed analysis of Tito Mboweni's budget speech, live on the news channel from 14:00 on Wednesday.

    The eNCA business anchor Devan Murugan will report live from the parliamentary precinct, leading the analysis and gauging the reactions from politicians and experts.


    CNBC Africa (DStv 410 / Cell C black 512)
    CNBC Africa tells me in response to a media enquiry that Godfrey Mutizwa and Karabo Letlhatlha will be anchoring the main desk from Sandton on Wednesday, crossing to Fifi Peters in Cape Town throughout the day for 2019 Budget speech coverage.

    The business news channel will also carry the 2019 Budget speech live. CNBC Africa says it will naturally adapt to any changes or breaking news on Wednesday.

    CNBC Africa's current run-of-day on Wednesday will be as follows:

    13:00 - 14:00 Pre-Budget Panel with chief economists, banking heads and financial institutions
    14:00 - 16:30 Live broadcast of the 2019 Budget speech & post-analysis with top economists, CFO’s and fund managers 
    16:30 - 17:15 CEO and labour panel
    17:15 - 17:35 Youth panel
    17:35 - 18:05 Eskom panel
    18:05 - 18:30 Tax and savings panel   
    18:30 - 19:00 Highlights special (26 minutes)


    Business Day TV (DStv 412)
    Business Day TV tells me the business news channel will go live at 13:30 with a pre-budget speech panel anchored by Alishia Seckam.

    From there Business Day TV will cross live to parliament for the speech and then come back for a brief analysis. Thereafter and into the rest of the evening, the channel will look at the various themes that come from Tito Mboweni's speech.

    This will consist of various panels from tax, business, personal finance and politics, as well as taking a look at markets' reaction and some of the other news of the day.

    Anchors for the day are Alicia Seckam, Leigh Roberts, Natassia Arendse and Giulietta Talevi.

    Panellists appearing on Business Day for the day are Lumkile Mondi (senior lecturer: Wits School of Economics & Business Science), Zweli Mabhoza, founder/director: Priority Tax), Maarten Ackerman (chief economist: Citadel), Marcus Botha (BDO), Muneer Hassan (senior lecturer, taxation: University of Johannesburg), David Warneke (National Tax Committee Chair: SAICA), Vukani Mde (political analyst: Lefthook), Daniel Silke (political Analyst), Ralph Mathekga (political analyst), Andre de Ruyter (CEO: Nampak), Bernard Swanepoel (executive director: Small Business Institute), Nick Nick Kunze (Sanlam Private Wealth), Bernard Berson (Bidcorp), Razia Khan (Standard Chartered), Hanneke Farrand (director of private clients at ENS Attorneys), Lizl Budhram: Head of Advice at Old Mutual Personal Finance), Kevin Lings (chief economist: Stanlib), David Shapiro (Sasfin Securities), Nick Crail (Ashburton Investments).


    YouTube
    Parliament's YouTube channel will broadcast the 2019 Budget speech live.


    Open News (Openview 120)
    Open News tells me that the channel's viewers will get the opportunity to have their say from 17:00 on Wednesday afternoon when Open News starts its daily coverage of the day's top stories.

    Anchors Naledi Moleo and Koketso Sachane will provide an incisive overview of the speech and weigh in on the key talking points. 

    Social media anchor Ayanda Dlamini will gauge the reaction on social media, and viewers will have the opportunity to share their thoughts and reactions with the Open News team via Whatsapp.

    Netflix announces star ensemble voice cast and releases a teaser trailer for its Ellen DeGeneres-produced Green Eggs and Ham animation series.


    Netflix has announced a star ensemble voice cast for its upcoming Ellen DeGeneres-produced Green Eggs and Ham animation series that will become available later in 2019 and released a teaser trailer.

    Adam Devine, Michael Douglas, Ilana Glazer, Diane Keaton, Eddie Izzard, Tracy Morgan and Keegan-Michael Key are all lending their voices, among others.

    Green Eggs and Ham, based on the beloved book by Dr. Seuss, follows opposites "Guy" and "Sam" as they venture out on a road trip to save an endangered animal from a far-off zoo.

    Along the way they learn to try new things like hope, friendship, and a certain delectable dish.

    Ellen DeGeneres is an executive producer and Warner Bros. Animation is producing.

    "The story of Green Eggs and Ham is like a postmodern Plains, Trains and Automobiles through the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss," says Netflix in its long synopsis.

    "Sam rescues the rare Chickeraffe from the Glurfsburg Zoo, hides it in a briefcase, and attempts to make his way to Meepville where he can charter a cold air balloon to take the Chickeraffe to his island home."

    "Guy just flopped his last big chance at being a world-famous inventor for the industrial Snerz Co. He packs up his invention in a briefcase and resigns to give up on his dreams and become a paint watcher."

    "A chance meeting at a diner with Sam, and a switch up with the briefcases results in these two unlikely souls getting mixed up on an adventure that takes them on a journey of self-discovery."

    "Our two mismatched heroes cross paths with overprotective Michellee, whose daughter, EB, desperately wants a pet, and falls madly in love with the Chickeraffe ... despite her mother's fears that it will eat off her face (it won't)."

    "Michellee's walled up heart also connects with the heart-hardened Guy. And a laborious love story begins. Our fakakta foursome is also unknowingly pursued by a bounty hunter goat, two bad guys, and a villain who's out to get the Chickeraffee as his ultimate trophy."

    SABC News correspondent Nthakoana Ngatane leaves her boyfriend after allegations of physical abuse.

    The SABC News (DStv 404) anchor and foreign correspondent Nthakoana Ngatane has left her abusive lover after allegations of physical and verbal abuse.

    Nthakoana Ngatane told the Sunday World tabloid newspaper that she had left her boyfriend after he physically assaulted her, accusing her of cheating on him.

    Nthakoana Ngatane filed an assault case against her live-in lover at the Midrand police station a week ago after Steve Ntebele allegedly pushed her off a ladder while she was trying to take down curtains at his house following an argument and after she packed up her belongings to leave.

    Steve Ntebele was arrested and released on bail the next day. Steve Ntebele told the Sunday World that "there was no assault, it was just a squabble and we parted ways".

    No clear answers from the SABC on what's happening with SABC3 from March and shows like The Bold and the Beautiful.


    There are still no clear answers from the SABC for South Africa's TV and film industry as to what's happening and planned for the South African public broadcaster's troubled and ratings-challenged SABC3 channel and longtime shows like the America soap The Bold and the Beautiful facing the axe.

    SABC3 is not releasing a March schedule 8 days before the month of March starts.

    The SABC has also been asked repeatedly when the SABC will be releasing a March schedule, and has been asked what is happening to The Bold and the Beautiful and other programming on the channel from March.

    In response Neo Momodu, SABC spokesperson on Tuesday told TVwithThinus in a statement only that the SABC's television division "has been tasked with ensuring that all content investments yield positive returns on 3 pillars, namely; license conditions, public mandate and commercial return".

    "It is on this basis that all our programmes are being subjected to this assessment readiness of the new fiscal".

    South Africa's TV industry is in the dark and being kept in the dark about the future and the programming line-up on SABC3 and doesn't know what the public broadcaster's plan is with the channel.

    Earlier this month TVwithThinus reported that it looks very like that The Bold and the Beautiful is getting dumped from SABC3.

    The Bold and the Beautiful, produced by Bell-Phillip Television Productions Inc., is the last remaining American soap opera left on the SABC's channels and has remained a very strong performer on SABC1, as well as with its move to SABC3.

    If Bold is finally getting scrapped from the latest March SABC3 schedule it will come two years after SABC3 lost Days of Our Lives in September 2017 to rival e.tv.

    As previously reported by TVwithThinus and still unchanged, the preliminary SABC3 March schedule shows The Bold and the Beautiful in its 17:30 timeslot ending on Friday, 1 March and a show called Democracy Gauge taking its place from Monday 3 March in the timeslot.

    SABC3 is stocking up on rebroadcasts and repeats to pad the channel's schedule, including Taryn and Sharon at 18:00 on weekdays, a rebroadcast of the SABC2 telenovela Keeping Score on weekdays at 18:30; and yet another repeat of these two shows in the mornings at 09:30 and 10:00 from March.

    Netflix creates a production hub in Toronto, Canada.


    Netflix is creating a production hub in Toronto, Canada and will be leasing studio space at Cinespace Studios and Pinewood Toronto Studios as the global video streaming service expands its production presence in Canada.

    Netflix on Tuesday in a statement announced that it has chosen 2 studio spaces in Toronto. At Cinespace Studios, Netflix will lease four sound stages, along with office space and support space.

    At Pinewood Toronto Studios, Netflix will also lease four sound stages and adjacent office space.

    Both studios will be used to support upcoming Netflix series and films, including the horror anthology series Guillermo del Toro Presents Ten After Midnight, the film Let It Snow and others, which will provide production jobs for up to 1 850 Canadians per year, says Netflix.

    Netflix is already leasing British Columbia's Martini Film Studios, as well as production sites that Netflix sets up across Canada on a production-by-production basis.

    Since 2012 Netflix has produced many series and films in Canada, starting in 2012 with horror series Hemlock Grove (Toronto), A Series of Unfortunate Events (Vancouver), Lost in Space (Vancouver), The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Vancouver) and films 1922 (Vancouver), The Package (multiple locations in British Columbia), Game Over Man (Vancouver), Christmas Inheritance (Northern Ontario), Death Note (Vancouver), How It Ends (Winnipeg), Hold the Dark (Calgary and Kananaskis Country), The Holiday Calendar (Northern Ontario), In The Tall Grass (multiple locations in Ontario, and Calgary) and In the Shadow of the Moon (Toronto).

    Netflix also used Canada to produce Polar (Toronto), Always Be My Maybe (Vancouver), Good Sam (Montreal), I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (Ottawa) and The Christmas Chronicles (Toronto).

    Current series filming in Canada include V-Wars (Northern Ontario) and October Faction (Toronto), along with an untitled film starring Sam Worthington, and an untitled film to be directed by Patrice Laliberté in Quebec.

    In 2017, Netflix committed to investing $500 million (R7 million) in content production in Canada over the next five years and will actually exceed that investment.

    "With this commitment to Cinespace and Pinewood Toronto, we are proud to continue our investment in Canada and Canadian films and series," says Ty Warren, vice president, physical production for Netflix in the statement.

    "These  new leases will enable us to expand our presence in Canada and provide a wealth of production jobs for skilled Canadian workers."

    "The Cinespace family welcomes them. We are especially gratified to be creating a new inventory of studio and support space for Netflix to fill with new production volumes and new jobs, while they capitalize on both Cinespace's 30-year track record of success and Toronto's longstanding position as a global leader in film and TV production," says Steve Mirkopoulos, CEO, Cinespace.

    "Pinewood Toronto Studios is delighted to be welcoming Netflix to Toronto's largest purpose-built studio facilities," says Nanci MacLean, president, Pinewood Toronto Studios.

    "Our world-class facilities have been home to iconic and award-winning productions like Star Trek: Discovery, Molly's Game, Room, Suicide Squad, and IT."

    "With our 200 000 square foot expansion underway, Pinewood Toronto Studios is a hub of creativity and innovation, offering clients the ability to be efficient and flexible, as well as access to Toronto's stellar production community."

    Amazon Prime Video cancels The Man in the High Castle, upcoming 4th season will be its last.


    Amazon Prime Video has cancelled its historical science fiction drama series, The Man in the High Castle, with the upcoming fourth season that will be its last.

    The final season is currently being filmed in Vancouver and will wrap next month. 

    The Man in the High Castle, based on Philip K. Dick's 1962 novel, depicted an alternate Earth history where Germany and the Nazis won the Second World War and ruled the larger part of what used to be the United States.

    "We are incredibly proud of all of the hard work from the massively talented executive producers, cast, crew, and everyone who has worked on The Man in the High Castle over the years," says Jennifer Salke, Amazon Studios boss, in a statement.

    "With production ongoing on our fourth and final season, we can't wait for fans to see how this final chapter in the story unfolds."

    "The Man in the High Castle helped define Amazon Prime Video in the genre space and we are grateful and excited that we’ll continue to be in business with Isa and Electric Shepherd Productions for future Philip K. Dick adaptations."

    Isa Dick Hackett, executive producer, says "It has been a great privilege to work alongside our extraordinary High Castle team, in partnership with David Zucker and Scott Free, to bring my father's classic novel to life, particularly during this tumultuous period in our real world".

    "I believe fans will be thrilled and satisfied by the epic conclusion we have in store for them. I am very grateful for the ongoing support from Amazon as we produce this final season, and look forward to building on this extremely successful partnership."

    David Zucker, executive producer, says "The undertaking of High Castle has been simply extraordinary from the start: the seven years it took to land an ideal home at Amazon - the behind-the-scenes artistry which has been as awe-inspiring to experience as hopefully the work on-screen so powerfully delivered - and an audience whose high standard to meet was our unyielding goal".

    In the fourth and final season, The Man in the High Castle will be rocked by war and revolution.

    The Resistance becomes a full-blown rebellion, driven by Juliana Crain's (Alexa Davalos) visions of a better world. A new Black insurgent movement emerges to fight the forces of Nazism and imperialism.

    As empires teeter, Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido (Joel De La Fuente) will find himself torn between his duty to his country and the bonds of family. Meanwhile, Reichsmarschall John Smith (Rufus Sewell) will be drawn towards the portal the Nazis have built to another universe, and the tantalizing possibility of stepping through a gateway to the path not taken.

    BREAKING. Jussie Smollett and all his upcoming scenes cut from Empire on FOX as police investigation continues into his physical attack and growing doubts around it.


    The actor Jussie Smollett is being cut from the production of the drama series Empire seen on FOX (Dstv 125 / StarSat 131 / Cell C black 201) as an investigation continues into his physical attack and growing doubts around it.

    In late-January Jussie Smollett ended up in hospital after a brutal attack and alleged hate crime in Chicago with the actor who alleged that he was attacked in a racial, homophobic altercation, punched, drenched in chemicals and had a rope tied around his neck.

    Then Chicago police announced that it now believes that Jussie Smollett paid two former brothers and suspects, Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo from Nigeria to stage the attack on him, with one of the brothers who had made an on-screen appearance on Empire during the show's second season.

    Chicago police say Jussie Smollett allegedly paid the extras $3 500 to stage the attack on him with Ola who played a prison inmate during the second season of Empire, while Abel (the other brother's nickname) says he also worked on Empire.

    Both brothers through their lawyer now admit that they know Jussie Smollett, with Jussie Smollett who said in a statement he's "victimised by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators".

    Jussie Smollett still hasn't talked to the police again after the new "developments".

    Now Deadline reports that Jussie Smollett is getting cut from Empire's production, with all of his scenes that were due to be filmed this week that have been removed from the filming schedule.

    FOX had no comment on Jussie Smollett's scenes that have been cut, with TMZ that on Tuesday reported that he was supposed to have 9 scenes and a big musical number in the second to the last episode of the current season which is being filmed, but that 5 scenes have been axed as well as his appearance in the musical number.

    South Africa's parliament dumps 90 applications to serve on the SABC board from mostly young people, applying and looking to do 'internships'.


    South Africa's parliament portfolio committee dealing with applications from the public for the several vacant positions for the SABC board has had to dump 90 - from primarily young people - applying for "internships" to serve on the board of the South African public broadcaster.

    Besides the 90, parliament received 233 applications - 243 of the overall total submitted during December 2018 - for the 8 SABC board vacancies.

    The committee will from next week, Tuesday 26 February, begin the process of shortlisting candidates to be interviewed to fill the vacant SABC board positions.

    Parliament's apparently lazy portfolio committee on communications led by chairperson Hlengiwe Mkhize has been criticised for having taken months to start the process to sift and begin interviews with shortlisted candidates for the positions.

    Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) has slammed the delay by South Africa's government and parliament's portfolio committee on communications to appoint new SABC board members for the vacancies that have existed for months, as a gross dereliction of duty, a violation of their oath of office, and "acts of treason".

    The SABC, commercially insolvent, has once again been adrift rudderless for months, hovering on the brink of complete financial collapse with an unstable and inquorate SABC board, months before 9 May's national election date in an election year.

    The SABC board is supposed to have 12 board members including the SABC CEO, COO and CFO, and requires 9 new ones.

    Parliament's portfolio committee on communications led by chairperson Hlengiwe Mkhize, lied, saying it would return in early-2019, and then lied again to the South African public saying it would start the process of interviews in mid-January. Neither happened.

    Parliament's current term ends on 20 March, leaving a month to complete interviews, chose candidates and send those names for the SABC board to the National Assembly to then send the names to president Cyril Ramaphosa to ceremonially rubberstamp and approve.

    Hlengiwe Mkhize blamed parliament staff for moving slowly with the administration and bureaucracy, saying on Tuesday that "it's a due process overseen by the legal department. There are steps. You can't just jump and take over."

    Phumzile Van Damme from the Democratic Alliance (DA) political party said it was "a shame and an embarrassment" to blame the secretariat of the parliamentary committee for the false promises and that Hlengiwe Mkhize should take the blame.

    Yet another video streaming service, Viu, from PCCW Media launches and scoops up digital rights to SABC shows like Uzalo and Skeem Saam getting yanked from YouTube.


    Yet another video streaming service, Viu, from PCCW Media, is launching in South Africa, scooping up the digital playback rights to the SABC's most popular locally produced shows like Uzalo and Skeem Saam that are getting yanked from YouTube at the end of the month.

    PCCW Media with Viu is giving it a second try in South Africa after the failed ONTAPtv, with the SABC that as part of a 24 month deal with Viu, will remove some of its most popular local shows like Uzalo and Skeem Saam from YouTube at the end of the month and putting it on Viu exclusively.

    Viu, offering a hybrid of both free and paid content has launched in South Africa with the app now downloadable, amidst the growing subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) streaming wars.

    Viu will try to duke it out in a crowded field with the likes of streaming services like Netflix South Africa, MultiChoice's DStv Now and Showmax, Amazon Prime Video, Cell C black, Acorn TV, TV2GO and others in the increasing battle for digital eyeballs.

    Viu, operated by PCCW Media and Vuclip, is the next try after PWWC shuttered its ONTAPtv streamer in South Africa in mid-2018 without so much as a word after it launched in September 2015.

    Viu launched in October 2015 in Hong Kong for the Asian market and has since expanded into other countries and is now available in India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt and Jordan, besides South Africa.

    Ryan Solovei, Viu country manager for South Africa, says Viu has over 20 million monthly active users, had 1.2 billion video views in 2018, has over 70 Viu original titles, and is now in South Africa.

    In a deal between Viu and the South African public broadcaster, some of the SABC archives has been licensed exclusively to Viu, along with shows that are in-production like Uzalo, although the programmes remain the property of the SABC.

    The price of the content licensing deal isn't being disclosed by the SABC and Viu.

    The digital rights to Uzalo, the most watched show on SABC1 and in South Africa as well as Skeem Saam are moving to Viu as part of a 2-year deal. It means that viewers will no longer be able to watch episodes of these shows on YouTube from 28 February.

    From March - Viu's official "launch date", although it's already accessible to consumers - digital playbacks of episodes of the latest seasons of Uzalo and Skeem Saam will only be viewable on the Viu app as a catch-up service.

    Besides Uzalo and Skeem Saam Viu also acquired the rights to 18 other shows from the SABC catalogue, including The Docket on SABC3, as well as Yizo-Yizo, Single Galz, Taryn and Sharon, Ngempela, The Sober Companion, When We Were Black and Emoyeni.

    The SABC's content will be carried on Viu under the header "SABC Collection".

    Viu currently offers over 2000 hours of content. Users can watch free videos on Viu without having to register, but to access premium content users must register and log in. Viu however provides a 30-day free sampling period to watch premium content.

    It's not clear whether all of the SABC Collection of content like Uzalo and other shows will remain free to watch on Viu as is currently the case, or move behind the pay subscription.

    "The SABC is proud to have partnered with Viu SA in this exciting new initiative," says Madoda Mxakwe, SABC CEO. "As a broadcaster, it is imperative that we continuously move with the times and ensure that our programmes are available through video-on-demand platforms".

    "With its experience in delivering and successfully monetising over-the-top (OTT) and VOD services across the globe, Viu SA will assist the SABC's mandate of ensuring universal access for South Africa's rich, home-grown content. This strongly aligns with our strategic objective to identify new revenue streams and in this particular case, increasing revenue through sub-licensing SABC-owned intellectual property, specifically in the video entertainment space."

    Ryan Solovei says Viu SA is "proud to partner with the SABC to provide a digital platform for the broadcaster's incredible shows. We believe in the power of South African stories and we look forward to increasing access to these stories to as many people as possible through our digital platform".

    Monday, February 18, 2019

    Johannesburg auditions for Idols' 15th season on Mzansi Magic lures contestants queuing and sleeping from the night before, ready to sing in Pokemon slippers.


    Saturday's Johannesburg auditions for the 15th season of Idols on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) that took place at the Ellis Park Arena saw contestants travel from other provinces, arriving and queuing from the night before, ready for their moment in the spotlight in front of the judges - even wearing Pokemon slippers.

    Ipeleng Ngake (16) was first in line on Saturday with the Grade 9 pupil who got to Ellis Park at 05:00 on Friday morning - the day before the auditions - driving all the way from Bloemhof in the North West province.

    Ipeleng Ngake auditioned for the first time, singing Ed Sheeran's "Thinking out Loud".

    "I love to sing and I couldn't wait to turn 16 so that I can enter the competition," she said.

    Idols, a Fremantle format show produced by [SIC] Entertainment with co-executive producers Gavin Wratten and ProVerb (Tebogo Thekisho who is also the presenter), is fresh off another record-breaking season, fueling ongoing surging interest from ordinary South Africans in the 15th season set for broadcast on Mzansi Magic later this year.

    Gcobani Matiyase (25) from Alexandra also queued on Saturday, also for his first time to audition for Idols. The sales consultant also joined the long line from 19:00 the previous night, with his friend, and slept in the line to sing Rihanna's "Take a Bow" for the Idols judges the next day.

    Pilusa (right), also known as "Nkupi The Entertainer" was Superman when he auditioned in the 14th season of Idols

    He returned on Saturday as "The Diva", dressed in Pokemon slippers. Pilusa (25) from Seshego is a student and entertainer.

    Morgan Trevelyan (26) on Saturday did her 7th audition for Idols.

    The mother of a 3-year old from Randburg is a DJ and owns a T-Shirt printing company. 

    "I have never made it any further in the competition, and with my love for music, I would like to get to the top 16," said Morgan Trevelyan

    She sang "The Cup Song" from the film Pitch Perfect for the Idols judges.

    Producers Stained Glass TV crows over performance of its local primetime shows Uzalo and eHostela done from KwaZulu-Natal.


    The Stained Glass TV production company is crowing over the performance of its two primetime drama series, Uzalo and eHostela.

    Uzalo, currently in its 5th season and the most-watched show on South African television and on SABC1, received 7 nominations for 2019's upcoming 13th South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) taking place on 2 March at Sun City.

    Meanwhile viewership of eHostela on Mzansi Magic has reached 1.16 million viewers, the second most watched show on MultiChoice's DStv. 

    "We're thrilled about how this year is shaping up so far," says Mmamitse Thibedi, executive producer at Stained Glass TV

    "As a KwaZulu-Natal based production house, it's been a real privilege to tell the fascinating stories of this part of the country. We've been able to enlist incredible talent from the province – both production and cast – and it shows in the final product."

    "Both Uzalo and eHostela have consistently drawn healthy audiences and with 7 Safta nominations for Uzalo, it's clear that the industry also agrees that we're on the right track.

    Uzalo has been nominated for Best Actress (Dawn Thandeka King) and Best supporting actor (Khaya Dladla), as well as Best achievement in sound, Best achievement in editing, Best achievement in wardrobe, and best achievement in make-up.

    "eHostela, which has enlisted the services of fresh acting talent and some of the industry's most accomplished production professionals, has been rewarded by loyal audiences who have consistently shown up from its first episode on 6 January 2019," says Mmamitse Thibedi.

    "The viewership in excess of 1 million viewers, is a true testament to the fact that Stained Glass' commitment to telling authentic South Africa's stories is the most direct paths to viewers hearts and minds."

    eNCA and e.tv's current affairs programme, Checkpoint, nominated for 2 awards for 2019's 13th South African Film and Television Awards; nominations affirm the team's work says executive producer.

    The weekly current affair programme Checkpoint on eNCA (DStv 403) and broadcast on e.tv has been nominated for two awards in the Best current affairs programme category for 2019's upcoming 13th South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) with the show's executive producer saying the nominations affirm the work done by the team.

    2019's Saftas are set to take place on 2 March at Sun City.

    Checkpoint that started in April 2014 was nominated for the insert "Isikebhe" and "Dr Sello of Ikageng".

    "IsiKebhe" investigated an anti-stock theft organisation that had gone rogue and that had become a feared vigilante group, doling out brutal community punishment in rural parts of the KwaZulu-Natal province.

    The "Dr Sello of Ikageng" insert uncovered horrific abuses at the hands of a medical practitioner near Potchefstroom.

    "We don't do our work for awards but being acknowledged by the industry always highlights the dedication of the Checkpoint team," says Nkepile Mabuse, Checkpoint executive producer.

    "It is most gratifying when those who work tirelessly behind-the-scenes also get to bask in the glory of achievement.

    New episodes of Checkpoint are broadcast on Tuesdays on eNCA at 20:30 with repeats on Sundays at 19:00.

    SABC3 to reunite loved ones in new show, Miles Apart, Miles Together, flying South Africans back home in reality series set for later in 2019.

    SABC3 is adding a new 13-episode reality show, Miles Apart, Miles Together for broadcast later in 2019, that will reunite South Africans with loved ones living far away.

    Miles Apart, Miles Together (MAMT) will revolve around heart rendering stories of South African loved ones being reunited with family members who have moved abroad, flying South Africans back home to surprise people they love.

    "They now wake up every day without their loved ones, separated by distance and time. This big change has put thousands of kilometres between lovers, family, friends and parents allowing some the opportunity to only see each other once or twice a year at best."

    "Births and birthdays are missed, anniversaries, weddings and other pivotal events that we know they would have loved to attend. This is also true for those who remain behind who can't engage with their loved ones who are overseas, especially when intimate and personal family events take place," says SABC3.

    "Now South Africans can surprise someone by bringing a loved-one from overseas," says the channel.

    Yes my precious, new Lord of the Rings map starts to provide tantalising clues to not just where - but when - Amazon Prime Video's fantasy drama series will be set.


    Tantalising new clues are emerging not just about the setting, but the time period, of not just where but when the big-budget Lord of the Rings fantasy drama series of Amazon Prime Video will take place.

    Amazon Prime Video has provided a map - literally - for where the series will be set that will likely follow the conclusion of Game of Thrones seen on M-Net as the next big, premium, must-watch global fantasy TV series.


    After Amazon Prime Video published the Lord of the Rings map of Middle-Earth to indicate the upcoming setting, experts in Tolkien-lore were lightning-quick to point out that the map shows Middle-Earth after the War of Wrath, "since Beleriand isn't on it".

    Like an Earth map showing Czechoslovakia, or Greenland without ice as a desert, can be used to place it in a specific era in the planet's history or future, the Middle-Earth map strongly indicates that the Amazon series will take place in the Second or Third Age.

    The tweet also mentioned the three rings for Elves. They were made by Celebrimbor for Galadriel and Gil-Galad and were later worn by Cirdan, Elrond and Gandalf.

    Could it be that the series will show the story of how the rings were forged and got to be, as happened partially into the Second Age, or Sauron before his fall into darkness?

    What is known so far is that the series will be set before the events depicted in the Lord of the Rings films.

    Lord of the Rings will be produced by Amazon Studios, in co-operation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment and is rumoured to start around 2021. The cost will come in at $1 billion for at least 5 seasons.

    Delay of ANC-led government and parliament's portfolio committee in appointing new SABC board a gross dereliction of duty, 'acts of treason', says Media Monitoring Africa.


    Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) has slammed the delay by South Africa's government and parliament's portfolio committee on communications to appoint new SABC board members for the vacancies that have exited for months, as a gross dereliction of duty, a violation of their oath of office, and "acts of treason".

    The beleaguered and unstable SABC - commercially insolvent according to the Auditor-General - continues to limp along months before the 9 May date for national elections in South Africa, with a gutted and inquorate SABC board following several resignations.

    There's also been no word on when or if the SABC will get the new R3 billion bailout if needs to avoid complete financial collapse.

    The lack of any actual visible progress to radically stabilise the SABC in terms of its finances, governance and management - with no real transparent communication as to what exactly is happening and not happening has led South Africa's TV and film industry to believe that the SABC is deliberately being kept unstable by the ANC-led government because of the looming national elections.

    South Africa's 11th minister of communications in 11 years, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, and the chairperson of parliament's portfolio committee on communications, Hlengiwe Mkhize, seem to be missing-in-action as public servants as far as their task of stabilising the SABC is concerned.

    Hlengiwe Mkhizeinitially set out early-January 2019 for the process of interviews with potential SABC board candidates to start.

    By mid-February nothing has happened, months after the SABC board became inquorate.

    "The latest action by the portfolio committee to delay the appointment of new SABC board members, not only flies in the face of their promises to expedite the process, it constitutes a gross dereliction of duty and a violation of their oath of public office," says MMA non-profit organisation and public pressure group in a statement.

    "In seeking to deepen the governance crisis at the SABC, they are deliberately seeking to destabilise our public broadcaster and our democracy."

    "Their actions lead to two routes: one, we have an inquorate SABC board as we approach elections, and an SABC in financial crisis."

    "Two, they seek to force the remainder of the SABC board to resign so they can appoint appoint an interim SABC board of lackeys and stooges."

    "Both events have a similar outcome for our public broadcaster – its collapse as a public broadcaster, and a return to a state broadcaster. The only real difference between the options is the time it takes."

    "As such, and having known full well of the impending crises, these latest actions could be seen not just as a gross violation of their public oath of office, but as acts of treason," says Media Monitoring Africa.

    "That public representatives can act in this manner spits in the face of all who fought for freedom in South Africa. MMA is currently exploring all legal avenues and forms of recourse to help avert an elections crisis. All South Africans should be utterly revolted at this betrayal of our democracy."

    Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams in a weird one-size-fits-all holding statement on Saturday said "the minister is concerned about corporate governance, given the status of the SABC board, and is consulting relevant stakeholders, including National Treasury, on the best legal approach, given the current state of affairs" following her first meeting with the government bailout team working on a possible SABC bailout deal.

    Netflix cancels Marvel TV's last two remaining drama series, Jessica Jones and The Punisher, on its streaming service.


    Netflix has dumped Marvel TV's last two remaining superhero series on the global streaming service and has cancelled both Jessica Jones and The Punisher.

    Netflix's abrupt cancellation follows the cancellations of Iron Fist,  Daredevil,  Luke Cage and the combo-series The Defenders.

    An already-produced third season of Jessica Jones will still roll out on Netflix but no date has yet been announced.

    "Marvel's The Punisher will not return for a third season on Netflix," Netflix says in a statement.

    "Showrunner Steve Lightfoot, the terrific crew, and an exceptional cast including star Jon Bernthal, delivered an acclaimed and compelling series for fans, and we are proud to showcase their work on Netflix for years to come."

    "In addition, in reviewing our Marvel programming, we have decided that the upcoming third season will also be the final season for Marvel's Jessica Jones. We are grateful to showrunner Melissa Rosenberg, star Krysten Ritter and the entire cast and crew for three incredible seasons of this groundbreaking series".

    "We are grateful to Marvel for five years of our fruitful partnership and thank the passionate fans who have followed these series from the beginning."

    Netflix initially went big with the announcement of its partnership tie-up in 2013 but the relationship soured as Marvel's owner, Disney, started to work on plans for its own video streaming service, Disney+ that will be launching later in 2019.

    Disney plans to use and create Marvel characters for its own service.

    After Netflix's announcement, Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb published a letter online at Marvel.com saying that Netflix "may have decided they no longer want to continue telling the tales of these great characters but you know Marvel better than that".

    "As Matthew Murdock's Dad once said, 'The measure of a man is not how he gets knocked to the mat, it's how he gets back up. To be continued."

    REVISITED. Viewers have fallen in love with The Bachelor South Africa after M-Net made the entire first episode available for free on YouTube and the hilarious - and quite insightful - comments will give you life.


    South African and international viewers have fallen head over heels in love with The Bachelor South Africa unable to resist after M-Net (DStv 101) made the first episode available for free online - complete with comments that are hilarious, often insightful, and over-the-top entertaining in their own right.

    A stunning number of viewers have seen and sampled the first episode of The Bachelor SA as a free-watch, with the YouTube number counter continuing to explode upwards as people in droves click and view the long-form, premium-produced content after its debut this past Thursday evening on M-Net at 19:00.


    ALSO READ: Viewers flock to The Bachelor South Africa ... on YouTube, saying it looks like Top Billing and begging M-Net to make all the episodes available for free.


    In a remarkable departure, M-Net - in a first for the 32-year old pay-TV broadcaster - decided to give a premium chunk of one of its new pay-TV series away for free by placing the entire 1 hour and 8 minutes debut episode of its latest, locally produced show on YouTube. It worked.

    Counter-intuitively, by giving the episode away for free, the successful result of the content marketing experiment with The Bachelor SA has been a massive win for MultiChoice's most premium, flagship channel on DStv.

    The surprising move could very well lead to a possible permanent strategy shift inside M-Net that could see the debut episodes of all or several more of M-Net series in future be placed online for free and that foreseeably could help drive possible DStv Premium uptake and aid in show sampling and raising show title awareness under the public.

    While the local version of The Bachelor SA with bachelor Lee Thompson - produced by Rapid Blue according to the dating show format of Warner Bros. International Television Production (WBITVP) - rack up YouTube views, the comments on their own, mostly from a female audience, are additional entertainment gold.

    "Wow, the picture quality's out of this world and the Western Cape is something else. This show will not only entertain us but also promote travel and tourism," said Mamapho Langa.

    "Gina looks like Megan Markle. Hopefully she snags this prince Harry," said Rose Greenstone.

    "You guys are smart for putting the first episode on YouTube," remarked Siba Jack-Pamal with Z.Mute saying: "I'm even ready to subscribe".

    "Guys, let's share DStv Now usernames and passwords. Let's do it for the nation," suggested Mmala Mokone, while Lesedi Khumalo said: "I really like this guy he seems sincere".

    "Hey these ladies are off the hook, they are all beautiful stunning and intelligent, I love the diversity and different backgrounds, so proud to be a South African woman," remarked Adele Davids. Olwethu Yekela said: "I absolutely the diversity, and how laid back this guy is".

    "He likes tall women, so the shorter women must prepare their hearts for rejection. He is gorgeous though!" said Patience Mabaso. "Does he not have a tattoo? Wow, I am looking for one; rare, rare," observed Nothando Dnhlovu.

    "Jozaan is probably an only child. She has that vibe to her," said Sasha, while Helene Elisab20 commented: "Jozaan your bum is so flat like my TV's screen please try to fix it girl".

    "Is it just me or someone else has noticed the swelling on Natasha's (scientist) neck? She needs to have it checked out," said Betty Achieng.

    "Wait... The twins got the same surname as the dude? Wouldn't marry or date someone with the same surname as me," said Rofhiwa Tshikonelo.

    "I'm rooting for Michelle R. She represents many of us hard working, mature, educated, independent & beautiful South African women out there - black, white, Indian, coloured. Love her," wrote Dineo Mokgosi.

    "Not crazy about women competing over a man, entertaining though, since this is the business of entertainment. Top Billing style type of production, well done," said Joy.