Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The shutdown of the embattled Econet keeps rippling as it abruptly shutters its whole Econet Media division which includes Kwesé iflix as latest victim.

The expanding shutdown of the embattled Econet's divisions keeps rippling through the embattled business with Econet that has now abruptly shuttered its whole Econet Media division as well, that includes its Kwesé iflix streaming service as apparently the latest victim of its cash-crunch.

The debt-laden Econet that has not paid retrenched staffers their severance money and told them it doesn't know when it will be able to, has seen its Kwese TV pay-TV division abruptly shut down and placed into liquidation, its TV channels like Kwesé Free Sports abruptly go dark and off air without warning, and its Kwesé Play streaming service and Roku-device terminated.

Now Econet,owned by the Zimbabwean billionaire Strive Masiyiwa, has been forced to shut down its entire Econet Media subsidiary where Joseph Hundah has been Econet Media CEO and that racked up more than $130 million in debt in content costs including expensive sports rights and other services, with Econet Media that housed Kwesé TV, Kwesé Play and Kwesé Iflix.

The Econet Group in a statement says that "The Econet Group regrets to confirm that Econet Media Limited has ceased operations with effect from 5 August 2019".

"It is a difficult decision that we could not postpone. Over the last 4 years we sought to disrupt Africa’s media landscape and enable Africa to tell its own stories using a variety of technologies including satellite broadcast, video streaming and free-to-air TV."

"The Econet Group invested heavily into Econet Media and supported the business over the period it operated without any third-party funding. Unfortunately, market conditions and content price inflation got in the way of us completing our mission."

"We are particularly grateful to all our dedicated staff and contractors who have worked tirelessly to bring a great product to market and who until the last day believed in the Kwesé story. We are also grateful to our customers and our partners who believed in the Kwesé vision and who worked with us as we tried to change how Africans consume and pay for media."

"We deeply regret the impact that this decision has had on our staff, contractors, customers, regulators and content providers."

"We will engage with each of our valued stakeholders transparently and will seek to meet our obligations to each of them as provided under law."

"The Econet Group is entrepreneurial and believes in Africa and its potential. Our belief in 'an inclusive connected future that leaves no African behind' remains undaunted."

"We would like to emphasise and reiterate that the rest of the Econet Group businesses continue to operate normally as each of our companies are separate legal entities with their own management teams and boards."

In its statement, Econet mentions nothing about its alleged bad management, rapid and aggressive expansion plans and cash splurges, bad and often non-existent customer care and foolish content acquisition strategies that were all self-inflicted damage that led to Econet Media's downfall and implosion. 

Econet said in July that its beleaguered pay-TV and TV business struggled to compete with China's StarTimes and MultiChoice's DStv.

Meanwhile several current and former South African workers of Econet who are enduring living hell but who were once "promised heaven" if they join Kwesé TV, showed TVwithThinus correspondence of them not having been paid their severance packages after being retrenched and Econet executives telling them that there isn't money and that they can't give answers as to when they will be paid.

ALSO READ: Embattled Econet announces it will be shutting down its struggling Kwesé TV entirely on Monday 5 August 2019 after owing R1.9 billion to third-party content providers.
ALSO READ: Living hell after Kwesé implosion: Massive problems, fear, secrecy, non-payment and scared staffers at Econet Kwesé TV in South Africa where workers were once "promised heaven".

kykNET and its Getroud met Rugby soap respond after complaints over language and its unfolding rape story line: 'Although the content upsets some viewers, it wasn't handled in a sensationalistic manner'.

Since kykNET moved its Afrikaans language soap Getroud met Rugby back to 18:00, complaints from upset DStv subscribers have been mounting over the course language that they feel is inappropriate for the early primetime family viewing timeslot and a rape storyline, with kykNET that says the unfolding story has not been handled in a sensationalistic manner. 

The Overberg Productions soap from Deon Opperman filmed at Atlas Studios follows the lives of the fictional Stryders rugby team and surrounding community.

In July 2017 Getroud met Rugby that was at 18:30 on the kykNET (DStv 144) schedule was moved to the 21:00 timeslot, but following weak ratings, kykNET moved the soap back since July 2019 where the weekday soap now serves at 18:00 as the lead-in for sister-soap Suidooster

Since the move back to an earlier timeslot, complaints from DStv subscribers and kykNET viewers have increased about the foul language that they feel are not appropriate during family time TV viewing.

Viewers are also unhappy about the depiction of the disturbing rape of Anna Redelinghuys (Kate Roothman) by Jacques Kotze (Armand Aucamp) as part of an ongoing story line. 

In response to a media enquiry, Sonè Combrinck, executive producer of Getroud met Rugby, told TVwithThinus that "the story line of Anna Redelinghuys getting raped was not explored by the producers as a controversial theme".

"Rape and forced sex is a topical theme. It's an important theme to approach, given the high numbers of abuse, violence and rape in South Africa. Soaps have a responsibility to comment on social and public welfare issues. August is Women's Month and thus the producers had a golden opportunity to address a serious issue like rape."

"No deliberate shock technique was used in the rape scene," says Sonè Combrinck. "The scene was filmed with sensitivity and integrity, while the specific character's trauma and helplessness had to be portrayed".

"Unfortunately these type of events are a reality. Soaps speak to a mass audience and are in fact created to depict the stories of ordinary people and their daily challenges and experiences."

"The producers constantly try and keep Getroud met Rugby honest and relevant, with a balance of stories ranging from very dramatic to lighthearted, sad and happy, love and hate, violence and reconciliation."

Nicola van Niekerk, kykNET's executive for scripted productions, says that "soaps can't shy away from stories addressing difficult themes - all soaps cover relevant issues ranging from drug-abuse, bullying and medical issues".

"The rape story line in Getroud met Rugby is of topical importance in Women's Month. Statistics show that most rape in South Africa happens by someone who is known to the victim. It's important that any story in any soap is first well-researched and then depicted in a responsible way."

"Although the content upsets some viewers, it wasn't handled in a sensationalistic manner. Soaps can't shy away from telling relevant stories but can handle every story in a respectful manner," says Nicola van Niekerk.

South African public broadcaster goes to labour court to get at least 28 irregular SABC appointments from the destructive Hlaudi Motsoeneng era reversed.

The South African public broadcaster has announced that it will go to the country's labour court to have the appointments of at least 28 SABC staffers be reversed that were made during the destructive era of the former top exec and chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng who himself has also been fired.

The appointments of the 28 SABC employees, with more that could follow, were made by and during the so-called "reign of terror" of the caustic and famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The SABC wants these staffers' appointments to be declared invalid, unlawful and to be set aside.

"The SABC can confirm that it is in the process of serving the respective respondents with the application. Once this is complete, the organisation will lodge its application with the labour court, and the respondents will be afforded an opportunity to oppose the application by filing their answering affidavit," says Vuyo Mthembu, SABC spokesperson.

The SABC in a statement said that "These are appointments that are deemed to have been effected without following relevant SABC policies".

"The application follows recommendations of the reports of the Public Protector and the Parliamentary ad hoc committee, as well as the SABC’s internal investigation on irregular appointments."

"So far, 28 cases have been identified for the first phase of the process. The ongoing investigation might reveal further irregular appointments."

"All affected parties will be afforded an opportunity to oppose the application. The SABC remains committed to enforcing sound governance measures aimed at ensuring full compliance with all its policies."

MultiChoice Africa cuts DStv subscription across East Africa in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique after rival StarTimes lowers prices and as pay-TV consumers struggle in tough African economies.

MultiChoice Africa will be cutting monthly DStv and GOtv subscription fees across East Africa with DStv and GOtv consumers who will be seeing a decrease in the monthly payments in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and some Mozambique packages.

MultiChoice East Africa's decision to lower fees comes after rival StarTimes lowered prices in Kenya in April 2019 and as pay-TV consumers struggle in tough African economies.

After China's StarTimes Kenya restructured the tiered-offering of its pay-TV services in Africa's largest pay-TV market in the east of the African continent, MultiChoice is following 5 months later and is now also lowering fees.

In response to a media enquiry MultiChoice Africa confirmed to TVwithThinus that it's adjusting and lowering the monthly bill of DStv and GOtv subscribers in Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique and Tanzania.

MultiChoice will also implement a price decrease in Mozambique from September on the DStv Portuguese packages that include DStv Bue, DStv Grande+, DStv Grande and DStv Facil, although DStv Business as well as GOtv Plus and GOtv Lite subscription fees in Mozambique will increase.

In Malawi also in East Africa, MultiChoice Malawi will be increasing fees for the DStv Family and DStv Access packages only.

"Not all markets where MultiChoice Africa operates will have the same price changes as each country has different cost structures influenced by local dynamics such as inflation, content costs, foreign exchange rates, local taxes and overheads required for each business," says Reatile Tekateka, MultiChoice Africa's group executive head of corporate affairs, told TVwithThinus.

"These are taken into account when setting prices for DStv and GOtv packages. We've done a lot of research into what pay-TV costs in other parts of the world and we believe that our DStv and GOtv services offer good value for money in the countries in which we operate."

In Uganda, MultiChoice Uganda will be cutting monthly DStv subscription fees by up to a third (30%) for some packages where the price of DStv Premium, DStv Compact Plus, DStv Compact and DStv Family are all being reduced.

Kenya will see an even bigger decrease, ranging between 5% to up to almost 37%.

MultiChoice Kenya in a statement about DStv price reductions from September in that country said that "Our aim is to make great entertainment accessible to more consumers in Kenya and we believe this move will grant more of our customers access to the complete world of exciting entertainment channels at a lower price."

DStv Premium in Kenya will see a monthly price reduction of 5% on the most expensive monthly package, while DStv Compact Plus will decrease by 13.46%, DStv Compact will go down by 21% and DStv Family will see a whopping 36.84% decrease. DStv Access will fall by 5%.

South Africa's sports minister says MultiChoice and the Premier Soccer League will on Thursday announce some solution to have Absa Premiership matches broadcast on the embattled SABC that can't pay for it.

South Africa's minister of sports, Nathi Mthethwa announced that his department, the pay-TV operator MultiChoice and the Premier Soccer League (PSL) will announce on Thursday, 22 August 2019, a solution to have Absa Premiership matches broadcast on the embattled South African public broadcaster that can't pay for it.

The PSL slammed the SABC for its failure to pick up and pay for certain free-to-air rights to some matches of the new Absa Premiership season that kicked off at the beginning of this month, with the SABC that demanded a 96% discount in the licensing rights price from SuperSport from which the SABC sub-license the broadcasting rights.

The SABC said that it can't afford the licensing rights sticker price and SABC top brass went as far as ordering presenters at the public broadcaster to withhold information from South African citizens and to not even mention Absa Premiership match scores on air or to discuss or do any commentary about the PSL.

The SABC claimed that a broadcasting licensing deal with SuperSport was not financially viable for the broadcaster and something it couldn't afford and that the SABC would make revenue of just R47 million a year if they accepted the deal and lose money.

The South African government responded reactively and belatedly as in previous cases said it would do meetings with the SABC, the PSL and MultiChoice.

The ongoing, massive problem with sports rights remains unsolved by the South African government and the departments of sports and communications, who constantly - after a blackout crisis at the SABC - respond with a meeting, followed by some short-term plaster TV package on the gaping wound, and then nothing to solve the long-term systemic problems and bleeding.

After a first meeting with the SABC and the PSL, Nathi Mthethwa on Wednesday in a statement said that he met on Tuesday with Dr Irvin Koza, PSL chairperson; as well as Imtiaz Patel, the MultiChoice Group's chairperson, and Calvo Mawela on Tuesday.

"After this interaction, we are confident that a resolution to this impasse is imminent as of Thursday," Nathi Mthethwa announced.

"Both the PSL the PSL and MultiChoice honoured the appointment and that is an indication of their appreciating the gravity of this matter. I am happy that both parties understand that despite the contrasting interests they represent, which are valid on individual accounts, what can no longer be treated lightly is the heavy toll this impasse has taken on South Africans."

"That both Dr Irvin Khoza, as well as Imtiaz Patel and Calvo Mawela met with me is testament that they understand that a solution must be found."

eNCA explains Monday night's blue screen blackout and signal loss on DStv: Power failure caused a switch to back-up generators that failed.

DStv subscribers were left perplexed without any explanation when eNCA (DStv 403) experienced when the South African TV news channel had a blue screen blackout on Monday night during prime time with eNCA telling TVwithThinus that it was caused by a power outage and back-up generators that failed.

Viewers watching eNCA on Monday night during prime time suddenly saw eNCA go off air during Night Line with Vuyo Mvoko with a blue screen simply displaying a stock MultiChoice message saying "Sorry about the interruption to your viewing. Our teams will get you back to your favourite show as soon as we can. Thanks for understanding."

eNCA remained off air for close to an hour as viewers tuned out of the dead-on-air channel.

eNCA in response to a media enquiry about the abrupt signal loss blames a power outage that resulted in back-up generators at its Hyde Park headquarters in Johannesburg to kick in but which then failed and shut down.

"The area of Dunkeld West experienced a power outage late on Monday night. Generators at our studios kicked in but later malfunctioned," says eNCA.

"Within less than an hour, we diverted to recorded programming from our Cape Town studios."

"eNCA's technical teams worked throughout the night and brought the channel back on-air for normal programming at 6am on Tuesday."

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

South African viewers upset that Disney+ won't be made available in the country as part of the video streamer's international launch, says new shows like Star Wars' The Mandalorian will be pirate viewed as Disney lose out on revenue.

South African viewers are upset that The Walt Disney Company's upcoming streaming service Disney+ that will launch on 12 November in America and other countries won't be made available in South Africa as part of the video streamer's international launch and say pirate viewing of sought-after content will see Disney lose out on potential revenue.

On Monday Disney announced that besides the United States, Disney+ will become available in Canada and the Netherlands as well on 12 November, with New Zealand and Australia following a week later on 19 November. Disney+ will cost around R100 in each country.

Absent from Disney's announcement for Disney+ is South Africa that is apparently not considered "a major market" for Disney although the country has a bigger population and consumer base than Canada, the Netherlands, as well as Australia and New Zealand combined.

Disney has commissioned an avalanche of TV content in the form of new animation and live-action series and films from its combined Marvel, Disney, Pixar and Star Wars brands that will be available on its new subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service, along with a massive library of content from 21st Century Fox and National Geographic.

Upcoming programming on Disney+ includes several live-action Star Wars series and a series based around Marvel's Loki to the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Monsters at Work, reality series and even a High School Musical teen series.

South African consumers and viewers are upset and frustrated about the lack of any information and communication from Disney for Africa, and are warning Disney Africa that the company is going to lose out in potential revenue as viewers flock to torrent and illegal downloads to find programming.

Viewers are particularly interested in the first live-action Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, as well as many other original programming that will be available on Disney+ from the day of launch.

Disney ignored questions from Disney fans on social media asking when Disney+ will be made available in South Africa, where other video streaming services like Netflix South Africa, Amazon Prime Video and MultiChoice's Showmax already exist and are competing in the small but growing subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) consumer space.

"I won't be able to watch The Mandalorian because it seems Disney+ isn't rolling out in South Africa," remarked StarWarsStories, with Joe Mabija that asked in vain, "Disney+ when will you be launching in South Africa?"

Yusuf Moosa said "Hey Disney+, a lot of us here in South Africa would love to give you our money" and Rish Rialto said that "if the global rollout isn't quick and extensive (Africa & Asia) expect a ton of lost revenue to piracy. Be smart please!"

Last week Disney announced that it has appointed Luke Bradley-Jones as the boss of Disney+ for Europe and Africa who will take up the position from 2020.

Marketer at China's StarTimes in Nigeria in court after allegedly defrauding 5 pay-TV customers billed for decoders, TV sets and recharge cards they never got.

A marketer at China's StarTimes pay-TV service in Nigeria stands accused of having defrauded 5 StarTimes Nigeria subscribers of N2.1 million (R89 000).

On Monday Victor Opeyemi (34), who pleaded not guilty, appeared in the Ikeja Magistrates' Court before magistrate Mrs M.O. Tanimola after he allegedly stole N2.1 million from StarTimes Nigeria customers.

Nigeria's The Nation newspaper reported that Gloria Idoko, Isa Akakiu, Christiana Umeobi, Chibuzor Okafor and Sulaimon Ismaila were defrauded when Victor Opeyemi as a StarTimes Nigeria marketer billed them and took the money after selling them StarTimes decoders, TV sets and StarTimes recharge cards that they never received.

The StarTimes victims contacted the pay-TV company which is how the alleged fraud was uncovered.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Former M-Net and Econet's Kwesé TV exec Pierre Cloete jumps to BBC Studios as new commercial director for the set of BBC channels in South Africa and Africa.

Pierre Cloete, a former M-Net boss at MultiChoice and Econet's Kwesé TV former Kwesé Sports boss has jumped to BBC Studios where he has been appointed as the new commercial director for the set of BBC channels that BBC Studios runs in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa, known as its "branded services".

"Branded services" is how BBC Studios describes its portfolio of BBC branded channels - BBC Brit, BBC Lifestyle, BBC First, BBC Earth, CBeebies, and BBC World News which it supplies to MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service in South Africa and Africa, with BBC World News that's also available on China's StarTimes's elsewhere in Africa and its StarSat in South Africa, eMedia Investment's Openview and the Cell C black video streaming service. 

Pierre Cloete's role and responsibility in the role of commercial director for branded services for sub-Saharan Africa will be around delivering on the revenues, profit and growth for the set of BBC branded channels across sub-Saharan Africa, and working with existing partners and exploring new business development opportunities.

His appointment comes after BBC Studios's restructuring of its Central Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMA) region that has left South Africa and Africa without any hands-on in-country boss and that saw the abrupt exit of BBC Africa boss Joel Churcher in July 2019 after 5 years.

Continuing to be based in Johannesburg, South Africa and reporting into BBC Africa's advertising boss Louise La Grange, who is the senior vice president of branded services commercial, Pierre Cloete will start on 1 September 2019.

 Pierre Cloete is jumping ship from the struggling Econet's imploding Kwese TV pay-TV operation in Zimbabwe and South Africa where he most recently was Kwesé Sports acting CEO and the head of Kwesé Sports Digital Content.

Before this Pierre Cloete was at Ericsson South Africa for 2 years as head of TV and media, and before that worked for 8 years at M-Net.

Before joining MultiChoice in the SuperSport division, Pierre Cloete started his TV industry career with the Johannesburg-based production company Rapid Blue, which has ironically grown to become BBC Studios Africa's preferred production partner on current and upcoming series ranging from Come Dine with Me South Africa to First Dates South Africa.

"The appointment of a commercial director for Sub-Saharan Africa signals our ongoing commitment to the market and a continued local presence on the ground," says Louise La Grange in a supplied statement on Monday.

"Pierre has a proven track record in the African television industry and I am confident that his experience and local knowledge will put BBC Studios in the best position to achieve our ambitions for growth."

Pierre Cloete in a supplied quote says "I am delighted to join BBC Studios as commercial director for Branded Services across sub-Saharan Africa".

"The quality of the BBC channels and its content is first class, and it is an honour to join the BBC Studios team."

"Africa is filled with amazing people that enjoy great stories and love quality content. The potential is ever increasing in Africa as more stories are being told and consumed and I look forward to adding value to the BBC Studios team."

Disney announces the international markets that will get its Disney+ video streaming first including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands - but South Africa excluded.

South Africa that isn't considered a "major market" by Disney remains locked out with The Walt Disney Company that announced on Monday that its upcoming Disney+ video streaming service that will launch on 12 November in America will also be available within a week after launch in four international markets including Canada, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand.

Disney has commissioned an avalanche of TV content in the form of new animation and live-action series and films from its combined Marvel, Disney, Pixar and Star Wars brands that will be available on its new subscription video-on-demand SVOD) service, along with a massive library of content from 21st Century Fox and National Geographic.

Disney+ will compete globally with streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, along with the soon-to-launch Apple TV+ and WarnerMedia's HBO Max.

Disney's new Direct-to-Consumer and International division announced on Monday that it had reached global agreements with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Roku, and Sony to distribute its Disney+ across partner mobile and connected-TV devices.

Besides the launch of Disney+ in the United States where it will cost $6.99 (R107.24) per month from 12 November, Walt Disney on Monday announced that Disney+ will also launch on the same day in Canada costing CAD$8.99 (R103.96), and the Netherlands costing €6.99 (R118.99) per month.

Disney+ will make its debut a week later from 19 November 2019 in both Australia at A$8.99 (R93.42) and New Zealand costing NZD$9.99 (R98.30) as well.

South Africa and Africa remains excluded from Disney+ but so is the United Kingdom. Disney says that it expects to make Disney+ available in all major markets within the first two years after launch.

When Disney+ launch in these initial markets, Disney+ subscribers will be able to sign up and use the service directly or through in-app purchases on Apple's iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV; Google's Android phones, Android TV devices, Google Chromecast and Chromecast built-in devices; Microsoft Xbox One; Sony Interactive Entertainment's PlayStation 4 and all of Sony's Android-based TV set; as well as Roku streaming players and Roku TV sets.

The Walt Disney Company Africa is set to hold its annual content showcase for the media and advertisers for 2019/2020 showing more about its upcoming content slate on Tuesday 20 August in South Africa.

Last week Disney announced that it has appointed Luke Bradley-Jones as the boss of Disney+ for Europe and Africa.

Planning to introduce a 'TV nudity ban' bill and furious over the sex-filled series, Nigeria's government lies and says its taking MultiChoice and M-Net's Big Brother Naija to rival StarTimes - although it doesn't have the format rights.

Saying it plans to introduce a "TV nudity ban" bill and furious over the crude, lewd and lascivious latest season of Big Brother in Nigeria beamed across sub-Sahara Africa on DStv, the Nigerian government lied over the weekend saying that it is in negotiations with the MultiChoice pay-TV rival, China's StarTimes, to take Big Brother Naija to StarTimes for a version that "that will reflect the true Nigerian culture".

Neither the Nigerian government nor China's StarTimes has or owns the format for Big Brother that belongs to the EndemolShine Group.

The format licensing rights to do a customised Big Brother Naija was acquired and is being held by M-Net, M-Net West Africa and the MultiChoice Group, which means that no African government like Nigeria nor StarTimes can do another Big Brother Naija version or something resembling it even if they wanted to.

Both the Nigerian government and Nigeria's National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) have condemned the nudity and sexual content in the latest 4th season of Big Brother Nigeria that produced from a studio in Lagos for the first time since 2006 and shown by MultiChoice Nigeria in that country, but also across the rest of Africa on DStv.

Segun Runsewe, director-general of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), and Gloria Shoda, president of Nigeria's National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) have laid complaints about Big Brother Naija at Nigeria's notorious censorship board, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

Segun Runsewe is also pushing for a "TV nudity ban" bill for Nigerian television that previously failed, to ban and punish so-called "sex acts" broadcast on television, saying "We are going to represent that bill".

"I will take up the issue of Big Brother Naija. I have spoken with officials of the National Broadcasting Commission because what is going on now, is terrible. Having love affairs on the screen is not part of our own culture at all."

"Let me tell Nigerians that a new Big Brother Naija is on its way and we are working with StarTimes. We are doing a Big Brother Naija that will reflect the true Nigerian culture. We are already working on it. All that will be eaten there will be Nigerian food. The dresses will be Nigerian dresses."

In 2008 Nigeria had a so-called Nudity Bill entitled "A Bill for an Act to punish and prohibit nudity, sexual intimidation and other-related offences in Nigeria" which went nowhere.

Gloria Shoda who apparently watched the Big Brother Naija "sex content, called it "disgusting" and said that "Having live sex on stage is the thing affecting my sensibility and it is impacting negatively on the young children coming up".

"Does it mean that they [contestants] can't abstain from sex for three months? I'm condemning the sex content on Big Brother Niaja," said Gloria Shoda over the weekend.

On Monday morning MultiChoice Africa was asked for comment about the Nigerian government interfering with a private pay-TV company's television production, and for the Nigerian government lying about doing a Big Brother Niaja version with rival StarTimes to which neither has any format licensing rights.

MultiChoice Africa: 'Not aware of any filed complaint or alternative show'
TVwithThinus asked MultiChoice Africa for comment on both the Nigerian government allegedly filing a complaint with the NBC, and the Nigerian government's claim of starting a Big Brother Naija version with China's StarTimes Nigeria.

"We have not received any notification of an official enquiry into Big Brother Naija so we are not aware of any filed complaint," said MultiChoice Africa.

"For the second question, we are also not aware of any plans the government might have with regards to the production of an alternative reality show."

"We remain committed to being Africa’s number one storyteller for our customers. We’re proud of our investment in the Big Brother Naija show that not only delivers exciting, quality local video entertainment content that resonates with viewers across Africa but also ensures that local talent is showcased on a platform that positively contributes towards igniting Africa’s creative industries."

By the Power of Grayskull, Netflix revives He-Man and the Masters of the Universe as an anime animation series.

Netflix has commissioned a new He-Man and the Masters of the Universe animation series, with the new anime series that will continue on from the classic 1980s series and "focus on some of the unresolved storylines from of the classic show".

The announcement was made at Power-Con taking place in Anaheim, California.

The new series entitled Masters of the Universe: Revelation will return to Eternia and He-Man, with director Kevin Smith who will also serve as showrunner and executive producer once again exploring the world where Skeletor, Battle Cat, Orco, Man-At-Arms, She-Ra and other mythical characters of 80s kids live.

The original Masters of the Universe animation series chronicles the adventures of Prince Adam, heir to the throne of planet Eternia, who uses a magical Power Sword to transform into the warrior He-Man, and stories ending with a short summary of the life lesson from the episode.

"The war for Eternia begins again! Superstar director Kevin Smith continues the original series’ story right where it left off in Masters of the Universe: Revelation, a new series telling the epic tale of what may be He-Man and Skeletor’s final battle," says Netflix.

Kevin Smith said that the new He-Man will be a "wholly original story set in the epic world of Mattel's over 35 year-old global He-Man toy franchise".

Eric Carrasco (Supergirl), Tim Sheridan (Reign of the Supermen), Diya Mishra (Magic the Gathering) and Marc Bernardin (Alphas) will be the writers on the show and the series is being produced by Mattel Television.

Rob David, vice president of Mattel TV and author of He-Man: the Eternity War will also serve as executive producer. The animation is being done by Powerhouse Animation, who had previously worked on Netflix's Castlevania series.

"I'm Eternia-ly grateful to Mattel TV and Netflix for entrusting me with not only the secrets of Grayskull, but also their entire Universe," says Kevin Smith in a statement.

"In Masters of the Universe: Revelation, we pick up right where the classic era left off to tell an epic tale of what may be the final battle between He-Man and Skeletor! Brought to life with the most metal character designs Powerhouse Animation can contain in the frame, this is the Masters of the Universe story you always wanted to see as a kid!"

Rob David says "Masters of the Universe has been a cultural phenomenon for generations, inspiring fans to discover their own power within".

"Fans of this franchise have been waiting for the continuation of these characters, and Kevin Smith as a Masters superfan himself is the perfect champion and partner to expand the canon through a dynamic animated series on Netflix."

Sunday, August 18, 2019

As even more Mike Bolhuis racist slurs from the kykNET reality star surface including him using the 'k'-word, MultiChoice says it is still considering 'the reinstatement of the show'.

As a flurry of more racist slurs and derogatory remarks made by Mike Bolhuis in audio recordings - including using the racist "k"-word - surfaced from the disgraced private investigator and kykNET reality star, MultiChoice now says it hasn't taken a decision to permanently cancel his show and will still consider the reinstatement of the show in due course.

The latest Mike Bolhuis recording laced with his racist and derogatory language comes a week after an initial racist conversation was revealed publicly that privately lead MultiChoice to remove his reality show, Bolhuis, for the time being from M-Net's Afrikaans language kykNET channels and its Showmax video streaming service.

After his pre-recorded TV apology on kykNET's eNuus on Thursday evening and a written statement on Friday suddenly warning that more "further conversations might surface that might paint me as someone who discriminates", it happened on Sunday when the Rapport newspaper revealed further shocking recorded conversations in which Mike Bolhuis used the "k"-word and other highly offensive and derogatory language.

An original recording with racist and derogatory language coming to light in late-July caused MultiChoice to axe the kykNET show Bolhuis for now after a voice note came to light in which Mike Bolhuis can be heard saying "a pitchblack houtkop" (wood head) and using the "n"-word.

The second season of the detective reality show Bolhuis, produced by Rian van Heerden also responsible for other kykNET tabloid programming fare like Die Siener, was set to start on 31 July on kykNET (DStv 144).

M-Net's Afrikaans language channels division however abruptly pulled the show from its schedule and also yanked the first season repeats of Bolhuis from sister channel kykNET&kie (DStv 145) shortly before broadcast.

Bolhuis also disappeared from the DStv Now's Catch Up service and the Showmax subscription video-on-demand service run by MultiChoice's Connected Video division with episodes that would have been made available simultaneously on Showmax.

kykNET, when asked why the show was pulled from the schedule initially, said that it could no longer be broadcast "due to contractual issues".

Last Sunday Rapport revealed the shocking audio recording that Mike Bolhuis made himself, and also distributed and sent to other people himself.

MultiChoice said in a statement that "It came to our attention that Mike Bolhuis had conducted certain conversations in which he expressed himself in a discriminatory manner, which is unacceptable to MultiChoice".

"MultiChoice is committed to the building of a non-racial society and strongly condemns any acts of discrimination. In the circumstances, we resolved that programming in the second season of the Bolhuis series, in which Mike Bolhuis is the central figure would not be broadcast."

eNuus at the end of the choreographed Mike Bolhuis public TV apology insert on Thursday reported that "MultiChoice has not yet made a final decision on whether Bolhuis will be broadcast in the future or not".

Now more recordings came to light with Rapport on Sunday reporting that Mike Bolhuis also said "any f-  k- up in Africa" and "f- Arabs" in another conversation which he also voluntarily sent to people in December 2018, and calling a female Pretoria advocate a "vetgat" [fat ass].

On Sunday TVwithThinus asked kykNET boss Karen Meiring again for comment from the TV channel's side but kykNET didn't responded with any public statement by the time of publication of this article.

MultiChoice was also asked for comment on Sunday, and whether MultiChoice is considering broadcasting Bolhuis in future instead of permanently cancelling the kykNET show.

 Joe Heshu, MultiChoice's group executive for corporate affairs in a response says "On Monday 12 August 2019 Mike Bolhuis apologised to kykNET and the MultiChoice Group".

 "He has also publicly apologised and has committed to creating awareness regarding the lessons he has learnt. We believe Mike has learned from the experience and that he can contribute positively going forward. The reinstatement of the show is however something that will be considered in due course."

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Multi-hyphenate entertainer Bonang Matheba set to return to the SABC with a new SABC1 TV project in 2020.

The multi-hyphenate entertainer Bonang Matheba will be returning to the South African public broadcaster with a new TV project in development set to air sometime in 2020 on SABC1.

It will mark the sobriquet Queen B's return to SABC1 13 years after she became a presenter on Live AMP in 2007 that ended in 2012.

While the in-demand master of ceremonies moved her TV projects largely to pay-TV and M-Net's channels like Mzansi Magic and 1Magic on MultiChoice's DStv, she also fronted SABC3's Top Billing, as well as the afternoon talk show Afternoon Express on the South African public broadcaster as one of the co-host for a while.

With the third season of her popular reality show Being Bonang currently broadcast on 1Magic (DStv 103) with her assistant Pinky Girl (Tebogo Mekwe) in tow, Bonang Matheba once again recently said that the third season will be her last, although she also said that after the second season.

Being Bonang on 1Magic with later rebroadcasts on Mzansi Magic enjoys a hugely loyal and engaging audience with viewers who lap up her international jetsetting adventures and local South African tête-à-tête's with the rich and famous.

Bonang Matheba will soon appear on National Geographic's (DStv 181 / StarSat 220 / Cell C black 261) advertiser-funded programme (AFP), 6-episode series, Activate: The Global Citizen Movement from Proctor & Gamble, in the episode "Keeping Girls in School", with the series looking at the causes of poverty worldwide.

On Saturday night on The Real Goboza (RGB) on SABC1, the Urban Brew Studios produced local magazine show on SABC1 made the unusual decision to devote the entire episode to an interview with Bonang Matheba.

During the RGB interview she revealed that she will be returning to SABC1 in 2020 for a new TV project, saying "big plans for that in 2020, with SABC1, so let's see how that goes".

American crime procedural Instinct with Alan Cumming and seen on M-Net cancelled after 2 seasons.

The American crime procedural drama series, Instinct, with Alan Cumming, seen on M-Net (DStv 101), has been cancelled after two seasons.

Instinct's series creator and executive producer Michael Rauch revealed the cancellation news on Twitter, saying that Instinct that CBS in the United States has been burning off with two episodes weekly, will broadcast its 11-episode second season and series finale on Sunday 25 August 2019.

"Thanks to our incredible crew, cast, writers, producers and all who helped make our show, with respect, talent & kindness," wrote Michael Rauch. "And a giant thank you to our diehard fans for your love, loyalty and excellent taste (is it too soon to ask for a reboot?)."

Instinct was based on the novel from James Patterson with Alan Cumming as a former CIA operative, now a psychology professor and author, who was lured back to his old life when the NYPD needed his help to stop a serial killer in New York who used his own book as inspiration for killings.

The American drama series made history as the first American broadcast drama series with an openly gay lead character as the protagonist. Instinct was produced by CBS Television Studios.

Disney rebrands and renames Mickey and the Roadster Racers on Disney Junior as Mickey Mouse Mixed-Up Adventures from the 3rd season.

Disney is rebranding and renaming its Mickey and the Roadster Racers show for toddlers on Disney Junior (DStv 309) to Mickey Mouse Mixed-Up Adventures from the upcoming third season onwards.

Mickey and the Roadster Races that started in 2017 on Disney Junior was renewed for a third season in March 2018 with the "Hot Dog!" song that will also be getting an updated version when the new season starts.

In the third season of what will now be Mickey Mouse Mixed-Up Adventures, Mickey and his friends along with Chip and Dale, will experience further new adventures all around Hot Dog Hills in places ranging from Mickey's new gadget-filled house, the Mixed-Up Motor Lab at Mickey's Garage and Minnie, Daisy and Cuckoo Loca's Happy Helpers office.

Each episode of Mickey Mouse Mixed-Up Adventures has two 11-minute stories revolving around lessons based on the importance of friendship, teamwork and community along with a mid-episode dance break.

The Mickey Mouse Mixed-Up Adventures guest stars of the third season include Maulik Pancholy as pet store clerk Jasper; Ana Gasteyer as royal courtier Wilhelmina; Madison Pettis as Olivia, a young beagle tour guide; and Nazneen Contractor as Bollywood film director Davaan Dutt.

Jay Leno as Billy Beagle, Camilla Belle as Almanda, Patton Oswalt as Mr McSnorter, Kate Micucci as Emmy Lou and McKenna Grace as Bitsy Beagleberg will all return as guest voice actors.

Rob LaDuca is executive producer of Mickey Mouse Mixed-Up Adventures with Mark Seidenberg as co-executive producer and supervising story editor, and Thomas Hart as story editor. Mickey Mouse Mixed-Up Adventures is a production of Disney Television Animation.

Endeavour on ITV Choice renewed for an 8th season through 2021 with the Inspector Morse prequel crime series that could end up surpassing the original.

The British crime series Endeavour that serves as a prequel to Inspector Morse has been renewed for an 8th season through 2021 that could see it end up running longer than the original.

Production has just started on the 7th season of Endeavour in the United Kingdom, with the 6th season that was broadcast in South Africa on ITV Choice (DStv 123) in early-2019.

The 7th season of Endeavour that will be broadcast in 2020 will only have 3 episodes as opposed to the mostly four, 90-minute episodes of earlier seasons.

Since 33 film-length episodes of Inspector Morse were produced during 1987 and 2000, the 8th season of Endeavour that will be broadcast in 2021 would equal the original if it also had 3 episodes, or surpass it if it were to have 4 episodes.

Endeavour follows a young detective sergeant Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans) with the 7th season that will kick off at the start of 1970. After New Year's Eve, a body is discovered in Oxford on 1 January 1970.

Women's liberation will form a major theme of the 7th season.

"In the dawn of women’s liberation, social progression and scientific growth, the 1970s begin for Oxford’s finest with the discovery of a body at the canal towpath on New Year’s Day," says ITV in a press release about the 7th season and announcing the renewal of Endeavour for an 8th season.

"With the only clue in the investigation a witness who heard whistling on the night of the crime, the team have their work cut out to uncover their culprit."

For the 7th season of Endeavour once again all episodes are written by Russell Lewis with the story that will continue after the dramatic 6th season finale that saw chief superintendent Bright (Anton Lesser) takes over command of Castle Gate after detective chief inspector Ronnie Box (Simon Harrison) was rushed to hospital and Alan Jago was shot dead.

Shaun Evans will make his directorial debut as director of the 7th season's first episode.

"Though each film can be enjoyed as a standalone, we have approached Endeavour 1970 as three panels of a triptych, or - in musical terms - a grand opera that unfolds across three acts," says Russell Lewis. "Whether it wears the mask of comedy or tragedy remains to be seen…"

Damien Timmer, executive producer, says "It's a thrill to enter a new decade and tell more tales of the not-quite-so-young now Endeavour Morse, to be transmitted half a century after they took place! Russell has some very striking stories to tell in this new set of films which we hope will baffle, unnerve and delight the show’s fans!"

Returning to the Endeavour cast are Roger Allam (detective chief inspector Fred Thursday), Anton Lesser (chief superintendent Reginald Bright), Sean Rigby (detective sergeant Jim Strange), James Bradshaw (Dr Max DeBryn), Abigail Thaw (Dorothea Frazil), Caroline O’Neill (Win Thursday) and Sara Vickers (Joan Thursday).

Filmed in and around Oxford, the new Endeavour episodes will be executive produced by Mammoth Screen’s Damien Timmer, alongside writer and creator Russell Lewis and WGBH’s Rebecca Eaton. James Levison will produce the series and ITV Studios Global Entertainment continues to distribute the series internationally.

Pilot episode, 2 Weddings & a Superstar, from Okuhle Media for A+E Networks in which hip hop star AKA sings for wedding couples to serve as a broadcast tester and opener for Lifetime's Wedding Week from 9 September.

A new hourlong local South African TV special, 2 Weddings & a Superstar, will be broadcast on Monday 9 September on Lifetime (DStv 131) with the pilot episode in which the South African hip hop artist AKA surprises two couples getting married, that will serve as a broadcast tester for possible pick-up as a TV series.

With South African television experiencing Peak Wedding TV with localised wedding shows on channels ranging from Viacom Africa's BET, to M-Net, Mzansi Magic, Moja Love, VIA, 1Magic and others, Kiernan Forbes will infuse two local weddings with celebrity power similar to shows like Wedding Bashers, Our Perfect Wedding and Marry Me Now SA.

In the 45-minute 2 Weddings & a Superstar, produced by Okuhle Media for A+E Networks Africa, viewers will be shown how AKA shows up at two different weddings - both taking place in Cape Town - to sing for them.

Each couple getting married are unaware that AKA will show up but have been pre-selected because they are fans of his music.

A+Networks Africa confirmed to TVwithThinus in response to a media enquiry that the TV special is a pilot episode for a possible series in which different local artists could surprise different wedding couples on their big day.

In a statement, AKA says "I have made some music and drawn some inspiration in terms of the style in some of the songs that I’ve made, that are kind of tailor-made for weddings. So, it’s a cool experience for me to be able to enhance somebody’s big day in this way".

"Hopefully for our couples, their weddings are going to be something they will remember in a really positive light for the rest of their lives."

The 2 Weddings & a Superstar pilot special will serve as a localised programming introduction entry to Lifetime's first "Wedding Week" on the channel for South Africa and Africa with stacked wedding-themed programming.

"Wedding Week is a celebration of the romance, the excitement, and the drama that is synonymous with weddings and wedding planning," says Fatime Kaba, the recently appointed A+E Networks Africa's head of programming.

"From AKA crashing weddings to a long list of brand new and exclusive wedding-themed reality shows and movies, viewers will get to experience all the highs and lows associated with tying the knot, as only Lifetime can deliver."

Lifetime's Wedding Week programming will include new seasons of Four Weddings on 11 September at 20:05 and Bridezilla on 12 September at 20:05, and the premiere of Marrying Millions on 13 September at 21:00.

Lifetime will also broadcast new Lifetime Original wedding movies during Wedding Week on weekdays from 14:35 and weekends from 19:20. Lifetime's Wedding Week will also have "wall-to-wall wedding content" all day on the Saturday and Sunday.

Fatime Kaba jumps from Viacom Africa's BET to A+E Networks Africa as head of programming.

Fatime Kaba has jumped from Viacom Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa to A+E Networks Africa where she is now the head of programming at A+E Networks Africa.

A+E Networks Africa never made an announcement or issued a statement about Fatime Kaba's appointment.

A+E Networks tells TVwithThinus in response to a media enquiry that the TV executive was appointed and joined A+E Networks Africa in May 2019 as its programming boss.

Fatime Kaba was most recently at Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) where she served as the senior programming manager for BET Africa and the BET (DStv 129) channel. She also worked previously for A+E Networks in New York City.

New reality show Flip It Like Disick on E! a ratings disaster; Scott Disick 'devasted' he's not as popular on his own as the Kardashian brand.

The new reality show Flip It Like Disick that just started on E! (DStv 124) on 4 August in the United States and on 11 August on the E! feed for South Africa and Africa, has tanked in the ratings, with reality star Scott Disick (36) reportedly "devastated" that on his own he's not as popular as the Kardashian family of Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

While the ratings for Keeping Up with the Kardashians has been falling, the show is much more popular than Flip It Like Disick that has been basement-level since its debut, ranking number 63 out of 150 pay-TV series viewership wise on television in America.

Scott Disick gained fame as an American reality TV star through his on-and-off relationship with Kourtney Kardashian and his alcohol and drinking problems.

In Flip It like Disick viewers are shown "the lavish personal and professional world of Scott Disick, as he tackles his most extravagant endeavour yet: high-end home flipping and remodelling". Unfortunately, Scott Disick and what he's doing isn't what pay-TV subscribers want to see.

Only 455 000 people tuned in to watch Flip It Like Disick in the United States, a disappointing rating considering what Keeping Up with the Kardashians clock up in viewership.

RadarOnline reported that Scott Disick is very aware of his very much aware of his paltry and disappointing ratings, with insiders saying that Scott is "devastated" and "just extremely upset about this" since "anyone who knows Scott knows that he put his entire heart and soul into the project".

"It just goes to show that without the Kardashian women, Scott is nothing," said an insider source.

IN IMAGES. 19 photos of the press screening of the debut episode of the 44th season of SABC2's revamped Noot vir Noot with new host Emo Adams and DJ Shelly.

Before the debut of the revamped Afrikaans music game show Noot vir Noot now with Emo Adams as host and DJ Shelly (Rochelle de Bruyn), SABC2 held a press screening for journalists and TV critics of the debut episode of the new 44th season.

The evening media screening with a buffet dinner took place in one of the conference rooms of the Balalaika Hotel in Sandton.

Producers from Stemmburg Television and Noot vir Noot's on-screen talent Emo Adams and Rochelle de Bruyn attended, along with SABC2 executives, and invited members of the media.

Superman prequel drama series Krypton seen on M-Net cancelled after 2 seasons.

The low-budget and low-rated science fiction drama series, Krypton seen on M-Net (DStv 101) and M-Net City (DStv 115), has been cancelled after just two seasons, along with the planned and announced spin-off series Lobo also getting cancelled.

The convoluted DC Entertainment mess - filmed on the cheap in Northern Ireland and Montreal, Canada with bad British acting - was put out of its misery less than 48 hours after the second season finale, ending on a contrived cliffhanger was broadcast in the United States.

The badly-done Superman prequel series was produced by Warner Horizon Television for NBCUniversal's struggling Syfy channel.

Krypton suffered from visibly low production values with its trashy TV take on Superman's grandfather, with Cameron Cuffe playing the real role of Seg-El in the David Goyer-produced drama.

Viewers were turned off by the sci-fi trash and kept tuning out as ratings kept falling for Krypton that was renewed for a second season in May 2018.

The planned and announced spin-off on Syfy following the Lobo character played by Emmett J. Scanlan introduced during the second season, has also been abruptly axed.

Krypton was distributed by Warner Bros. Television Distribution.

After MultiChoice canned racist Mike Bolhuis' TV show on kykNET the private investigator starts a belated apology tour pleading for forgiveness: 'I used these terms in anger'.

After MultiChoice canned the racist Mike Bolhuis' TV show Bolhuis on kykNET (DStv 144) following his derogatory and racist comments, the private investigator has started a belated apology tour to try and do damage control, pleading for public forgiveness and saying that "I used these terms in anger".

Mike Bolhuis also revealed that "further conversations" could "surface that might paint me as someone who discriminates".

Racism caused MultiChoice to axe the kykNET show Bolhuis after a voice note with extremely racist and derogatory language by investigator and Bolhuis star Mike Bolhuis surfaced, referring to a black person as "a pitchblack houtkop" (wood head) and using the "n"-word.

The second season of the detective reality show Bolhuis, produced by Rian van Heerden also responsible for other kykNET tabloid programming fare like Die Siener, was set to start on 31 July on kykNET (DStv 144).

M-Net's Afrikaans language channels division however abruptly pulled the show from its schedule and also yanked the first season repeats of Bolhuis from sister channel kykNET&kie (DStv 145) shortly before broadcast.

Bolhuis also disappeared from the DStv Now's Catch Up service and the Showmax subscription video-on-demand service run by MultiChoice's Connected Video division with episodes that would have been made available simultaneously on Showmax.

kykNET didn't want to be honest and open with viewers or the public and when asked why Bolhuis was pulled from the schedule at short notice, only told TVwithThinus and other media that the show could no longer be broadcast "due to contractual issues".

kykNET refused to explain or admit the shocking racism and discriminatory language in a recording of Mike Bolhuis that led to MultiChoice ordering Bolhuis off of kykNET.

The news was revealed anyway by upset insiders, making kykNET look bad for not being upfront about exposing, naming and shaming such disgusting behaviour when it is the cause of content cancellation on DStv.

kykNET boss Karen Meiring was asked for comment from the channel's side but haven't responded with any public statement.

MultiChoice said in a statement that "It came to our attention that Mike Bolhuis had conducted certain conversations in which he expressed himself in a discriminatory manner, which is unacceptable to MultiChoice".

"MultiChoice is committed to the building of a non-racial society and strongly condemns any acts of discrimination. In the circumstances, we resolved that programming in the second season of the Bolhuis series, in which Mike Bolhuis is the central figure would not be broadcast."

"We are in full support of a society where freedom of speech is celebrated, however we take a stand against discrimination."

For almost a week after having no comment and saying nothing, Mike Bolhuis who failed to immediately speak to the public and giving comment to the media, has now started a weird and belated public apology PR attempt, aimed at trying to rehabilitate his damaged and racist image.

Mike Bolhuis in a weird direct-to-camera apology, chose eNuus, the daily Afrikaans TV news bulletin of kykNET done by news for the channel, to make a public apology on Thursday evening, pleading for forgiveness.

Instead of looking sideways at reporter Mia Spies, eNuus recorded Mike Bolhuis looking straight into the camera for his belated and odd-looking mea culpa, saying in Afrikaans "I hope that you can find it in your hearts to forgive me. The apology is irrespective of whether the series continues or not, because it is the right thing to do".

It's unclear why it took Mike Bolhuis days to finally do some type of a public apology instead of immediately when he was asked after the racism and discrimination connected to the Bolhuis production was revealed.

In a written statement Mike Bolhuis now says that "I used these terms in anger but in retrospect realised that the use of this kind of language can hurt others and further the divide between people in our country".

"I in no way think that my apology absolves me, and I have no expectation that my television programme will continue."

"In my fight against crime, I have made many enemies, and I also expect that there will be opportunistic attempts now to further discredit me by these individuals."

"If further conversations surface that might paint me as someone who discriminates, I would like the public to understand that I now want to be part of the solution to South Africa's problems."

He says that "My apology is unconditional, for not only any discriminatory language I used previously but for the fact that I did not offer my services earlier to help build a unified country."

Friday, August 16, 2019

'I have a good feeling about this': Ewan McGregor set to return as Obi-Wan Kenobi in a new Star Wars live-action drama series for Disney+.

The Scottish actor Ewan McGregor (48) is set to reprise his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Lucasfilm's Star Wars film series for a new live-action Star Wars drama series for Disney's new video streaming service, Disney+ that will launch on 22 November in the United States.

Disney has not put out a statement about Ewan McGregor's return to the Star Wars universe and the new as-yet-untitled series, but the Hollywood trade publications all reported his attachment to a new series in development that will see him reprise the role he played in the three Star Wars prequel films, The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005).

The official announcement about Ewan McGregor's Star Wars drama series is likely being kept for Disney's annual D23 Expo that will take place from 23 August in Anaheim, California in the United States.

Ewan McGregor was originally in talks for a series of Star Wars feature films that would revolve around the legendary Jedi Knight character of Obi-Wan Kenobi but that plan was scuppered after Disney and Lucasfilm's stand-alone Han Solo origin story, Solo: A Star Wars Story, was a box office disappointment in the United States and internationally.

The Obi-Wan Kenobi series would be the third live-action Star Wars drama series commissioned by Disney from Lucasfilm for its Disney+ subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service, following The Mandalorian from Jon Favreau starring Pedro Pascal that will debut on Disney+ at launch.

Disney also commissioned an as-yet-untitled series based on the Cassian Andor character introduced in the Rogue One film, with Diego Luna who will be reprising his role in the prequel series from that film, alongside Alan Tudyk as the droid K-2S0. Stephen Schiff is the showrunner.

Disney+ won't be available in South Africa or Africa as a streaming service until at least 2022 according to Disney's investors' presentation it did earlier this year.

A new hope however exists that Disney will in the meantime while it doesn't have a presence in sub-Saharan Africa as a streaming service, distribute and make the original programming created for Disney+ available internationally to buyers like MultiChoice, M-Net (DStv 101), and possibly even MultiChoice's own video streaming service, Showmax.