Sunday, October 20, 2019

The SABC is busy selling off some of its 'non-core' properties in South Africa and has sold its flat in London.

The struggling South African public broadcaster is in the process of selling off some of its derelict buildings and other properties that the SABC hasn't used for years, including in Cape Town and London in the United Kingdom.

The SABC that just received another bailout of R2.1 billion of an allocated R3.2 billion, has started a process of selling off "non-core" assets to improve its beleaguered balance sheet.

Properties the SABC has already sold and is in the process of selling include a flat in London; Rocklands Villas which is its long-troubled, derelict block of flats in Cape Town behind its bureau in Sea Point, a farm in Tweefontein in Limpopo, flats and houses in Mafikeng in the North West province and various homes in Tshwane townships The Sunday Times reports.

The flat in New Malden in southwest-London has already been sold for £880 000 (R16.7 million).

Many of these properties have been vacant and haven't been used in years, for instance Rocklands Villas that has been derelict for over 2 decades and used to house SABC staffers and news personnel when visiting and working in Cape Town.

The property portfolio of the SABC is worth around R75 million, including its assets in South Africa as well as in London where the flat was used by the broadcaster's foreign correspondents when its SABC News division still bothered to do original full-time reporting from there.

Friday, October 18, 2019

This is why the SABC decided to cancel Top Billing on SABC3 after 27 years - and why it decided to keep the axing secret.

The struggling SABC has axed its longrunning Top Billing magazine show on SABC3 - which did well in the TV ratings given the channel it was on - but has an expensive production budget that the cash-strapped public broadcaster can no longer afford.

Viewers as well as South Africa's TV industry have expressed their shock and bewilderment that the SABC has deteriorated to such a state that it can no longer "afford" to keep a legacy and premium brand like Top Billing on its airwaves which bring the viewers that most advertisers crave.

On Thursday evening TVwithThinus spoke to over 20 local producers, showrunners, bosses of production companies and TV executives who all said that they're gobsmacked and shocked at the SABC's decision and struggle to fathom how the SABC could have failed to keep a brand like Top Billing going and failed to leverage it to make money on its only commercial TV channel.

Top Billing is the latest show getting axed in a shock decision as far as the SABC3 schedule is concerned.

So far the ongoing SABC3 bloodletting has seen it get rid of basically all of its iconic and longrunning legacy programming that for decades drew viewers to the SABC, with SABC3 that in succession ended Days of Our Lives, The Bold and the Beautiful, as well  as local shows like High Rollers, 3Talk and even its replacement Real Talk.

The final legacy show on SABC3 remains its longrunning weekday soap Isidingo that is struggling in the ratings.

Although the SABC said that Top Billing has not been fairing well ratings-wise, it doesn't paint an accurate picture.

The Tswelopele Productions show survived and thrived through multiple, often jarring, timeslot and day changes over many years, drawing and building new audiences wherever the SABC decided to place it on the schedule next.

While the show has a set production budget and a cost that the SABC buys it at, the show itself is not responsible for selling the actual ad space on the SABC's only commercial TV channel during the weekly hour that it's broadcast.

That is the task and responsibility of the SABC's advertising sales division where sales reps must sell the inventory of 30 second spots at such prices that the content firstly makes the money back that the SABC paid for it, as well as then make money for the SABC.

As a blue-chip on-air and lifestyle brand - one of the very last remaining on the SABC - the escapist and aspirational show was one of less than a handful media properties in South Africa that weekly painted a positive picture through profiles of local South Africans, their lives and lifestyles, and what success, achievement and even local weddings could look like.

While SABC3 is the terrestrial TV channel with the smallest geographical broadcast footprint and therefore the channel with the smallest overall possible audience - coupled with SABC3's overall and ongoing sinking ratings, Top Billing remained a top-rated show.

In September 2019 Top Billing was the 8th most-watched show on SABC3 with 438 847 viewers (1.23 ARs), up from August when it was also the 8th most-watched show on SABC3 with 421 690 viewers (1.18 ARs).

"The SABC's decision to bring Top Billing to an end has not been an entirely easy one," says Zandile Nkonyeni, SABC spokesperson in response to TVwithThinus' media enquiry asking for the rationale for the show's axing.

"Like any programme on our schedule, the show is ultimately based on its performance and market relevance and to that end it has not been faring well against set targets and in light of the review processes actioned within the last two years."

"With a quarter of a century on our television screens, we all agreed that the show has had a good run," Nkonyeni says.

Great but too expensive for the SABC
"Secondly, Top Billing is a premium production which documents and represents a high-end lifestyle. That, combined with the expensive travel and crew capacity required, does need a considerable investment directed into that show," the SABC said.

"The broadcaster was always able to afford this investment so long as there were healthy returns against that investment. Of late, the production return on investment had declined significantly, thus making us operate at a loss. Hence a part of the decision to decommission the show," says Zandile Nkonyeni.

Very little warning - and no goodbye
Asked why viewers and the industry were only officially told that Top Billing is cancelled after 27 years and will have its final original episode on Saturday just two days before it airs, the SABC said that SABC3 and Tswelopele Productions decided to do it that way jointly.

Although cancelled months ago Saturday's final Top Billing episode will contain no goodbye, nostalgic lookback or tribute clips and SABC3 will now pad the schedule with Top Billing rerun episodes until March 2020 until it finds a replacement for the timeslot.

"After careful consideration between both SABC3 and Tswelopele Productions, a decision was taken to inform the loyal title and platform viewers at the penultimate episode and for the farewell statement to be issued in the week of the finale episode."

"In light of this, an on-air promo was scheduled for this past week to air on SABC3," the broadcaster says.

ALSO READ: SABC cans Top Billing after 27 years as broke public broadcaster can no longer afford to keep one of its last top legacy brands on the air.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

SABC cans Top Billing after 23 years as broke public broadcaster can no longer afford to keep one of its last top legacy brands on the air.

Saturday will see the abrupt end of another of the SABC's last remaining top legacy brands with Top Billing on SABC3 that has been cancelled after 23 years with the South African public broadcaster that can no longer afford to pay for it.

As yet there's been no official statement from the SABC or its SABC3 channel, or Tswelopele Productions who saw its longrunning contract for the aspirational show with the SABC axed because of the broadcaster's ongoing financial problems.

It's not clear why the SABC didn't make an announcement sooner about Top Billing's demise but its axing will come as a shock to generations of South African viewers who grew up with it and emulated the styles it lifestyle trends it showed.

The SABC was asked for comment about why the SABC cancelled Top Billing and whether it is because the broadcaster can’t afford it anymore, as well as why the SABC didn’t announce the show’s ending sooner to viewers when the contract wasn’t renewed. 

Vuyo Mthembu, SABC spokesperson, said “we will be releasing a statement”.

Saturday's final Top Billing episode at 18:00 will include no nostalgic lookback, although the show's one former host and co-executive producer Basetsana Kumalo, will appear in an insert reflecting on her "25 year journey".

The iconic show that has adapted over the years since it was started by Patience Stevens, always showing "the best of the good life", has made name stars of multiple walk-and-talk presenters who found fame after being hand-picked to front the glamorous lifestyle magazine show that has been a weekly staple on the SABC schedule for decades.

The show became such a permeating force in South African popular culture that people started referring to mega-mansions as "A Top Billing house" or lavish weddings as a "Top Billing wedding" - referencing the weekly mansion and over-the-top wedding day profile inserts.

Meanwhile its walk-and-talk signature presenting style became often-imitated, widely seen as the pinnacle of what would-be presenting on local television should be.

The iconic show that moved between SABC2 and SABC3 and that weathered multiple day and timeslot changes over decades managed to keep its audience as it kept up with the times, constantly evolving and adapting to changing styles.

With high production values, including overseas travel inserts and Hollywood interviews, Top Billing kept courting a high LSM viewership as one of the last remaining legacy shows on public television that managed to bring affluent viewers, highly coveted by advertisers, to the SABC.

ALSO READ: This is why the SABC decided to cancel Top Billing on SABC3 after 27 years - and why it decided to keep the axing secret.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

With its Trackers drama series, M-Net is doing something schedule-wise that the pay-TV broadcaster hasn't done in over 3 decades - here's why.

For the first time in over 30 years M-Net is doing something it has never done since the pay-TV broadcaster started: It's touching its sacrosanct Sunday night movie slot in the M-Net playout studios and swopping it for 5 weeks from when it premieres the new drama series Trackers on Sunday, 27 October at 20:00 on M-Net (DStv 101).

M-Net is turning its iconic no-commercials Sunday night movie slot at 20:00 over to the Trackers drama series based on the Deon Meyer novel - something it hasn't done in decades, with its weekly investigative and current affairs magazine show, Carte Blanche, serving as the lead-in to the action spy drama.

"One of the biggest shifts and changes on the M-Net schedule in terms of local content is with Trackers. Because we believe so much in this show we decided to give it the best possible slot on the M-Net schedule which is 8pm on a Sunday night," says Kaye-Ann Williams, the head of local content and independent films for M-Net channels.

"The first episode of Trackers is basically feature-length and will be about 90 minutes long and thereafter we will have 4 more episodes. Trackers is very action-driven, the plot's twists and turns are amazing and we have a great cast as part of Trackers as well."

While M-Net will show Trackers in South Africa and across sub-Saharan African on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service, ZDF will show it in Germany while Cinemax gets the remaining worldwide rights for the United States and areas beyond Africa and Germany.

Trackers, produced by Three River Studios in the United Kingdom and Studio 23, will also be available on MultiChoice's subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service, Showmax.

The action-thriller revolves around an international terrorist plot in Cape Town, South Africa and an extended conspiracy involving organized crime, smuggled diamonds, state security, Black Rhinos, and the CIA.

The British writer Robert Thorogood is the showrunner with Deon Meyer as supervising screenwriter and co-producer. Jyri Kähönen is the director of all Trackers episodes with Ivan Strasburg as director of photography.

The team of South African writers on Trackers includes the screenwriter and director Amy Jephta as well as writer-directors Kelsey Egen and Jozua Malherbe. The cast includes Ed Stoppard, Rolanda Marais, James Alexander, Thapelo Mokoena and James Gracie, among others.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

KB Motsilanye replaces Kelly Khumalo as title star in BET's Dream: The Lebo Mathosa Story bio-series.

Actress KB Motsilanyane has replaced Kelly Khumalo who exited for as-yet-unknown reasons as the title star of BET's (DStv 129) Dream: The Lebo Matosha Story that will start airing on the channel and Showmax from Wednesday 6 November at 21:30.

After a public casting call earlier this year the Ochre Moving Pictures production settled initially roped in Kelly Khumalo, as well as the reality star Bahumi Madisakwane, but after Khumalo dropped out, producers scrambled to replace her with KB Motsilanyane to portray the legendary singer.

The two will depict different stages of the kwaito star's meteoric life that ended in tragedy.

KB Motsilanyane will portray the adult Lebo as she experiences the highs and lows of the music industry, which placed her as a music icon on a global stage, while Bahumi Madisakwane will depict the youthful Mathosa as she traverses the journey of finding her feet and realising her dream.

"It’s not an easy journey to play this character because it’s beyond imagination, larger than life and every single thing is a new experience. Walking in Lebo’s shoes is definitely one of the greatest things I have ever done,” said KB Motsilanyane in a supplied statement from Viacom Africa on Tuesday.

Bahumi Madisakwane said "The fondest memory I have of Lebo Mathosa was from when I was five or six and we went to the Rand Easter Show, a show where she and my father were performing.  I remember she was this amazing powerhouse on stage… and was always so maternal and protective over me and I think that is why I really want to tell her sincere, humble and emotional side.”

Dream: The Lebo Matosha Story is a co-production between BET Africa and Ochre Moving Pictures. and the  project is co-funded by the department of trade and industry, the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC)  and Showmax, supported by The Lebo Mathosa Foundation.

After Dream: The Lebo Mathosa Story premieres on Wednesday, 6 November on BET Africa episodes will become available on MultiChoice's video streaming service, Showmax, the following day.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

TV CRITIC's NOTEBOOK. Over the past week M-Net rolled out 7 new local shows across its M-Net, Mzansi Magic and kykNET channels on DStv. Here's how many it bothered to show the media: 1 - and why it's a big problem.

It was a case of finding the One: Over the past week M-Net rolled out 7 noteworthy and brand-new local series and new seasons of existing shows across its M-Net (DStv 101), Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) and kykNET (DStv 144) channels on MultiChoice's DStv, then stood back and waited for DStv subscribers and the media to magically know about it, engage with it, watch it, and buzz about it.

Out of iThemba (1Magic) and Abobaba (Mzansi Wethu), Ifalakhe (Mzansi Magic), Okuhle Media's Finding the One and The Odyssey (M-Net) as well as Liefde Sonder Grense and Moebius Films' Fynskrif II (kykNET) that all started broadcasting this past week, the Randburg-based pay-TV broadcaster only bothered to do one - one (and a feeble attempt at that): A screening of Ifalakhe, and just for some Johannesburg-based media.

Neither M-Net, Mzansi Magic nor kykNET could be bothered to issue digital screeners, which takes the form of either an online site where a watermarked-protected version of an episode can be streamed, or an emailed link directing TV critics and press to a site where they can watch or download an episode for review purposes.

There were no set visits while any of these shows were in production in Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban, nor invitations from any of the channels' publicity divisions to interview anybody prior to the linear broadcast debut date of any of these shows.

For Ifalakhe, an new African period drama from Stained Glass Productions filmed in Durban, Mzansi Magic did a so-so media event to screen an episode in Johannesburg it couldn't bother to tell any national media outside of the city about, with no digital screeners for media not there or who couldn't attend.

From just before each of these shows made their individual debut on the various M-Net channels across DStv, as well as over the subsequent days after broadcast this past week, print media and online have of course been burning up with many reviews, stories about these shows, articles and interviews, and a flurry of coverage telling viewers what these shows are about and whether they're worth watching.

Unfortunately, sadly, not.

In fact, the opposite is true, with hardy any articles or exposure for any of these shows that cost money and that took months to make.

Even when a channel like Mzansi Magic was asked - please! - help with a way or screeners to see your new shows all starting at the same time, the response from Mzansi Magic was a tepid "we'll get back to you". (Which didn't happen anyway).

While journalists and TV critics covering television and the TV industry in South Africa are more and more inundated by digital screeners from companies, channels and streaming services ranging from HBO, Discovery, the BBC, National Geographic, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video for their shows, South Africa's own TV biz shockingly keeps falling further and further behind when it comes to properly showcasing, pushing and promoting its own so-called, valued "local content".

How really "valued" are these local content TV lemmings, all rushing down a cliff in an impossible-to-catch cascade, if broadcasters make it very clear and show that they can't be bothered to show it and promote it through previews to the press?

The 168 hours in a week remain finite.

When journalists and TV critics in South Africa get to preview and watch BBC Studios' Serengeti or Amazon Prime Video's Carnival Row or HBO's Los Espookys ahead of time, that's one hour or more less available to watch something local on the SABC, M-Net, Mzansi Magic, or any of the local flurry of TV channels.

These local channels - even places like Viacom Africa producing more more local shows - don't seem interested and have absolutely no standardised system in place to provide screeners to, or to do, screenings of their new content for the media.

While the rest of the world's broadcasters have moved on, the majority of South Africa's TV channels are largely in the dark as to how the concept of media previews in terms of content screeners have evolved and the technology, services, sites and press portals being used. Even worse is that they don't bother to try and find out.

MultiChoice and M-Net keeps churning out local content, oblivious to the fact that the majority of the media are not watching it because of a lack of screeners, and that rivals like Netflix, Amazon and international channels are increasingly monopolising journalists and reviewers' available time and attention by sending them easy-to-access screeners.

When journalists and professional reviewers of TV content (whose job it is to watch and try and make sense about it for the consuming public) are struggling and can't get through all of the shows rolled out at almost the same time by local broadcasters, what chance does a casual viewer stand of not just watching it all, but in terms of content discovery even knowing what's on and what's actually worth seeing?

How difficult is it really in a digital age to screen or send a watermarked-protected screener to trusted media to view on a specialised site or service like MediaSilo used by places like Amazon Prime Video, BBC Studios and even National Geographic, or to upload a watermarked episode as unlisted content to YouTube for a limited number of days with a specific link to it sent to media?

MultiChoice complains that Netflix is stealing DStv subscribers but hasn't woken up to the fact yet that the M-Net, Mzansi Magic and kykNET channels have fallen far behind what the best practice standard is these days when it comes to media screeners and previewing content to the press.

It's not just that DStv subscribers are being lured away by international players.

It's that MultiChoice hasn't yet grasped the extent to which the pay-TV service itself is impeding the coverage it could get for shows in the media as it relates to previews.

MultiChoice and its M-Net channels haven't yet realised the exposure it could get when it sets up and standardises a system to get the media to see the content it makes ahead of time for review purposes - or why it's important.

While MultiChoice and M-Net does Finding the One, South Africa's media covering TV is missing the screener.

A+E Networks goes into hiding after MultiChoice axes its channels; petition grows to over 5 000 signatures from angry DStv subscribers as MultiChoice posts Channel Termination notices on the DStv EPG.

A+E Networks has gone into hiding as MultiChoice has now posted Channel Termination notices across its DStv electronic programme guide (EPG), with A+E Networks Africa refusing to talk to the media after channel carriage negotiations with the Randburg-based pay-TV operator broke down that will see its channel set of History, Crime+Investigation Network and Lifetime get dumped from DStv at the end of October.

After an ugly breakdown in the partnership when the commercial relationship between MultiChoice and A+E Networks UK turned sour over what A+E Networks demanded in channel carriage fees for a contract renewal and what MultiChoice was willing to pay, DStv subscribers will now lose access to History (DStv 186), Lifetime (DStv 131) and Crime+Investigation Network (DStv 170) on 31 October.

With A+E Networks calling the channels that it supplies to MultiChoice its "core business", dark clouds are now hanging over not just the uncertain future of A+E Networks Africa - the Johannesburg-based office of A+E Networks' Europe, Middle East and Africa region employing a staff of 12 - but also over the just-announced local South African content slate that could very likely all be axed since nobody will get to see it if produced.

MultiChoice has now added "Channel Termination" notifications to all three of A+E Networks' channels.

MultiChoice is telling DStv subscribers that channels will be ending and sending them to competing channels' alternative, for instance saying "The History channel will stop airing on 1 November 2019. Find similar content on Discovery Channel (121), Discovery Family (136) and National Geographic (181)."

A petition from angry and disappointed DStv subscribers, started a week ago on and that continues to grow, has now surpassed over 5 000 signatures with comments from MultiChoice customers demanding that the set of A+E Networks channels remain on DStv.

Meanwhile there's been nothing but silence from A+E Networks Africa who isn't willing to talk to the media.

A+E Networks has decided to refrain from giving insight to consumers or South Africa's TV industry and doesn't want to talk to the media to clear up massive uncertainty about the turmoil the channel supplier is finding itself in, its operational future, or whether and what of its announced local content plans including shows like Don't Tell the Bride SA, Crime Stories SA and Loved Like Crazy will go ahead.

For a week and a half and counting since 1 October, A+E Networks Africa - through its publicists - hasn't responded to any ongoing media enquiries, requests for comment, and enquiries seeking clarity on a number of issues.

A short while before, Dean Possenniskie, the managing director of A+E Networks for the Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, spoke at A+E Networks Africa's content showcase upfront on 19 September in Johannesburg and touted the ongoing, increasing production spending going to the creation of local South African programming on its set of channels.

Dean Possenniskie described it's channels supplied to MultiChoice as its "core business" and part of a long-standing partnership with DStv, and that A+E Networks had already invested R30 million in creating local content in South Africa in 2019.

"We're proud to say that in the last 5 years we have invested in excess of R50 million into local productions which I think is very important for the local production community and which is something I believe that we will absolutely go on and do more of in the future."

While he mentioned that a slate of "exciting new local productions are coming your way in 2020 for our subscribers and viewers" all of that is now apparently under threat of never being produced - or not to be seen.

At A+E Networks Africa's upfront event, Fatime Kaba, A+E Networks Africa's head of programming and scheduling, said that "There are more announcements to come in the next few months as we continue to close deals and invest in these channels that we all love and also invest in our local creators and industry".

MultiChoice in response to a media enquiry about why the A+E Networks channels have been dropped said that it "needs to consider the costs for the channel, the terms which may apply and whether we can get better value elsewhere".

"In some instances decisions will be made due to channels not performing up to expectations, particularly given the costs concerned, but the world over its not unusual for channels to be changed if parties cannot agree on terms, for whatever reason."

ALSO READ: MultiChoice dumps History, Lifetime and Crime+Investigation from DStv in South Africa and across Africa after channel carriage renewal negotiations break down with A+E Networks.

After production and casting delays filming starts on Dream: The Lebo Mathosa Story for BET Africa; Kelly Khumalo out; 6-episode biopic-series now set for broadcast in November.

After a production and casting delay filming has now started in and around South Africa's Gauteng province on Viacom Africa's Dream: The Lebo Mathosa Story, now set to air on BET (DStv 129) in November, with Kelly Khumalo that is gone and no longer attached to the project.

Dream: The Lebo Mathosa Story is the first in a new format of African star biographical TV retellings that Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) is trying to do for the South African and sub-Saharan African market, closely following the established mold of what A+E Networks has been doing with biopics for its Lifetime channel about American pop culture stars.

Originally set for broadcast in September, production and casting delays behind-the-scenes since April has seen the 6-episode Ochre Media produced Viacom-project pushed back to November 2019.

VIMN Africa isn't announcing the cast yet but Kelly Khumalo is no longer attached or involved with the project. It's not clear whether Kelly Khumalo was fired or decided to quit the production. It's unclear if she was replaced and by whom, or whether her role needed to be replaced.

Kelly Khumalo's manager in a statement says "When she is ready she will tell her side of the story".

Fatima Beckman, VIMN Africa spokesperson, was asked why Kelly Khumalo is no longer involved and why she decided to leave and told TVwithThinus that Viacom Africa has no comment beyond announcing that filming has started.

A set visit is taking place for some media on Monday, 14 October, in Johannesburg.

Dream: The Lebo Mathosa Story will recreate the rise to fame and untimely death of the bisexual kwaito singer, nicknamed "Madonna of the Townships" whose meteoric rise was cut short when she died aged 29 in a car crash in October 2006 when her vehicle hit a tree.

The artist who tried acting in-between a personal life and career filled with alcohol, drugs, partying and scandalous tabloid gossip, made appearances in South African TV soaps in guest roles ranging from Muvhango and Generations to Backstage.

The Lebo Mathosa Story will take viewers on a journey to the 1990s at the beginning of the South African kwaito revolution from the start of her fame as a member of the kwaito group, Boom Shaka, before pursuing a solo career, with various different-aged actresses portraying her through different stages of her life.

"BET Africa can confirm that the cast for Dream: The Lebo Mathosa Story has now been finalised and production, which is on schedule, has commenced across story relevant locations in and around Gauteng," says Monde Twala, the vice president for MTV, MTV Base and BET at VIMN Africa.

"This new biopic format for BET Africa is a celebration of black excellence which proudly portrays an authentic South African legacy story of African female talent."

After 2 years of animosity a thaw in the broadcast divorce as SABC signs a new 4-year deal with the South African Football Association (SAFA) to return the showing of national soccer teams matches to the public broadcaster.

After an acrimonious split since October 2017 due to SABC non-payment and not keeping to contract stipulations as well as conflict over price, the South African Football Association (SAFA) and the SABC has signed a new 4-year agreement to broadcast matches of South Africa's national male and female soccer teams, starting with today's Bafana Bafana match against Mali in Port Elizabeth that will be broadcast on SABC1 at 15:00.

The SABC didn't want to disclose how much the new deal is worth and what the SABC will be paying for the contract.

The previous and now-expired deal between SAFA and the SABC was R110, with SAFA that made a new offer of R200 million. The SABC however, pleading poverty initially offered R150 million but then dropped its offer to only R10 million which led to the breakdown in the relationship between the sports body and the broadcaster.

The new 4-year agreement between the SABC and SAFA comes after a tumultuous and ugly contractual divorce between South Africa's public broadcaster and SAFA - one of several sports bodies the struggling and cash-strapped SABC severed ties with over the past 3 years.

SAFA blamed the SABC for the failure to conclude a broadcasting rights agreement in October 2018, saying the SABC made a "discourteous offer" regarding what the SABC is willing to pay for the broadcasting rights to international football matches that Bafana Bafana is playing in inside South Africa.

"It is interesting to note that even the apartheid-run SABC of old made a better offer to the association for their rights in this country," Safa said at the time.

The new deal between the SABC and SAFA will include the broadcast of 6 Bafana Bafana matches per year, including 3 home AFCON qualifiers; 2 international friendlies and the Nelson Mandela Challenge); 5 Banyana Banyana home friendly matches, inclusive of the Winnie Mandela Challenge; as well as domestic competitions.

These will include the U/19 Women’s National Championship Final, Burger King U/20 National Championships Final, U/23 Men’s National Championships FINALS, ABC Motsepe National Play Offs Final, KAY Motsepe Schools Final, Futsal and Beach Football National Championships FINALS as well as the SASOL Womens League Finals and various SAFA National Womens League matches.

As part of the deal the SABC will once again do a weekly SAFA-centred magazine sports show and broadcast the annual South African Football Association awards.

"In negotiating this deal with SAFA, the SABC needed to find a balance between fulfilling its public mandate and entering into an agreement which was commercially viable," says Madoda Mxakwe, SABC CEO, in a statement released on Sunday morning.

"We understand the role we play in promoting sports of national interest, and inspiring the next generation of sports stars."

Dr. Danny Jordaan, SAFA president said that "As SAFA, we are pleased to have finally come to an agreement with the public broadcaster which is in the public interest and the good of the game".

"After protracted negotiations, it is great that the public will once again get to watch Bafana Bafana, Banyana Banyana and other national teams matches on SABC, in addition to various other important football development programmes, that has seen SAFA make a major impact on football on the continent."

SABC CEO Madoda Mxakwe says South Africa's public broadcaster 'has not been able to invest in local content for many years' but is adamant to pay local producers the millions they're owed in order to get a new batch of programming.

The struggling South African public broadcaster says that it hasn't been able to invest in local content in years and that the lack of original new programming for its TV channels has negatively impacted its viewership ratings but that the SABC is adamant to pay local producers the outstanding millions of rand they're owed in order to get a new batch of local content from them.

Madoda Mxakwe, SABC CEO, in an interview with the Sunday Times, said that the broadcaster is  is determined to pay local production companies the millions they're owed for their content so that the SABC can get more and new content.

Although the broadcaster has been offering TV viewers less content and less new content, he also said that the SABC wants to hike SABC TV licence fees to R278 from the current R265 per year to try and increase revenue.

Meanwhile more South Africans than ever before don't feel like paying their TV Licence fee with a continuing downward trend in the fifth of South African TV households who still bother to pay theirs.

Of the 9.6 million SABC TV Licence fee holders on the SABC's database, only 2.2 million (22%) bothered to pay their licence fee last year. There are also millions more potential South African TV households watching television who don't have a TV licence and that the broadcaster isn't aware of.

The SABC that is in severe financial distress continues to be plagued by internal turmoil, board and top management in-fighting, corruption investigations, a stale content offering and struggling to broadcast content like soccer, rugby and other sport tournaments as it did in the past.

Madoda Mxakwe told the Sunday Times that the SABC that just got another government bailout this week - R2.1 billion of the R3.2 billion it requested - wants to invest in new broadcast technology and renegotiate and acquire sports rights. The SABC last got a government bailout of R1.473 billion a decade ago in 2009.

The SABC will get the rest of the R1.1 billion of its latest bailout allocation when it adheres to outstanding requirements set by South Africa's National Treasury.

The SABC owes its various service providers over R1.6 billion in total, including R183 million owed to numerous production companies who have been and continue to supply content to the broadcaster.

In 2019 the SABC spend R500 million less on content than in the previous year, leading to a debilitating impact on the local South African TV industry already struggling with late and non-SABC payments and a massive reduction in local content commissioning by the SABC in previous years.

"We have not been able to invest in local content for many years, and this has affected our audience ratings and indirectly affected our revenue. We are in the business of driving eyeballs to our platforms, and the only way you can do that is to ensure you have compelling content," says Madoda Mxakwe.

"We have to break even in the next 12 to 18 months, that's the parth towards profitability.

Madoda Mxakwe said that "we are going to have to clear the debt owed to content providers because as the SABC we need exciting and compelling content which will help us drive audience and also help us from a revenue generation point of view."

"From a competitive intensity point of view, you have seen the mushrooming of new players and they are bringing content that is more compelling and the SABC has not been able to do that. Another priority it to invest in content and make sure we get good local content, particularly South African stories."

Saturday, October 12, 2019

M-Net adds The Odyssey from adventurer Riaan Manser putting 10 finalists through a grueling 'ocean boot camp' to find a winning partner for his North Atlantic rowing quest.

The South African adventurer Riaan Manser has turned his search for a rowing partner to join him on a 5 500 km journey across the North Atlantic, into a reality search - The Odyssey - that will start this Sunday, 13 October on M-Net (DStv 101) at 17:00 as 10 finalists compete in a gruelling ocean boot camp to be the chosen one.

The explorer, once again tackling a daunting quest - this time rowing the 5 500 km stretch across the Atlantic Ocean from The Canary Islands to Barbados - is putting 10 finalists through a 5-day "ocean boot camp" to see who has enough guts, drive and sheer determination to survive the strenuous undertaking with him.

M-Net didn't commission but acquired The Odyssey, which will show 10 finalists from out of 15 000 who applied, taking part in extreme challenges created to reveal the power of the ocean and to push them to their limits physically, emotionally and mentally.

The winner gets chosen by a panel of judges including Sizwe Ndlovu (Olympic gold medalist), Nicole Badenhorst (psychologist), Chris Roberts (ocean expert) and the experienced ocean rower Vasti Manser who is Riaan's wife.

"You can't buy what we're going to. You can't buy it," says Riaan Manser.

The winner will join Riaan Manster in a tiny boat as they row unsupported across the Atlantic Ocean and during the final two episodes of The Odyssey the show follows their trials and tribulations on their life-threatening attempt to cross the second largest ocean on the planet.

Vodacom says 'free' Bold that's back in SA is only beautiful on its restricted Video Play service with a Vodacom number.

Vodacom that announced that The Bold and the Beautiful is back and free to watch for viewers in South Africa on its Video Play streaming service, now says that the American weekday soap is restricted to customers who must have a Vodacom number.

A growing number of disappointed viewers and fans of The Bold and the Beautiful who tried to register on Vodacom Video Play to watch the soap that made its return on Wednesday after the struggling SABC dropped it in March this year, couldn't understand why they're not able to register and sign up for Video Play and getting a "register error".

It turns out that Vodacom only allows viewers to watch Video Play if they have paid to be a Vodacom customer.

In its initial statement issued by the WE South Africa PR company, Vodacom said that it has "secured the rights to stream the beloved TV show on its video-on-demand platform, Video Play. Now South African consumers will be able to stream the soap on their mobile devices, such as their smartphones, tablets and laptops". 

Vodacom said that "consumers don't need to subscribe to any packages" because The Bold and the Beautiful, produced by Bell-Phillip Television Productions, "is FREE".

Vodacom made no mention that people who want to watch The Bold and the Beautiful must buy a Vodacom SIM card and have a valid Vodacom number in order to register on Video Play.

TVwithThinus asked Vinnie Santu, Vodacom spokesperson for comment about South African consumers saying that they can't register or watch The Bold and the Beautiful because they don't have Vodacom numbers. She said that "Video Play is exclusive to Vodacom customers".

Asked why this was not specified in the announcement, Vinnie Santu said "Video Play is Vodacom's entertainment platform, exclusive to Vodacom customers". 

Rival Cell C doesn't restrict access to its struggling Cell C black streaming service to just Cell C customers, and neither does VIU, or any of the other major video streaming services available in South Africa like MultiChoice's Showmax, Netflix South Africa or Amazon Prime Video. 

Bonang Matheba calls 3rd season of Being Bonang on DStv's 1Magic produced by Barleader 'one of the worst working experiences of my life'; says there won't be a 4th season.

Bonang Matheba is calling the third season of her reality show, Being Bonang, produced by Barleader for M-Net's 1 Magic (DStv 103) channel on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service "one of the worst working experiences of my life" and again said that she is done with it.

The first-run broadcast of the 13-episode third season produced by Barleader ended on Friday night on 1Magic, with Bonang Matheba as co-executive producer and once again starring Tebogo "PinkyGirl" Mekgwe.

"After 3 successful seasons, Being Bonang ends tonight! The next chapter awaits," Bonang Matheba said on social media on Friday, and underscored its ending by saying "Finished. Finished. Finished".

Later she cryptically remarked that "making Being Bonang season 3 was one of the worst working experiences of my life! Glad it’s ending. Remind me to tell ya’ll why one day!"

Being Bonang started in 2017 as the multi-hypenate opened the doors to her behind-the-scenes life.

In August 2019 Bonang Matheba announced during a TV interview on SABC1's RGB show that she will be returning to the South African public broadcaster with a new TV project in development set to air sometime in 2020 on SABC1.

Friday, October 11, 2019

BREAKING. Original FOX News anchor Shepard Smith shocks and abruptly quits after 23 years with the American channel; will be replaced by temporary rotating anchors.

The FOX News (StarSat 261) anchor has abruptly dumped FOX News on Friday, immediately exiting the conservative-slanted American TV channel after 23 years and despite having signed a multi-year contract extension in March 2018, and shocking FOX News colleagues.

Shepard Smith who joined FOX News as one of the original anchors when it started in the United States in 1996 is abruptly gone after anchoring his Friday afternoon edition of Shepard Smith Reporting.

Besides being the anchor of Shepard Smith Reporting Shepard Smith was also the FOX News chief news anchor and managing editor of its breaking news unit.

In a statement, Shepard Smith says "Recently I asked the company to allow me to leave FOX News and begin a new chapter."

"After requesting that I stay, they graciously obliged. The opportunities afforded this guy from small town Mississippi have been many. It’s been an honour and a privilege to report the news each day to our loyal audience in context and with perspective, without fear or favour."

"I’ve worked with the most talented, dedicated and focused professionals I know and I’m proud to have anchored their work each day - I will deeply miss them."

On-air Shepard Smith said that he "will be able to see more of Gio [Graziano, his boyfriend] and Lucia, and our friends and family, and we will see what comes along. Even in our currently polarised nation, it is my hopes that the facts will win the day, and that the truth will always matter, that journalism and journalists will always thrive."

On-air Shepard Smith said "under our agreement I won't be reporting elsewhere - at least in the near future".

FOX News says that "a series of rotating anchors will replace Shepard Smith until a new dayside news program is announced".

Jay Wallace, FOX News president, in the statement says "Shep is one of the premier newscasters of his generation and his extraordinary body of work is among the finest journalism in the industry".

"His integrity and outstanding reporting from the field helped put FOX News on the map and there is simply no better breaking news anchor who has the ability to transport a viewer to a place of conflict, tragedy, despair or elation through his masterful delivery."

"We are proud of the signature reporting and anchoring style he honed at FOX News, along with everything he accomplished here during his monumental 23-year tenure. While this day is especially difficult as his former producer, we respect his decision and are deeply grateful for his immense contributions to the entire network."

Neil Cavuto followed after Shepard Smith's timeslot and opened his Friday show looking shocked and saying "I’m a little stunned and a little heartbroken. I don’t know what to say", as he opened his hour.

"A better newsman you probably cannot find. A bigger, more emotionally connected to human kind you cannot find. So Shepard, I don’t know what the heck you’re planning to do or where you go, but I just know you’ll be great at doing it, and you deserve the best that life has to offer."

John Roberts who did a report for Neil Cavuto said in his intro "I’m just trying to compile my thoughts too. I walked out here to do the hit and suddenly got hit by a subway train. Holy mackerel."

M-Net on why it added the Love Island reality franchise to its blue-chip channel schedule: 'There was a lot of debate internally of is it too this or is it too that but the fact of the matter is that it brings people to M-Net'.

It's trash TV. It's vulgar. It's lowest common denominator reality content. So why has M-Net (DStv 101) decided to add the Love Island franchise to the blue-chip channel schedule when it doesn't fit with the brand?

After acquiring and broadcasting a season of the British Love Island reality show in 2018, M-Net not only brought it back for another season in 2019 of late-night trash television stripped across weeknights, but is following it up with the American version of the show, Love Island USA at 23:10.

TVwithThinus asked why M-Net decided to acquire and slot Love Island on the M-Net (DStv 101) schedule when the lurid show would fit better on a channel like VUZU.

"We've noticed that with Love Island on M-Net, even though we think that nobody's watching it, Love Island tripled M-Net's ratings in that timeslot in live viewership," explains Tracy-Ann van Rooyen, M-Net's head of acquisitions and scheduling.

"So Love Island has a place - maybe not for everyone, but definitely attracting a different audience and M-Net's premise is to bring the best of the best. Right now, as far as formats are concerned, in over 53 countries worldwide Love Island is it."

"There was a lot of debate internationally of 'is it too this? Is it too that?' but the fact of the matter is that Love Island is bringing people to M-Net, they're sitting together and watching it."

Kaye-Ann Williams, M-Net's head of local content and independent films, says "the interesting about Love Island is that it's attracting a younger viewership at that time. So the main audience it attracts is between 24 and 39 years old. It's a big group."

Jan du Plessis, director of M-Net channels, says "the job that Love Island has done for ITV is incredible. I think it was a 150% ratings increase in the timeslot over 3 seasons. They struggled with seasons 1 and 2 and then suddenly season 3 just took off."

Moja Love stops Uyajola 9/9 after complaints, says controversial cheaters show will be back despite viewer complaints.

Moja Love (DStv 157) has stopped the controversial cheaters show, Uyajola 9/9, following viewers' complaints with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA).

Molemo Maarohanye known as Jub Jub is the presenter of the controversial new tabloid reality show Uyajola 9/9 that  started in late May 2019 and exposes people cheating on their partners but which has now been shelved with the programme that is on an indefinite production break.

Viewers constantly complained about the show and a week ago viewers complained with the BCCSA following an episode showing physical assault and gratuitous violence when a woman attacked her husband, followed by the female he has been allegedly having an affair with.

TVwithThinus asked Moja Love, run by Siyaya TV, why Uyajola 9/9 has been removed from the TV channel, when it will be back and what Moja Love has to say about the complaints lodged against the channel and the show with the BCCSA.

Lindiwe Mbonambi said in response that "Uyajola 9/9 is going on a production break as the series has ended. The channel will communicate in due course when the new series will start."

Moja Love had no comment about what the channel makes of the complaints from viewers with the complaints commission.

The BCCSA confirmed that it had received complaints about Moja Love's Uyajola 9/9 that pertains to the depiction of violence, gender violence and language use.

MultiChoice in response to a media enquiry told TVwithThinus that "MultiChoice can confirm that it has received a complaint from the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA), with regards to a recent episode of Uyajola 9/9, which aired on independent channel Moja Love on Saturday, 28 September 2019".

"Whilst we do not exercise editorial control over third party channels, which have fully independent editorial and content policies, we are in discussions with the channel about this particular complaint and will respond accordingly to the BCCSA."

Mrs J hulle launch Suidooster Kombuis as the kykNET soap's first Afrikaans cookbook.

The Afrikaans kykNET (DStv 144) Suidooster has officially launched the weekday soap's first recipe book, Suidooster Kombuis, with in-show recipes from the series' three most prolific foodies - Mrs J, Stefan and Mymoena and with viewers who can now recreate the food only ever seen and talked about in the programme.

Published by NB Publishers, Errieda du Toit, the content producer for kykNET's Kokkedoor-franchise and it's various spin-offs, spent hours on set and reading hundreds of scripts to collect ideas and to then recreate real-life versions of the most desired Suidooster dishes.

The beautifully photographed traditional recipes are as the characters would prepare them - in their Ruiterbosch kitchens and the Oos-Wes restaurant - and is now on sale for R280.

Suidooster Kombuis is loaded with easy-to-make delectable and nostalgic recipes, ranging from Mrs J's famous tamatiebredie, milk tart and vetkoek to Stefan's mouth-watering pizzas with unique toppings and trimmings.

Then there is Mymoena’s dishes from her popular food channel Hallie Happies while she also shares her special koesisters and roti techniques.

On Thursday evening the three cookbook-cover actors appeared in-character in Studio 3 at NB Publishers' official book launch for Suidooster Kombuis that was held at Atlantic Studios in Milnerton where the Cape Town produced soap is filmed, joined by several cast members.

"I learnt to cook from my mom and grandma,"said Mymoena (Jill Levenberg). "I've always been surrounded by by aunties and you spend so much time in the kitchen. It's where traditions are handed down over the years from generation to generation."

"The kitchen is where you're healed, where you laugh, where you cry. It was my time with my mom and my grandma. You watch them intently as a child and as you grow up and where my recipes come from. It's something really special."

Koesisters versus Koeksisters
Mymoema was asked what's the difference between koesisters and koeksisters - and she gladly explained.

"They're both special, just on a different day. Koesisters is for a Sunday morning. You know you go and buy your batch of koesisters on a Sunday morning - that's tradition, and when I go and visit my friend then I want a koeksister, the twisted one."

"I grew up in Salt River," said Mrs J (Theresa Sedras). "I'm the oldest of 5. And every Sunday morning I was woken up early because I had to go and buy koesisters from Mrs Moerat. And that was 6 'clock because dad is going to church at 8 o'clock and then he has to have his koesister and his coffee."

"And when you came just around the corner in Rochester Road, you just shook your head because the queue is already to there. There is a queue at Mrs Moerat's house. And everybody went to Mrs Moerat for koesisters. Nobody went anywhere else. We made our own as well but Sunday's special ... Mrs Moerat.

Mymoena said "I remember when I was small, you'd always get your extra free little koesistertjie for the road home that you can eat on your way back."

Thursday, October 10, 2019

INTERVIEW. Katherine Kelly Lang on why Bold - now back in South Africa on Vodacom Video Play - remains beautiful: 'The times and moods and the technology all change and showrunner Brad Bell has done that very well'.

Photo: Gilles Toucas/Bell Phillip TV Productions

South African viewers can once again follow Katherine Kelly Lang, known for her iconic role of Brooke in The Bold and the Beautiful with the American weekday soap that is back - this time on Vodacom Video Play - and she says that she's grateful for all of the fan support and viewers who have kept watching over decades.

In a phone interview with Katherine Kelly Lang timed with The Bold and the Beautiful's return to South Africa and with episodes that can now be watched for free on Vodacom's Video Play streaming service, the star opened up about how the show and she have evolved, her new Beverly Hills store she's opening in November, the show being back in South Africa, its ratings success, and her life beyond the show's studio schedule.

The Bold and the Beautiful remained a hugely-watched show in South Africa over many years. What did you think when the SABC as South Africa's struggling public broadcaster decided to end it?
Katherine Kelly Lang: I know that a lot of people were saying "Please we want The Bold and the Beautiful to come back on the air after it went off the air.

The SABC has been great for us for so many years. But we're glad to be back and that all South Africans can now watch the show again. We're back in people's living rooms to again bring them some joy during the day and we're very glad about that.

Now with Bold being available on Vodacom Video Play and accessible to South Africans again after some months, how do you feel about it?
Katherine Kelly Lang: It's very exciting. I was in South Africa last year and so many people in South Africa are so amazing, just talking about The Bold and the Beautiful and how they love it, and saying that they've been watching it from the very first day.

Honestly most people I've talked to say they've been watching from the very first day. They know all of the storylines, all of the characters.

So when it went off the air in South Africa they were sad but they're happy now and we're happy. We love South Africa - it's so beautiful there and the people are so lovely. It's just great to have Bold be seen there, and really all around the world.

So The Bold and the Beautiful is the most-watched daytime show internationally, and in August I saw that Bold became the most-watched soap opera in the demo after 32 years. To what do you attribute its enduring success? Why do you think it is that Bold remains beautiful?
Katherine Kelly Lang: Well, it's amazing just to get the demo. We've been the most-watched soap opera in the world for so many years, which is really, really incredible on its own.

And then to win the demo in the United States for the first time in all these years - a very important demo - is incredible. So we're all really excited.

I attribute it all of course to Brad Bell - he runs the show; he makes it what it is. He's done such a great job. His father started the show and now he's taken over. He's made the show his own and so it's still going strong today because of it.

You can't keep the show the way it was at the beginning. Bold needs to evolve. The times and moods and the technology all change and showrunner Brad Bell has done that very well. It's not easy to keep a daily show going and keeping it running as number one for so many years.

So I have to say, firstly, Brad Bell, and then everyone involved. I'm not saying me or anything like that, but it's every single person who works on the show - behind-the-scenes, in front of the camera, the producers, the writers, the directors, the crew, the publicity.

I mean, it's incredible what goes into such a huge machine. Everybody puts in 110% and tries to make it the best it can be every single day.

Obviously there's been several weddings and happy moments for her, but viewers have seen, lived with and cried with a long-suffering Brooke. Why is your character of Brooke so popular, why does she resonate so much with viewers?
Katherine Kelly Lang: She's shown that she's a real person. She makes mistakes. But then she is also remorseful. She makes mistakes a few times in order to learn to be better. People like to experience that with her.

Viewers love to hate her, and they love to love her - they feel something. Whatever they feel with or for Brooke, they feel something. That makes me feel good because I feel that I'm doing my job as an actor.

I just try to bring as much reality to her and as much honest emotions to Brooke as possible.

There's a lot of reboots of American series that we see now of shows from the 90s coming back and being very successful, but of course The Bold and the Beautiful started in 1987 and never went away. It's still on and resonates as strongly as ever with its audience. To what do you contribute this resurgence of interest to in shows that started in that decade?
Katherine Kelly Lang: Nowadays there are so many different kinds of shows, so many different channels, so many things to watch.

I think people kind of want to go back to basics. I don't know - for me, I love the 80s. I miss those. I would love to see some of that again.

We'll see which ones are successful and how all of these turn out - usually nothing is as good as the original. So I'm glad that The Bold and the Beautiful is still the original, and we're still going strong!

It's so unusual and you don't get a lot of people in this industry who out of principle or whatever reason stick with a role or character or a show and who is clearly in it for the long haul with a project. Why did you stick with Bold and how has Bold evolved, and you with it over the years?
Katherine Kelly Lang: First of all, I love the show. And I did from the very beginning. I love my character. I don't know what I would do without her.

The Bold and the Beautiful has evolved a lot, including our schedule. The studio schedule allows us ... we shoot so much in a short period of time, that we still have one week off after every few months.

That has allowed me to have a whole other life outside of the show. I have a fashion business. I'm opening up a boutique store in Beverly Hills in November, I travel and do Home Shopping Network, I do movies in Italy and now some TV in Greece. I travel and do a lot of things outside of America and it's a lot of fun.

But it's The Bold and the Beautiful that has done this for me. The show has opened up all of the avenues for me to see and do and to experience and I'm really grateful for that.

Without the show I wouldn't have been involved in things in other countries and all of these opportunities. The schedule has allowed me to go out there and do that but my number one job is The Bold and the Beautiful so I always come back and do that. I'm allowed to go out and do other things and my life is so full because of it.

What is your store's name?
Katherine Kelly Lang: The store will have a brand that's made in Tuscany - leather jackets, and shoes and belts and we're bringing it to Beverly Hills, and I'm very excited about it, it's called Benheart and that's happening in November!

Who do you just love working with on the Bold cast?
Katherine Kelly Lang: We are so lucky. We get to work with people who we genuinely enjoy being around, who are good people and who give 100%.

So, I can say who my favourite is because it depends on what the storyline is and who I get to spend time with, but now it's Annika Noelle (Hope Logan, Brooke's daughter). I spend a lot of time with Heather - I love my TV-sisters, Jennifer Gareis (Donna) and Heather Tom (Katie) - all the girls on the show are so incredible. We are all very supportive and we all have each others' backs. I can't pick just one or two people, I want to say everybody.

And I just want to say thank you to all of The Bold and the Beautiful fans in South Africa, and I truly appreciate all of your love and support.

Vodacom Video Play at now carries The Bold and the Beautiful in South Africa where the show can be watched on a free subscription, with new episodes from season 31 added daily, continuing on from where it stopped in March 2019.

M-Net is bringing back The Block, starting with season 11 of the Australian renovation reality series.

M-Net (DStv 101) is bringing back the Australian version of the reality home renovation show, The Block that will start on 29 October on the channel in the early prime time timeslot as a stripped series.

M-Net previously broadcast seasons of the Australian version, and also did some local versions of the series in which various couples each get a unit in a rundown apartment block, and then are given weekly challenges to renovate and do-over rooms until the whole unit is done, and having to try and sell it for the biggest profit.

M-Net will start with season 11 of Australia's The Block that was broadcast in 2015 with Scott Cam as presenter, labelled "The Block: Blocktagon", and Neale Whitaker, Shaynna Blaze and Darren Palmer as the judges.

The contestants - 5 teams of two - had to renovate the rundown former Hotel Saville in South Yarra, Melbourne which is an octagonal, 8-floor brick building.

"Season 11 is where The Block started to shift again and made it more physically challenging for the contestants. In the early-2000's The Block started and it was on Sunday evenings on M-Net and M-Net also made its own version of it - I was an editor on that one," says Tracy-Ann van Rooyen, M-Net's head of acquisitions and scheduling.

"So we are bringing The Block back. In Australia it's also a stripped series and it has the same highs and lows that we see and experience in My Kitchen Rules and MasterChef, except that it takes place within the setting of reconstructing a whole apartment building."

Season 11 of The Block Australia will start on Tuesday 29 October at 18:00 on M-Net and will run from Mondays to Thursdays, replacing America's Got Talent.

eNCA silent over 'appointment' of Purple Cow party leader Kanthan Pillay as TV news channel's new news boss.

eNCA (DStv 403) is remaining silent over the alleged appointment of Kanthan Pillay, founder and leader of the Capitalist Party of South Africa (ZACP), as the South African TV news channel's new news boss after the death of Ben Said.

eNCA didn't respond to a media enquiry on Wednesday asking whether Kanthan Pillay was appointed to replace Ben Said who tragicially died in late-August, when the appointment happened and what the official title of the person is now heading up the news division.

On Thursday after a second media enquiry, eNCA spokesperson Lerato Maboi said "When we do have any news to share regarding appointments, we will be certain to communicate. Wishing you a great day ahead".

On Wednesday an insider alleged that "eNCA has employed Kanthan Pillay to replace the late Ben Said. No formal announcement has been made as far as I am aware, but I'm told he is already making important editorial decisions".

"Pillay is founder and leader of the Capitalist Party of South Africa, also known as the Purple Cows. It goes without saying that he promotes and supports a particular political system and ideology," the insider said.

"Surely the journalistic and ethical principals of an 'independent' news organisation is being compromised? Should it be headed up by a politician pushing a particular party line? Where is the editorial independence and objectivity?  Also talk of another line-up change at eNCA."

Later on Wednesday Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, spokesperson of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) publicly tweeted that he had allegedly been "reliable informed" that Kanthan Pillay is now working as eNCA's news boss.

"This is the founder of the Purple Cow party which contested the 2019 elections on a highly reactionary ticket. If this is true, then eNCA is doomed for good!"

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

BREAKING. Brooke's back! The Bold and the Beautiful returns to South Africa - this time on Vodacom's Video Play streaming service.

The Bold and the Beautiful is blasting back to South Africa with the American weekday soap that has found a new home on Vodacom's Video Play streaming service since getting axed from the SABC in March.

Despite strong ratings until the end the cash-strapped SABC decided to abruptly end its decades-long contract with the Bell-Phillip Television Productions, that led to big viewer outrage and disappointment.

M-Net (DStv 101) looked at possibly acquiring The Bold and the Beautiful but said it's schedule is full with lifetime reality shows currently working well in its late-afternoon timeslot and with ratings up 120%, while has been unable to add another American soap after it already took over Days of Our Lives in September 2017 after SABC3 dropped that as well.

Now episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful will play from today on Vodacom's video-on-demand (SVOD) service, starting with brand-new episode from season 31, as well as a binge, catch-up catalogue of 50 episodes to span the "missing period". 

 The 50 Episodes will be loaded to binge for those customers that weren’t able to watch the Bold & Beautiful when it went off air in South Africa early this year. 

The ‘first new Episode – 7715 from Season 31 will form part of the new content that will be ingested as part of the 10 Episodes a week, this will launch on 9 October. 

 The episodes are free and a new episode is released daily. Vodacom Video Play customers will get access to The Bold and the Beautiful as part of a free subscription and don't have to pay for access.

Vodacom says viewers "will be able to stream the soap on their mobile devices, such as their smartphones, tablets, and laptops."

"We are extremely excited to be bringing back one of South Africa’s favourite international soap operas on our video on demand service, Video Play, along with the characters we’ve all grown to love, or love to hate," says Zunaid Mahomed, Vodacom group digital and fixed services officer. 

"This move forms part of our ongoing commitment to providing access to the content our customers want, in a format that allows them to watch it whenever they want and wherever they are."

Additionally, the synopsis of each new episode will be displayed so that viewers can discern exactly which episode they want to watch.

"Our South African viewers have been asking for The Bold and the Beautiful to come back. Now we’re very happy to announce the good news," says Bradley Bell, executive producer and head writer. "Thank you for welcoming us back onto your screens."