Sunday, January 17, 2021

Katlego Maboe arrested.

by Thinus Ferreira

Katlego Maboe has been arrested with the former Expresso presenter on SABC3 and face of Outsurance commercials who has appeared in court in the continuing case against his former lover Monique Muller.

On Sunday the Rapport newspaper reported that Katlego Maboe was arrested just after New Year's Day and appeared in court on 6 January 2021. All of the specific charges are not yet known.

Lerato Maleswena, Katlego Maboe's new publicist, told Rapport that the Monique Muller's charge is false and an attempt to harass and victimise him and to inflict emotional, reputational and economic damage.

According to the newspaper, Katlego Maboe allegedly ousted Monique Muller from the Seapoint flat in Cape Town they once shared before the shattering of their relationship and also stopped paying full rent.

The newspaper also reports that a complaint has been laid against Katlego Maboe's lawyer, Ellen Louise at South Africa's Legal Practice Council over alleged text messages from her to Monique Muller's family and that family members claim to be hurtful and that have been sent to the council.

The Western Cape branch of the Legal Practice Council confirmed that they're investigating the case and are waiting for reaction from Ellen Louise against the allegations.

In late-October the public image of Katlego Maboe abruptly turned toxic when Monique Muller, his former lover who is the mother of his 2-year old son, in a video accused him of allegedly giving her a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that damaged her womb.

In another video Monique Muller claimed that Katlego Maboe allegedly physically abused her as well, saying that "When the first physical attack happened I got a protection order against him".

In the video, Katlego, dressed in a gown, sheepishly admits to having cheated on her with another woman identified as Nikkita Murray who has since locked her social media accounts.

Mired in public scandal, Katlego Maboe then disappeared from the public eye, and said in a terse statement that "I was unfaithful to my partner during a very important time of our lives - an act I regret to this day. We are currently undergoing an unfortunate and painful separation which is being resolved through legal proceedings".

"In light of the comments made against me, I would like to state that I have never abused my partner".

The disgraced Katlego Maboe was immediately let go from SABC3's Expresso produced by Cardova Productions and was also dropped by Outsurance as the face of its commercials  and replaced by Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp.

Katlego Maboe was summoned to appear in court in November 2020 on charges of harassment of Monique Muller after he had allegedly violated the court's protection order not to stay away from her.

In South Africa, a protection order aims at preventing the reoccurrence of alleged domestic violence or sexual harassment by stating what conduct the alleged offender must refrain from doing. 

Katlego Maboe allegedly broke the stipulations of the protection order that Monique Muller obtained on 3 September in Seapoint, Cape Town. The case was postponed due to a docket that was not delivered to court on time. Katlego Maboe is disputing these charges as well.

In other new revelations during November a close confidant of Monique Muller revealed to YOU and Huisgenoot magazines that Katlego Maboe was allegedly not the man that viewers saw on TV.

Monique in July 2020 discovered that Katlego Maboe allegedly gave her an STD, according to insiders.

He apparently travelled to Kiev, Ukraine to watch a soccer match while he was a brand ambassador for Lay's Chips where he later admitted to Monique that he kissed one of the women who won the competition on a dancefloor. He later allegedly had sex with this woman in a hotel room.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Meet the first 5 men who are taking part in the first season of The Bachelorette SA on M-Net.

by Thinus Ferreira

On Thursday M-Net (DStv 101) revealed the first 5 contestants in the group of men taking part in the first season of The Bachelorette South Africa that will start on Thursday 11 February at 19:30.

With the localised version of the format of Warner Bros. International Television Production (WBITVP) produced by Rapid Blue, and with Qiniso Van Damme as the bachelorette looking for love, M-Net hopes to replicate the success of the first two seasons of The Bachelor SA.

Ten Naidu (36), Durban
Height: 1,86m
He spent 9 years travelling to 90 countries to teach, pray and find love! He wants to share the world and visit his 100th country with that special someone. Ten left SA in his early teens and has returned to find love where he grew up.

His philosophy is to embrace every experience and enjoy every moment. Ten is open, true and witty. He had a brief relationship with someone that reminds him of Qiniso and feels perhaps it foreshadowed this opportunity. He considers Qiniso more worldly than most ladies he has met and secretly hopes she makes for a great salsa partner.

Ten is a qualified I.T. Trainer and School Teacher specialising in English, Information Technology, Math and recently began modelling overseas. He is in touch with his emotions and has a charming confidence that is fun to witness.

Ruan Meyer (26), Bloemfontein
Height: 1,80m
The Bloemfontein native relocated to Pretoria four years ago to study Architecture at TUT Pretoria. This move broke up his relationship of three years with his high school sweetheart. He comes from a big family after his parents divorced and one remarried.

Ruan runs his own fledgeling construction company while furthering his studies. He admits to having used his likeness to Game of Thrones John Snow, to win over the ladies, but he doesn't like it when the conversation does not move past his likeness.

He has a strong Afrikaans accent and comes across as a small-town boy making it in a big city.  He has travelled parts of Europe and says he would take Qiniso to Italy on a romantic date. Still working towards his Architectural qualification.

Kganya Rapoo (23), Johannesburg
Height: 1,79m
Kganya can be described as a lovable geek with a smile that lights up a room, true to his name. A trainee chartered (not boring) accountant who is also a lecturer and a master’s student, his maturity will make you forget his young age.
He is an extrovert who enjoys going out and having a good time. He has plenty of energy, loves PDA and considers himself to be very sentimental. He is a peacemaker, a sounding board, energetic and lively!

Bradley Newton (29), Johannesburg
Height: 1,78m
Bradley works in the banking and insurance industry. A trained athlete and avid hip-hop dancer, this is a man with a life plan. He considers himself to be mature and a tad calculated.  His answers are textbook but that is him - well planned and direct.

For Bradley, everything needs to be executed with perfection. Because he is a sportsman and allrounder he has high awareness and confidence. He has a portable studio where he does Hip Hop recording past time. He travels the world and enjoys exclusive clubs and parties.

He loves hip hop and has a recording studio.

Dylan Heneck (28), Cape Town
Height: 1,87m
Dylan lives in a converted BnB with eight of his friends. He completed a  BusSci degree, however ended up in the music industry. He is a chameleon, as he has many sides to him, but is generally laid back.  He loves the spotlight and is a bit of a troublemaker. Dylan spends winters overseas and is a digital nomad!

He has had many grand gestures in love, but never found the one. He has been through a lot of introspection as he has been a solo flyer for a long time. Women want commitment which he runs from! "Commitment is not my strong suit!"

Born in the United States of America, living in South Africa since 2006 when he was 14.

Netflix announces its 2021 film slate with 71 movies with the video streamer that will release a new film weekly.

by Thinus Ferreira

Netflix has announced its 2021 film slate together with a short film preview sizzle reel and will be releasing 71 movies over the course of the year - basically a new film weekly - although not all of them will be available in all territories.

Netflix's film slate announcement comes just after, and in response to, The Walt Disney Company that announced its sprawling content slate for 2021 and beyond for its Disney+ video streaming, that was followed by Discovery Inc. that announced its massive content line-up for 2021 for the launch of its Discovery+ subscription video-on-demand service.

In the fast-growing global Plus video wars, Netflix, Disney, Discovery, Amazon Prime Video, WarnerMedia with its HBO Max, Apple with Apple TV+, as well as ViacomCBS with its to-launch Paramount+, are all dramatically ramping up production and spending millions to try and lure customers in the race to try and secure a profitable spot as one of the top global players in the over-the-top (OTT) race.   

"This year's line-up will surprise and delight cinephiles across the globe with films from award-winning filmmakers, including Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog), Paolo Sorrentino (The Hand of God) and Adam McKay (Don’t Look Up)," says Netflix in a statement.

"We’re bringing you a year of films filled with more of the things we know our members love - zombies (Army of the Dead), cowboys (The Harder They Fall, Concrete Cowboy), and high school romance (including the culmination of the To All the Boys and The Kissing Booth trilogies)."

"We’re re-introducing you to teen screams (Fear Street trilogy, There’s Someone Inside Your House), turning your favourite books into films (The Woman in the Window, Munich, The Last Letter from Your Lover), bringing you more adrenaline-pumping blockbusters (Red Notice, Sweet Girl, Kate) and giving your family a reason to say yes to watching films together (YES DAYBack to the Outback, Finding ‘Ohana).

Netflix films will include stars ranging from Leonardo DiCaprio, Sandra Bullock, Dwayne Johson, Idris Elba, Meryl Streep, Zendaya, Jennifer Lawrence, Ryan Reynolds, Jennifer Garner, Gal Gadot, Dave Bautista, Naomi Watts and Jake Gyllenhaal to John David Washington and Octavia Spencer.

Some of the biggest upcoming releases include the heist film Red Notice with Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gardot, the Zach Snyder-directed zombie film Army of the Dead, the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical tick, tick ... BOOM! and the South African-filmed conclusion of The Kissing Booth completing the trilogy.

Scott Stuber, Netflix's head of original films, in an interview said that he's "excited by what we've done, but we've still got a lot more to do, but I feel good about the progress we're making".

Here is the complete list of films Netflix plans to release in 2021:

Outside the Wire
Red Notice
Sweet Girl

8 Rue de l’Humanit√©
Afterlife of the Party
Bad Trip
Don’t Look Up
Double Dad
I Care A Lot
The Last Mercenary
Thunder Force

Alexandre Moratto film (as-yet-untitled)
Bombay Rose
Concrete Cowboy
Fever Dream
Graham King film (as-yet-untitled)
Malcolm & Marie
Penguin Bloom
Pieces of Woman
The Dig
The Guilty
The Hand of God
The Power of the Dog
The Starling
The White Tiger

Family viewing
A Boy Called Christmas
A Winter’s Tale from Shaun the Sheep
Back to the Outback
Finding ‘Ohana
Loud House
Robin Robin
Skater Girl
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans
Wish Dragon

Fear Street Trilogy
No One Gets Out Alive
There’s Someone Inside Your House
Things Heard and Seen

A Week Away
tick, tick… BOOM!

A Castle For Christmas
Alicia Keys comedy(as-yet-untitled)
Fuimos Canciones
Love Hard
The Kissing Booth 3
The Last Letter from Your Lover
The Princess Switch 3
To All The Boys: Always and Forever

Science fiction

Blood Red Sky
Escape from Spiderhead
Night Teeth
The Swarm
The Woman in the Window

The Harder They Fall

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

M-Net Movies' 007 James Bond DStv pop-up channel to run for 10 days from 22 January 2021 showing every Bond film.

by Thinus Ferreira

M-Net's 007 James Bond pop-up channel will start on MultiChoice's DStv on channel 111 on 22 January and run until 31 January with the 10-day Bond-marathon that will show every 007 film ever made.

The "shaken not stirred" spy film channel will be the first of DStv's special pop-up channels for 2021 and the third time that M-Net Movies is doing a Bond pop-up channel.

The 007 James Bond DStv pop-up channel will be available to DStv Premium, DStv Compact Plus, DStv Compact and DStv Family subscribers. 

The channel will run from 06:00 until 22:00 for 10 days, bringing viewers tuxedos, Bond girls in bikinis, fast cars with hidden technology, exotic locations including the moon, mind-blowing spy gadgets, deadly villains and henchmen including a Goldfinger, as well as martinis - which are served shaken, not stirred of course.

M-Net says that the Bond film marathon will feature all 7 charming actors who have played the iconic 007 role, from Pierce Brosnan to Sean Connery, Roger Moore and current Bond Daniel Craig.

The various Bond films will be screened chronologically, starting with the first film in the series released 59 years ago, Dr. No (1962), to the latest Bond film and box office hit, Spectre (2015).

All of the films will also be available on DStv Catch Up until Tuesday, 28 February 2021.

SABC2’s Afrikaans soap 7de Laan reaches milestone 5 000th episode and celebrates with cake-cutting event, Fokus going behind-the-scenes for an on-set retrospective.

by Thinus Ferreira

The longrunning Afrikaans soap 7de Laan has reached 5 000 episodes with SABC2's current affairs show Fokus that will give viewers a behind-the-scenes at the production and its milestone this evening, Wednesday 13 January, at 19:00.

The fictional Hillside set soap, currently in its 22nd season, broadcast its 5 000th episode last week Thursday that was recorded on 26 October 2020 at Sasani Studios in Highlands North, Johannesburg.

The episode that was directed by Francois Lensley who also plays the role of Marko Greyling, was scripted to be the unveiling of the remodelled Oppiekoffie set with the fictional coffee shop that was blown up and destroyed in an explosion late last year.

The Danie Odendaal Productions cast officially celebrated the 5 000th episode with a cake ceremony a month ago in early-December 2020 with the event that was done under strict Covid-19 screening and when South Africa was still under Level 1 lockdown restrictions.

While no longer the massive ratings grabber it once was, the 2-decades old soap still pulls a sizeable weekday audience to SABC2, and lured 1.44 million (3.72 ARs) viewers in December 2020 for its most-watched episode, making it the 6th most-watched show on SABC2 last month.

Overall, 7de Laan was the 46th most-watched show on South African television across all TV channels in December 2020. 

The revamped Oppiekoffie now has a new look with new lighting, colour and decor for a more modern feel. 

"The cast and crew of 7de Laan are humbled by the unyielding support of its viewers," says Thandi Ramathesele, 7de Laan executive producer.

"Nothing but the best is good enough in this competitive television market and if viewers weren’t crying with laughter, we know they were weeping with nostalgia. We dedicate the 5 000th episode to the viewers of 7de Laan and South Africa, our beautiful diverse country."

In Wednesday evening's episode of Fokus the current affairs show goes behind-the-scenes of 7de Laan for interviews with the show's cast and crew to give a retrospective view of 7de Laan over the years.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Actress Lindiwe Ndlovu has died at 45, honoured as 'an unsung incredible actress who will leave a huge space in the creative world of acting'.

by Thinus Ferreira

The South African actress Lindiwe Ndlovu known for multiple roles on South African television and stage has died. She was 45.

The exact cause of death is unknown but Lindiwe Ndlovu who just celebrated her 45th birthday this past Friday had been suffering from medical issues according to her agent and passed away in her sleep on Monday morning, 11 January 2020.

"It is with heavy hearts and unimaginable sadness that we bring you the news of Lindiwe Thembekani Ndlovu passing in her home this morning 11 January," her longtime agent long-time agent Lynne Higgins at Gaenore Artiste Management says in a statement.

"To us Lindiwe was family but to many she was so much more - an unsung, incredible actress who will leave a huge space in the creative world of acting. Her incredible passion, deep respect for her craft and unrivalled commitment to her career evident in every project she took on."

"Lindiwe’s love for the stage is reflected in the many productions she gave her heart and soul to.  A large number of them being performed at the Market Theatre, to which she had strong ties with her entire career, even spending her younger days completing two years of studies there."

"From a TV and film production aspect, there are too many of her roles to mention, each of them giving herself into the character and process heart and soul."

"What we will remember most is her love and unwavering dedication to her friends and family. She had a larger than life presence that was undeniably infectious to those who loved her."

Lindiwe Ndlovu appeared in Isono, the first locally produced telenovela for ViacomCBS's BET (DStv 129) produced by Clive Morris Productions.

Clive Morris Productions in a statement says "We are so saddened by the news that multi-award winning actress Lindiwe Ndlovu has passed away. We will always remember the great contribution she made to our industry. It was an honour to have her part of our cast on Isono as her last role".

Lindiwe Ndlovu won a SAFTA award in 2013 for her role in the 2013-film Little One. She also appeared in films like Safari in 2013 and 2011's Winnie Mandela

On television she portrayed the role of Sponono in Zabalaza on M-Net's Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) channel, and had roles in Agent (SABC1/Netflix SA), Backstage (, Egoli (M-Net), eHostela (Mzansi Magic), Erfsondes (SABC2), Generations (SABC1), Ga Re Dumele (SABC2) and Greed & Desire (Mzansi Magic).

She also appeared in Home Affairs (SABC1), Ifalakhe (Mzansi Magic), Isidingo (SABC3), Lockdown (Mzansi Magic), Mazinyo Dot Q (SABC2), Ses' Top La (SABC1), Soul City (SABC1), Scandal! (, Stokvel (SABC2), Umlilo ( and Uzalo (SABC1).

Applications open for 2021 MultiChoice study bursaries for any students working towards a qualification in a range of relevant fields from scriptwriting, TV studies and sports broadcasting to economics, law, IT and engineering.

by Thinus Ferreira

Students can now apply for MultiChoice's bursary scheme that is giving bursaries in 2021 for higher learning who will be, or are, studying in focus areas aligned to the pay-TV operator's business.

Students can apply who are studying in selected degrees or fields with successful bursary recipients who will be fully funded in terms of their registration and tuition fees, accommodation and annual living allowance. 

The closing date to apply for a MultiChoice bursary for 2021 is 31 January 2021 by completing the 3-page application form and sending all relevant documents to by the closing date.

The 2021 MultiChoice bursary programme is for South African students registered at a South African higher learning institution, is offered to students of all years of study inclusive of 1st post-graduate degrees, must be within or for a degree or qualification aligned to a MultiChoice focus areas, and is a 12-month bursary covering the 2021 academic year.

MultiChoice will award study bursaries to students doing a specialist degree or working on attaining a qualification in the fields of Engineering (computer, electrical & digital), computer or data science, applied/computational mathematics, information systems or technology, customer insights technologies, media, film or TV studies, scriptwriting, sports broadcasting, or UX or UI or CX design.

People studying in creative or corporate brand communication, digital marketing, economics or law, human resources or finance (internal audit or financial accounting) are also welcome to apply for a possible MultiChoice bursary.

'Are you the "before"?' Anyone can become the world's first black Betty in the open casting call for South Africa's uBettina Wethu series adaptation of Ugly Betty.

by Thinus Ferreira

uBettina Wethu, South Africa's localised Ugly Betty adaptation, is looking for a black Betty and it could literally be any young black woman with the show that is doing an open casting call. 

A funny scene in the first episode of Ugly Betty is when Betty arrives on her first day at work at a magazine and the receptionist mistakenly assumes that she's the "before" - meaning the person who was specifically cast to look as bad as possible when makeover photoshoots are done to show the "before" and "after" transformation.

Now that "before" could be any young black woman in South Africa between the age of 22 and 26 who will get the role as Bettina Sikhakane.

uBettina Wethu, a co-production between the SABC that will broadcast it on SABC1 and the video streaming VIU.

The series is produced by the South African production company Known Associates Entertainment, with Tshepiso Sello as producer with the company that has been responsible for series like Keeping Score, Hustle and Emoyeni as Fireworx Media.

The uBettina Wethu project is also supported by South Africa's department of trade and industry and is a South African adaptation of Colombia's Yo Soy Bety La Fea, known as Ugly Betty.

The popular series holds the Guinness World Record for the most successful telenovela after it has been adapted in 19 territories, broadcast in 180 countries and dubbed into 15 languages with uBettina Wethu as the South African adaptation that will be the first in the world to feature a black Betty along with a majority-black cast.

In South Africa's version of uBettina Wethu the main premise follows the journey of a wholesome, intelligent, but gawky, people-pleaser with a dated, unsophisticated sense of style, who finds her self-worth and image challenged when she is employed at Nubia, a brand management company, a place where at times people value image over substance. 

Bettina Sikhakane is a kind-hearted, smart, career-focused woman, with a dream of running her own company but when she lands a job as the personal assistant to Nubia’s new boss, she has to contend with her colleagues' assumption that because of her quirky style and kindness, she must be stupid.

As part of an open casting call, people who want to enter can access the script at, take a video of themselves doing an audition performing parts of the script and send it to the Whatsapp number of 087 240 5150. Entry is free and the closing date to submit an "audition tape" is 15 January 2021.

Besides auditioning for Bettina, the producers are also looking for Dingaan, a main character and a love interest of Bettina who must be a black actor between the age of 27 and 30 and who is the Nubia boss, as well Dingaan's black mother with the show looking for an actress between the ages of 52 and 56. 

After the initial selection process during which people will be able to get to vote as well to narrow down the search to the top 3 choices for each role, a closed audition process will take place to choose Bettina as well as Dingaan and his mother.

"These public auditions are an exciting and appropriate way for us to welcome uBettina Wethu into our lives and on our screens," says Ryan Solovei, VIU Africa country manager.

"This production is already capped with many firsts and for VIU, it echoes our commitment to developing local productions and unearthing local talent in South Africa."

"We’re excited to see the entries and the final outcome for the three main characters of the story, and we look forward to the public’s participation as they have their say into who gets to be the next big stars of Mzansi."

Producer Tshepiso Sello says "the social climate in which we find ourselves necessitates a coming-of-age story with a twist. It is meant to allow the audience the chance to see themselves in the characters of the story - to not only root for their success or downfall but see the characters as an extension of themselves."

"The road to achieving this starts with finding the right talent, by engaging the public we want our audiences to feel part and parcel of the show from the onset of our production process before it even hits their screens, after all its uBettina Wethu."

Monday, January 11, 2021

And just like that, Sex and the City returns to TV with Sarah Jessica Parker for 10-episode limited series on HBO Max.

by Thinus Ferreira

Sarah Jessica Parker on Sunday night confirmed on Instagram on social media that a limited series of 10-episodes of Sex and the City has been ordered by the HBO Max video streaming service, reviving the iconic series.

And Just Like That ... will see Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon revive their iconic characters and will "follow Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte as they navigate the journey from the complicated reality of life and friendship in their 30s to the even more complicated reality of life and friendship in their 50s" in 10, half-hour episodes that will start production in New York around May.

Kristin Davis who played Charlotte York and Cynthia Nixon who played Miranda Hobbes joined SJP on social media with posts.

Notably absent was Kim Cattrall who over the past few years has distanced herself from Sex and the City where she played Samantha Jones and who have been openly fighting with Sarah Jessica Parker for a few years.

Sex and the City was created by Darren Star, based on Candace Bushnell’s book. 

The Sex and the City executive producer Michael Patrick King will again be showrunner and executive producer of And Just Like That... with the three women who will all also get an executive producer credit.

"I couldn’t help but wonder… where are they now?," Sarah Jessica Parker wrote on Instagram, noting that And Just Like That... will follow "the next chapter" in the women's lives.

"I grew up with these characters, and I can’t wait to see how their story has evolved in this new chapter, with the honesty, poignancy, humour and the beloved city that has always defined them," says Sarah Aubrey, HBO Max's head of original content.

MultiChoice's Showmax and Canal+ teams up for first Kenyan Showmax Original with gritty crime drama Crime & Justice set in modern-day Nairobi starring Alfred Munyua and Sarah Hassan.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice's Showmax and France's pay-TV service CANAL+ are doing the video streaming service's first Kenyan-set Showmax Original series, with production that has started on the gritty crime drama series Crime & Justice.

The co-produced Crime & Justice is set in modern-day Nairobi and will be released later in 2021 on Showmax while CANAL+ will distribute Crime & Justice to its French-speaking base.

The Crime & Justice includes Alfred Munyua as Silas and Sarah Hassan as Makena, two detectives working for the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), who try and solve "ripped-from-the-headlines" case per episode that are tracked all the way through to the courtroom verdict. 

The rest of the Crime & Justice cast includes Maqbul Mohammed as DCI Boss Kebo, Paul Ogola as Prosecutor Sokoro Brian Ogola as Caleb, the resident pathologist; as well as John Sibi-Okumu, Muhugu Theuri, Brian Abajah, Martin Githinji and Justin Mirichii in guest roles.

Crime & Justice is produced by Live Eye TV, with Adam Neutzsky-Wulff as director and producer.

Other production crew includes Maureen Wanjiku as co-producer, lighting technician Walter Odhiambo, cinematographer Sammy Maina who will take over from Helge Gerull after the second episode, art director Eugene Oyoo, and casting director Lorella Jowi.

In a prepared casting quote, Alfred Munyua says "When I first read the script, I loved the delivery and realness of Silas as a character. It’s not exaggerated and he’s no Rambo hero; he just tackles his cases the normal way. I found a very real edge with this script, and I hope I’ll do justice to the role".

Sarah Hassan says "This is a very different character; I’ve never played anything like Makena before. It’s very exciting to get a character that makes me grow as an actor."

Yolisa Phahle, CEO of MultiChoice Connected Video, says "We are fundamentally an African business and are invested in telling African stories that reflect the lives, languages and cultures of the continent".

"We believe in African talent and look forward to shining the international spotlight on not only Kenyan stars, but the Kenyan technical industry’s capabilities. We believe that streaming video is a powerful way to deliver these shared stories. This is one of many more Showmax Originals we have in the pipeline across Africa."

The Crime & Justice production follows the announcement of the first CANAL+ and MultiChoice co-production Blood Psalms that was filmed in South Africa in 2020 and that will be released on Showmax in 2021.

Fabrice Faux, CANAL+ International chief content officer, says "As part of our strategy of providing our subscribers with the best original content from the continent, we are proud to partner with Showmax and enrich myCanal as well as CANAL+ channels with such premium series".

Thursday, January 7, 2021

BREAKING. South Africa's public broadcaster says it has completed its retrenchment plan that will now see 303 SABC staffers lose their jobs.

by Thinus Ferreira

South Africa's public broadcaster will get rid of 303 staffers with the SABC that says it has completed its long and drawn-out Section 189 retrenchment process although more workers could be let go and lose their jobs if some staffers don't accept voluntary retrenchment packages or early retirement offers.

The bloated and over-staffed SABC that is mired in massive financial problems has to let workers go although the struggling broadcaster had been criticised for the non-transparent and seemingly chaotic way it has gone about it.

The SABC initially planned to get rid of over 600 permanent staffers as well as hundreds of freelance workers but on Wednesday in a statement said that the SABC "has concluded its section 189 process after an extensive 6-month consultation process" and that 303 workers will lose their jobs.

On 23 November 2020 the SABC board - after facing criticism from some political parties like the ANC and EFF, trade unions like Bemawu and the Communications Workers Union (CWU) and shocking scenes unfolding from within the SABC News newsroom - suspended the retrenchment process for 30 days until 2021.

"After considering all options to minimise the total number of affected employees, the SABC has further reduced the number of affected redundant employees to 303 - just under half of the originally projected 600 redundancies," the SABC says in a statement.

"However, the final number of redundancies are dependent on the acceptance of the proposed alternatives and the number of employees who will opt for Voluntary Severance Packages (VSPs) and early retirement," the SABC says.

"The SABC acknowledges that the retrenchment process was difficult for all stakeholders and emotionally-charged at times. The extended process also created prolonged uncertainty."

"However, it was a necessary part of the SABC’s turnaround plan to reposition the public broadcaster, ensure its stability and financial sustainability and allow the SABC to execute its public mandate to serve all the people of South Africa in all our languages and across all platforms."

Unperturbed in a self-induced and embarrassing news slumber eNCA is caught asleep and stuck in repeats as Newzroom Afrika and SABC News covered Wednesday night's unfolding chaos at the Capitol in America.

by Thinus Ferreira

Asleep and unperturbed, stuck in repeats, the South African TV news channel eNCA (DStv 403) on Wednesday night kept showing recorded programming while both Newzroom Afrika (DStv 405) and SABC News (DStv 404) were live and covered the news of the chaos unfolding at America's Capitol building in the United States.

SABC News was the only local TV news channel that broadcast live the speech of America's president-elect Joe Biden while eNCA and Newzroom Afrika showed repeat programming on Wednesday night.

It happened as viewers around the world turned to TV news channels for the gasp-inducing scenes unfolding in Washington D.C. when protestors - angry with and unable to accept America's recent election results - invaded the iconic building.

As dramatic scenes unfolded from inside and outside the Capitol building and grounds, Newzroom Afrika brought viewers live visuals and news reporting, while SABC News did the same, together with live reporting from the SABC's correspondent Sherwin Bryce-Pease based in New York.

Oddly, and in sharp contrast with SABC News and Newzroom Afrikca, eNCA by 22:00 on Wednesday night was already deep into recorded repeat programming.

eNCA had nobody at the eMedia Investments TV channel at the helm to either switch to live coverage and breaking news, or who were able to switch on the lights to wake eNCA from its self-induced embarrassing news slumber.

eNCA's embarrassing "recorded" programming that rendered the channel useless and irrelevant on Wednesday night as South African viewers tuned to international TV News channels to follow the drama, once again sharply underscored the way in which South African TV news channels simply cannot be described as real "24-hour TV news channels" due to their lack of true live coverage 24 hours per day.

While the coverage of the latest news and gasp-inducing visuals on SABC News and Newzroom Afrika couldn't compete with the likes of international TV news channels like Al Jazeera, CNN International, Sky News and others who did rolling live coverage from the scene for hours, at least SABC News and Newzroom Afrika proved that these channels were awake, responsive, checking the news feeds and able to switch to and can incorporate late-night breaking news.

eNCA isn't able to.

eNCA's "decision" to go to sleep at night illustrated on Wednesday night how the channel's cost-cutting and money-saving drive rendered it instantly irrelevant, outdated and outside of the conversation during news moments where it matter, as South Africans took to social media to discuss and comment on the images they saw on TV news on Wednesday night but that they were not seeing - and couldn't see - on eNCA. 

Wednesday night's embarrassing news no-show by eNCA - while SABC News and Newzroom Afrika were able to keep South African viewers at least informed and able to switch and incorporate reporting of live news - is a fitting, although highly embarrassing example of why eNCA should drastically shore up not just its overnight staff but why it should urgently relook its broken policy and functionality to be able to go live when needed after it had gone to bed for the night.

When news is the product - like what is the case with eNCA, SABC News and Newzroom Afrika - it should not just have the ability to bring the news on television when it happens, but should actually make good on that ability and the implied contract with the viewer by showing and telling it when it happens.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

South African director Bromley Cawood dead at 72 after fall.

by Thinus Ferreira

The South African director Bromley Cawood has died, he was 72.

Bromley Cawood, the older brother of actress Elize Cawood who died in July 2020, passed away on Friday 1 January 2021 after he fell in late December and was hospitalised.

Jenna Dunster, daughter of Elize Cawood, said on Facebook that Bromley Cawood fell and was hospitalised on 22 December after which his health declined rapidly.

Bromley Cawood worked as a director at the Afrikaans weekday soap Getroud met Rugby on kykNET (DStv 144) produced by Overberg Produksies.

"It is with heavy and sad hearts that the whole Getroud met Rugby family and I process the news of Bromley Cawood's passing," says Deon Opperman, Getroud met Rugby producer.

"It was a rare privilege to have a person with his deep experience in, and knowledge of television as a member of our team. His absence will be felt deeply. Rest in peace, Bromley."

Bromley Cawood was a director of 1 200 episodes of M-Net's (DStv 101) former weekday soap, Egoli - Place of Gold produced by Franz Marx Films, as well as the film, Egoli: Afrikaners is Plesierig. He was also the director of films like Wolhaarstories (1983), Tawwe Tienies (1984), Skating on Thin Uys (1985) and Susanna van Biljon (2010).

He also worked on the other Franz Marx series The Res of 2004, as well as 2002's Behind the Badge.

Bromley Cawood was also a director at Urban Brew Studios, as well as for Homebrew Films on productions like Bravo! for kykNET and All Access for M-Net.

After studying at the University of the Free State until 1969 for a BA degree he never completed, Bromley Cawood worked between 1970 and 1977 in theatre at Pacofs in the Free State province as actor, designer and technical advisor.

He won the Piers Nicholson Award in 1975 and moved to London to work in the United Kingdom as company manager on the West End production of Ipi Tombi from 1978 to 1979 for Ray Cooney Productions.

Bromley Cawood returned to South Africa in 1980 and worked on several TV productions for the South African public broadcaster, as well as for production companies as art director. He directed 11 drama series for the SABC and received 4 Artes award nominations.

Besides being a guest lecturer at Wits's TV school he also directed several theatre productions.

Bromley Cawood's death comes just over 3 months after the death of fellow Getroud met Rugby director David Clatworthy who died in September 2020 after losing his battle against cancer.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

NBCUniversal Formats' Real Housewives reality franchise expands in South Africa with The Real Housewives of Durban coming to M-Net's 1Magic on DStv in 2021.

by Thinus Ferreira

South Africa's format localisation of The Real Housewives reality franchise is expanding with M-Net that is adding The Real Housewives of Durban to 1Magic (Dstv 103) from Friday 19 January at 19:00 with 6 feisty women.

The Real Housewives of Durban is produced by Let It Rain Films and the first season will have 14 episodes, including the reunion.

The main cast of the KwaZulu/Natal-set series showing off their conspicuous consumption, lavish lifestyles and who will have fighting words for each other are Nonkanyiso Conco ( a so-called "baby mama" of former president Jacob Zuma and owner of Laconco Naturals); and businesswoman Ann-Toni Ludick (who runs her own events and marketing company as well as dance agency, and owns a salon called Annastethic).

Also included is the socialite Sorisha Naidoo (former Miss India South Africa pageant winner, former actress, DJ and wife to the billionaire businessman Vivian Reddy) who previously appeared in a similar type show, Divas of Jozi in 2016 on SABC3 and who is famed for her invitation-only Umhlanga dinner events at her Izinga Ridge home.

Also part of the main cast is Ayanda Ncwane (CEO of Ncwane Communications and Sfiso Ncwane Productions and the widow of the late gospel star Sfiso Ncwane); and Kgomotso Ndungane (the wife of the former Sharks and Springbok winger Odwa Ndungane who has her own events planning company, Oak Celebrations and recently launched her own luxury personal care brand, LeLaPa).

Rounding out The Real Housewives of Durban cast is Nonku Williams (a mother of three who is the founder of Ashes to Beauty Winery).

The Real Housewives is an NBCUniversal International format and is produced internationally in conjunction with NBCUniversal Formats, with The Real Housewives of Johannesburg that started in August 2018 and ran for two seasons. 

The Real Housewives of Durban with the new cast is now moving to the KZN coast to show viewers "the lavish lifestyle of the Durban wives" according to 1Magic.

"Reality TV has become our most followed genre, not only because it gives viewers authenticity and entertainment, but resonates with their lived experiences as it gives them a glance into a world in which they aspire to live one day," says Nomsa Philiso, director of local entertainment channels at M-Net, speaking about the new Real Housewives addition.

Star Wars The Mandalorian from Disney+ that's unavailable in South Africa tops the list of 2020's illegally most-watched TV show. Here is the Top 10 list:

by Thinus Ferreira

It is the show you've been looking for: The show most-watched TV show through illegal means in 2020 is a show and a service that isn't available through any pay-TV option in South Africa with Star Wars: The Mandalorian series on Disney+ that has dethroned Game of Thrones.

According to TorrentFreak that researches and compiles an annual list, The Mandalorian on Disney+ is now the most sought-after TV series to watch globally - whether through legitimate channels or pirate viewing.

That is followed by the subversive superhero series The Boys on Amazon Prime Video, and with HBO's Westworld, seen on M-Net (DSv 101) and Showmax, in third place.

Noteworthy is that no show from Netflix appears on 2020's Top 10 list. 

The force powers of Baby Yoda (real name: Grogu) has overpowered HBO's fantasy series Game of Thrones that for years dominated the annual post-pirated TV show list. The Mandalorian has jumped from third most-downloaded series in 2019 and is now in first place.

Disney+ that has rolled out in several comparable TV markets to South Africa, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, South America, several countries in Europe and Australia and New Zealand remains unavailable in the country or anywhere else in sub-Saharan Africa.

While Disney isn't making it possible for South African to watch The Mandalorian and forcing them to pirate-view the show, The Walt Disney Company is oddly licensing, distributing and selling The Mandalorian merchandise like clothes in South African retail stores.

Disney has not announced any possible Disney+ roll-out date for South Africa, fuelling in the lexicon of The Mandalorian "the way": growing consumer interest in illegal downloads and sharing of its content across Africa. 

As Disney+ remains unavailable although consumers would pay for legal access, more people over time will use torrents and other illegal download methods to watch The Mandalorian as well as other Disney+ content, which means that Disney will lose more money and revenue from content monetisation from consumers who would have paid to watch it.    

New shows on the Top 10 most-downloaded list for 2020 include Star Trek: Picard available on Amazon Prime Video that is available as a subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service in South Africa, and the HBO Stephen King-based mini-series Outsider that was on M-Net and Showmax.

"The top three nicely shows how fragmented the online entertainment industry has become. In order to watch all three series, one needs three separate subscriptions. That's a cost not everyone may be able to afford, which can explain part of the piracy problem," TorrentFreak says.

Other shows on 2020's Top 10 most-watched list are traditional pay-TV series, including Vikings on M-Net City (DStv 115) and Showmax, Rick and Morty on TNT Africa (DStv 137) and Showmax, The Walking Dead on FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131) and Arrow on M-Net and Flash on M-Net City.

This is the 10 top ranking:

1.    The Mandalorian        3
2.    The Boys                    none
3.    Westworld                 none
4.    Vikings                         4
5.    Star Trek: Picard       none
6.    Rick and Morty           8
7.    The Walking Dead      6
8.    Outsider                     none
9.    Arrow                          10
10.    The Flash                   7