Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Abrupt walkout: QV with psychologist after she quits MultiChoice's Big Brother Mzansi.


by Thinus Ferreira

Keamogetswe Motlhale from Mahikeng known as "QV" lasted just over 48 hours before deciding that she's had enough and walked out of the 5th season of Mzansi Magic's Big Brother Mzansi that started on Sunday night and is now getting psychological counselling.

On Wednesday afternoon Mzansi Magic confirmed that QV decided to leave, citing "personal reasons".

QV's exit comes a day after the housemates were tasked to share their life stories. Keamogetswe Motlhale spoke about how she was raped multiple times when she was 6 years old.

"Keamogetswe Motlhale, one of the Big Brother Mzansi housemates known as QV, has taken the decision to leave the Big Brother house for personal reasons," Shirley Adonisi, M-Net director for local entertainment channels, says in a statement.

QV bid farewell to the remaining housemates and left, and a psychologist is now working with her to "ensure a smooth transition back into the outside world and guide her through her journey forward".

"We wish her all the best on her journey and she has our full support," Shirley Adonisi says.

Big Brother Mzansi, revived for a 5th season after 7 years as a Covid-19 safe show and produced inside a so-called "Covid-19 safe production bubble", is done by Red Pepper Productions as a South African adaptation of the Banijay format with Dineo Phantshang as series producer, OJ Meketsi as series director, Gbenga Kayode as consulting series director, Jessica Setati as production manager, and with Cecil Barry and Natalie Bleksley as the co-executive producers.

Big Brother Mzansi runs daily and weekly highlight shows on the Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) and as a 24-hour pop-up channel on MultiChoice's DStv channel 198.


The TV critic, journalist and producer Terence Pillay has died. Goodbye my friend.


by Thinus Ferreira

This is extremely difficult, since it's once again not just someone I personally got to know and knew for decades, but someone who was a friend, funny, very smart and always ready with super-sharp witty comments: The veteran investigative and media journalist, producer, radio presenter and TV critic Terence Pillay has died from renal failure.

The Durban-based journalist died peacefully on Wednesday morning at home from renal failure after a long illness that started last year.

I spoke with Terrence Pillay last, two weeks ago. 

We ended the phone call promising that we will definitely go do champagne in-person in 2022 and gossip, laugh and just toast life, after two years of being stuck at home as the media and TV industry in South Africa largely did away with any in-person gatherings because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

I ask tough questions as a journalist trying to cover television in South Africa and yet I've never felt alone because Terence Pillay, who would often sit beside me in the front row at media briefings, would always ask tough questions too.

I chase scoops and breaking news and interviews and I never rest, because I smile when someone like Terence Pillay would for instance scoop who the host of The Bachelor SA on M-Net would be.

Terence Pillay was an ever-present reminder that news media is a highly-competitive business and that you constantly need to put energy, drive and passion into your job to be at the top of your game.

Terence Pillay made me insane, but it was the good insane. On media junkets for TV shows I would always think: What is Terence doing now again? Who is Terence speaking to again, now

When we were not working during breaks, together we were incorrigible gossips. I want to blame Terence because it was really him. He would tell me stuff, and then I would have to tell him stuff, and then we would laugh.

No matter where we were together, we would say phrases and things that would be complete in-jokes that only the two of us would get of things we had witnessed, experienced and had to endure on set visits, media trips and TV junkets.

Terence Pillay was one of the absolute best at roundtable interviews, press conferences and media events. Terence worked the room. He knew people, and he made work of it to study up and knew what people did, their characters, and everything else.

Terence Pillay always put in the time and did the work, and entering any room, if Terence was there, you knew you could ask him. While the rest ran for a drink, Terence made a bee-line to go talk to someone to get a next scoop.

Terence was a germaphobe and when we had lunch or dinner in a hotel or had to climb into some bus or shuttle I would try and scare him by deliberately trying to make as if germs from some or other surface were going to touch him just to see him recoil in some-real, some-mock horror expression.

The hilarious and shocking stuff the two of us experienced and had to live through and endure could fill a book. And here's the funny thing: It's not just the two of us. Terence had that with lots of people.

In terms of South African television, Terence Pillay was brutally honest about what was good, and what was bad; what worked and what didn't. He didn't hold back to spare people's feelings and the South African television industry is better today because of that.

As others did, he shaped me in his approach in numerous ways and what I had learnt from him over many years I practise practically as a journalist covering television in South Africa. It's part of his legacy.

Over decades Terrence Pillay made TV shows, was a presenter of TV shows, wrote about TV, and talked on radio about TV. 

He was also my friend and I will miss him.

Disney+ to launch in South Africa, St. Helena and a few North African countries as part of 42-country roll-out this winter.


by Thinus Ferreira

Disney+ will launch within a few months in another 42 countries including South Africa, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and St. Helena the video streaming service confirmed on Wednesday.

As the most developed and sophisticated video streaming market in Africa, South Africa is the first and only country in sub-Saharan Africa to get Disney+, with the streaming service also launching this year in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia in North Africa.

St. Helena, part of the British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic Ocean is also getting Disney+ this winter.


The past two years South African video consumers have been extremely vocal about being excluded from access to Disney+ as the Mouse House launched its streamer in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and other comparable markets.

Meanwhile, South African consumers have been snapping up Disney-branded merchandise from content only available on Disney+, showing a high awareness and brand recognition of shows and characters like The Mandalorian, likely due to pirate viewing of Disney+ content in the territory.

On Wednesday Disney confirmed that Disney+ will launch in 42 countries and 11 new territories this winter that will include South Africa where Netflix, MultiChoice's Showmax, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ are competing for scale and subscribers.

Netflix SA, MultiChoice, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ are all ramping up investment and their plans to increase their local market presence in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa as they try to snap up video consumers and to get them to sample their subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services. 

With the oversaturated American market, streamers like Netflix as well as ones that haven't yet launched in South Africa like Disney+, WarnerMedia's HBO Max, ViacomCBS' Paramount+, NBCUniversal's Peacock, Discovery+ and others, are finally feeling the pressure to look internationally to expand their subscriber bases.

There is no firm date yet for the launch of Disney+ in South Africa this winter, but it will be any time from June. 

Disney is also staying tight-lipped about the cost, although it's likely that The Walt Disney Company will try to make a splash as a late-market entry in South Africa, and to quickly gain ground on Netflix SA and Showmax with an introductory price offer that would undercut and come in below the current Netflix and Showmax pricing.

The full list of countries that Disney+ will launch in this winter include:
1.    Albania
2.    Algeria
3.    Andorra
4.    Bahrain
5.    Bosnia and Herzegovina
6.    Bulgaria
7.    Croatia
8.    Czech Republic
9.    Egypt
10.  Estonia
11.  Greece
12.  Hungary
13.  Iraq
14.  Israel
15.  Jordan
16.  Kosovo
17.  Kuwait
18.  Latvia
19.  Lebanon
20.  Libya
21.  Liechtenstein
22.  Lithuania
23.  Malta
24.  Montenegro
25.  Morocco
26.  North Macedonia
27.  Oman
28.  Palestine
29.  Poland
30.  Qatar
31.  Romania
32.  San Marino
33.  Saudi Arabia
34.  Serbia
35.  Slovakia
36.  Slovenia
37.  South Africa
38.  Tunisia
39.  Turkey
40.  United Arab Emirates
41.  Vatican City
42.  Yemen


Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Sky News announces a raft of new programmes for 2022, Sophy Ridge returning mid-March from maternity to resume Sunday show and adding Wednesday night show.

by Thinus Ferreira

On Tuesday afternoon Sky News (DStv 402) announced a raft of new programmes

Following the announcement that the Sky News political editor Beth Rigby willhost a new prime time interview show Beth Rigby Interviews from 10 March, Sky News is also returning The Great Debate with Trevor Phillips from Monday 7 February at 23:00 (South African time).

The weekly discussion programme will, once again, give viewers the opportunity to question the decisions that are made about their lives and interrogate the people who make them. 

In addition to this, from early March on Tuesdays at 23:00, Trevor Phillips will try to find Common Ground between two protagonists with entrenched opinions on a topic in the news. 

"At a time when opinion seems noisier and more extreme than ever, Phillips will work to find the middle ground to see what can unite the two opponents," Sky News says.

Sophy Ridge is set to return to Sky News from maternity leave mid-March and will once again welcome viewers at her regular slot of 10:30 every Sunday for her weekly political talk show Sophy Ridge on Sunday

Later in 2022 she will also host a new show The Take with Sophy Ridge at 23:00 on Wednesdays. 

Sky News says that The Take is designed to take a mid-week political pulse "As well as hearing from members of parliament, the show will also invite viewers to give their take on the political headlines."

John Ryley, head of Sky News, says in a statement that "Sky News prides itself on its impartial journalism. We see it as our responsibility to present our viewers with dynamic, engaging and balanced programming, offering clarity in an uncertain world".

"These new programmes are designed to highlight the lively debate, discussion and opinion that is a vital part of the Sky News brand. From holding politicians to account to hearing directly from the people at the heart of the stories, our news organisation puts the British public at the heart of what we do."

Environmental activists take eNCA to Broadcasting Complaints, alleges eNCA news bias in Shell seismic tests reporting for not disclosing interests and that Johnny Copelyn is chairperson of eMedia and Shell partner Impact Oil and Gas.


by Thinus Ferreira

Environmental activists have laid a complaint at the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) against eNCA (DStv 403), alleging that the South African TV news channel from eMedia is biased in its news coverage about Shell's seismic ocean tests.

The environmental group says in its complaint that eNCA is in the wrong as a TV news channel for not declaring its corporate interests, and also has a conflict of interest since Johnny Copelyn is eMedia Holding's non-executive chairperson and the non-executive chairperson of Impact Oil and Gas, that is a Shell partner. 

eMedia in response to a media query seeking comment told TVwithThinus that "The matter is currently with the BCCSA so we are not in a position to comment yet until the ruling on the matter".

The environmental group in its complaint alleges that eNCA has been doing one-sided reporting on Shell and Impact Oil and Gas' seismic shock plans on the South African coast.

Johnny Copelyn is the non-executive chairperson of eMedia Holdings with eNCA that falls under eMedia.

Johnny Copelyn is also the non-executive chairperson of Hoskins Consolidated Investments (HCI) with HCI the majority shareholder in eMedia. 

Furthermore Johnny Copelyn is the non-executive chairperson of Impact Oil and Gas, a partner of Shell. HCI is also the biggest shareholder in Impact Oil and Gas.

In its complaint, the environmental group wants eNCA to apologise to DStv subscribers for not declaring eNCA's conflict of interest in the Shell seismic shock reporting, and to explain Johnny Copelyn's corporate involvement. 

The group also wants the BCCSA to level a fine of R80 000 against eNCA.

This past Friday members of the Extinction Rebellion public pressure group held a protest at the eNCA headquarters in Dunkeld-West in Johannesburg, demanding that the TV news channel report on eNCA's alleged conflict of interest in the Shell seismic shock operations "without fear or favour".  

SABC News boss Phathiswa Magopeni refuses broadcaster's massive 'golden handshake' payoff to leave, rebuffs massive cash payout bonus to just go away quietly.


by Thinus Ferreira

The South African public broadcaster's news boss Phathiswa Magopeni, who has accused the SABC CEO Madoda Mxakwe and SABC chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini of gross political editorial interference into SABC News editorial operations, has rebuffed a so-called"golden handshake" payoff to leave and refused to accept a massive cash bonus payout to just leave the troubled SABC quietly.

Following a disciplinary hearing that found Phathiswa Magopeni guilty on one charge of misconduct for the failure to stop the broadcasting of an episode of the current affairs programme Special Assignment, the SABC has quietly been trying to get rid of Phathiswa Magopeni by trying to get her to accept a massive financial payout to leave - something she has rejected.

The City Press newspaper reported that while Phathiswa Magopeni continued to oversee the SABC News division, shunned a massive financial offer to leave the troubled SABC that is once again suffering reputational and credibility damage over its news coverage.

According to sources, SABC CEO Madoda Mxakwe and SABC chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini were ordered by ANC politicians to get rid of Phathiswa Magopeni.

Phathiswa Magopeni said that Madoda Mxakwe is resolute in "hounding" her out of the public broadcaster and that both Madoda Mxakwe and Bongumusa Makhathini called her on 24 October last year and tried to force her to approve and schedule an interview with ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa.

If true, this is a clear transgression of SABC rules against editorial interference by SABC top execs and the SABC board into the operations of the SABC newsroom.

City Press reports that Phathiswa Magopeni has now been "offered a huge amount of cash to walk away from the organisation, but she had refused, saying that accepting it would be tantamount to an admission of guilt".

An insider says "They called her and her lawyers and tabled the offer, which included her salary for the remaining months of her contract, all the bonuses she could have received and a golden handshake for agreeing to leave the SABC quietly, but she rejected them".

Anaconda on e.tv captures another 2.4 million viewers in its latest rebroadcast in 2022.


by Thinus Ferreira

Viewers complained vehemently. Then over 2.4 million tuned in and kept watching when e.tv broadcast Anaconda on 15 January after the red letter channel promised that it would never do so again, ensuring that the horror-schlock film will definitely rate very high on the viewership list of January's most-watched content in South Africa.

e.tv made headlines and angered viewers when the eMedia channel announced that it would again show the 1997-film on 15 January, after it promised 8 years ago that it would never again be showing Anaconda again when it did a "final premiere" of the horror film in June 2014.

At the start of 2022 e.tv had shown Anaconda at least 19 times over the past number of years, not counting the multiple broadcasts of the film on other eMedia TV channels like eMovies, or any of the multiple same-week repeats after an initial reschedule airing, or rebroadcasts.

Similarly, the franchise's sequels like Anaconda: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid never left e.tv and remain in constant high-rotation scheduling, shown annually and multiple times in 2021 on e.tv. 

e.tv didn't respond to a media query about Anaconda's return to the channel's schedule before broadcast.

After the film's broadcast on Saturday night at 20:00, Anaconda starring Ice Cube, Jon Voight and J.Lo, managed to lure over 2.4 million viewers who not only tuned to e.tv but kept watching.  

This week, in an unsolicited statement following its broadcast, e.tv said "The movie is an old favourite, and even though you know that snake is about to strike, you can't stop watching".

Marlon Davids, managing director of the channels, says "Anaconda is an old-time favourite and we know our audiences are hooked on suspense. We will continue to bring the drama, suspense and thrills to viewers".

Monday, January 24, 2022

A full-frontal penis pushes M-Net to suddenly schedule The Princes and the Press documentary on Monday night to move episode 8 of And Just Like That an hour later.


by Thinus Ferreira

A full-frontal penis shot pushed M-Net on Monday to suddenly add the documentary special, The Princes and the Press that will be shown on Monday night in a back-to-back airing to push And Just Like That from 20:30 to 21:30 since the episode contains full-frontal male nudity.

On Monday afternoon M-Net said that the 2-part BBC documentary The Princes and the Press will suddenly be shown on Monday night in a double-bill from 19:30.

Made by journalist Amol Rajan, the controversial The Princes and the Press explores the years following the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the positive media reaction to the emergence of a new generation of royals. It also uncovers the illegal activities UK newspapers committed to get scoops on the royals.

Part one of The Princess and the Press will be shown at 19:30, part 2 at 20:30, with this week's episode 8 of And Just Like That moved to 21:30, an hour later than its usual Monday night slot.

In the And Just Like That episode entitled, "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", Carried is unable to sleep due to her young downstairs neighbour Lisette's loud noises. Later during the episode Lisette's boyfriend opens the door in just a towel that he drops, with Carrie and viewers seeing him full-frontal naked.

M-Net enters The Gilded Age.


by Thinus Ferreira

The "new" Downton Abbey will be on M-Net (DStv 101) with the premium blue-ribbon channel that has acquired Julian Fellowes' brand-new American-set period drama series, The Gilded Age as an Express from the US title.

The Gilded Age, from HBO, will make its debut on American television on Monday night with a double-episode start, and will start on M-Net a day later on Tuesday 25 January at 20:30.

Julian Fellowes is responsible for the hugely successful British period drama series Downton Abbey, and is looking to replicate its success with a similar type of story but in an American setting.


The 9-episode first season of The Gilded Age begins in 1882 in New York City when a young Marian Brook (Louisa Jacobson) moves from rural Pennsylvania to New York City after the death of her father, to live with her thoroughly old money aunts Agnes van Rhijn (Christine Baranski) and Ada Brook (Cynthia Nixon).

"Accompanied by Peggy Scott (Denée Benton), an aspiring writer seeking a fresh start, Marian inadvertently becomes enmeshed in a social war between one of her aunts, a scion of the old-money set, and her stupendously rich neighbours, a ruthless railroad tycoon and his ambitious wife," the show's official logline reads.

"Exposed to a world on the brink of the modern age, will Marian follow the established rules of society, or forge her own path?"

Several of the faces of The Gilded Age will be very familiar to DStv subscribers and have been on M-Net already, ranging from Christine Baranski and Audra McDonald of The Good Fight, to Cynthia Nixon of And Just Like That.

The Gilded Age will be available on DStv Catch Up after its prime time broadcast and is a co-production between HBO and Universal Television, a division of the Universal Studio Group.