Tuesday, September 29, 2020

MultiChoice and M-Net put Bolhuis back for broadcast on kykNET schedule after racism scandal.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice and M-Net have placed the show Bolhuis back on the kykNET (DStv 144) schedule with the canned show resurfacing a year after a racism scandal led the pay-TV service to abruptly drop its broadcast over highly offensive remarks and racist comments by the disgraced private detective Mike Bolhuis - including the "K"-word - that MultiChoice said was "unacceptable".

kykNET is suddenly once again going to broadcast Bolhuis, produced by Rian van Heerden, announcing that second season of the show will start on Thursday 15 October at 20:00.

It comes after a flurry of racist slurs and derogatory remarks made by Mike Bolhuis in audio recordings - including using the "k"-word - surfaced in mid-2019 from the private investigator and kykNET reality star.

Last year, just before the second season of Bolhuis was set to air, MultiChoice said in a statement that "Mike Bolhuis had conducted certain conversations in which he expressed himself in a discriminatory manner, which is unacceptable to MultiChoice".

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

Bolhuis also disappeared from the DStv Now's Catch Up service and the Showmax subscription video-on-demand service run by MultiChoice's Connected Video division.

Now kykNET has quietly added Bolhuis back to its broadcast schedule with the programme and M-Net that will again earn money through it from DStv subscribers and advertisers, as well as further exposure to the detective.

kykNET in response to a media enquiry from TVwithThinus, asking why Bolhuis is now again going to be broadcast, said that "Following the public release of a voice note where presenter and private investigator Mike Bolhuis used derogatory language, he apologised to the public, the channel and the CEO of the MultiChoice Group".

Karen Meiring, director of M-Net's kykNET channels, says Mike Bolhuis "has taken steps in his personal life to not only reflect but use his platform to support and promote diversity and inclusion".

"One of these examples will be covered in an episode of the new season that will be broadcast on kykNET in October 2020. While the incident was indeed unacceptable and deplorable, his unconditional apology has been accepted."

In June this year kykNET was also in hot water when another reality star uttered the "k"-word which led to mom Jana le Roux's dismissal from the show after she uttered the racial slur in the Red Pepper-produced Kwarantyn Afrikaans reality show.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Veteran SABC Xhosa newsreader and producer Linda Gqomfa has died.

by Thinus Ferreira

The veteran former SABC Xhosa newsreader and producer Linda Gqomfa is dead after a brief illness.

Linda Gqomfa died on Saturday and the cause of death is not know.

Linda Gqomfa previously worked as a Xhosa news bulletin reader for the South African public broadcaster's TV news as well as its Umhlobo Wenene FM radio station as a news reader but was also a producer for children and female-focused programming for many years. 

Later she worked as a communication officer for the South African Police service.

South Africa's department of sport, arts and culture in a statement said that it sends "heartfelt condolences to the family of veteran SABC news reader Linda Gqomfa".

Linda Gqomfa studied and qualified as a teacher, decided to study further to become a nurse but never finished and then got a part-time job in 1972 at the then Radio Xhosa doing a children's programme, Qashiqashi.

Linda Gqomfa left Radio Xhosa in 1982 to go and work at the SABC's children and female programming division.

She left the SABC 2 years later in 1984 to go into teaching.

In 1988 Linda Gqomfa returned to the SABC and the SABC News division as a Xhosa news reader for the Xhosa news on the then TV2 channel.

Besides being a Xhosa TV and radio newsreader Linda Gqomfa also became a producer of children and female-focused programming at the SABC and left in 2002 to join the South African police where she became part of the visible policing department, working in the Social Crime Prevention division. She retired from the police service in 2012.

In an interview with the I'zolezwe Xhosa newspaper in October 2019 she revealed that years ago she had written several long-form stories that she wish she could have adapted for television.

"I wish I could translate them for TV before I die but I will be tired and self-conscious and I will stop," she said.

Actor and writer Chris Majiedt dead at 67 after losing his battle with lung cancer.

by Thinus Ferreira

The actor and writer Chris Majiedt died on Thursday after he lost his battle with lung cancer. He was 67.

The Citrusdal-based actor had roles in various Afrikaans films ranging from Jakhalsdans (2010), Black Butterflies, and 'n Saak van Geloof (2011) to Lenteblom (2013). 

In 2008 he appeared in the Afrikaans TV miniseries Riemvasmaak as Mr Allemans.

Chris Majiedt excelled as a voice actor the past 7 years in Afrikaans radio dramas on the SABC's Afrikaans radio station RSG like Maria, moeder van God, Laat vrugte and Gert Garries: 'n Baasiekel-blues in which he voiced the role of Gert Garries.

In theatre, he appeared on stage in Die ander Marta., Melkbospassie, Bacchus in die Boland, Blou Laberint and several others.

Chris Majiedt qualifiedied as a carpenter in 1980 after being in the printing industry for 6 years. He did carpentry for more than 33 years but was constantly involved in entertainment as an amateur amateur as his passion.

During the 1970s and 1980s Chris Majiedt was a freelance singer with Rockets. 

He formed his own drama group, Skim, in Mitchell's Plain and brought to stage various of his own productions ranging from Dis Alweer die Bure, Houtjie van die Galg, Kortpad na die Dood and Huisie van Geloof.

In 2013 he won the second prize in the RSG-Sanlam drama writing competition for Slang in die Gras in which he also voiced a role in the radio drama.

Friday, September 18, 2020

TV NEWS ROUND-UP. Today's interesting TV stories to read - 18 September 2020.

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

■ Do you speak Fox News (StarSat 261)?
How Donald Trump's favourite TV channel became a language.

■ Pedro Pascal allegedly went cray-cray during filming of season 2 of Disney+'s Star Wars The Mandalorian and suddenly demanded to film scenes without his helmet on so that he can be seen.

Staffers who worked for Ellen DeGeneres detail how they had to sign contracts from which they couldn't quit, had to work until 11pm and weekends, were "blacklisted and fired" if they complained, extra freebies for top execs.

Reality TV used as filler on TV channel's schedules.

No more hair and make-up for guests.

Says Bloomberg TV (DStv 411 / StarSat 264) still has value but that business viewers have moved away from linear pay-TV.

'A big, unpredictable Zoom meeting': Everything you need to know about 2020's 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards and coverage on E! and M-Net.

by Thinus Ferreira

With "red carpet" coverage done from inside a studio kilometres away from the theatre, no Ryan Seacrest, and with no stars really even on a red carpet or inside a theatre, nominees and stars zooming in from their Hollywood mansions and host Jimmy Kimmel who will have to pad with jokes and be ready with impromptu banter if there are technical difficulties, 2020's 72nd Prime Emmy Awards on Monday will look and feel very different this year. 

Jimmy Kimmel is joking that the Emmys this year will look like "a big, unpredictable Zoom meeting".

Here's everything you need to know about this year's ceremony:

South African viewers will once again mainly be able to watch 2020's Emmy Awards coverage on E! (DStv 124) doing coverage and adapted "red carpet" coverage given the limitations and changes because of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, and the actual ceremony live very early on Monday morning and again during primetime on M-Net on the same day.

Saturday 19 September 2020
19:05: Daily Pop
A "Live Emmy Special" featuring co-hosts Carissa Culiner, Justin Sylvester, and Morgan Stewart discussing the upcoming 72nd Prime Emmy Awards. 

Monday 21 September 2020
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic E! will be doing Emmy Awards "red carpet" coverage but it will look and be very different this year.

22:30 - 00:00: E! Countdown to the Red Carpet: The 2020 Emmy Awards* E! (DStv 124)
Oddly this pre-show doesn't appear this year on MultiChoice's DStv electronic programme guide (EPG) or the latest amended September 2020 schedule NBCUniversal issues to the media. 

It is however once again being done and produced as part of E!'s Emmy coverage package from 16:30 in the United States and one of two things might happen: Over the weekend either the E! schedule and DStv guide will be updated to add and reflect this pre-show, or the schedule won't show it although it will be broadcast. 

If you're interested in it, tune to E! from 22:30 on Sunday night anyway, or just set a PVR recording. Although the schedule show titles won't match, you might end up seeing this show.

In this pre-show done live from the Universal Lot in Universal City, California, the Nightly Pop co-host Nina Parker, E! style correspondent Brad Goreski, The Rundown presenter Erin Lim, and actress Laverne Cox will be the presenters. 

Included in this coverage will be their countdown of 10 of the most anticipated Emmy nominees and their biggest moments.  

00:00 - 02:00: E! Live from the Red Carpet: The 2020 Primetime Emmy Awards E! (DStv 124)
(repeat: 09:25 - 11:15)
As the stars virtually come together for the Emmys, Giuliana Rancic will once again headline E!'s Live From The Red Carpet: The 2020 Emmy Awards with Vivica A. Fox replacing Ryan Seacrest.

The red carpet coverage will be done from the Universal Lot in Universal City, California and the two will bring viewers interviews with Hollywood stars and Emmy nominees.

02:00 - 05:00: 72 Primetime Emmy Awards (live) M-Net (DStv 101)
There will be no beautiful people in tuxes or glam dresses and no real red carpet but there will still be a large production team at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, using the theatre as the "production base" from which to do the Emmys broadcast this year with Jimmy Kimmel as the host.

Over 130 cameras have been shipped out across America and across the world and set up in the homes of nominees and stars in 20 cities and 10 countries. 

Nominees were sent a ring light, a laptop computer, a boom mic and a camera. They haven't been given any dress code.

On Wednesday during a virtual media briefing with the press the Emmy producers said they fully expect and are prepared for things to go wrong since there are so many moving parts and say they will adapt in the best way possible in the moment, with Jimmy Kimmel that will take it in his stride as everyone work together to broadcast the Emmys in the best way possible under the circumstances.

There will be 26 categories.

21:30 - 00:25: 72 Primetime Emmy Awards (primetime) M-Net (DStv 101)
The "cleaned-up" recorded broadcast for primetime with proper breaks.

Tuesday 22 September 2020
14:40: Daily Pop E! (DStv 124)
Co-hosts Justin Sylvester and Carissa Culiner take a look back at the 72nd Emmy Awards, the looks, the interviews, the winners and snubs, with commentary about the big moments and newsmakers.

22:00: Nightly Pop E! (DStv 124)
Co-hosts Morgan Stewart, Nina Parker and Hunter March break down the 72nd Emmy Awards with their unfiltered views and commentary about the ceremony.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

TV NEWS ROUND-UP. Today's interesting TV stories to read - 16 September 2020.

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

■ The Crown on Netflix will show Princess Diana's heartbreaking battle with bulimia.
Could set up a clash between Netflix and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and their multi-million contract with the video streamer.

■ Donald Trump announces that he's getting weekly showtime on Fox News (StarSat 261) as bewildered Fox News hosts say it's fake news.

■ American anchor Jim Cramer on CNBC (DStv 410) calls Nancy Pelosi "Crazy Nancy" on TV ... in her face.
Meanwhile CNN (DStv 401) is getting sued.

■ Nigerian filmmakers are risking jail with their lesbian film Ike.
Nigeria's Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) is monitoring and trying to prevent producer Pamela Adie and director Uyaiedu Ikpe-Etim from screening and releasing their Yoruba-language film in the West African country.

■ South Park tackling the Covid-19 virus with its first hourlong episode.

■ I'm not interested. Bye," is all he has to say about it: Idols judge Somizi Mhlongo accused of stealing the Dinner with Somizi show idea on 1Magic (DStv 103) from Hastings Moeng (subscription required).
Producer says he send concept to Somizi in July 2014, and met with him and Dinner with Somizi executive producer Legend Manqele in 2016 to discuss putting the show together. Somizi's comment on the report is "I'm not interested. Bye."

■ Netflix's Ratched is wretched viewing; drama has no story to tell with incoherent characterisation and limited vision.

■ WWE trying to see if it can host WWE Raw and WWE SmackDown seen on SuperSport at outdoor venues in order to get people back to attend wrestling matches again.

■ Zambia praises China's StarTimes for funding its public broadcasting switch from analogue to digital terrestrial television broadcasting.

■ The shocking departure of Anna Faris from Mom seen on M-Net (DStv 101) is a nightmare for the comedy series.

■ John Cena shows off his shocking physical change before his TV return as the new host of Wipeout.

■ Ellen DeGeneres: From sweetheart to degenerate - a timeline.
Is this the perfect time for Drew Barrymore to launch her own TV talk show?

■ 250 000 people less are paying their BBC TV licence fee in the United Kingdom as younger viewers flee to streaming services.

■ Jerry Harris from Netflix's Cheer under FBI investigation for soliciting sex from boys.

■ How reality TV shows find and cast the "right" people - a director explains.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

TV NEWS ROUND-UP. Today's interesting TV stories to read - 15 September 2020.

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

■ Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says marriage counceling revealed that he was a "systemic liar".
- Netflix vice president told him that he was unempathetic and don't encourage criticism.

■ An appearance on Rachel Maddow on MSNBC (StarSat 263) is very good for American book sales.
MSNBC and Rachel Maddow refused to talk to Associated Press, but literary agent says she helps make books "number one".

■ Snack with caution: A new study finds that watching TV while eating makes you become unaware that you're actually full.

■ Why "Cancel Netflix" is trending.
Netflix won't cancel Cuties in the United States but might have to internationally.

■ Netflix doesn't have TV commercials but that doesn't mean that it won't have ads in future.
Netflix takes the crown for spending on film and television.
Netflix argues for free speech in court fight with Indian businessmen.

■ After she's been let go from Primedia's EWN at 702, Gia Nicolaides joins eNCA (DStv 403).

■ M-Net West Africa is filming Enakhe as a new series in Nigeria for DStv's Africa Magic Showcase channel.

■ The bloated SABC has spent almost R3 million on catering as the struggling and overstaffed South African public broadcaster forges ahead with getting rid of hundreds of workers.

■ M-Net (DStv 101) picks up Race for the Cure documentary.

■ Coronavirus corruption: South African government offers Leanne Manas of SABC2's Morning Live tenders for personal protection equipment.

■ America's pornography industry headed for a major Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Aunt Flori Schrikker, other half of the Bonteheuwel TV show cooking duo Flori en Koelsoem se Kosse has died. She was 67.

by Thinus Ferreira

Florence Schrikker known as Flori, the other half of the famous Cape Town TV cooking show duo in Flori en Koelsoem se Kosse on VIA (DStv 147) has died on Saturday 12 September 2020 just 5 months after her friend Koelsoem Kamalie died in mid-April 2020. Florence Schrikker was 67.

Florence Schrikker died on Saturday afternoon in the Netcare N1 City hospital in Cape Town after her condition deteriorated, following complications after a dubble heart bypass operation that she underwent in early-August.

Flori Schrikker who suffered from Type 2 diabetes and who lost a limb in an amputation in 2011 because of the disease, is survived by her husband of 47 years Alfonso Schrikker known as Uncle Foni, 4 children and 10 grandchildren.

Angus McKenzie,Ward 50 Bonteheuwel councillor in Cape Town, in a statement said that "As a community we are conforted by the fact that they they will be serving the heavens with some of the best cuisines".

"Aunty Flori's passing is a huge shock to the community and in our sadness, we want to thank her family for sharing her, her talents, and her love with each and every one of us."

VIA was approached for comment about the death of Flori Schrikker on Monday. At the time of publication VIA didn't have any comment.

Together with Koelsoem Kamalie, Flori Schrikker co-hosted their own cooking show, Flori en Koelsoem se Kosse on VIA that was produced by Leroux Botha and Nina Swart from Afrokaans, over two seasons in 2016 and 2017.

They first rose to fame when the two shared their fascinating recipes and stories during the afternoon on Tjailatyd on the SABC's Afrikaans radio station RSG.

In 2017 their show won an ATKV Mediaveertjie-award for best magazine show and was based on their cookbook Kook Saam Kaaps that was released in April 2016 by LAPA Uitgewers.

Their second cookbook about desserts entitled Soettand was released in 2017.

Netflix South Africa now offers R39 mobile-only plan as a test in the country, undercutting MultiChoice's Showmax and its R49 mobile-only plan.

by Thinus Ferreira

As a consumer test Netflix is rolling out a new R39 Netflix mobile-only plan in South Africa that is much cheaper than its cheapest R99 per month subscription fee and that the subscription video-on-demand service (SVOD) says will only last if enough South African viewers respond to it.

The Netflix Mobile plan at R39 per month in South Africa is now undercutting MultiChoice's Showmax video streaming service, with Showmax Mobile that costs R49 per month.

In mid-2019 Netflix announced that it would roll out and test a "mobile device only" plan that launched in Indian in the third quarter of last year. The mobile only Netflix plan is priced significantly lower that Netflix's existing 3-tier plan structure but also limits users to streaming on mobile devices and with other imposed limitations like video quality as well.

South Africa - like India and African countries like Egypt where Netflix also tested its "mobile only" plan- is part of places where Netflix wants to test how many more users it could potentially sign up to use and sample its video service in markets where the penetration of mobile devices are high but data costs are still expensive and the availability of broadband internet is limited.

Netflix's R39 per month mobile-only plan limits the video stream to 480p and one viewing stream on a mobile device or tablet. Netflix's other three plans, Netflix Basic (R99), Netflix Standard (R139) and Netflix Premium (169) offer more options.

The streaming service has had the same 3 plans for over 5 years and Netflix says that in that time its membership base "has changed enormously - and mobile usage has increased significantly".

Netflix tells TVwithThinus that in keeping this mobile audience and people's device usage in mind, it is experimenting with new plans across the African continent - excluding Egypt where it was already tested - to give potential subscribers more choice.

Netflix however cautions that if it sees that users are not valuing these new plans that it won't be rolling it out more widely.

A Netflix spokesperson says that "We’ve had the same three plans for several years now and this test offer reflects significant usage of and preference for mobile in South Africa.  We’ll only roll this out longer term if people value the increased flexibility".

Sunday, September 13, 2020

SABC on the brink as South Africa's public broadcaster warns that it could collapse, urges need to 'reinvent' and creation of a redesigned SABC - report.

South Africa's struggling public broadcaster that is mired in financial problems despite another billion rand government bailout is facing possible collapse the City Press newspaper reported on Sunday.

The overstaffed and bloated SABC wants to get rid of thousands of workers and told parliament two months ago that the impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic in South Africa has caused a predicted shortfall in revenue of at least R1.7 billion for its current financial year.

The SABC also told parliament last month that it needs and has applied for additional government funding relief to help make up for the revenue shortfall because of Covid-19.

South Africa's governing ANC political party and its current disgraced minister of communications, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, are against retrenchments at the struggling SABC and doesn't want the public broadcaster to lower its salary bill as its single biggest expense.

As the biggest cost driver at the SABC, a whopping 41% of the struggling broadcaster's expenditure goes to just paying salaries. Shockingly, the SABC only spends 22% on actual content.

"It is time for a collaborative approach by all stakeholders to deal with the huge cost base that threatens the the viability of the SABC," the broadcaster says.

According to documents from the SABC's board and executives, the public broadcasters is imploring that "We must collectively ensure that the SABC does not collapse under our watch".

According to City Press, the SABC held a virtual meeting with trade unions Bemawu and CWU on Friday "about measures to prevent a collapse".

The SABC describes its latest financial battle amidst Covid-19 in the document as "the most critical for the future and sustainability of this 84-year old institution" given "the dwindling advertising revenues in the industry and the SABC".

The SABC says it has looked at the role of MultiChoice and eMedia Investments that runs e.tv and the Openview satellite platform, online video streaming services like Showmax and Netflix, and evolving consumer behaviour and that the SABC will have to reinvent itself.

"Against this backdrop the SABC must reposition itself and get ready for the future with customer-centred business models. A target operating model provides an ideal framework for this."

"The proposed target operating model will give birth to a redesigned SABC that is modern, agile and is future-focused"," the SABC says.