Wednesday, March 31, 2010

BREAKING. M-Net's All Access adds a regular movie slot from Friday; Bruce Dennill and Louise Saint-Claire joins the show.

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All Access is introducing a brand-new slot where Bruce Dennill and actress Louise Saint-Claire will be giving viewers the latest updates on the top films and theatre shows to watch in South Africa.

I was first to tell you at the beginning of February that M-Net's weekly entertainment show would be moving to Fridays in April, and last Thursday that the show is getting a new look . I've since heard from sources, and confirmed, exactly what will that will be and how All Access will be changing on Friday at 19:30, but I'm not going to spoil that . . . yet.

What I have just been informed about though, is how what goes into All Access will be changing. Bruce Dennill and Louise Saint-Claire will be reviewing the latest movies and stage productions in the country every Friday. Bruce Dennill is the ''Vibe'' editor of The Citizen newspaper and Louise Saint-Claire is an award-winning actress.

Friday's All Access will also apparently be done from Cape Town where Mark Bayly and Tammy-Anne Fortuin are actually based.

EXIT INTERVIEW - Survivor SA Santa Carolina Izak Davel: ''Its brought me to a point where I feel that, yes, I'm really a man.''

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I can bring you the VERY FIRST independent exit interview with Survivor SA Santa Carolina celebitant Izak Davel who became the 6th last contestant to get voted out after a very clever plan to get him outsted.

Earlier today I spoke with the really super cool Izak Davel about his time on the island. He told me who he liked and didn't like, why he decided to do Survivor SA, and the beating that bod in the speedo took because of the island circumstances. See who he says he missed the most, why he had those emotional moments where viewers saw tears, and what he has to say about the fishing trip in his final episode. Find out who he thinks will still make it far in the game. His answers on what he learned about human nature, as well as about himself, will definitely surprise you.

For my full interview with Izak Davel, click on READ MORE below!

BREAKING. CNBC Africa responds to having received massive amount of money from the Gauteng Film Commission. Finally.

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I was first with the news about CNBC Africa (DStv 410) no longer getting money from the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) and now I can be first with CNBC Africa who finally has a response DAYS after I was the first journalist to ask.

When I broke the news RIGHT HERE days ago about the huge amount of money that CNBC Africa (DStv 410) used to get from the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) I also asked CNBC Africa for a response. I was informed that CNBC Africa had no comment. Then of course the story went everywhere and pressure built.

Now CNBC Africa, a TV channel that works with the world of money and finances and asking questions to those who have it and really should know better, finally have a (terse) reponse. (Remember when you read CNBC Africa's response, that according to my original story CNBC Africa was ''accused'' of getting a massive amount of moola from the GFC and not doing anything to stimulate local TV production in South Africa.)

''CNBC Africa produced a series of programmes called Business Spotlight with sponsorship and associated advertising via the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC). This agreement has now ended. The editorial control of all programmes rested with CNBC Africa at all times.''

BREAKING. eNews Channel ''is a tremendous success'' says group head of eNews.

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Earlier today I was first to tell you RIGHT HERE about the massive achievement and incredible viewership figures of the eNews Channel (DStv 403) that's now by far the most watched TV news channel available in South Africa.

Of all the satellite TV news channels that South African TV viewers have access to, the eNews Channel outranks them all with the daily number of viewers it attracts to its independent TV news coverage. the eNews Channel now regularly pulls in 526 000 viewers on a daily basis. I have the first reaction from Patrick Conroy, group head of eNews.

''The eNews Channel has been a tremendous success for us, and we continue to grow our audience each month,'' Patrick Conroy tells me. ''As the only domestic 24 hour TV news service in South Africa we do have a certain advantage over the foreign networks in that we are local. We would never claim to be better than CNN or the BBC, perhaps we're just more relevant to the South African audience. We still have a lot of work to do, but I am enormously impressed with the hard work and improved skill level within the news team''.

BREAKING. SABC legal and regulatory staff having a ''fun day''. Just because.

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In an already short work week, where do you think is the SABC's legal eagles and policy personnel?

Well, not at work, for one thing. They're having a ''fun'' day. For the whole day today. I got my hands on an internal SABC memo that was sent out this morning to all personnel at South Africa's public broadcaster.

''Dear First Citizens,'' the SABC empire told it slaves workers today, ''Please note that Legal Services, Policy and Regulatory Affairs department will be having a fun day and will therefore not be present at the office. First Citizens may, however, contact members of staff in the department on their cell phones.''

BREAKING. Beverly Ngwenya is Sentech's new chief executive.

          IN!                                     OUT!

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I can tell you first that Beverly Ngwenya will become the new chief executive of Sentech from tomorrow. This after the struggling Sebiletso Mokone-Matabane blatantly quit months before September, which is when her contract would have come to an end.

With Sebiletso Mokone-Matabane now gone and under whose tenureship the beleaguered state-owned signal distributor went from bad to worse and piled on more debt, Beverly Ngwenyga will now take over as acting chief executive officer. Beverly Ngwenya is currently Sentech's chief operating officer and has been COO for the past three years.

I can also tell you before anyone else that Quraysh Patel as the new chairperson (replacing Collin Hickling), Mesuli Dhlamini, Zanele Hlatshwayo and Thabo Leeuw will all join the Sentech board as directors.

BREAKING. The eNews Channel leads the pack of TV news channels in South Africa - by a viewership mile.

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What a truly magnificent, splendid and superbly incredible performance by the eNews Channel (DStv 403) that's just over two years old and showing massive growth, strength and viewership gain.

I can exclusively show you this bar graph with the latest South African TV viewership of the various available 24 hour TV news channels in South Africa. The daily TV viewership is the latest that's just been made available, according to the just released South African Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF) TV universe in South Africa. Because the available TV audience for satellite television in South Africa is smaller, it's measured in 100 000's instead of millions.

The eNews Channel continues to consolidate its position as the market leader among the available TV news channels and now boasts over half a million regular TV viewers in South Africa - 526 000. That is 70% more viewers than its closest competitor, BBC World News (DStv 400) with 309 000 viewers and then CNN International (DStv 401) with 254 000.

BREAKING. Latest daily viewership for South Africa's biggest TV channels.

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I can exclusively show you where the viewership of South Africa's major TV channels (and DStv which is a TV platform) stand and how the various channel's are squaring off against each other in the TV ratings race in this easy to interpret, bar chart. The daily TV viewership is measured in a factor of millions.

The South African Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF) just released their latest TV universe which they use to determine TV viewership in South Africa. SABC1 is still the most popular TV channel in South Africa with just over 18 million viewers who tune in daily, followed by with 13,44 million and showing an increase. is ahead of SABC2 with 13,184 million viewers and SABC3 with just over 9 million daily TV viewers. DStv has almost 5 million viewers daily and M-Net lures just over 1 million TV watchers per day.

INTERVIEW. Robyn Curnow, anchor of the new CNN Marketplace Africa: ''It's a great opportunity to tell African business stories.''

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I've told you about the brand-new CNN Marketplace Africa on CNN International (DStv 401) RIGHT HERE, Wednesdays at 20:45, anchored by South Africa's Robyn Curnow.

I spoke with her recently about the brand-new addition to the CNN International programming line-up to find out what CNN Marketplace Africa is all about and how the show will be different. I asked her about the challenges about the new weekly show she will be anchoring, what stories CNN Marketplace Africa will be covering, and what she's looking forward to the most to achieve.

Click on READ MORE below for my interview with Robyn Curnow.

BREAKING. SABC1 going ahead with broadcast of HHP's Respect.

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SABC1 is proceeding and going forward with the broadcast of HHP's new show Respect, despite a veteran South African TV producer, Paul Tilsley claiming that SABC1 stole the idea concept for the show from him, which he submitted to the broadcaster a while ago.

SABC1 confirmed to me that the broadcast of Respect is going ahead. SABC1 said that Respect will continue with further episodes after the show was delayed by one week. That happened because Paul Tilsley send a legal letter of demand to the SABC to halt the show and asked for compensation for the show, as well as compensation for the emotional distress (imagine seeing the idea you pitched to a broadcaster after a meeting, suddenly showing up on screen a while later!). I told you about that on Sunday RIGHT HERE.

I've spoken with a very disappointed Paul Tilsley who told me that legal action against the SABC was the last resort. ''In terms of legal action we're proceeding. We're still very disappointed that the SABC doesn't want to discuss this. The SABC should have come clean.''

BREAKING. ''Stress is taking its toll'' on Isidingo's new Ace, Sisa Hewana.

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''Being new to the game, the stress is taking its toll and he's lost quite a lot of weight,'' says an SABC3 source about Sisa Hewana who just joined Isidingo as the new character of Ace. I can show you his on screen debut scene above exclusively first that viewers will see on Tuesday, 11 May when the character of Ace Nzimande makes his first appearance on television.

''When he was announced as the winner, he was looking very beefy like,'' says the source. And I saw him two days ago and he's lost so much weight. I was like, 'Dude, what happened to you?' And he said the scripts are keeping him up at night. The most scenes Sisa Hewana has so far done per day is 15 scenes and the minimum is 8.''

''But Sisa Hewana is now looking like GQ material,'' quips the source. ''He's quite happy. It's like he's been there all along. Robert Whitehead is very happy with him and Jack Devnarain has also taken a liking to him. Chris Beasley is almost like his older brother and very protective of Sisa.''

''We're really happy having all your skill and experience coming to join us here at On.Africa,'' says Rajesh (Jack Devnarain) in Sisa Hewana's very first Isidingo scene above which viewers will see in May. And then look at who walks in . . .

BREAKING.'s breakfast show Sunrise turns 2; has ''joyous celebration'' with chocolate cake.

You're reading it here first.'s great breakfast show Sunrise with Sindy Mabe and Graeme Richards turned 2 today with a special broadcast on the channel this morning. Besides a chocolate cake and a ''number two'' candle, the special broadcast also included songs and performances by the Joyous Celebration choir as well as birthday wishes streaming in from viewers as well as studio guests.

Sindy Mabe and Graeme Richards, both smiling and looking giddy, high-fived each other towards the end of this morning's just-concluded broadcast. Sunrise received tons of birthday messages and well wishes from viewers, which the show says will still run tomorrow and that Sindy Mabe and Graeme Richards will be reading out on air.

''Thank you so much for all of the support over the past two years,'' says Graeme Richards. ''It's been an incredible journey so far. It's been wonderful.''

I'm going to do something amazing . . .

I'll spill all the details during the course of next weekend, but during the course of next week I'm going to do something amazing!

BREAKING. Sentech chief executive, Sebiletso Mokone-Matabane quits.

The chief executive of the national TV signal distributor Sentech, Sebiletso Mokone-Matabane has quit although she said she'd remain in the position until the end of September.

The beleaguered Sentech was recently described as''rudderless'', ''in urgent need of a turnaround strategy'' and that ''urgent action is needed to avoid Sentech from lapsing into terminal decline''. The government's ministerial task team further called Sentech ''inadequately funded and misdirected''.

A new Sentech board will be constituted for the state-owned signal distributor that's mired in debt and is pivotal for South Africa's digital television migration in the switchover from analogue television to digital terrestrial television (DTT).

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

BREAKING. ''Something seriously amiss at SABC,'' says Broadcasting Complaints Commission after SABC2 and SABC3 broadcast adult violent material incorrectly.

''There is something seriously amiss at SABC television,'' says the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) after the commission found that both SABC2 and SABC3 contravened the broadcasting code by showing adult and violent material at times when children might have been part of the audience.

The latest two complaints by viewers that were upheld by the BBCSA, brings the cases of the SABC broadcasting inappropriate material too early during the day to 5, something the BBCSA said today is ''an aggravating factor'' given ''all the warnings by the BCCSA about adult material being broadcast at times when children are in the audience''. SABC2 and SABC3 who both admitted guilt, received serious reprimands from the BBCSA after SABC2 broadcast a promo for the Lord of the Rings movie and SABC3 showed a violent episode of The Summit before 20:00 at night.

SABC2 and SABC3 both apologized and I have the response of both TV channels that you can read by clicking on READ MORE below.

BREAKING. Ace and Nandipha in steamy kiss, as new Isidingo character makes his sexy move!

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Not only can I exclusively reveal the final full new character name of Skumbuzo Ace Nzimande joining Isidingo, I can also show you this hot hot hot smooching and intense kissing going on between Ace (Sisa Hewana) and Nandipha (Hlubi Mboya)!

Viewers will only start to see Ace, or Skumbuzo Ace Nzimande (an ex soccer player and a ''player'' under the girls) from Tuesday, 11 May in Isidingo on SABC3. However, in one of the just filmed scenes that I got my hands on, Ace and Nandipha are already locking lips - the beginning of what is going to be a torrid and sexy relationship that the producers promise me is going to steam up TV screens!

For more exclusively scenes from Ace and Nandipha's sexy, unexpected kiss and how it happens, click on READ MORE below!

BREAKING. All Access on M-Net is moving out . . .

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M-Net's weekly entertainment magazine show All Acess with Mark Bayly and Pabi Moloi is moving out . . . to Fridays.

I broke that news exclusively at the beginning of February right here which M-Net eventually confirmed, and on Thursday I was first right here to tell you about the show also moving out of the M-Net studio from this Friday. Yesterday a source close to the show told me exactly how All Access will change when it makes it debut on the new night of the week on Friday (still in the same 19:30 timeslot), and yesterday I also got that info confirmed from another source.

I've decided not to spoil the surprises and the nice reveal that All Access has planned for Friday, so make sure you tune in and see it for yourself. I will talk about the All Access changes right after the show on Friday night.

BREAKING. Noeleen has football fever; scores a sit-down interview with Iman to air in April.

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Noeleen Maholwana-Sangu from 3Talk with Noeleen on SABC3 has serious football fever on her talk show and she's scored a sit-down interview with Iman that will air in April.

''Football Fridays on 3Talk with Noeleen are in full swing and we will continue to bring viewers the fabulous, fun and fashionable side of the beautiful game,'' says Noeleen. ''From vuvuzela etiquette to the divas of soccer – the wags – we will have it right here on 3Talk with Noeleen. Also coming up we will have a one on one with music royalty, the princess of Africa, Yvonne Chaka Chaka where she looks back on 25 years in the music industry.

If you want to see what else Noeleen Maholwana-Sangu will be doing in April (how to change a car tyre, Iman etc.) click on READ MORE below.

Monday, March 29, 2010

''Turbo month'' kicks off with cars on Discovery Channel.

''Turbo month'' starts this evening on Discovery Channel (DStv 121) at 20:00 and the channel just dropped this ''turbo month calendar'' in my email. The creativity employed gives it a pass, so I decided to show it to you. Mondays there will be Twist the Throttle, Tuesdays it's Street Customs: Berlin, Wheeler Dealers VI on Wednesdays, Heartland Thunder on Thursdays and Fifth Gear and American Chopper on Fridays.

BREAKING. ESPN shows 30 sports films as part of 30th anniversary year.

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The sports channel ESPN (DStv 230) will start to show 30 exceptional, and independently produced sports films from next week as part of ESPN's 30th anniversary as a sports broadcaster.

The ''30 for 30'' series are all documentaries that tell intimate, original stories from the sports world, with the first one going out on Thursday, 8 April at 20:00 on ESPN (DStv 230). Bradley Kaplan's moving portrait of the end of an era in sport will feature for the first time, unique footage of an aging Muhammad Ali preparing to fight for a fourth heavyweight title against Larry Holmes in Muhammad and Larry. Another one of the films are about South Africa and Nelson Mandela's role in the 1995 Rugby World Cup in The 16th Man.

For the schedule of the 30 for 30'' series for April and May, click on READ MORE below.

FIRST LOOK! Idols' presenters Liezel van der Westhuizen and ProVerb's first photo shoot together.

I want to show you the gorgeous Liezel van der Westhuizen and ProVerb from Survivor SA Santa Carolina together. ProVerb is now back from the island since a few months ago in real-time and he's cleaned up good. This is the two's first official photo shoot together as they've never worked together before. Liezel van der Westhuizen and ProVerb will of course be co-hosting the 6th season of Idols that will be starting on M-Net soon.

Click on READ MORE below for one more photo of the two of them together.

BREAKING. Why Denzil got dropped from SABC1's Class Act.

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I can now be first to give you an answer and an explanation to the news I broke RIGHT HERE yesterday:  that Denzil Thompson who made the top 10 contestants of the SABC1 reality show Class Act, got dumped and is no longer part of the show.

Although Denzil Thompson (26) from Cape Town was announced as one of the top 10 in Saturday evening's episode of Class Act, he got replaced because of what I was initially told, was ''contractual issues''. Very vague.

Now I can reveal what the mysterious ''contractual issues'' really means:
This past Friday, 26 March - a day before the broadcast of Saturday's episode in which the top 10 got announced - the producers of Class Act became aware that Denzil Thompson was still under contract with another production house/brand/product. This is of course something potential contestants are told beforehand they cannot do. The producers immediately - so I'm told - discussed the issue with Denzil Thompson, and he was told that he's going to be disqualified. The Class Act producers tell me the departure was ''unfortunate'', used the word ''amiciable',' and said that he ''will be missed''. Denzil Thompson was flown back to Cape Town on Friday after he was told he's being let go from Class Act.

FIRST LOOK! TopTV set top box decoder revealed.

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I can show you the first official publicity photos of On Digital Media (ODM)'s TopTV decoder. As you can see, the set top box (STB) for the new satellite pay TV operator that will start in May, has been branded with the TopTV logo. The decoder manufactured locally in South Africa is already in mass production.

The TopTV STB is very small - but don't let the size fool you. It's super powerful. Regarding a little bit more on ODM's technology and what they might be able to do with the TopTV decoder in future, you can click RIGHT HERE.

Programming note. M-Net Series has the white-hot White Collar.

You will want to watch the white-hot White Collar with Matthew Bomer starting on Wednesday, 14 April at 20:30.

The crime procedural TV drama revolves around Matt Bomer as criminal Neal Caffrey in New York who gets an ''get out of jail free'' card - but only if he's willing to help the FBI by becoming and FBI consultant and help solve some crimes. (While he's secretly trying to find his girlfriend.)