Tuesday, August 31, 2010

IDOLS BACKSTAGE: An exclusive backstage pass to everything that really happens - and how it looks - behind the scenes of M-Net's Idols.

You're only seeing it here.

Only one journalist covering television in South Africa can take you behind the scenes of M-Net's Idols and not only tell you what happens there, but also how it looks - and that's me.

I got full access behind the scenes of the sixth season of Idols at the massive Mosaiek Theatre in Fairlands where the Sunday night Idols Spectaculars as well as the live Tuesday Results Shows are produced from by NeverMachine.

Not only were the Idols production minutes from going live, I was allowed backstage while the Idols contestants, Idols judges and Idols crew were milling about, all rushing about with last minute preparations. It's an extreme rarity. Allowing people - especially press - behind the scenes where a litany of production challenges are being shouted out and corrected, where nothing looks as polished as it does on the front side that's ''for television'' is far from usual broadcaster modus operandi.

And remember: broadcasters are very reluctant with behind the scenes access in general. They rarely allow a peek at how and where the magic of a TV production really happens. Viewers will never normally get to see this side of one of the biggest reality TV productions in South Africa - and I got very candid pictures. Now I can show you everything that happens on the other side of Idols.

Click on READ MORE below for my full behind the scenes walk through of M-Net's Idols.

FIRST LOOK! Here they are: This year's top ten Idols contestants in their first photo together.

Cobus Bodenstein/M-Net

You're seeing it here first.

I can be first to show you the very first photo of the top ten contestants in the sixth season of M-Net's Idols.

With the Idols Results Show of earlier this evening in which Funeka Peppeta and Zintle Mkwela were let go the top ten Idols contestants on M-Net will now duke things out over the upcoming weeks.

They include the frontrunner Elvis Blue (30) from George, Lloyd Cele (28) from Durban, Adeline Mocke (22) from Cape Town, Bongi Mthombeni (23) from Thembisa, Sindi Nene (22) from Durban, Gail Nkoane (25) from Kimberley, Boki Ntsime (21) from Johannesburg, Jamie-Lee Sexton (22) from Johannesburg, Pieter West (25) from Koffiefontein and Jess Yallup (22) from Durban.

BREAKING. Idols on M-Net cuts Funeka Peppeta and Zintle Mkwela to trim the top contestants down to ten.

Earlier this evening viewers saw (I was sitting right there in the audience this week) as Funeka Peppeta (24) from Johannesburg and Zintle Mkwela (24) from Durban  got dropped from M-Net's Idols that now has it's top ten contestants.

Idols judge Mara Louw blatantly burst into tears. Then, after the live show was over, she became very angry and upset. The highlight of Tuesday's Idols Results Show was undoubtedly last year's Idols top performers Graeme Watkins and Pixie Bennett who have both found music career success, and both returned to perform. Both did very well and the studio audiences simply loved them.

Graeme Watkins who now has his Graeme Watkins Project, debuted his pacey and very ear friendly new single Music Affair (from his upcoming new album that will be out soon) and interacted like a seasoned pro with the studio audience from the Idols stage. He was wonderful. Likewise the blond Pixie Bennett who now has her Pixie Bennett Band danced on the stage as if she grew up there. Later everyone absolutely buzzed about how well Graeme Watkins and Pixie Bennett both did, how they've matured in such a short time in the hard South African entertainment biz and how they owned the stage.

Now it will be up to the new ten contestants of the sixth season in this reality show who will have to learn to make the Idols stage their own.

HOTTING UP! Beefy Jonaid Carrera and sexy Phuti Nkomo will be the hosts of M-Net Series' reality dating show, Rivals in Romance.

I can show them to you first - the hotter than hot bods of Jonaid Carrera and Phuti Nkomo who were just announced as the new hosts of the new, upcoming reality matchmaking show Rivals in Romance that will debut on M-Net Series (DStv 110) next year. 

M-Net Series is bringing out the big guns (literally!) with the beefy Jonaid Carrera that the channel says ''has one of the most well-sculped torsos in the entertainment industry''. He's joined by the deliciously delectable Phuti Nkomo who's just a vision of vixen sexiness all by herself.

Rivals in Romance is currently looking for contestants who want to take part in the sexy show. The closing date is 6 September. ''Rivals in Romance will illustrate that the search to find a long-time companion can also be fun and exciting,” says Phuti Nkomo. ''The show is all about love,'' says Jonaid Carrera.

And no people. You don't get to date them - contestants on the show will be dating each other.

ALSO READ: M-Net Series launching a new local dating reality series, Rivals in Romance.

Monday, August 30, 2010

TAKE A LOOK. ''Hey Tina, come join our Glee club.'' The wonderful opening number of the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.

You are going to love the opening number of the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards that's broadcast in South Africa tonight at 21:30 on M-Net (DStv 101) and in high definition (HD) on M-Net HD (DStv 170).

Here is the clip of how it all starts out with Emmy host Jimmy Fallon's opening sketch. It involves the  Bruce Springsteen song ''Born to Run'', the cast of Glee as well as other buzzmaking Hollywood TV stars. Trust me: You do NOT want to miss this great TV moment.

BREAKING. Why you will simply LOVE the introduction and Glee-inspired opening number of the 62nd Emmy Awards this evening on M-Net.

I stayed up and watched the live broadcast of the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in high definition (HD) on M-Net HD and I can promise you that you're simply going to love this year's 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards and especially the introduction and the Glee-inspired opening number.

Besides a wonderful stage and set infused with bright TV test colour patterns, and a wonderful and well-done audio-visual screen theme during this year's ceremony, viewers will enjoy the opening song number kicking off the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony tonight at 21:30 on M-Net (DStv 101) and M-Net HD (DStv 170).

I won't spoil anything yet for South African viewers who want to watch it this evening, but the inspired opening number is amazing with this year's Emmy host Jimmy Fallon, joined by Betty White, the stars from the cast of Glee including Lea Michele, Jane Lynch complete in red track suit, Amber Riley, Corey Monteith and Chris Colfer, American reality star Kate Gosselin, Jon Hamm of Mad Men and Joe McHale of Community.

Jewel also does a wonderful, pitch perfect and stirring ''Im Memoriam'' segment, and I promise you there's wonderful sight-gags and jokes aplenty this year in the annual Hollywood ceremony honouring the best in America television.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

UNFAIR! Liezel van der Westhuizen scores only 434; ProVerb gets 1 752: How M-Net's Idols is BLATANTLY discriminating against a presenter!

The big discrimination on the sixth season of Idols on M-Net is blatantly shocking, patently unfair, cringe-worthy to watch, utterly unbelievable and makes no sense: the way in which the Idols co-host Liezel van der Westhuizen has literally been pushed to the back for the new co-presenter ProVerb getting the lion's share and all the on-screen glory.

I've gone and counted the entire dialogue of both Liezel van der Westhuizen and Proverb in tonight's episode of Idols on M-Net after its became painfully obvious in the previous Sunday show and the first Tuesday Results show that the producers NeverMachine and executive producer Gavin Wratten have blatantly decided to relegate the beautiful Liezel van der Westhuizen to the back and make ProVerb the main presenter. Similar to last Sunday and this past Tuesday, Liezel van der Westhuizen has very little to do and say, while ProVerb has the run of the stage and even the auditorium.

Earlier this evening Liezel van der Westhuizen had only a shocking 434 words in total. ProVerb on the other hand had a massive 1 752 words, got to interact with the guest judge, the judges and the audience while Liezel van der Westhuizen got precious little screentime and was stuck behind the scenes asking brief questions of the contestants.

It defies believe that M-Net would allow the Idols producers to so blatantly marginalize the role of the competent and well-liked Liezel van der Westhuizen who was the sole presenter of Idols last year during the fifth season. It was the broadcaster themselves who chose her and built her up as an integral part of the reality show - just to now seemingly jettison her. What is going on here?? Why have co-hosts if its just to dump the one behind the scenes with even less to do than what Sandy Ngema did on SABC2's Stricly Come Dancing? It's wrong, its unfair, and from having produced this show before Gavin Wratten - and M-Net should know better.

I have nothing against either Liezel van der Westhuizen or Proverb. I've met and shared laughs with both in person. I like them both. I could say equally. Which is not what M-Net and the Idols producers are doing, or a word they can use, because Liezel van der Westhuizen and Proverb are definitely not being treated as equals. Of course Liezel van der Westhuizen would have too much class to complain or say anything about the shocking way she's being dumped behind the scenes.

M-Net, NeverMachine and Gavin Wratten need to rectify this blatant discrimination immediately by bringing Liezel van der Westhuizen back to the front of house on Idols. She and ProVerb can share introductions as well as the other presenting duties. Co-hosting implies ''co-operation'' and doing things together. Idols is openly not doing this and giving ProVerb more exposure and Liezel van der Westhuizen less. What Idols is doing is letting ProVerb be the de facto Idols presenter (who should rightly be backstage in terms of experience and seniority if someone had to do this menial time-wasting job) while Liezel van der Westhuizen is just sitting pretty at the back.

Friday, August 27, 2010

BREAKING. After a week of upheaval, the SABC board suspends its embattled group CEO, Solly Mokoetle.

You're reading it here first.

I can be first to tell you that after an utterly abysmal tenure of eight months as group CEO of the SABC, Solly Mokoetle has just been suspended.

Solly Mokoetle got his marching orders directly from the SABC board who immediately suspended him, after Solly Mokoetle received a letter from the SABC board ordering him to state reasons why he shouldn't be suspended. The SABC will bring formal charges against him shortly.

A massive stand-off has been looming between the SABC board on te one side and Solly Mokoetle on the other. The SABC board blames Solly Mokoetle for the lack of implementing a viable turnaround strategy at the beleaguered South African public broadcaster. There is also the lack of trust after Solly Mokoetle - in accordance with an order given to him by the SABC's chairperson dr Ben Ngubane - went and ''appointed'' Phil Molefe as the SABC's head of news.

Solly Mokoetle's suspension follows that of his precedessor, advocate Dali Mpofu who also got suspended by the SABC board. Robin Nicholson, the SABC's chief financial officer has been instated as acting group CEO in Solly Mokoetle's place. The SABC says that it ''concluded that it would be in the best interest of both the SABC and the group CEO that he be suspended''.

A hearing that will take place after Solly Mokoetle has received formal charges in his disciplinary case, ''will be headed by an independent legal professional,'' says the SABC. ''The SABC board has a number of immediate priorities, among them completion of its annual report,'' says the broadcaster ''that must be presented to parliament shortly. It must also oversee preparation and implementation of a turnaround strategy to enable the SABC to bring to an end to the financial crises that have hounded it for several years.''

ALSO READ: Solly Mokoetle: ''I don't answer questions.''
ALSO READ: SABC wants to oust SABC group CEO Solly Mokoetle, ''tension is now at an absolute breaking point''.

INTERVIEW. Exec Paul Welling on Discovery Networks International's rapid expansion in South Africa: ''It's an important region for us.''

The rapid channel expansion of Discovery Networks International in Africa - and especially South Africa - is evidence of the importance Discovery is placing on the region. Several more Discovery channels are now available to pay TV subscribers since the beginning of the year in South Africa - both on MultiChoice's DStv and On Digital Media's (ODM) TopTV platform.

''It's a committment to the region,'' Paul Welling, the vice president head of channels, emerging markets for Discovery Networks' Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region told me, when he sat down for an interview about Discovery's growing channel portfolio and presence in South Africa and beyond. ''It's an important region for us and we have a lot more to offer than just one brand,'' he says.

I asked Paul Welling about the move of Discovery Channel to DStv 121 earlier in the year and te introduction of the new Discovery World (DStv 250). He also talks about Discovery HD Showcase (DStv 172) and what this channel is (and isn't!), why the EMEA region is growing in importance, Discovery's new channels on TopTV, and Discovery Networks International's future opportunities.

For my full interview with Paul Welling, click on READ MORE below.

BREAKING. The upcoming relaunch of SABC3's talk show 3Talk with Noeleen now pushed out to October.

You're reading it here first.

I can reveal that the proposed relaunch date of SABC3's talk show 3Talk with Noeleen has now again been pushed back and the channel and producers are now eyeing a date in October to debut the revamp of the weekday local show.

In May I broke the news RIGHT HERE that 3Talk with Noeleen is set to relaunch in a massive way in August right after the conclusion of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Of course SABC3 execs dragged their heels and that plan was pushed to the end of August or the beginning of September as I broke the news RIGHT HERE. Now the relaunch of Noeleen Maholwana Sangqu's show that will come with more viewer interactivity, possible outside broadcasts and even a possible studio audience has been delayed again, I've been told exclusively.

''3Talk with Noeleen will now change in October with its new look but it hasn't exactly been confirmed as yet,'' an insider whispers to me. ''We're not sure if its the beginning or the end of October. Everyone's waiting for contracts to be finalized,'' I'm told.

BREAKING. Inside Out on the eNews Channel changing its format; stepping out of the studio.

You're reading it here first.

The weekly magazine show Inside Out with Pat Pillai on the eNews Channel (DStv 403) that just celebrated its 100th episode this past Saturday, is undergoing a format change from tomorrow.

I asked e.tv days ago for more information about what the format change will actually entail, but just like most local South African TV productions who hardly ever respond to enquiries, or too late (and then wonder why South African TV writers and journalists covering television ''always write about the American shows'') I cannot tell you more about the changes coming to Inside Out although I would dearly love to. So far e.tv hasn't responded. I asked for more information, and what I wanted to know exactly 8 minutes after I was made aware that Inside Out will be changing. It's now days later and still nothing.

What I can tell you is that Inside Out in its usual Saturday morning timeslot of 09:30 will ''put on a brand new jacket'' - whatever that means, that the show interviewing personalities will have ''a new look'', and that Inside Out will ''step out of the studio''. Whether this ''step out of the studio'' is a once off, or part of the permanent format change . . . hell, not even I know that. And believe me . . . I've tried.

ALSO READ: Inside Out celebrates its 100th episode on the eNews Channel.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

BREAKING. Cosatu slams the SABC: ''Dr Ben Ngubane and Solly Mokoetle have persistently undermined the SABC board.''

''Dr Ben Ngubane, SABC chairperson and Solly Mokoetle, the SABC's group CEO, have persistently underminded the SABC board and ignored and overturned its decisions,'' says Cosatu, South Africa's biggest trade union federation in a just released, strongly-worded statement, saying that ''the state of affairs at the SABC has moved from bad to worse.

''Since May 2010 board meetings have been constantly cancelled leading to a situation where SABC board members have declared a vote of no confidence in the chairperson. After eight months in office the SABC board has not been able to draft a critical turn-around strategy for the corporation. The lack of board meetings have meant none of the policy issues addressed to the SABC by the independent production sector have been addressed.''

''Without a functioning SABC board, the public will continue to see the unabated strategy of imported shows on their screens, the independent production sector will continue to shrink alongside the SABC's income, the morale of staff at the SABC will continue to drop, and we will see the return of the SABC being used for political purposes, as already reflected in the blatantly biased coverage of the public service strike, and the way it reports the issues around the SABC board itself,'' says Cosatu.

The folly of the seemingly supercilious Solly: The SABC's group CEO just says: ''I don't answer questions.''

''I don't answer questions.''

That is the response of the SABC's group CEO, Solly Mokoetle, to Sapa when the South African public broadcaster's executive was asked to respond on his disciplinary process.

The SABC board has served Solly Mokoetle with a letter ordering him to justify why he shouldn't be suspended for allegedly failing to come up with a turn-around strategy for the troubled SABC. Solly Mokoetle has not yet responded to the letter, according to the SABC, and Solly Mokoetle is also not talking. On Tuesday in parliament dr Ben Ngubane, SABC board chairman, said that Solly Mokoetle is being ''victimized'' by the SABC board.

The SABC board wants to get rid of both dr Ben Ngubane and Solly Mokoetle after both blatantly flouted SABC corporate governance regulations when dr Ben Ngubane ordered Solly Mokoetle to appoint Phil Molefe as the broadcaster's head of news - a decision that never came before the SABC board who's job it is to make this appointment.

SABC board's letter to the minister: ''The trust and relationship of the board with the chairperson has been irrevocably broken.''

It makes for utterly mesmerizing reading: the June 8 2010 memorandum of the SABC board to the minister of communications, general Siphiwe Nyanda about the complete breakdown of trust between the SABC board and its chairperson dr Ben Ngubane.

''The board of the SABC has resolved that the trust and relationship of the SABC board with the chairperson has been irrevocably broken as a consequence of the actions of the chairperson,'' writes the SABC board in the memorandum, calling it a ''unanimous decision''.

The memorandum details alleged ''acrimonous'' meetings between the board and dr Ben Ngubane, how he allegedly threatened SABC board members, allegedly cancelled meetings, allegedly refused to take calls from them, allegedly failed to keep them informed, and allegedly refused to change the SABC board's corporate calendar to fit better to the massive challenges the SABC's top structure is tasked with to handle.

For the complete memorandum the SABC board sent to the minister of communications on June 8, 2010, click on READ MORE below.

BREAKING. Binneland Sub Judice flatlines on M-Net: soap's law world gets dumped, show back to half an hour when it goes to kykNET.

You're reading it here first.

Binneland Sub Judice is flatlining on M-Net with the broadcaster that's decided to get rid of the last soapie left on its schedule after Egoli got canned in April.  Binneland Sub Judice will live on on kykNET (DStv 111) but like any thorough lobotomy the failed upsized soap will be half of what it's now. I've got all the details and the news, and can bring you the reaction - straight from the set - first.

Binneland Sub Judice will completely drop the new legal universe that was added in April this year when Binnelanders changed to Binneland Sub Judice and expanded from half an hour to an hour. The soap that will now share schedule space on kykNET (that already has Villa Rosa) will go back to only being half an hour. The name will probably change back to just Binnelanders sources tell me exclusively. ''The cut-and-thrust legal universe, which was introduced earlier this year . . . will not form part of the half hour kykNET soap as of April next year,'' says M-Net that's putting a stake into Binneland Sub Judice less than five months after viewers saw the show being supersized.

I heard rumours about M-Net's turn-around and wanting to get rid of Binnelanders Sub Judice a while ago, but nobody wanted to talk about it. When Binnelanders Sub Judice moves to M-Net in April 2011 it will be exactly a year after Egoli had that ridiculous anti-climactic Louwna-at-the-bottom-of-the-staircase final episode. ''The changes to Binneland Sub Judice form part of M-Net's long-term strategy to create tailor-made channels for different target audiences on different platforms,'' says Theo Erasmus, director of M-Net's general entertainment channels. ''In the fast changing world of television, it's important to research the needs of viewers constantly, and to nip and tuck our channel and programme offerings accordingly,'' he says. That means that the Binneland Sub Judice attempt failed and that M-Net is getting rid of it.
It's somewhat confusing in a technical broadcast way, but I'll tell you anyway: the few thousand M-Net subscribers who are analogue viewers (i.e. watching M-Net on an analogue decoder and not as a DStv channel, will still be able to see Binneland Sub Judice or Binnelanders after April next year. The ''real'' M-Net (DStv 101) will fill the hour with a new soap or other fare, while the show will be broadcast separately to the analogue decoders.

I can exclusively reveal that the Binneland Sub Judice cast and crew were informed yesterday that they're moving to kykNET and that the soap will go back to half an hour. I can also tell you that behind the scenes the producers have been struggling (although I don't mean struggle as in a bad way) to try and successfully integrate the new legal universe with the existing hospital universe. They also struggled with the pacing of the soap that suddenly expanded to an hour, so some of the news are actually a relieve at the new Stark Studios where Binneland Sub Judice is being shot. I can also tell you that there is still hope for the failed Sub Judice half. On set sources tell me that by latest October they will know the fate of the other half - which could be developed into a whole new show on either M-Net (a second attempt just focusing on the legal world) or kykNET (doubtful).

''The show going out won't change too much with the move to kykNET,'' a set source told me earlier today. ''We'll go back to the Binnelanders we were before Binneland Sub Judice,'' another one said. ''The biggest change will probably be that we'll be able to finish by four in the afternoon instead of seven,'' said a third on set tipster. ''People on set are too busy to really think about what we're thinking about this. The announcement didn't create any kind of uproar amongst members of the cast or crew. Nobody is unhappy. There shouldn't be major script changes either. At the end of the day it will all be fine,'' I was told.

ALSO READ: M-Net dumping Binneland Sub Judice; moving the weekday soap exclusively to kykNET in April.

BREAKING. M-Net dumping Binneland Sub Judice; moving the weekday soap exclusively to kykNET from April.

You're reading it here first.

M-Net is dumping its only remaining local soap Binneland Sub Judice which is currently also shown on kykNET (DStv 111) and which will become a kykNET-only TV show from April next year.

Binneland Sub Judice, currently an hour on weekdays, will also be cut back to half an hour on weekdays once the show leaves M-Net. ''The changes to Binneland Sub Judice form part of M-Net's long-term strategy to create tailor-made channels for different target audiences on different platforms,'' says Theo Erasmus, director: M-Net general entertainment channels.

I will have more on this developing story later today.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

BREAKING. Oprah Winfrey on how her 25th and final season will soon kick-off: ''It will be meaningful in its own way.''

''I absolutely can't tell you what it will be,'' Oprah Winfrey tells America's TV Guide magazine in its new issue about how the 25th and final season of The Oprah Winfrey Show will kick off next month in America.

But Oprah Winfrey does tells the magazine that her show opener ''will be meaningful in its own way.'' Referring to her talk show's final year on the air, she says it will be ''about creating moments''.

Fans who've watched the Oprah 20th anniversary DVD collection will be in for a treat. She tells the magazine that she will be going back to revisit both Forsyth County in Georgia and the town of Williamson in West Virginia where she did shows in the early years of her talk show. She will be looking at how Forsyth County changed where black people were not allowed and Williamson where she did a show about people shunned because of Aids.

ALSO READ: SABC3 looking at possibly moving up and showing the final season of The Oprah Winfrey Show as close as possible in America.
ALSO READ: For her ''final, biggest season ever'' Oprah Winfrey is looking for her ultimate Oprah Winfrey Show viewers - South Africa included.

BREAKING. Too bloody shocking! The new third season of True Blood moving from M-Net to M-Net Action in October.

You're reading it here first.

Fans waiting to sink their teeth into the third season of True Blood on M-Net will probably scream bloody murder if they find out that M-Net has shipped the hugely popular show off to sister channel M-Net Action (DStv 106) where it will debut in October.

Maybe it was the full frontal nudity. Maybe it was the blood. Lots of blood. Maybe it was the gratuitous sex, violence and completely boundary pushing storylines that's not for the faint-hearted. Whatever it is, M-Net has decided to move the third season of True Blood to M-Net Action, now listing the show under this channel in the ''coming soon'' category and no longer under M-Net on which the second season ended earlier this year. 

BREAKING. Saffron TV will celebrate its second birthday in September by rolling out several new shows.

You're reading it here first.

The local South African Indian interest skewed channel Saffron TV (DStv 456) will be celebrating its second brithday next month in September by rolling out several new TV shows and series.

New shows on the Saffron TV schedule include Do It Sweet, a show about decadent desserts, An Encounter with Omar in which journalist Omar Qureshi talks with Bollywood stars about current issues and Royal Rajasthan on Wheels in which presenters Arun and Amrita travel by luxury train to India's exotic tourist destinations. 

''We are celebrating in style for our second birthday,'' says Aleeshia Naidoo, Saffron TV channel manager. ''We have a fabulous range of new international shows and series for our viewers.'' Saffron TV is a niche subscription channel but is open to DStv premium subscribers over weekends on Saturdays and Sundays between 13:00 and 18:00.

Three blind mice and a perfect media storm: How three people involved in the SABC mess should (have) know better. And clearly don't.

It's called EQ. For emotional intelligence. Or simply being able to think through the consequences of your (planned) actions and then being able to anticipate whether you want to do something (or not) -  based of course on the dynamic environment in which you find yourself. Like let say, media and broadcasting.

When it comes to people who this week displayed an arresting, unbelievable and utterly shocking lack of insight into their own behaviour, decisions and possible reaction of others to their actions as far as the South African broadcasting community is concerned, its definitely Ismail Vadi, chairperson of parliament's portfolio committee on communications, dr Ben Ngubane, chairperson of the SABC and Solly Mokoetle, group CEO of the SABC.

Are Ismail Vadi, dr Ben Ngubane and Solly Mokoetle in a socially cognitive sense, three very blind mice finding themselves in the perfect storm? The tempest they're in might have already existed and their actions are fuelling a fire they might not really be able to put out, but they definitely could have doused some of the flames. Instead, their actions speak of borderline ridiculous behaviour. You would think they would be able to anticipate what will happen .  . . and then do better.

Click on READ MORE below.

BREAKING. M-Net will show the 62 Annual Primetime Emmy Awards live and in high definition (HD) on Monday morning in South Africa.

No official word from M-Net yet, but the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards is now showing up on the schedule for the M-Net HD channel (DStv 170) which means that M-Net will be showing Hollywood's annual awards ceremony live and in high definition (HD) in South Africa on Monday morning, August 30 at 02:00.

The 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards has now been added to fill the space between 02:00 and 05:10 on M-Net HD which means that viewers will be able to watch the annual ceremony is crystal clear clarity as its happening in America from the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.

M-Net will show the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Monday morning at 02:00 live on M-Net Movies 1 (DStv 103) as well (but not in HD). M-Net (DStv 101) will have the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Monday night as a recorded broadcast at 21:30.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Terra Nova: Which South African broadcaster will snag the rights first to a TV hit that's 85 million years in the making?

Two words. Nope, not Terra Nova.

Steven Spielberg.

The uber producer behind movies like Jurassic Park is the executive producer of what is to be a sure-fire upcoming TV hit. In fact I would go as far as saying that Terra Nova will be next year's biggest new TV show that's currently in development and production. Just watch. It will be interesting to see which South African broadcaster (M-Net?) snags the broadcasting rights to this massive and epic show first.

Terra Nova starts filming in Australia soon and the premise is out of this world: Think the new Lost meets Earth 2 meets Lost in Space meets Otherworld. Imagine the world of Avatar on your TV screen. In 2149 the world is dying. Earth is overpopulated, overdeveloped and overpolluted. With no way of reversing the damage. Scientists create a time machine and a portal to prehistoric Earth. Yes. Similar to an episode of what Professor Amadeus Sharp did in The Bionic Six. The plan is for families to ''relocate'' to the past, 85 million years ago, as a second chance for civilization and mankind. The Shannon family steps through. . . Then the trouble starts, and its not because of the dangerous dinosaurs and other prehistoric threats.

''Terra Nova will be one of the most visually stimulating and dramatically grand series to air on television,” said Kevin Reilly, president of entertainment of America's Fox network in a press release. Fox is already planning to make event television of Terra Nova and there will be at least 13 episodes of this incredible-sounding family adventure drama.

Goodbye Kgalewood, hello Cape Town: There will be a second season of The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency and it won't be shot in Botswana.

I can tell you that not only will there be a second season of the at-first-thought-dead drama The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency but I can also tell you that it won't be shot Botswana (where the first season was done) but in Cape Town.

M-Net broadcast the first season of The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency that was an HBO and BBC co-production. Botswana refused to commit more money to the production besides the first season's seven episodes, which basically put further seasons in limbo. Beside that the big dreams of building Botswana's Hollywood called ''Kgalewood'' has fallen flat (the sets used for the show was located at the bottom of Kgale Hill in Gaborone).

Now a second season of The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency will definitely be filmed and it will definitely happen in Cape Town.

BREAKING. Idols cuts Peter G. and S'Posh as the first two of the Top 14 contestants get the boot.

It was over for both of them before it even really began: Viewers watched earlier tonight as Peter G. from Durban and S'Posh from King Williams Town (and the Eastern Cape's only Idols hope) got cut. They were the first two contestants from the sixth season of Idols' Top 14 to go home.

While Idols presenter Liezel van der Westhuizen was literally kept in the back and had to do backstage duty while new Idols presenter ProVerb got the centre stage all for himself the first two contestants from the Top 14 got the chop in the first live Tuesday Idols Results Show. Sindi Nene from Durban rounded out the bottom three but was spared. The first Idols Results Show also ended too abruptly - no contestant sang.

Note to the Idols producers: Idols a reality show looking for new talent - so show them too us. It's good having established acts like Prime Circle but you don't need them to get viewers to tune in - viewers want to see the contestants be akward and unsure of themselves and slowly growing and getting better and singing. Please let them sing - even when they get ousted this early on even if its only for a few seconds. And what is happening with Liezel van der Westhuizen having to be backstage all the time? Viewers have gotten to know Liezel van der Westhuizen and love her - because you built her. Now use her to better. Why isn't Liezel van der Westhuizen in front and ProVerb doing his first year helping as Idols cohost in the back? It doesn't make sense and it doesn't feel right.

BREAKING. Urgent court interdict granted in the Cape High Court against the CLOSED SESSION of the SABC board in parliament.

You're reading it here first.

I can be first to tell you that an interim court order has been granted, interdicting parliament's portfolio commitee for communications from going ahead with that CLOSED MEETING BEHIND CLOSED DOORS this morning in which the SABC board and SABC board chairperson dr Ben Ngubane was to appear. High drama -with journalists having a sit-in at the venue this morning!

The SABC board and dr Ben Ngubane was called by the committee to answer questions about the beleaguered South African public broadcaster, but the committee wanted to do it behind closed doors. They were now ordered by the Cape High Court not to proceed, after I told you earlier today that the South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) applied for an urgent court interdict.

ALSO READ: Media seeks urgent court interdict to get access to the CLOSED SESSION of the SABC board appearing in parliament.
ALSO READ: Grilling of the SABC board and SABC chairperson dr Ben Ngubane to be kept hidden behind closed doors in parliament.

BREAKING. Media seeks urgent court interdict to get access to the closed session of the SABC board appearing in parliament.

You're reading it here first.

I can tell you that the South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) has gone to court minutes ago to get an urgent interdict at the Cape High Court to get access to the SABC board and SABC board chairperson dr Ben Ngubane appearing before parliament's portfolio committee for communications BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.

Yesterday I told you RIGHT HERE that the government blatantly flouted the Constitution calling for transparency in government committee meetings by having the session BEHIND CLOSED DOORS today. Yet the SABC is the public broadcaster, and the SABC board and chairperson serving in public positions in which they should be held accountable to the South African public who pay SABC TV licences.

I can tell you that a horde of journalists decended on the meeting venue this morning, DEMANDING to be let in despite being told yesterday that the its a CLOSED SESSION. Sanef is right now arguing before acting judge Sven Olivier that he make an interim order barring the communication committee meeting from proceeding.

BREAKING. SABC3's Top Billing looking for a new presenter; launching nationwide search for a hot bod who can walk AND talk.

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SABC3's weekly glam magazine show Top Billing, produced by Tswelopele Productions is looking for a new presenter . . . again.

After adding Miss South Africa 2008 Tatum Keshwar earlier in the year Top Billing is holding nationwide auditions to find another new presenter who will get a three month contract that might be extended (if you can walk and talk).

People interested in becoming the next Top Billing presenter need to fill out the entry form on page 45 of the September issue of the Top Billing magazine, attach a full-length photo of yourself (uglies need not apply) or you can download the form from SABC3's website at http://www.sabc3.co.za/ or http://www.topbilling.com/ as well. The entry form needs to be emailed to presenter@topbilling.com or you can bring it along to the audition.

The nationwide audition details for the Top Billing presenter search auditions are as follows: Cape Town (27th and 28th August, 09:00 - 19:00, Protea Hotel Fire and Ice), Durban (3rd and 4th September, 09:00 - 19:00, Protea Hotel Umhlanga Ridge), Port Elizabeth (10th and 11th September, venue to be confirmed), Nelspruit (14th September, venue and time to be confirmed), Bloemfontein (21st September, venue and time to be confirmed) and Johannesburg (24th and 25th September, time to be confirmed, Protea Hotels Fire and Ice).

Monday, August 23, 2010

INTERVIEW. Monde Twala, e.tv channel head: ''We believe Popstars will meet the viewers' expectations and those of the channel.''

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Monde Twala, e.tv channel head, believes that the red letter broadcaster's upcoming reality show Popstars (currently in production and busy with nationwide auditions) ''will meet viewers' expectations and those of the channel''. The new season of Popstars will debut on e.tv on Saturday, September 4 at 18:05.

I asked Monde Twala a few questions about e.tv'de decision to go with Popstars as a reality show and what influenced the decision, why e.tv decided to schedule Popstars at this time of the year, what the target audience is that e.tv wants to reach with Popstars, and how the local music biz ties into the show.

''Popstars is a huge but exciting project for e.tv,'' says Monde Twala adding that ''the local market is demanding a more dynamic approach'' when it comes to the production of local content for South African television. ''Our viewers are constantly looking for entertaining and quality local programming and Popstars will deliver exactly that.''

For the full interview with Monde Twala, click on READ MORE below.