Friday, December 31, 2010

Here's some of what's waiting for South African television in 2011 in the year to come.

You're just reading it here.

2011 for South African television will bring many surprises, but here's some of what will definitely happen:

M-Net will be turning 25 years old and the South African pay broadcaster will celebrate its 25th anniversary in October 2011. Hopefully M-Net has the foresight to do something like this.

In 2011 MultiChoice will launch a few more TV channels on its DStv bouquet with its last available bandwidth before the pay TV platform acquires more satellilte space that becomes available in 2012. The first new TV channel on DStv in 2011 will be Sony Max (DStv 126) from February 2011.

Piers Morgan Tonight will debut on 18 January 2011 on CNN International (DStv 401), replacing Larry King Live.

2011 will see the final season of Smallville after a decade. Other noteworthy TV shows coming to an end in 2011 include Hannah Montana, Stargate Universe, The Closer and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

M-Net's new soap, currently with the working title Landmark will debut on 4 April 2011 at 18:00 with Connie Ferguson, Shona Ferguson and Tumisho Masha. The pay operator also has Survivor SA Maldives from February 2011 and possibly, The X Factor. will embark on another season of Popstars from early in 2011.

MultiChoice is set to introduce Box Office in 2011, its pay-to-view movie service as an extended roll-out of its current DStv on Demand service introduced in 2010.

The world will be watching the wedding live on television of Prince William and Kate Middleton on 29 April 2011 across the globe.

At launch On Digital Media (ODM) promised that several new channels would be added six months later during October 2010 to its TopTV service but broke its promise. In a new promise with little credibility TopTV now promises new channels by February 2011, including a sport channel and later in 2011 the TopTV PVR decoder. 

SABC3 has plans to relaunch its longrunning local talk show 3Talk with Noeleen later in 2011 - currently set for April 2011 - after its been pushed out multiple times and was supposed to happen with its 7th anniversary in 2010.

With the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) set to start in January in America, could OWN show op on TopTV in 2011? The Oprah Winfrey Show's 25th and final season will end in 2011, with SABC3 trying to show the end at the same time in South Africa as in America.

The SABC with its twin towers will run out of money by September 2011, in an ironic ''September eleven'' kind of way. Although government say it won't bail out the beleaguered South African broadcaster again, it seems another/extended government guaranteed loan is the only way.

The SABC will get 4 new SABC board members that won't come without political jostling and drama.

The South African government will finally approve (although it officially did so, and then raised eyebrows by suddenly backtracking) a new digital terrestrial television (DTT) standard for South Africa in 2011 in the switchover to digital migration. Lets hope its DVB-T.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

M-Net turns 25 years old in October 2011: How will the pay broadcaster be remembering the magic?

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Let me be the first journalist covering television to note this news: M-Net will be turning 25 years old next year - in October 2011 to be exact - when the blue ''M'' will be celebrating a quarter of a century as a pay broadcaster in South Africa.

How M-Net will mark this auspicious occasion (I attended M-Net's 20th anniversary party which was really done really, really well 5 years ago) in terms of a possible anniversary event, but more importantly in its on-air look, logo and content, is still uncertain. Hopefully M-Net will legitimately be making a big fuzz about its 25th anniversary, compared to DStv's 15th birthday two months ago for which it embarrassingly did nothing besides running a small competition.

If I could have only one wish for M-Net for its 25th birthday (and I'm really desperate for it, and a total sucker when it comes to these things) it would be for a great, new M-Net music promo. (Or go jazz up and remake one of the ubercool old ones!) Do you possibly remember M-Net's love of Queen and the first ever uber-cool M-Net promo (We won't stop the magic at a-aaaall!'') with all the M-net personalities and people together? Do you remember when they all climbed and sang on the roof of M-Net's then-new Randburg building in another uber-uber cool promo? Followed by the uber-uber-uber cool auditioning animals?

And do you remember the uber-uber-uber coolest M-Net on-air music promo EVER? The 6 flip tile, optical illusion omni-directional steps with beautiful M-Net personalities accompanied by an incredible music score with a little sax, violins,  . ''You feel the power, you feel the heat. Feel the fire of excitement burning in your name. When the magic touches you, you see rainbows! When the magic touches you, the kaleidoscope turns, and everything is new, when the magic touches youuuu!'' Beautiful and TV perfect.

Please M-Net, make a super uber, emotionally stirring, coolest ever 25th birthday promo for 2011. Please! Look at these classic TV ads from premium, sterling brands - from British Airways and Volkswagen (I couldn't the Pick 'n Pay people on the roof) to the sheer magic when that Coca-Cola Christmas trucks come to town. Look at what they all share: A rousing score. Beautiful visuals. A narrative of accomplishment and a story of joy. People. People working together to create something bigger than themselves. Little bits that all come together to create one great thing. A celebration of a legacy. Share that with us in 2011 M-Net: The awesomeness of wonderful television.

The song in this Coca-Cola commercial by the way is from Melanie Thornton, and there's a whole version, and Coca-Cola of course just added in their little slogan in the chorus. And it contains the word ''magic''. M-Net could just as well use a portion of this song and adapt it too. ''When the world is ever changing, Light a candle in the dark. There's a source of inspiration in the air, Let the magic dry your tears and heal your heart.''

HOT TRAILER! Watch the first trailer for Falling Skies, 2011's first big buzz TV show.

You will want to watch this. (''I was in school when the ships came. . . They were really big. We weren't gonna attack them with nuclear bombs because they might have wanted to be friends. But they didn't want to be friends. . . )

And here's something even I don't know yet: Will South African TV viewers get to see Steven Spielberg's awesome looking new science fiction drama Falling Skies first on TopTV's FX (TopTV 110) like The Walking Dead, or on DStv's M-Net (DStv 101) like The Event and V?

The very first trailer for this new drama starring ER's Noah Wyle is now out, and the mesmerizing post-apocalyptic show that will start in America in June is a combination of The Walking Dead (minus the zombies), The Event, Lost, V and Independence Day.

The show calls itself ''a tale of endurance, committment and courage in which everyday people are called upon to be heroes'' and starts in the aftermath of an alien attack (aliens called Skitters and Mechs and they're still here and we see them) that has left the world incapacitated. Noah Wyle plays professor Tom Mason who leads a band of  survivors and tries to find his family. Falling Skies is produced by DreamWorks Television.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

TOLDJA! Premiere of Oprah's 25th season on SABC3 in January delayed; timeslot temporarily filled with reality fare.

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The news I broke RIGHT HERE just before Christmas just became official with SABC3 announcing/admitting that the 25th season of The Oprah Winfrey Show will no longer start early in January and that the sought-after timeslot will temporarily be filled with third-rate reality fare in the form of the 1st and 2nd seasons of The Real Housewives of Orange County.

Besides SABC3 not wanting to ''spoil'' the debut of Oprah (although SABC3 does want to try and catch up quickly with the 25th season currently on in America) by starting the final buzz-worthy ''farewell season'' and then having to temporarily end it because of the Cricket World Cup, I can reveal that SABC3 at this very moment does not have a signed-off contract to show the final season of Oprah . . . a mere 17 days before it was supposed to start on 10 January 2011.

Therefore - waiting for the broadcasting licensing rights to be finalized as well as not wanting to give Oprah bat - The Real Housewives of Orange County will be used as filler-fodder from 10 January at 17:35 on SABC3. There's 18 episodes.

ALSO READ: Oprah's out! SABC3 expected to delay and push out the start of the final season of the Oprah Show set to start on SABC3 in January.
ALSO READ: SABC3 trying to speed up the start of the broadcast of Oprah's final season . . . but I can tell you there's problems.

BREAKING. Is the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) coming to TopTV in South Africa in 2011?

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Is the new Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) that launches on 1 January 2011 in America coming to South Africa and On Digital Media's (ODM) TopTV pay TV platform in next year?

I broke the news RIGHT HERE in October when MultiChoice told me that they did look and considered the possibility of pursuing OWN as a channel but will no longer do so for at least 6 months until after the channel has started.
That leaves only TopTV in South Africa.

Now keep in mind all of the following: OWN initially planned to only launch in America, but has now also decided to roll out in Canada as well. OWN is a joint venture with Discovery that distributes the channel and would also do so worldwide as and when that would happen. Discovery already has 3 Discovery channels on TopTV and there is an existing and growing relationship. Earlier this year I also asked Discovery in person whether they would roll out OWN worldwide and in South Africa specifically. I was told that the focus is initially on just getting OWN up and running and then launching in America.

This is where things are now getting very interesting: Consider this sudden, brand-new answer this week from the Harpo side of the Oprah Winfrey Network: ''We are exploring opportunities for additional OWN services in multiple locations in Australia and South Africa. Stay tuned!''
This means that OWN is now definitely looking at expanding the channel to more countries besides just America and Canada after its January launch.

I also asked TopTV whether the pay TV operator is in negotiations to get OWN but haven't been given a definite ''yes'' or ''no'' answer. TopTV reiterates that Discovery is the international distributor of the forthcoming Oprah channel and that Discovery's ''focus is to first secure the market in the US and Canada before worrying about the international market''.

''We have always been interested in taking the OWN channel because it is high profile and has generated a lot of buzz,'' Ian Woodrow, TopTV's general manager: channels, just told me. ''The final decision to actually take it will depend upon a number of factors,'' he says, adding: ''We will weigh up the channel on its own merits and the asking price.''

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

BREAKING. Connie Ferguson, Tumisho Masha the big stars in new Landmark soap starting on M-Net in April 2011.

I have the news to break that Connie Ferguson who ditched the SABC1's soap Generations after 16 years earlier this year and the former Isidingo soap star Tumisho Masha are the ''big characters'' in the new half hour weekday soap that will debut on 4 April at 18:00 on M-Net. I can reveal that the new M-Net soap - set on a South African game farm where its also being filmed - have the working title of Landmark. (I gave you a little clue before Christmas RIGHT HERE.)

I can also tell you that Connie Ferguson's real-life husband Shona Ferguson who left's Scandal a short while ago will also be seen in Landmark, most probably according to industry insiders as the brother of Tumisho Masha's character.

Although M-Net is filming Landmark on location I can tell you that sources close to the set is whispering to me that the game farm where production started is not yet the real one, with props and set pieces being used as stand-ins to make it look ''like the other place'' until the Magic Factory production is moved to the game farm that M-Net actually wants for use the show - apparently somewhere around Magaliesburg. I'm told there is still some administrative zoning and filming requirements that needs to be sorted out before the game farm production move in 2011.

''The big fish is Connie Ferguson,'' another source tells me. ''She's simply wonderful and this is going to be huge for Landmark.'' ''Although the soapie's name could still change, this is a big, big production for M-Net,'' says another. Lots of people are clamouring to get jobs on this show as well as in this show.''

Officially M-Net revealed only the bare minimum about Landmark, not even giving the working title yet. ''Instead of being studio-based, the new soap which has not been named yet will be filmed entirely on location, in a manner similar to the hugely successful South American telenovellas,'' said M-Net in a press release when it confirmed that the show is set on a game farm which I knew months ago, but was told isn't the case.

''The main backdrop to the story will be a stretch of land that is home to a five-star game lodge, presenting the opportunity to make the best of the breathtaking beauty of the African wild. Viewers can look forward to a high-end production shot in high definition which will be filled with drama, passion, feisty characters, wild animals and magnificent South African scenery.''

Monday, December 27, 2010

EXCLUSIVE. Looking back: South Africa's broadcasters and pay TV operators reflect on 2010 and the year that's been.

I wanted to give the biggest broadcasters in South Africa as well as the pay TV operators in the country the opportunity to put 2010 in focus and, in this last week of 2010, to reflect on the past year.
Here is what the various TV executives said looking back at 2010, in their own words:

''SABC2 was one of the proud SABC channels that broadcasted 8 live matches to the world during this the unforgettable time of 2010. To us, the Soccer World Cup was a reminder to all South Africans and a showcase to the world that it was not only our tournament, but a continental showpiece. The past year was some kind of topsy turvey for SABC2. We managed to keep our viewers enthralled with the best television viewing. This year SABC2 saw the brand new talent, James Bhemgee brought into the showbiz limelight through SA's Got Talent II. A number of our properties received top accolades at the 2010 Saftas with our signature soapie, 7de Laan snatching the biggest award for the night - ''The Best Soapie of the Year'' award – as voted for by the public.''
Bessie Tugwana, SABC2 channel head

''The year 2010 has been an exciting year for all South Africans. Not only did we get the opportunity to showcase the world's most spectacular sport event but South Africans also got a chance to ''wake up to a new kind of morning'' with SABC3's lifestyle morning show Expresso. SABC3 believes that this property has introduced an exciting vibe as well as a different proposition to morning television viewing – it has also received great reception from SABC3 viewers. SABC3 also embarked on two talent searches, the Isidingo Talent Search as well as the Top Billing Presenter Search. These two projects allowed the channel to interact with their viewers by creating an exciting experience off and on screen – thus introducing untapped talent to our viewers. The year has had its challenges with the introduction of new competitors within the television landscape, however, SABC3 continued to hold its fort when it came to delivering premium content and entertainment. This was seen in the launch of the world's highly ranked motor show Top Gear and drama series CSI Miami. Our audiences were also kept captivated with compelling programmes such as Top Chef and My Family, which will continue to air in 2011.''
Mathe Mosito-Okaba, SABC3 channel head
''In 2010, has shown tremendous growth - from 12,5 million to 14,7 million viewers - thanks to the ongoing success of our local programming. Rhythm City, Scandal and eNews Prime Time have fuelled this success, as has the one-hour drama series, eKasi: Our Stories. With a viewership of 3,5 million eKasi made an impression on viewers by providing them with familiar stories in a uniquely South African urban context. The eNews Channel (DStv 403) remains the most watched news channel on the DStv bouquet providing outstanding coverage of key news events throughout the year. eNews expanded its brand with the launch of eNuus in Afrikaans on kykNET (DStv 111). The eNews Channel is now available on DVB-H handsets following the granting of a mobile TV licence to earlier this year. After the launch of e Africa in 2009, we have continued to grow our syndicated network across the continent and e Africa can now be seen in Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Guinea, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Ghana and Botswana. e Africa is also available in 49 countries across Africa on the DStv platform.''
Bronwyn Keene-Young,'s chief operating officer

''2010 was a challenging, yet super-exciting year, during which we produced and broadcast several show-stopping TV series for our niche audiences - Idols, Big Brother Africa, Survivor SA and Boer soek 'n vrou, to name but a few. To take our offerings to a new level in the future, we also embraced the latest broadcast technology and added a variety of new channels to our bouquets. Among these are M-Net Movies 1 HD (DStv 175), and the talk of the town in terms of freshly produced shows, Mzansi Magic (DStv 107).''
Lani Lombard, M-Net corporate communications manager

''The launch of TopTV on 1 May 2010 was a historical moment and momentous achievement. For the first time in the history of broadcasting in South Africa, consumers were able to make a viable choice about their viewing needs. Although we launched amidst much fanfare it has also been a year of learnings for us, from relooking our call centre operations to getting new installers on board and also refining our messaging. We keep revaluating our schedule to ensure we are able to offer the best programming when it's convenient for our viewers. We're also very proud of the fact that we've been able to create meaningful conversations with both existing and potential subscribers by using the digital media platforms. People are still surprised when a TopTV personality responds to their Facebook comment. We believe that this will go a long way toward building brand affinity. Ultimately, besides all of these challenges, we feel comfortable with where we are at the moment and hope our subscribers feel the same way. To everyone who believed in us, subscribers, retailers, installers, media and suppliers, we salute you and thank you for your courage and loyalty. It would not have been possible without you.''
Elouise Kelley, On Digital Media chief marketing officer

SABC1 promised a summary of the broadcaster's year for this article but after multiple follow-ups never responded.

MultiChoice declined the opportunity for the pay TV platform to reflect on its big year, that included launching DStv on Demand, new channels, and DStv turning 15 years old.

ALSO READ: Christmas wishes from the various TV channels and pay TV operators for 2010.

REMEMBER. Journalists across Africa have exactly one month left to enter for the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards 2011.

Journalists across Africa have exactly one month left from today to enter the most prestigious journalism competition on the continent, the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards 2011. Entries will close on 27 January 2011.

The best work from African journalists (those working for media companies as well as freelancers) that they created between January 2010 and December 2010 are eligible and there's several categories in which journalists can enter RIGHT HERE at

The CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards 2011 will take place in June in Johannesburg, South Africa and if you're a journalist who told a story with which you tried to enlighten, stir, affect change, or bring a sense of enjoyment, you need to enter right now. The organizers say no deadline extension will be given. ''''I would like to encourage journalists from across the continent to embrace the opportunity to make your voices heard,'' says Imtiaz Patel, group CEO of MultiChoice SA.

Journalists can enter in the categories of Arts & Culture, Digital Journalism, Economics & Business, Environment, Free Press Africa, HIV/AIDS Reporting, Photography, Health & Medical, Print General News, Radio General News, Sport, Television Features, Television News, Tourism, Francophone General News, and Portuguese Language General News.

BREAKING. SABC3 finally secures the first episode of Survivor Gabon; will broadcast it tonight at 20:00.

You're reading it here fi . . .why bother, nobody else is covering TV today besides me.

SABC3 has finally secured the first episode of Survivor Gabon, meaning that the next season of this reality show will be going out this evening on the broadcaster.

SABC3 confirms to me that it has the first episode and that it will be broadcast at 20:00 tonight. The video casettes arrived this weekend at the SABC's Television Centre in Auckland Park.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

EXCLUSIVE. Christmas wishes from South Africa's biggest TV channels for their viewers and subscribers.

I asked the biggest TV channels in South Africa as well as the two pay TV platforms in the country if they have possible Christmas wishes for 2010 for their viewers and subscribers that they would like to share.

''We at SABC3 would like to thank our viewers for their continuous support. 2010 has been a successful and exciting year for all of us with the launch of the channel's lifestyle morning show Expresso as well as other international content that certainly kept viewers entertained all year round. SABC3 would like to wish our viewers happy holidays!''
Mate Masito-Okaba, SABC3 channel head

''In this season of giving, we would like to bring forth our sincere gratitude to the ones who have contributed immensely to the success of who we are today, our viewers. The two-way communication between us makes SABC2 what it is. So we wish to take this opportunity and wish each one of you a wonderful and Merry Christmas. And in the year to come, may it be a great 2011 filled with health, prosperity and endless possibilities.
As for our standing promise to you, SABC2 will continue to offer the best television ever, be it new dramas, documentaries and reality programmes. 2011 will be the year all our viewers, old and new, will “Feel comfortably at home” with us. Until next year….''
Bessie Tugwana, SABC2 channel head

''M-Net wishes its millions of loyal viewers as well as everyone on the African continent a magical holiday season. On a more serious note, do take note of all the heart-rendering advertisements, focusing on important social issues on our M-Net channels this months and join us in spreading the magic of friendship, care and compassion.''
Lani Lombard, M-Net corporate communications manager

''It's that time of the year where we have the opportunity to take time out, spend more time with loved ones, enjoy the glorious South African summer and reflect on the past year. This year has seen clearly define its identity in the South African television landscape as a provider of locally produced programmes as well as blockbuster movies and series. It's is our endeavour to continue to enhance our product offering in the New Year and beyond.
All of us at would like to take this opportunity to thank all our viewers for the continued support in 2010. We wish you all a wonderful and joyous time over the festive season. May your homes be filled with joy, love and peace during this festive time and may you prosper throughout the New Year. We look forward to bringing you even more viewing pleasure in 2011!''
Monde Twala, group head of channels division

''The year is almost over and we're still standing! Only 6 months old, TopTV has already established itself in the hearts and homes of many South Africans.
From myself and the entire TopTV team, I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our subscribers for your support. Without you none of this would have been possible.
We wish you and your loved ones a safe and blessed festive season!''
Vino Govender, CEO of TopTV

SABC1 promised a Christmas message for its viewers but after multiple follow-ups never responded.
MultiChoice declined my request for a Christmas message for its DStv viewers.

BREAKING. SABC3 desperate to get Survivor Gabon; now going to try a satelite link-up to Amsterdam to beam the first episode in.

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Days before Christmas I can reveal that SABC3's programming division is in a flat spin and in emergency overdrive, desperate to get the first episode of Survivor Gabon for Monday night's broadcast. That comes after the channel failed to premiere the new season this past Monday due to the video cassettes that haven't arrived from a snowed-in Europe.

In this very fast developing story, I can now exclusively reveal that SABC3 out of sheer desperation, will now try a satellite uplink to beam the episode in to Auckland Park over the weekend from Amsterdam in the Netherlands in a tricky logistical manuevre. After I broke the news on Monday about the tape delay, I told you RIGHT HERE why broadcasters still find satellite downloads of shows difficult and prefer not to do it.

A short while ago I broke the latest news RIGHT HERE that SABC3 is now looking at broadcasting an EPK of Survivor Gabon castaway interviews in the ''repeat'' timeslot of the show this Sunday morning. That has just changed. In Sunday morning's 07:00 repeat slot of Survivor Gabon, viewers are going to see the music documentary The Parlotones: The Road to the Dome.

Insider sources now tell me exclusively that SABC3 is readying an attempt and is furiously organizing a digital uplink to try and take a feed from Amsterdam. SABC3 will then try and make a tape of it to broadcast the first episode of Survivor Gabon this Monday night. ''They're not sure if its going to work or not,'' I'm told by a source. ''They're also hoping the tape arrives by Sunday,'' says another well-connected source.

LATEST. SABC3 Survivor Gabon tape delay: Broadcaster readying a ''pre-look'' special of behind the scenes castaway interviews.

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I have all the latest inside info on what is currently happening with SABC3 and the broadcaster that was unable to premiere Survivor Gabon on Monday night because the video tape didn't arrive from a snowed-in-Europe.

I can now reveal that although expected to be delivered last night (Wednesday) SABC3 is still without any Survivor Gabon video cassettes. And here's the latest plan. Survivor Gabon already has a repeat slot built into SABC3's schedule on Sunday mornings at 07:00. With no first episode, SABC3 does have something else of Survivor Gabon and is now considering using it: those behind the scenes interviews with the new crop of castaways recorded before they go to the island. Often sliced as short filler promos, and hardly ever seen as one continuous program which it is available as, SABC3 is now considering broadcasting the Survivor Gabon electronic press kit, or so-called ''EPK''.

According to SABC3 sources I spoke to, if the Survivor Gabon tapes don't arrive soon, the behind the scenes interviews will run on Sunday morning, and then also ''repeat'' on Monday night in the usual Survivor Gabon timeslot to give viewers a ''pre-look'' at the upcoming season. ''I'm hoping the tapes arrive soon,'' says another. SABC3 has still not again responded officially on what it's planning to do since Monday afternoon.

ALSO READ: SABC3 can't premiere Survivor Gabon because the video cassette didn't arrive in time from a snowed-in Europe.
ALSO READ: Why the TV channels still use video tapes for play out.

Christmas wishes for 2010 from CNBC Africa with a classic white and silver Christmas card.

Ooh. They must be money-ed people. I just received this really beautiful, elegantly understated Christmas card in soft sparkle white, with the embossed silver logo from CNBC Africa (DStv 410) that a courier delivered to my door, and with wishes inside.

EXCLUSIVE. Connie Ferguson isn't working on her own TV talk show, but she is in a landmark production.

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I can exclusively first reveal that Connie Ferguson isn't working on doing her own TV talk show or interviewing the famous. But yes. She is definitely working in television and will be back on television soon in 2011. Like . . . April. And not to typecast here but, well, let me just say for now that Connie Ferguson is working on a landmark production.

BREAKING. SABC3 changes Christmas Eve as well as New Years Eve late-night line-up.

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SABC3 just updated the broadcaster's program line-up for Christmas Eve on Friday.

SABC3's program schedule will change from 22:00 with Andrea Lieu (Part 2), a Christmas Papal Mass broadcast live from 23:00 and the movie Noel starting at  01:00. Snow Wonder is at 02:45.

SABC3 has also changed the channel's New Years Eve line-up slightly. At midnight on New Years Even there's a Boom Music Special with ''some of the hottest club house music of 2010 and artists such as ATB, Agnes, Junior Caldera and Armin Van Buuren.'' It's followed at 02:00 by the movie Andre.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

BREAKING. Several M-Net channel logos set to change in 2011 (again) for a more uniform look using the ''M'' ribbon-device.

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Get ready for some more logo changes and on-screen channel ident changes in 2011. M-Net ones.

I can exclusively break the news that the various M-Net channel logos will (again) be changed early in 2011 after channels like M-Net Action (DStv 106) and M-Net Stars (DStv 105) saw quite a few successive logo adaptations just this past year. M-Net channel logos affected that will change in the early part of 2011 include M-Net Action (DStv 106), M-Net Series (DStv 110), M-Net Movies 1 (DStv 103), M-Net Movies 2 (DStv 104) and even M-Net Movies 1 HD (DStv 175) that only came into being a few months ago.

M-Net channel logos not affected and which will remain as they are now are main M-Net channel (DStv 101), M-Net Stars (DStv 105) and M-Net HD (DStv 170). Multiple sources at various levels at the various channels as well as MultiChoice indicated to me that MultiChoice requested the change. I don't want to quote any of the specific and broad pick of people I spoke to but they all say the same two things: Number one is that M-Net wants to be bold(er) with showing off the ''M''-ribbon device of its logo in general. Number two is that there's now a feeling from MultiChoice and now within M-Net to have the various M-Net channels not necessarily look exactly the same, but have more overall, easier and identifiable brand cohesion. Basically the M-Net channels have to all look as if they're all a part of the same family.

The channels that won't change already have this necessary brand cohesion, I'm told. They all start with the flowing ''M''-ribbon device and then wording, if the channel logos of M-Net Stars and M-Net HD are looked at. This idea was already incorporated in the thinking of changing the M-Net Holiday channel to m199 (DStv 199). All the channel logos I'm told will change to all have the ''M''-ribbon device first and then whatever wording. The new channel logos have not yet been designed.

Interesting: Why will M-Net Action (DStv 106) change if it already has the ''M''-ribbon device at the beginning in the new yellow lava-like logo that was only introduced in October? Insiders tell me the feedback from viewers to the logo have been mixed and more negative than positive, a sentiment apparently now shared by M-Net as well. The perception is that the ''M'' ''overshadows'' the ''a'' of action. ''Where do you look? The ''M'', the ''a''?'' quipped an M-Netter. ''The ''M'' is too far over the ''a'' is what everyone is now saying,'' says another, so the M-Net Action logo is getting another sprucing up next year.

A bit more on and MultiChoice's new e Africa syndicated TV channel for the rest of the continent.

Yesterday I told you RIGHT HERE about the new e Africa (DStv 144) channel that started broadcasting in 46 countries in Africa outside of South Africa and is basically a syndicated Pan-African version of South Africa's channel. Now I have more.

''We have witnessed the growth and popularity of channels made in Africa for Africa over the last few years, and we have responded by substantially increasing our investment in supporting these channels in Africa,'' says Collins Khumalo, president of MultiChoice Africa in a press statement that I obtained today. ''I believe that's Africa addition to DStv will add even more value to our subscribers.'' Africa will be available on the DStv Premium, DStv Compact Plus, DStv Compact, DStv Family and DStv Access bouquets that MultiChoice has available in the rest of Africa. e Africa is broadcasting for 24 hours a day.

BREAKING. M-Net City awaiting approval as M-Net's new premium TV channel for local shows.

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M-Net City is the current ''working title'' of the brand-new TV channel that M-Net plans to launch in 2011 if its approved, sources familiar with the matter tells me exclusively.

I first broke the news about M-Net City RIGHT HERE last month with more insiders now confirming that the pay TV channel has a desire to create M-Net City as a premium local TV channel in South Africa. ''If M-Net City - which is currently the working title of the new channel comes to be - the plan is for M-Net 101 [M-Net on DStv's channel 101] to become the premium TV channel for just the very best international series and movies,'' I'm told. ''The new local soap and Carte Blanche will stay, but M-Net will become the home of a selection of the besst premiering international television.''

''There's still a lot of challenges,'' another insider reveals to me.
''M-Net City is still awaiting approval first of all. Nothing is definite. Then it will also be a delicate matter to manage it all since Mzansi Magic is also a local go-to channel on DStv. There will have to be a careful balancing act between M-Net City and Mzansi Magic who won't want to be competition for each other but will in fact be direct competition for each other although Mzansi Magic is geared towards a black TV audience. And Mzansi Magic is performing wonderfully since it launched earlier this year.''

ALSO READ: M-Net City for local shows? What M-Net is mulling over at the moment.

BREAKING. SABC3 is Psych-ed out. Broadcaster has no plans to continue with the show now only on The Universal Channel.

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I'm exclusively told that the funny detective comedy-drama show Psych that was shown on SABC3 is a gonner. Just like Bones the show starring James Roday as Shawn Spencer and Dule Hill as Gus won't see further seasons on SABC3.

''Psych is not on our radar anymore,'' an SABC3 executive tells me. Another SABC3 source says: ''We have not acquired a new season of Psych. It's not in our plan for the new fiscal'' - meaning 2011. What that means is that basically Psych on SABC3 is over.

That makes The Universal Channel (DStv 108) now the only place where South African viewers can see Psych, currently in its 5th season in America. I've asked The Universal Channel when a new Psych season is set to start in 2011 in South Africa but haven't yet received an answer.

BREAKING. M-Net's entertainment magazine show All Access could be jettisoned in 2011 to Mzansi Magic, says sources.

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I can exclusively reveal that there's been talks and dicussions within M-Net about moving the entertainment magazine show All Access from M-Net (DStv 101) to Mzansi Magic (DStv 107) from early in 2011.

I broke the news earlier this year that All Access would move to a new Friday night timeslot in April and ditch its high-gloss studio format which then all happened, and now I'm told All Access might move again in 2011 - this time to a new channel. The one and a half year old show is currently in production hiatus, having finished its contract for 2010.

''I know that there has been discussions about All Access moving from M-Net to Mzansi Magic but no decision has been taken,'' an M-Net source tells me. Another source says: ''M-Net is planning on moving most of its odd local productions, just not Carte Blanche and the new soap, to Mzansi Magic and other channels slowly.''

Says a third insider source to me: ''All Access is most probably moving to Mzansi Magic soon within the start of 2011,'' and adds: ''All Access wasn't doing very well at all. It's been dropping [in viewership]. Not to be racist but All Access is more a white-skewed show, so if it does move it will have to be adapted for more the black market - more Pabi Moloi's as presenters. Who knows, maybe a new presenter search like what Top Billing on SABC3 does. Mzansi Magic is being positioned as the new home of local South African productions, although there's plans for a new M-Net City channel as well in 2011.''

BREAKING. Top Sport will most likely be TopTV's new sport channel set to launch at the end of February 2011.

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The new premium sports channel that will be added to On Digital Media's (ODM) TopTV from the end of February 2011 will most likely be its own self-compiled Top Sport channel on TopTV channel 200.

Although TopTV isn't talking, insider sources confirmed to me that TopTV has now started working on a Top Sport channel logo, indicating a possible imminent launch for this as-yet dormant channel.

Top Sport has been envisioned as TopTV's premium in-house sports channel that was to be part of the channel roll-out in May of this year, but TopTV struggled to tie down the rights to quality sport broadcasts, most of which have already been taken, in time. ODM decided to rather hold off on the start of Top Sport during the pay operator's launch but I've been told have been aggressively been pursuing sport options - a big driver of pay TV uptake - for 2011.

Also, unrelated, but I'm told a major TopTV surprise is coming within days, according to sources. I'm knowledgeable about what this surprise pertains to, but since all my competition is on holiday (I'm not) I'm going to keep the suspense.