Monday, January 31, 2011

BREAKING. The Fox News Channel has no idea where in the world Egypt actually is.

Clearly the Fox News Channel (TopTV 405) doesn't have any idea where in the world the North African country of Egypt actually is to be found.

Egypt is actually that north west corner block right above the Fox News channel ident. The Fox News Channel placed Egypt incorrectly on its map on what is actually Iraq. You know. . . that place with the weapons of mass destruction.

ALSO READ: Egypt can't handle a free press; bans Al Jazeera and wants the news channel out of the country immediately.
ALSO READ: Al Jazeera broadcasts unmatched and brilliant coverage of the unrest in Egypt.
ALSO READ: Al Jazeera demands an end to Egypt's interference after its signal gets cut from Nilesat.

BREAKING. Four new SABC board members to be announced in parliament any time from after 10 February.

You're reading it here first.

According to parliament's portfolio committee on communications the names of the 4 new permanent SABC board members that's set to join the SABC board will be announced after the president's State of the Nation address, but before the end of the first quarter.

The 4 new SABC members will replace David Niddrie, Barbara Masekela, Felleng Sekha and Makgatho Mello who all resigned last year after bitter in-fighting between the SABC board and the SABC board chairperson dr Ben Ngubane.

The committee that's still finalizing their schedule will make the announcement any time after the State of the Nation address which will be taking place on Thursday, 10 February and 20 March.

. . . Speaking of which, I can already tell you that SABC2 tells me the channel will definitely broadcast the State of the Nation live on Thursday 10 February between 18:00 and 20:30, which means that 7de Laan will fall away with 2 episodes of 7de Laan going out the next day on 11 February between 18:00 and 19:00. I've also asked the eNews Channel (DStv 403) last week but haven't had a response yet. SABC2 will also have the budget speech live on 23 February between 14:00 and 16:00 canceling the 7de Laan and Muvhango repeats.

REVIEW. M-Net Series' new dating reality show Rivals in Romance is a brilliant billet-doux of television delight.

The new dating reality show Rivals in Romance on M-Net Series (DStv 110) Fridays at 19:30 is a visual valentine of television fun that's so well-done quality wise that it actually belongs on the main M-Net channel as top-notch local TV fare.

In Rivals in Romance South African girls are clawing for the hands (or is it . . . charm bracelets!) of two would-be suitors in a show that's a brilliant billet-doux to the reality television dating genre: escapism fun sprinkled with high drama, romantic entanglements that will obviously escalate, with sheer delightfulness in watching contestants getting dumped while they're striving to find/fight for Mister Right.

Rivals in Romance brims with  crisp editing, beautiful lighting, a richly textured and opulent penthouse backdrop and two sassy and just the right amount of sexy co-presenters (Jonaid Carrera and Phuti Khomo). Stirred in are two semi-hapless bachelors, somewhat cringeworthy beauties, dramatic yet subtle music (listen to what you hear during the charm bracelet ceremony) and clever narrative techniques filled with the promised of unexpected twists which all combine for a delightfully surprising new TV show that instantly feels tacky-terrific. Rivals in Romance is that second bowl of dessert at the late end of a wedding when you eat for the sheer enjoyment of it and with wild abandon and indulge yourself simply because it tastes so good.

The producers of Rivals in Romance clearly gave their utmost of attention to even the smallest of details during the entire production process. It's not in the minute details but in the overall scope, structure, visual look and jaw-dropping story that the loving quality of this carefulyl crafted production shows. Whether viewers will tune in on Fridays knowing Rivals in Romance is on or whether they happen across it by chance, like a perfumed love letter that you want to keep smelling, you'll find it hard to tear yourself away if you allow yourself to watch just 5 minutes.

This fight for love is fantastic in the augmented reality Rivals in Romance has created. Not only do the girls compete, but the guys compete against each other for the girls. If boobs already had to be blurred in the first episode and a pool party was already the second challenge, can you imagine the tittilation to follow? Rivals in Romance does a perfect balancing act of being slighty bawdy without going over the edge, walking a tight-rope between loving the TV viewer on the one hand and mercilessly teasing like a cabaret act on the other. The end result is that Rivals in Romance is a fragrant TV love letter that by its finale in week 13 will most probably still smell as nice as the very first time you opened it.

REVIEW. The new Carte Blanche spin-off, Carte Blanche Extra needs something . . . extra.

The new Carte Blanche spin-off Carte Blanche Extra Mondays at 19:00 on M-Net needs something extra besides Devi Sankaree Govender's peripatetic agitprop.

I've waited for the second episode before venturing an opinion on the latest offshoot of the venerable Sunday night investigative magazine show that got rid of last year's Carte Blanche Medical and Carte Blanche Consumer to attempt a 3rd add-on of the premiere brand.

Presented by Bongani Bingwa Carte Blanche Extra purports to give viewers ''more'' Carte Blanche under the slogan ''it's all about you''. However the new half hour Monday edition comes across as too staged, phoney, hokey, and with a limited functionality for the viewer who's in a Monday start-of-the-week mode and watches television with an attitude of wanting to get things done.

The first problem is the timeslot. Why M-Net would schedule Carte Blanche Extra at 19:00 instead of 19:30 makes no sense for 19:00 is ingrained TV news bulletin time across all channels. Viewers getting home will much rather give time to receiving functional information like news, sport and tomorrow's weather forecast than getting entertainment information which is what Carte Blanche Extra largely is, its value entrenched in a contextual curiosity factor rather than news you can use.

Luckily gone by the second episode and a good change was Derek Watts' snarky voice-over comments that fitted more with that other M-Net TV property Wipeout. Although entertaining, in the first episode it was jarring and did a disservice to Carte Blanche's sense of gravitas. Carte Blanche Extra's ''war room'' scenario where the production team discuss cases, chatter excitedly, and listens intently to victims comes across as fake and staged. Maybe because it completely is.

Trying to impress on the viewer that the cameras are rolling inside the Combined Artists ''war room'' docu-style, this is more clearly more set-up mocu-style. How would viewers spot that? The fake standing around in seemingly random, previously-allocated places. Zombie-like production staff walking methodically in the background as if on the starship Enterprise. Immaculately clean desks on which the camera zooms in for just the computer monitor (journalists desks are never spotless) and random ''I'm-going-to-fetch-a -water-bottle'' traversing across the room in an attempt to add TV dynamism in perfect ''bottle pick-up timing'' to colour discussions and intro links.
If the producers are willing to really be real, leave the pretense and constructed hyper reality and just film the messiness that investigative journalism really is, Carte Blanche Extra has the potential to be a great show.

Carte Blanche Extra has little extra to give viewers. But it can be made better and turned into appointment television. When you tell viewers to check whether a plumber is registered or what kind of lawyer you need when you fall in the gym, flash those consumer oriented names and contact details on the lower 3rd of the screen. That's extra and useful information in keeping with the theme of this show. Viewers don't want to see how the sausage is made but will sit through it if there's a pay-off: Show successfully completed cases. Possibly stick with one journalist and tell a story from that person's perspective, or just have Devi Sankaree Govender narrate a real first-person account of a on location story or incident that was difficult for her. Have executive producer George Mazarakis share production secrets, follow specific production staff and what their role is. Build drama about the narrative about a late story that almost didn't happen but then did. It will all make Carte Blanche Extra a much better Monday show.

Tropika Island of Treasure 3 will premiers on e.TV on 20 February at 18:30. (Let's hope the treasure is a dictionary.)

If they can't even spell, how simply awesome do you think the television is going to be that they're making?

Well, Tropika Island of Treasure 3 will ''premiers'' on ''e.TV'' on the 20th Feb at 18:30 (wow, six words after ''e.TV'' in a row and no spelling mistakes. Record?).

Of course I haven't been invited to the launch in about two weeks time where the press will hobnob with the D-listers (those who decide to maybe show up this time) who's being sold to the gullable media as ''some new reality stars''. The press will get the chance to interview them after watching the ''premier episode'' (their spelling, not mine) and heat magazine will probably have breathless coverage (oh, but wait. heat magazine is the print partner.)

Of course to see how really truly awfully bad this advertiser-funded production (AFP) on - oops, I mean e.TV - will probably be, we'll have to wait for it to premiers on 20 Feb at 18:30.

ALSO READ: How Tropika Island of Treasure couldn't spell during the SECOND season in 2009

BREAKING. Mix-up of TopTV's Silver! and Star! channels' feed the result of technical problem in Europe, says pay TV operator.

You're reading it here first.

The ''silver star'' broadcasting mistake yesterday whereby Star! (TopTV 179) disappeared for hours to be replaced by a second channel feed of the Silver! (TopTV 112) movie channel is because of a European technical problem, says TopTV.

Angry TopTV subscribers wondered yesterday what was going on (story RIGHT HERE) when first Star! and Silver! switched channel numbers, after which Star! completely disappeared and Silver! could be seen on both channel numbers. Both Star! and Silver! are provided to TopTV by the same company, the Scandinavian television broadcaster NonStop Television that's part of the Turner Broadcasting System.

''The Silver!, Showtime and Star! feeds all go via Estonia to Munich [in Germany],'' says Danny Noble, TopTV's Network Monitoring Room manager. ''It seems that there was a technical issue from the source.''

ALSO READ: TopTV's Star! channel gets a Silver! lining: TopTV's Star! channel turns into a second channel feed for its Silver! movie channel.

TOLDJA! Class Act returning to SABC1 for a second season; adding women as contestants and field presenters.

I broke the news at the beginning of the month RIGHT HERE that the SABC1 reality show Class Act will be back for a second season in April and it was just confirmed by the broadcaster, that will be adding female contestants as well to have a male and female ''action star'' winner. What they're not telling yet, but that I will is that field presenters will also be added.

The Curious Pictures production that is a beer sponsored advertiser funded show (AFP) for SABC1 is trying to up the female viewership in this male skewing show this year by allowing women to enter as well and having one man as well as one woman as winner. The second season of Class Act will start on 23 April on SABC1 and from 30 May add another weekly half hour elimination episode that will be broadcast live at 19:00. Kenneth Nkosi will once again be the main presenter.

''In re-envisioning Class Act for the second season we had a simple mandate: more entertainment, more eyes on the screen,'' says Donovan Marsh, show creator about Class Act deciding to add women as contestants to the show.

Main auditions will take place in Cape Town (5 March, Artscape Theatre), Durban (12 March, Playhouse Theatre), Pretoria (19 March, State Theatre) and Johannesburg (2 and 3 April, Shine Studios at the corner of Smit and Henri Streets in Braamfontein.)

Look at this slim, sexy fox! Did you know that MultiChoice also has a sleek and slim silver HD PVR decoder?

Sometimes you watch television, and sometimes you watch and just stare and lovingly dust off that with which you watch television - like this beautiful DStv HD PVR.

You might be aware of it, but I only discovered it on Friday. I was completely unaware that MultiChoice also have this HD PVR model and that the pay TV platform is selling this silver HD PVR made by UEC.

''It's not new,'' MultiChoice tells me about this spiffy model that goes from zero to over 80 channels in a second with the touch of a button. ''It's the UEC model of our 4 tuner HD PVR in silver. [It's] not a new decoder - it has the same features and functionality as the black Pace 4 tuner HD PVR,'' says MultiChoice.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

BREAKING. TopTV's Star! channel gets a Silver! lining. TopTV doesn't notice its Star! channel is gone and showing the Silver! channel feed.

You're reading it here first.

TopTV viewers are outraged and angry since the movie channel Silver! (TopTV 112) has now been shown for hours (and still is shown!) on the channel usually reserved for the entertainment news channel Star! (TopTV 179) - without TopTV's final control centre either noticing, or in a position to do anything about it.

Viewers immediately notified me hours ago when suddenly the channel feed of the two channels initially switched, and Star! was available on TopTV's channel 112 and Silver on TopTV's channel 179. Then, after a while, Silver! regained it's normal channel number spot, but became simulcast on Star! as well - which is still the case and has been for the bigger part of the today. Both channels are showing Silver! Viewers have not been told by TopTV what is going on through other media or though an on-air channel scroll.

Both Star! and Silver! are actually provided to TopTV by the same company, the Scandinavian television broadcaster NonStop Television that's part of the Turner Broadcasting System.

UPDATE Monday 31 January 09:00 - Star! is once again being broadcast on TopTV's channel 179, with Silver! on only channel 112.

BREAKING. Egypt can't handle a free press; bans Al Jazeera and wants the news channel out of the country immediately.

Unable to cope with a free press reporting about growing unrest, widespread and continuing protests, looting and a government out of touch and unable to control a resentful populace, the Egyptian government has now banned the Arabic news channel Al Jazeera (DStv 408 / TopTV 401) from the North African country and ordered Al Jazeera's news bureau be shut down.

Al Jazeera is defying the ban and is still broadcasting live from Egypt with South Africa's Jane Dutton who works for Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera is blatantly showing live images from Cairo and Alexandria, with live reports from the ground.

On Friday Egypt already threw Al Jazeera of its satellite platform Nilesat, tried to create signal interference with Al Jazeera's broadcast and intimidated the news channel's people who has 7 news teams across the country. Similar to the Tunisian uprising weeks ago, Al Jazeera is doing superb television news reporting with excellent news coverage of the unfolding drama and spectacle of ordinary Egyptians from all walks of life taking to the streets to demand that president Hosni Bubarak, in office since 1981, step down as president.

Now Egypt's outgoing information minister has ordered the closure of Al Jazeera, ordering ''the closure of all activities by Al Jazeera in the Arab republic of Egypt, and the annulment of its licences, as well as withdrawing the press cards to all its employees as of Sunday.''

Al Jazeera says it will continue its incisive and comprehensive coverage when I asked about the ban. ''Al Jazeera sees this as an act designed to stifle and repress the freedom of reporting by the network and its journalists. In this time of deep turmoil and unrest in Egyptian society it is imperative that voices from all sides be heard; the closing of our bureau by the Egyptian government is aimed at censoring and silencing the voices of the Egyptian people,'' says Al Jazeera in a press statement.

''Al Jazeera assures its audiences in Egypt and across the world that it will continue its in-depth and comprehensive reporting on the events unfolding in Egypt. Al Jazeera journalists have brought unparalleled reporting from the ground from across Egypt in the face of great danger and extraordinary circumstances. Al Jazeera Network is appalled at this latest attack by the Egyptian regime to strike at its freedom to report independently on the unprecedented events in Egypt."

ALSO READ: Al Jazeera broadcasts unmatched and brilliant coverage of the unrest in Egypt; decides to share its TV content.
ALSO READ: Al Jazeera demands an end to interference after Egypt cuts its signal from Nilesat.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

BREAKING. Al Jazeera broadcasts unmatched and brilliant coverage of the unrest in Egypt; decides to share its TV content.

No other news channel is more utterly ferocious and compelling in their unmatched and simply brilliant coverage of the massive unrest in Egypt than Al Jazeera (Top 401 / DStv 408) since yesterday - and now the Arabic news channel is allowing other news networks to use their footage.

ALSO READ: Al Jazeera demands an end to interference in coverage after being cut from Nilesat; bureau's telephones cut off.

I can tell you that the Al Jazeera's website has seen a 2 500% increase in traffic since yesterday while international news crews are battling to get the story about what is unfolding in Egypt out while journalists are harassed, beaten and prevented to do their work. Al Jazeera that provided utterly compelling news coverage of the Tunisian revolt a few weeks ago, has now decided to share its content freely with other news networks who are struggling.

Al Jazeera has has seven news teams in Cairo, Egypt which is more than any other international news network and has multiple TV journalists in Alexandria, Suez and Ismailia. ''Al Jazeera has made their content available for other news sources to use,'' Al Jazeera tells me and already international outlets have been taking advantage of the free content.

Al Jazeera's management in Qatar sent an email to staff yesterday late saying: ''Braving the same violent attacks by policemen against demonstrators, including physical assaults, rubber bullets, and tear gas, Al Jazeera journalists were on location, doing their jobs, and capturing the scene faced by the Egyptians to help carry their voices to our audience around the world.''

''This is the pedigree of journalism we have built our foundation on. It is why we have become the Network of choice for accurate and professional information coming from the region.''

TOLDJA! Production shuts down on comedy Two and a Half Men as star Charlie Sheen enters rehab.

It might come as a surprise but if you know how television work and is made - especially in America where money is everything - it isn't a surprise that production has shut just shut down on the hit sitcom Two and a Half Men with its star and the highest paid actor in American television Charlie Sheen entering rehabilitation for drug and alcohol issues.

Just over two weeks ago RIGHT HERE I said why it would seem as if a shutdown on Two and a Half Men would from a production standpoint seem unavoidable and now its happened. TMZ was first with the news. Legally Two and Half Men can't shut down with a specific reason and Charlie Sheen, despite his turbulent private life, always showed up on set. It's clear that people outside of or around Charlie Sheen (I can almost also guarantee you that there must have been consistent pressure from both the channel CBS that broadcast the show as well as Warner Bros TV that's the studio making the show) kept up calls for him to go to rehab.

Keep in mind that Two and a Half Men represents a substantial investment of millions of dollars for the TV channel and studio, as well as international distributor. About 300 people work on the show and everyone of these are hugely affected and impacted by the private actions of one man.

The production shutdown will not affect Two and a Half Men that started its 7th season on M-Net last week on Wednesdays at 20:00 in the way that the new Law and Order: Los Angeles that has suddenly ceased broadcasting after 8 episodes has now prompted M-Net to replace the show with Human Target from 11 March. There's a full 22 episodes in the 7th season (which was supposed to be 24 but cut down to Charlie Sheen's prblems last year), and its the current 8th season in America which produced 16 episodes already that will be having a problem.

ALSO READ: Is production on Two and a Half Men with out of control Charlie Sheen on the verge of being shut down?

Friday, January 28, 2011

BREAKING. Al Jazeera demands an end to Egyptian interference in coverage after being cut from Nilesat; bureau's telephones cut.

In a strongly worded press release I just got from the Arabic news channel Al Jazeera (TopTV 401 / DStv 406) the news channel is calling for an end to the interference by the Egyptian government that's trying to block Al Jazeera's news reporting from the country under siege, and in the grip of a populist revolt against the regime of Hosni Mubarak.

Al Jazeera who lead coverage about the Tunisian uprising earlier this month and now doing the same in Egypt with excellent reporting, says its signal was this morning cut from the satellite operator Nilesat.

''Al Jazeera has called for the Egyptian authorities to allow them to freely cover the events currently unfolding in the country,'' says the news channel that says their live channel Al Jazeera Mubasher ''was this morning removed from the Nilesat platform from which the public receive television channels.''

''In addition, Al Jazeera's bureau in Cairo had its telephone landlines cut, and its main Arabic news channel has also faced signal interference.''

"We call upon the Egyptian authorities to uphold the right of the media to report news freely,'' says Ayman Jaballah, the managing director of Al Jazeera Mubasher. ''There should be no impediments or restrictions in front of a free press." Al Jazeera's coverage of anti-government demonstrations has previously faced censure from regimes, most notably earlier this month in Tunisia where the channel was banned by the former president. Despite this, Al Jazeera continued to report on the uprisings, to widespread acclaim.

TOLDJA! It will be the end of Oprah repeats when the show returns; SABC3 planning 5 new episodes per week to catch up with America.

You're reading it here first.

It now seems thisclose to happening: the end of repeats for The Oprah Winfrey Show when the 25th and final ''farewell'' season of the talk show starts on 8 February on SABC3.

SABC3 unofficially tells me there won't be a Friday repeat episode of Oprah once the season starts, which is exactly what I told you in November RIGHT HERE was being planned so that the broadcaster can catch up with where the show is in America. In that way South African viewers will (hopefully) see the last mega-buzz episodes here at the same time as in America when the talk show host ends her show later this year.

''It will be new Oprah episodes Mondays to Fridays,'' I'm told by an insider. ''But once the cricket starts it would obviously affect how the show will be aired.'' Another titbit I gleamed from elsewhere the mighty broadcaster: no sponsor for Oprah yet. Whoever sponsors this season is going to get super-duper value out of that. And no, I'm not saying that because I'm going to gain in any way by that. Besides paying for a certain audience, the sponsor is going to be able to cash in on a major viewership bump as the show progress during this final season.

ALSO READ: Seven Oprah secrets you didn't know.
ALSO READ: The 25th and final season of The Oprah Winfrey Show set to start on 8 February on SABC3.

CHANGING CHANNELS: On M-Net Action becoming a movie channel and M-Net Series going only scripted: ''It's started''.

I just finished talking with Khosi Khanyile, channel manager of M-Net Action (DStv 106) and M-Net Series (DStv 110) about M-Net Action that will becoming a full movies-only channel and M-Net Series a scripted television channel, with Khosi Khanyile telling me ''its started''.

In December I broke the news RIGHT HERE that this big change is coming to M-Net Action in 2011.

''At this stage, everything with M-Net Action and M-Net Series is a work in progress,'' says Khosi Khanyile. ''Essentially we want to make M-Net Series a proper scripted format only channel,'' she says. ''M-Net Action will move to becoming a full-fledged movies only channel but still sticking to the action genre.'' According to Khosi Khanyile the process of content sharing between M-Net Action, M-Net Series and Vuzu (DStv 123) has started and will continue until the process of the channels' realignment has been completed.

''Reality shows will be moving off of M-Net Series,'' she says. Talk shows like Ellen and The Doctors and Jerry Springer are planned to remain on M-Net Series. ''It will be a progressive thing, there isn't a definite date for completion of the overhaul of the channels,''says Khosi Khanyile.

ALSO READ: M-Net Action starts its transformation to becoming a movie channel.
ALSO READ: M-Net Action's complete movie themes by month for the full year of 2011.
ALSO READ: The brand-new shows M-Net Series got and exactly how it will be rolled out month by month in 2011.
ALSO READ: M-Net Action now considering getting rid of series on its schedule; the next channel to likely be turned into a HD channel.

BREAKING. SABC1 is taking over The Tyra Banks Show from SABC3 from February. And I know how it will work and exactly why.

You're reading it here first.

While some people working at these channels don't even know it yet, I can exclusively break the news that The Tyra Banks Show is moving from its longtime home on SABC3 to SABC1 from the beginning of February and I can also already tell you why.

While workers at SABC1 and especially SABC3 are going to be surprised by this news, I can spill that the current 5th season of The Tyra Banks Show will do exactly what younger siblings do when the older sibling moves out of the house. Take over the room.

The Tyra Banks Show will start on SABC1 from 1 February and will be broadcast from Tuesdays to Fridays between 10:00 and 11:00. Cue SABC3 baffled faces. Why? Because not everyone at SABC3 knows that this is going to happen. More context? Sure. The 5th season of The Tyra Banks Show will start a bit before what was already show on SABC3 and be a few days behind. The talk show move isn't planned as permanent, but the powers that be will see how it does.

Why the change? Two reasons SABC isn't telling but I can reveal: Firstly the licence is going to run out and the SABC overall wants to broadcast and complete the season while its still allowed. Secondly the cricket on SABC3 is preempting Tyra and interrupting the timeslot during which The Tyra Banks Show would have gone out. Overall the SABC wants a talk show in a morning slot as an alternative for viewers on one of the channels. Now how is that for some Friday scoop.

BREAKING. There's a great new show called Being Human, but no South African broadcaster has grabbed it . . . yet.

You're reading it here first.

Okay. Some news I can break first, which isn't really news (unless you're interested in television), and isn't really news because its about something that hasn't happened yet. But the fact that it hasn't happened yet is exactly why it's news.

There is a great new show, Being Human, which is an American remake of the British science fiction show on BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) and the surprising thing I can reveal is that no broadcaster has gotten the rights to it yet. Yes. Not even M-Net. Which is a bit strange still M-Net pounces on anything with a quality TV pulse. (This doesn't M-Net isn't aware of this, or won't get it, the broadcaster told me earlier in the week it doesn't have Being Human yet.'')

Being Human that just started and is doing really well with critics and actually growing in already good viewership numbers revolves around 3 young people living together. Catch? The one, Aidan (Saw Witwer) is a vampire (but works in a hospital where he can secretly feed his addiction with donated blood), Josh (Sam Huntington) turns into a werewolf, and the girl Sally (Meaghan Rath) is a ghost with a secret. I've already started watching it and if you like Smallville, The Vampire Diaries or Supernatural you'll love Being Human if we get it.

BREAKING. Human Target makes an early return to M-Net to fill the unexpected gap Law & Order: Los Angeles is creating.

I can reveal that it will be the 2nd season of Human Target that will be replacing Law & Order: Los Angeles on the M-Net schedule when the latest Law & Order spin-off will abruptly stop on the pay broadcaster after 8 episodes on 4 March.

From 11 March it will be Human Target making a comeback, with M-Net that jumped to find a replacement show. Last week I told you that M-Net - as probably other broadcasters around the world - were blindsided by the show that suddenly fired cast members, is creatively retooling and went on an indefinite break. Had M-Net known this, the channel would in all likelihood not have started broadcasting Law & Order: Los Angeles in the first place.

ALSO READ: Why the brand-new Law & Order: Los Angeles on M-Net is going to create a scheduling headache for the pay broadcaster.

BREAKING PROGRAMMING NOTE: SABC2,, eNews Channel interrupting schedules for live press conference at 12:30 on Nelson Mandela's health.

Breaking news on this developing story is that I have confirmation from SABC2, and the eNews Channel (DStv 403) that all 3 channels are immediately interrupting their scheduled programming and will all be taking and broadcasting the hastily scheduled press conference from 12:30 live from the Milpark Hospital on the health of Nelson Mandela.

Vuyo Mbuli is anchoring for SABC2 with a live cross-over to Qunu in the Eastern Cape after the press conference.

BREAKING. Vuzu reschedules the broadcast of the final episodes of True Beauty for February.

After angering viewers by omitting to show the final episodes of the 2nd season of the reality show True Beauty on Monday night when Vuzu (DStv 123) suddenly replaced the show with double episodes of The Vampire Diaries, the channel has now rescheduled the second season finale of True Beauty for Monday, 14 February at 19:30.

Vuzu didn't communicate with viewers about what happened or why, and is still not explaining what created the broadcasting error, but has at least decided to give viewers the pay-off for following the reality show that ''disappeared'' with explanation on Monday.

''We have made a programme change on Vuzu in February 2011, this is due to the fact we have scheduled two episodes of The Vampire Diaries season 1 on Monday nights beginning 25 January, 31st January and 7th February, 2011. We have moved the final episode of True Beauty to broadcast on 14th February 2011 at 19:00, and Double Exposure will now begin on 21st February 2011,'' says Vuzu.

BREAKING. Vuzu still investigating what went wrong with the missing second season finale of True Beauty it didn't show.

Vuzu (DStv 123) and MultiChoice have heard viewers' complaints and are investigating what went wrong with the missing second season finale of the reality show True Beauty that was supposed to go out on Monday...but didn't - and without warning or any word why.

ALSO READ: Viewers are wondering: Vuzu where the True Beauty second season finale?

Vuzu - that still don't know what really went wrong - has remained silent even though I made numerous enquiries about what went wrong, how it might be rectified, and when viewers would be able to see the conclusion. Viewers are upset since they says that they've given their time week after week following this reality show that test contestants who think they're being judged on their outer beauty, but are secretly tested on how nice they are too, without being able to see who eventually won.

Vuzu just responded for the first time about the broadcasting snafu, saying, ''this is currently being investigated. As soon as we have an outcome, we will relay it to you and your readers.''

ALSO READ: Vuzu reschedules the second season finale of True Beauty for 14 February.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

BREAKING. The first official look at the new updated ThunderCats that's set to start on The Cartoon Nework later this year.

Here is the first official look at the new ThunderCats cartoon that will debut later this year on The Cartoon Network (DStv 301) in the first image released by the studio responsible for the new show.

The new characters' look in ThunderCats is quite a departure from their 80's classic look with a marked more manga/anime look. ''Roaring to life through WBA and Studio4°C's use of the Japanese animated artistry of anime, ThunderCats characters Lion-O, Mumm-Ra, Panthro, Cheetara and others will spring off the screen with realistic cat-like characteristics inconceivable in previous incarnations,'' says the studio in a press release.

''The new ThunderCats will appeal to viewers who have loved the characters all their lives as well as young newcomers to the franchise. A sweeping tale combining swords and science and boasting ferocious battles with the highest of stakes, the grand origin story of Prince Lion-O's ascension to the throne - and of those who would thwart his destiny at any cost - takes on epic dimensions in this sharp new telling. ThunderCats is executive produced by Sam Register (Teen Titans, Ben 10, Batman: The Brave and the Bold).''

ALSO READ: Mumm-Ra will not be happy. The Cartoon Network getting ready to revive the classic 80's cartoon series in 2011.
ALSO READ: First glimpse of the new Lion-O is The Cartoon Network's planned updated ThunderCats cartoon for 2011.
ALSO READ: The Cartoon Network still mum (January 2011) on whether ThunderCats will be shown in South Africa in 2011.

Seven Oprah secrets you didn't know . . . from behind the scenes at The Oprah Winfrey Show.

I've watched every episode so far of the new reality show Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes that gives a tantalizing and very candid look at what really goes on behind the scenes of The Oprah Winfrey Show - and I'm telling about seven of them.

Since Oprah Winfrey revealed her family secret on Monday that she has a half sister Patricia, I thought I'd give you seven secrets most people won't know about the talk show host.

My new week's Channel 24 column is out and you'll find it RIGHT HERE with some interesting stuff about Oprah and the show.

BREAKING. TopTV restructuring; employees are getting options but nobody has been retrenched or fired.

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South Africa's newest pay TV platform is restructuring 8 months after it started its commercial pay TV service but TopTV stresses that employees have been given options, that there's been no retrenchments yet and that no staff's been fired.

TopTV that confirmed to me that On Digital Media (ODM) is restructuring, says the business that recently announced that it has signed up 200 000 subscribers since May isn't struggling and ''has gone from a start-up phase to being fully operational''. TopTV says this has ''necessitated a relook at our structure which we are currently undergoing''.

''We haven't been notified of any retrenchments at this stage,'' says Elouise Kelly, ODM chief marketing officer. ''People are being given options. I can't say what will happen, but there haven't been retrenchments. People are able to have their say about options and up to now regarding retrenchments there haven't been a single one. Nobody have been affected in this way, if at all, during this restructuring process,'' she says.

BREAKING. TopTV admits the pay TV operator has active subscribers who are getting an unscrambled signal but are behind on payments.

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I can give the facts and reveal that TopTV's announced 200 000 TopTV subscriber number includes some active subscribers who are continuing to receive an unblocked signal, although they're behind on payments.

Normally pay TV subscribers' signal is blocked and scrambled immediately after non-payment and only reactivated once full payment of the arrears amount is made, but On Digital Media (ODM) tells me there are indeed subscribers that have not been cut and that the company is making a dedicated effort to recoup payment from these subscribers.

Speculation started swirling days ago in the TV industry - but not yet reported on anywhere - that TopTV is blatantly driving subscriber numbers although signed-up subscribers who default on their monthly payments are kept on the active TV signal system. According to the rumour, TopTV is reluctant to ''cut off subscribers'' when they're in payment default, in arrears or simply not paying, ''just so they can make numbers''. I asked TopTV whether this is indeed the case and if yes, why this is happening.

''Like any business we have customers who are not paying and we have been trying to recoup this money from them without resorting to switching off the service,'' says Elouise Kelly, ODM's chief marketing officer. ''As everyone is aware we had issues at launch, one of those being our call centre being inundated with calls. During this period certain details were entered into our system incorrectly which resulted in some of our subscribers not knowing how or where to pay, and in certain instances us not having the correct details for TopTV subscribers,'' says Elouise Kelly. ''This was of course no fault of our subscribers and we do not want to unfairly penalise them.''

TopTV isn't saying how many subscribers are behind on their monthly payments.

ALSO READ: TopTV hits 200 000 subscribers and 800 000 viewers.
ALSO READ: What TopTV's astounding subscriber number of 200 000 actually means.

BREAKING. The Universal Channel grabs the hot new show Fairly Legal; set to start in April starring Sarah Shahi.

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I can break the news exclusively that The Universal Channel (DStv 108) has the rights to the brand-new show Fairly Legal and I can tell you that it will start on The Universal Channel in April.

At the beginning of the year RIGHT HERE I wrote about 2011's most-anticipated hot new shows starting this year and Fairly Legal is on the list. No local broadcasters could tell me though that they already snagged it and now I know why: The Universal Channel grabbed this hot property first in what the trade refers to as a ''territory premiere'' - a serious upping of its gamemanship for this almost a year old channel. Fairly Legal just started in America this month and could very well be the new Ally McBeal (minus the dancing baby).

It stars Sarah Shahi as lawyer Kate Reed who goes all lovey-dovey after the death of her dad and decides to rather help people settle their differences before they go to court. Cue the crazy cases, a big mystery (Richard Dean Anderson is going to be seen in a recurring role), an ex flame she has to work with and a hyper secretary (think of a male version of Elaine). The first season will definitely have 10 episodes.

ALSO READ: 2011's hottest new shows: The most-anticipated new shows everone will be talking about.

BREAKING. Is South Africa's Margaret Gardiner in Hollywood joining M-Net's All Access? I know the answer. . .

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Is the glam Margaret Gardiner from South Africa who's living in Los Angeles and who have done many a celeb interview for SABC3's weekly Top Billing entertainment magazine show over the years now joining M-Net's weekly entertainment magazine show All Access that returned this past Friday now at 19:00 with its first fresh episode for the year (without so much as a peep out of M-Net)?

Viewers were surprised when Margaret Gardiner (pictured here with All Access presenter Jason Greer when the show visited her in LA a while back) popped up on their screens on Friday. Is Margaret Gardiner now doing TV interviews for All Access I wondered. ''Margaret and All Access became good friends when Jason Greer was last in LA,'' I'm told. ''She kept in touch and informed All Access that she had the opportunity to talk to Nicole Kidman as well as Halle Berry about their big new movies,'' I'm told. ''Since both we're nominated for Golden Globes and possibly Oscars the opportunity was grabbed.''

So, Margaret Gardiner won't be exclusive to All Access, but will probably used for the show more during the year now. I can be first to spill that viewers would be able to see Margaret Gardiner's Halle Berry interview on 11 February on All Access on M-Net. ''Margaret has incredible contacts and is still very much loved, so as and where the opportunity arise All Access will consider asking her again. Not on a fixed basis, but as opportunities arise,'' I'm told.