Friday, September 30, 2011

New animation show Sinbad in Space coming to KidsCo from the second half of 2012.

A new original animation show Sinbad in Space will be coming to KidsCo (TopTV 255 / DStv 308) in the second half of 2012.

"By having your own, original programming you have something that truly fits your brand and in a world where there is a lot of clutter, the KidsCo brand needs to really stand for something,'' Paul Robinson, KidsCo global CEO told TBIvision.

BREAKING. MultiChoice extends its DStv TV guide to the iPad with a brand-new iPad DStv TV guide that's interactive.

MultiChoice isn't telling the press about it and there's been no official release or word from the pay TV platform to the media, but DStv now has a brand-new iPad application for its DStv guide.

The iPad DStv TV guide has been designed and created by immedia. iPad users can now download the iPad DStv TV guide app to scroll through DStv programming across various channels for 10 days.

The DStv TV guide application also contains highlights, feature shows and news snippets. Users can also customise the iPad TV guide for the DStv channel selection in a particular African country besides just South Africa, and can also refine it further according to genre, DStv bouquet and set reminders for shows.

M-Net sells 4 shows - All Access Mzansi, Cooking with Siba, Tinsel and Naija Sings to Africa HD for broadcast in America.

M-Net has licensed over 300 hours of the pay broadcaster's high definition (HD) TV shows to the new TV channel Africa HD that will be broadcasting in America and the Carribean from 2012.

M-Net has licensed the two Mzansi Magic shows Cooking with Siba and the entertainment magazine show All Access Mzansi to Africa HD, as well as two Nigerian soaps - Tinsel and the reality show Naija Sings.

''This partnership reflects M-Net's global strategy supporting the expansion of our HD programming  library into territories worldwide,'' says Mike Dearham, M-Net's head of sales and library. ''These shows are a true reflection of the diverse array of programming that is currently being produced on the African continent.''

Africa HD says the nascent broadcaster is looking forward to possibly expanding the number of M-Net shows on the channel in future. "We look forward to a long and mutually rewarding relationship as Africa HD expands its global footprint,'' says James Makawa, CEO of Africa HD.

HAVE YOUR CAKE AND SEE IT TOO. Charly's Cake Angels starting Saturday on SABC3 a new cake reality show you'll want to watch.

Charly's Cake Angels is a truly delightful (I've watched the episodes already) brand-new, local reality show starting on SABC3 tomorrow, Saturday 1 October at 16:00 which is one of the best local TV productions South African viewers will see in years.

In this 13 part first season (more stories, interviews and a review tomorrow on TV with Thinus) cameras venture behind-the-scenes of South Africa's most famous cake shop bakery, Charly's Bakery in Cape Town for a revealing, highly-entertaining and quite astounding look at what is happening in this beloved cakery (is that a word?).

This local TV production filmed over the last 10 months is wonderfully shot. The episodes, although they follow real events are delightfully themed around various dramas.

Charly's Cake Angels is carefully constructed to show the depth of the various cake characters - proof that South Africa really does have the TV production talent to make great reality television. Charly's Cake Angels has just the right sprinkling of drama, mixed with quality ingredients like fascinating characters, jaw-dropping challenges and some self-referential humour.

Charly's Cake Angels is from Justin Bonello's Cooked in Africa Films, executive produced by Peter Gird and follows (the initially reluctant) Jacqui Biess of Charly's Bakery in Cape Town's Fringe district and her daughters Alexandra, Daniella and Roche as the orders come in for amazing cake creations while a wide range of dramas play out - some with remarkable emotional depth.

Charly's Cake Angels needs a better timeslot from SABC3 who can with absolute confidence put this show in primetime where this local production will surely shine - just like some 5 tier chocolate cake that's beautiful to look at.

Charly's Cake Angels is pure icing on your TV cake and a great TV addition for South Africa viewers.

ALSO READ: Who are they? Meet the awesome angels from Charly's Cake Angels, SABC3's new local reality show.
ALSO READ: Warning! Don't look if you can help it! The colour and the cake creations in Charly's Cake Angels on SABC3 might be too much to handle.
ALSO READ: REVIEW: Charly's Cake Angels on SABC3 is light, fluffy and wonderfully decorated with enough sweet stuff inside to make for quality television.
ALSO READ: Charly's Cake Angels recap Ep.1: ''Oh dear. They're forever calling me downstairs. And they get so irate if I don't run.''

Thursday, September 29, 2011

M-Net's beautiful campaign, 25 faces through the years for its special 25th birthday, in October revealed!

It's big! It's beautiful! It's ultra glamorous, massive in scope (both physically and metaphorically) and looks awesome - M-Net's 25 faces to celebrate 25 years for M-Net's special 25th birthday campaign for October.

In August I broke the news RIGHT HERE that M-Net is working on a lavish plan to celebrate its major 25th milestone with faces from the past as well as now, and here is the very first photo now on M-Net's corporate website of that campaign. Readers are telling me they've seen it already in newspapers and magazines.

This photo will be part of M-Net's massive multi-dimensional campaign and these are the faces that will be popping up solo, as well as in groups, and in this massive photo on everything from billboards to magazines and in special on-air promos on the various M-Net channels during the whole of October.

There's only 24 faces in this photo on quick count (so someone's been removed and it's no longer technically 25 people) but how awesome-looking is this?

From Colin Moss to Ashley Hayden, Elana Afrika and Derek Watts and Doreen Morris, to ProVerb and Hykie Berg and Shaleen Surtie-Richards and Nico Panagio and Tammy-Anne Fortuin and Brumilda van Rensburg, Connie Ferguson, Shona Ferguson, Coenie de Villiers and several more, this epic M-Net 25th birthday photo canvass is big in every sense of the word. (Click on the pic to see the whole photo.)

The beautiful faces in this incredible work of art really, are dripping in the finest glamour wear echoeing tones of blues and purples in keeping with the M-Net colours.

All are clearly individually styled and are shimmering in Sunday bests, most probably sourced from all over including top designers and exclusive boutiques, and with not so much as a hair out of place. Splendid and great, and clearly a great effort behind-the-scenes culminating in a very well executed and well done photo, befitting the pay broadcaster celebrating a quarter of a century.

BREAKING. 'Great developments at MultiChoice coming in the next few months' that's somehow tied to the issue of repeat programming on DStv.

You're reading it here first.

I can reveal that MultiChoice is busy with something new (and intriguing to say the least) which the pay TV platform will reveal, implement, unveil or change within the next few months and which somehow ties in with the issue of repeats and rebroadcasts and that will somehow address, aleviate or mitigate subscribers' ongoing irritation/dislike/gripe regarding repeats.

Although MultiChoice is not responsible for repeats (remember that DStv only add channels and make them available on the various bouquets - in essence it aggregates TV content and bundles it together for subscribers at a price), MultiChoice is busy working on and developing ... something that will impact on repeats and rebroadcasts.

This new MultiChoice development will - although not much else is known at this stage (and believe me, if I know I would tell you) - somehow lessen or circumvent in a sense, repeats. It will not necessarily reduce the number of repeats on all channels (repeats are and will forever be part of the model of linear TV programming) but MultiChoice seems to be working on something that in some way is going to speak to DStv subscriber's exposure or limited options regarding being subjected to repeat programming.

It could also be that MultiChoice will impose stricter terms on the maximum number of repeat hours a channel is allowed to have (although repeats there will always be), or it could be something else that gives subscribers another option.

The widely-respected Aletta Alberts, general manager of content at MultiChoice said MultiChoice is very aware of the frustration that subscribers feel over repeats. She said that MultiChoice is addressing it and that MultiChoice always listens to subscribers. Then she said this about the issue of addressing repeats and limiting/circumventing repeat programming - and only this:

''There are great developments at MultiChoice around that in the next few months,'' Aletta Alberts said.

''I can't at this stage say too much. I can't discuss any of that. But it's not like we are not hearing you. In the next few months more will be revealed.''

FIRST LOOK. The new Studio Universal unveils its programme grid; shows how movies will be themed by genre on various weeknights.

You're seeing it here first.

Studio Universal (DStv 119) will start tomorrow on MultiChoice's DStv Premium and DStv Compact as a new movie channel in South Africa and Africa and here's your first indication of how the movies and content on the channel will actually be themed and structured.

This image I took at the Studio Universal press conference and launch event last week in Johannesburg (look out for special coverage from TV with Thinus from tomorrow including interviews) give a programme grid break-down of how Studio Universal will be themeing the various nights.

Studio Universal will have Action Nights on Mondays, Crime Thrillers on Tuesdays, Hollywood Hits on Wednesdays, the Thursday Movie on Thursdays, do Comedy Night on Fridays and devote Saturdays and Sundays as Action Weekend.

Studio Universal also said ''primetime will be from 20:00 every night''.

MUST WATCH! M-Net's 101 Days of Magic on-air promo is completely brilliant, delightful and packed with creative perfection.

M-Net's new ''101 Days of Magic'' on-air promo is absolutely perfect, looks completely brilliant, is funny, is one of the best on-air channel promos I've seen in South Africa in a long time, and is one of the best that M-Net has come up with in a while. Try and look out for this highly-enjoyable and great M-Net promo playing now.

Well done to the South African pay TV broadcaster for a high quality piece of work that beautifully captures not only the essence of the channel and teases new upcoming programming, but also sells the allure of the better television that comes with a pay proposition. The superb promo doesn't sell the promise of what could be, but what will be - and does so in a super cool and yet also incredibly functional way. 

The wonderful 101 Days of Magic in heavy rotation on M-Net is delightful, pacey, packed with perfect outtake scenes and wonderfully synched to music. Whoever did this wonderful piece of work really watches television (and lots of it), really watched through a lot of the upcoming content, and clearly have put in a lot of time and effort to select the best scenes to not only fit with each other in a seamless, beautiful chain as an ongoing visual narrative, but also the music, beat and tone of the promo. (Minute details like actually hearing the cocking of the guns: incredible!)

You can't watch it and not have a smile of joy and feel just a little better. It really is magic.

Of course M-Net didn't actually send out anything until I asked about M-Net 101, and then send the information to everyone who just mostly passively sits and receives (sigh). Basically the on-air promo is part of M-Net's new campaign that started on 22 September when there was 101 calendar days left until the end of the year (101 is also M-Net's channel number on DStv). The pay channel will start 10 new shows/seasons in the remaining 3 months of this year.

The 101 Days of Magic promo, in a great way teases the start of Game of Thrones on Mondays, The X Factor USA on Saturdays and Sundays, Nikita on Tuesdays, Retired at 35 on Tuesdays, America's Got Talent on Mondays and Thursdays, The Defenders on Thursdays, Love Bites on Thursdays, Franklin & Bash on Tuesdays, Body of Proof on Thursdays and Breaking In on Fridays.

I've watched this awesome TV minute more times now that what I should probably admit (70? 80?) and ... ''I just can't seem to get enough if yoooou''.

BREAKING. Wicket to Wicket is SABC3's new weekly cricket magazine show; 'will maintain the heartbeat of cricket throughout the year'.

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I can exclusively break the news that Wicket to Wicket will be the name of SABC3's brand-new weekly cricket magazine show that will be starting on Friday, 7 October at 18:30.

Wicket to Wicket on SABC3 will have analysis, highlights, interviews with cricket stars and profiles of interesting characters, players and people from the world of cricket. The show, only known to insiders with the working title of ''Cricket Magazine Show'' will definitely be called Wicket to Wicket, sources are telling TV with Thinus exclusively.

''SABC3 is very carefully positioning as the 'home of cricket' ,'' says Lefa Afrika, SABC3 programming manager, who only referred to it as the Cricket Magazine Show. ''Just like soccer, just like other sports on other channels, SABC3 in future and with this show, want to maintain the heartbeat of cricket for cricket fans throughout the year.''

The production team is going to try and present Wicket to Wicket from various cricket venues around South Africa, and possibly even the world. ''From Newlands and Wanderers and everywhere else,'' says Lefa Afrika. ''One of the important things we want to cover is cricket news. Cricket news on television isn't covered really well and not in real great depth. We would like to do justice to that.''

''There will also be a strong lifestyle element to the show as well, what the cricket players and people involved with this game are doing abd busy with, who's been seen and heard at matches.''

The October issue of O The Oprah Magazine has an incredible 26 page Commemorative Section that's a fantastic tribute to the TV show.

If you like The Oprah Winfrey Show (SABC3, weekdays, 17:30) you have to get your hands on the October issue of O The Oprah Magazine for a absolutely incredible Official Commemoratative Section any longtime viewer of the show will love.

(Programming note: And SABC3 just changed their line-up and will now be showing the Surprise Oprah A Farewell Spectacular Part II episode of Oprah today, Thursday, 29 September and the very final episode tomorrow, Friday 30 September at 17:30. It will be the first time these series capping episodes are going out in the regular 17:30 timeslot on SABC3 after the primetime broadcast in July. From next week The Oprah Winfrey Show also moves to 14:50).

The only magazine I absolutely buy religiously and have basically every single copy of is Men's Health, but earlier this week I also bought the October issue of O The Oprah Magazine that just went on sale. It said ''200 Pages Biggest Issue Ever!'' and media junkie me wanted to see how the content looked and changed because of more pages. I'll store this must-see issue next to my other selection of magazines that paid tribute to various TV shows in a perfect way in its pages.

Surprise, surprise in this October O Magazine was the jaw-dropping 26 pages Commemorative Section and beautifully done magazine content that enhances/supplements the TV show. If only more magazines were able to do things like this, this well. Two magazines tried similar exercises earlier this year, this O Magazine special section is better than both of those and an immersive read.

The special section in the October issue of O Magazine has intriguing diary excepts and photos of it, great photos, unforgettable moments with photos, the first producers looking back to the early years, biggest mistakes, best lessons, stories that moved the world, biggest revelations on the talk show over the years, the stars, the dream team of fellow talk show stars she assembled over the years and the other famous experts, make-overs, the Australia visit, the final season's big moments and more.

Quite amazing, and a brilliant tribute to a TV show in a magazine that's really, really well done. If you see and read and page through it, you'll see what I mean.

Having been a news editor at a magazine I know from arduous first-hand experience what it takes to put special pages and sections like this together and what it takes to do it right and make it look right, and these incredibly beautiful pages were done right.

BREAKING. SABC2 planning on changing its on-air look before the end of the year?

You're reading it here first.

Please note the question mark with this one, because I usually only break news when I have checked what I've heard with more than one, and always very credible sources. This I've been told in person by only one longtime source, but with the way things are going over at the SABC currently ... who really knows anymore?

Here goes: An insider tells me that SABC2 will be changing its on-air look before the end of the year.

''The look is going to change soon,'' I'm told. ''Definitely before the end of the year it's going to look different,'' the insider (highly trusted) said to me. No official word from the channel of course.

SABC1 spruced up earlier this year in mid-March with the channel's new on-air look.

SABC3 is ''relaunching from October but on Monday I told you RIGHT HERE that the channel won't be changing it's current chanel logo and on-air look, which will remain the same.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

South African TV industry sniggering about the SABC worker who went to London, allegedly got a prostitute, and didn't want to pay up for sex.

The South African TV industry has been laughing (sneering rather) and whispering the past few days about a jaw-dropping gossip story doing the rounds about a very senior SABC official at the public broadcaster who allegedly went to London recently for business school training but picked up prostitutes with his buddy and got busted after refusing to pay the girls what they owed.

People are shaking their heads at the man at South Africa's public broadcaster who, together with another South African government official, picked up some prostitutes on the streets of London, had their fun in their hotel rooms and then refused to pay full fare for what they owed. The ladies of ill repute made some noise and the police arrived.

The men were in London for official business and a joint business school initiative between British and South African academic institutions of great repute.

Long story short, the police arrived, and a SABC board member allegedly had to intervene to keep the SABC worker out of jail. Both were immediately dropped from the course and sent back to South Africa.

I asked the SABC today if the broadcaster has any comment on the story doing the rounds. Not a word.

BREAKING. The Food Network orders its 3rd new non-American TV show, From Spain with Love.

The Food Network (DStv 185) channel feed seen in South Africa has ordered a third new TV show, From Spain with Love, that's set to start on the channel in October.

From Spain with Love will have 13 episodes and the food travel show will follow presenter Annie Sibboney around Spain as she explores the country's signature dishes and culinary culture.

''The series is more than just a recipe show. Annie does an amazing job of inviting viewers in, to give them an authentic taste and feel for Spanish culture and cuisine,'' says Nick Thorogood, the managing director of The Food Network for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

NBCUniversal International makes some changes to its international TV leadership structure that has bearing on South Africa.

NBCUniversal International announced changes to its international TV structure. That includes structural changes that has bearing on Africa and South Africa where some TV channels are shown such as The Universal Channel, E! Entertainment, Style and also Studio Universal.

The structure change comes after Kevin MacLellan was appointment as president in March.

Don McGregor has been appointed to the newly created role of executive vice president of International Television Distribution. He will be overseeing a new organisational structure that encompasses responsibility for Britain and Ireland, Benelux, Netherlands, Scandinavia, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific.

Duccio Donati is appointed to the newly created role of executive vice president, Universal Networks International. Colin McLeod in London, the managing director for the Benelux, Central and Eastern Europe and Africa regions will now also be adding the E! Entertainment and Style channels to his responsibilities.

BREAKING. Tower Prep coming to Vuzu from 24 October at 20:30, suddenly replacing The Nine Lives of Chloe King.

You're reading it here first.

I can exclusively break the news that Tower Prep is coming to Vuzu and will start on Monday 24 October at 20:30.

The teen drama will be replacing The Nine Lives of Chloe King which I was first to spill in August RIGHT HERE was supposed to start in that timeslot, but has now been replaced. ''The title has been dropped from the schedule,'' a source tells TV with Thinus. In its place is Tower Prep - actually a Cartoon Network show - but one of the new hour long live-action shows the Cartoon Network started trying.

The Cartoon Network has another live-action show Unnatural History which immediately made me wonder: If the Cartoon Network is not going to show Tower Prep (their own show) first, if at all, and rather sold it to other channels (Cartoon Network doesn't want to show it themselves in this territory), is there still a chance it will be showing Unnatural History? The answer is no. The Cartoon Network in London tells me Unnatural History won't be on the channel.

(By the way, I also asked about the 4th season of Star Wars The Clone Wars which just started on Cartoon Network in America and I'm told is will start in the 2nd quarter of 2012 on the Cartoon Network in South Africa).

Tower Prep is a very enjoyable science fiction type show and revolves around Ian Archer (Drew van Acker) who goes to sleep and then wakes up at Tower Prep - a private boarding school nobody can escape from. There's a wall around it, strange and dangerous creatures in the woods at night, teachers and a coach, and an enigmatic computer controlling everything.

With some new friends (there's bullies too) Ian and his friends try to figure out how to escape from Tower Prep and what (and where) the school actually is. As students at the school they're all actually special, each with a unique ability, and later on are mysteriously warned that they have to be prepared because ''a war is coming''.

You might start out watching Tower Prep and think ''Harry Potter'', but my only clue will be that this is not magic, its a science fiction show - remember that.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

BREAKING. Crushanda Jones out of Idols on M-Net as Dave van Vuuren and Mark Haze will compete to win the 7th season.

Crushanda Forbes (23) from Kimberley is out of Idols, leaving Dave van Vuuren (21) from Johannesburg and Mark Haze (28) from Cape Town as the last two contestants who will perform and one who will win the 7th season of Idols on M-Net.

If the suspense is killing you, take a look RIGHT HERE at what I predicted way back at the beginning of August.

''Crushanda, I'm afraid you fall this close to the final,'' said Idols presenter ProVerb. ''Wow, what can I say guys? Top three alone is a major achievement for me,'' said Crushanda Jones. ''It's not the end of me, I'm still going to work as hard as I ever could. To all my fans, thanks so much for supporting me.''

As with previous seasons, the show announced that the full Top 10 contestants would be appearing in the Idols finale on Tuesday 4 October of 90 minutes from 19:30 which will be (also as usual) a live finale results show.

I have two other predictions for the Idols Tuesday finale. There's usually some announcement, this year there could be two. The show and M-Net usually leverage the huge reality TV audience to impart some upcoming information.

I would venture to say there's a very high likelihood that M-Net will announce during the Idols finale on Tuesday that the show will be back for an 8th season (viewership figures are great, the show isn't going anywhere but on).

Then I would gues that M-Net will announce at the end of the Idols finale that entries have open for MasterChef South Africa and that people can now enter for MasterChef SA immediately and how to do it. MasterChef South Africa is already in pre-production with Curious Pictures and Lucky Bean Media co-producingis already in pre-production with a possible broadcasting date on M-Net for February 2012, sources are telling me.

ALSO READ: Number 4 is out! Frizzy Freddie falls out of Idols.
ALSO READ: Number 5 is out! Lefa Phike goes home as Idols judge Unathi Msengana starts to cry.
ALSO READ: Number 6 is gone! Koebaai Kelly. Kelly Fortuin must pack her bags back to Cape Town.
ALSO READ: Number 8 and 7 are gone! Erin Fourie and Dene Vorster both leave Idols in a double elimination.
ALSO READ: Number 9 is gone! Phaksy must pack up. Phaksy Mngomezulu the next Idols contestant to get the boot.
ALSO READ: Number 10 is gone! Nolly aint going Holly. Noluthando Meje the first of the 7th season's Top 10 contestants in Idols to be sent home.

BREAKING. Thelma Melk, the SABC's company secretary, suspended for allegedly 'poor work performance'.

Thelma Melk, the long serving company secretary of the SABC is out; suspended because of allegations of ''poor work performance'' and taking unapproved leave.

Business Day broke the news of Thelma Melk's suspension at the public broadcaster. Sources confirm to me that Thelma Melk was told on Friday that's she's being suspended.

Thelma Melk has been linked to controversy at the SABC before where she was an international jetsetter before the broadcaster clamped down. Besides other international locales, Thelma Melk jetted to Los Angeles, first class, on a so-called ''content purchasing visit'' with a ticket that cost the SABC R175 000 and which made waves in 2009.

MUST CARRY CLUELESSNESS! Nobody - not even Icasa - has ANY idea of what public TV channels who will have to carry after DTT.

You're reading it here first.

No-one, no-one in South Africa - not the government, not the broadcasters, not the pay TV platforms, not even the regulator Icasa have any idea of who will have to carry what public TV channels during the switch-over of, and after digital terrestrial television (DTT).

Currently South Africa's broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has regulations stating the so-called ''must carry'' clause whereby pay TV operators such as MultiChoice's DStv and On Digital Media's (ODM) TopTV ''must carry'' public free-to-air television channels (for free).

That's why SABC1, SABC2, SABC3 (and are included in the bouquets of DStv, TopTV and on M-Net's analogue decoder. So, if in the switch from analogue to digital broadcasting in South Africa - a process known as digital migration - the SABC expands from 3 TV channels to 18 TV channels and goes from 1 to an as-yet-unannounced set of TV channels, will that entire new channel array have to be carried and be included on DStv, TopTV, and M-Net's DTT set top box?

The new additional public television channels are and will still be after all, public TV channels. And surely after years of DTT discussions, multiple sets of regulations and amendments, and great leadership and vision by Icasa as a strong, able and competent broadcasting regulator, there will be a well-defined set of regulations governing ''must carry'' terms and what ''must carry'' will mean and entail during the start of, and after the switch-over of DTT?

Guess again.

The South African broadcasting industry is completely clueless on ''must carry'' regulations for DTT, in fact, from Icasa side no 'must carry' regulations or clear and specific answers for ''must carry'' under DTT exists. That means that nobody has any idea what will happen, what must happen, or what is required.

''Currently there's regulations that speak to 'must carry' for pay TV operators. Those regulations address the SABC within the current environment with analogue television. It's very arguable whether those regulations have relevance within a digital environment,'' Thato Mahapa, TopTV's senior manager for regulatory affairs, told parliament.

''The subject wasn't treated comprehensively, so there needs to be a very definitive statement on what impact 'must carry' must and will have during the dual illumination period and there after. That's not something that's clear at this stage,'' Thato Mahapa said.

Pay TV operators of course get these channels for free and would get the future additional channels for free as well since they're ''forced'' to carry them. For the pay platforms it's additional content and additional channels - something that attracts subscribers. But it also requires bandwidth that could go to rather have other TV channels on a bouquet. And of course there's the issue of what to do when it's a rubbish channel that an operator don't really want to have - even if it is free.

Asked by the portfolio committee on communications in parliament ''what must be carried after digital migration?'' on the platforms of pay TV operators such as DStv, TopTV and M-Net, Icasa was completely clueless and had no answer. ''We don't have a direct answer,'' said Icasa.

''What we are doing is that currently we have a project to review all the broadcasting related regulations because they are all analogue based. So we are going to review them and align them with the digital environment. 'Must carry' is one of them,'' Icasa said.

A slight tad bit late, wouldn't you say Icasa?

Monday, September 26, 2011

BREAKING. Vuzu still negotiating broadcasting rights for the 3rd season of The Vampire Diaries; trying to get new teen drama The Secret Circle.

You're reading it here first.

Baff. Baff. Baff. That's 3 baffs 'cause I've got three little titbits ... first.

Baff one: Vuzu (DStv 123) is negotiating for the broadcasting rights to ... the new hour long teen drama The Secret Circle that just started and is two episodes old in America. Teen witch children discover their ancestry and ... well I've watched the two hours already shown and its good.

Baff two: There is no broadcasting rights licensing agreement yet with Vuzu for the brand-new 3rd season of The Vampire Diaries ... yet. The 3rd season of The Vampire Diaries also just started in America and is also two episodes old.

Baff three: The fact that insiders are telling me that there's no broadcasting contracts yet, indicates that Vuzu does want to continue with The Vampire Diaries, and more importantly, is in fact clearly interested in trying to get The Secret Circle. ''Still in contract stages,'' I'm told.

Oh, the scene above? Boy witch kisses girl witch in the woods, and things start to rise. Water droplets. Water droplets start to rise.

Terra Nova behind the scenes: 'The Heart of Terra Nova' and the first look at a new carnosaur.

Terra Nova, the epic-looking, brand-new, massive TV adventure by Steven Spielberg about a family travelling back in time to a new colony in the past starts tonight in America (M-Net will have it from January 2012).

Because the show starts in America this evening with a two hour premiere, TV Guide has this exclusive new dino-tacular photo or a carnosaur that's one of the first dinosaurs that will be showing up.

There's also this brand-new behind-the-scenes clip below, that I would suggest you watch, Terra Nova: The Heart of Terra Nova, that reveals a bit more about the most expensive TV show yet made.

''Terra Nova is this massive production of adventure and action, and, like, dinosaurs and guns and future and past and all this crazy stuff that you have to absorb, but at the very center of it all there's this, just a simple story of a family trying to stay together,'' says Landon Liboiron who plays son Josh Shannon.

AETN UK rebrands and changes its name to A+E Networks UK; new name and logo used immediately.

AETN UK, a joint venture between A+E Networks and BSkyB is rebranding as A+E Networks UK with a new name and logo.

A+E Networks UK delivers channels such as History (DStv 254) and the Crime & Investigation Network (DStv 255) to South Africa on MultiChoice's DStv.

''The new logo features a contemporary colour palette and fresh typography that could be easily recognisable and reflect with the global communications company that A+E Networks is today,'' says A+E Networks UK in a statement.

"At A+E Networks UK we've been in the business of reinventing storytelling since 1995 when History first launched,'' says Tom Davidson, the managing director for A+E Networks UK. ''Through our portfolio of diverse channels we offer viewers inspiring stories, inventive new genres and great entertainment."

The new corporate image, company name and logo was unveiled in America in May and will be rolled out and used immediately across Britain, central and Eastern Europe, the Nordics and Benelux countries, South Africa and the Middle East.

BREAKING. SABC3's on-air look and bi-blue and white channel logo won't be changing from October.

You're reading it here first.

I can exclusively reveal that SABC3's bi-blue and white channel logo (and on-air look) won't be changing come October when SABC3 relaunches with a new programming schedule.

''It remains the same. Unchanged,'' says a source. ''The focus is on the content, the better content and the timeslot adjustments; the channel imaging is strong and clean will remain,'' another SABC3 insider tells TV with Thinus.

New Lonely Planet programming block dedicated to travel television to start on BBC Knowledge from 5 November in South Africa.

The Lonely Planet branded programming block will start on BBC Knowledge (DStv 251) in South Africa on 5 November, BBC Worldwide that runs channels like BBC Knowledge, announced today in Britain.

The Lonely Planet block on BBC Knowledge will provide a dedicated home to the channel's travel programming, including the show Free Rein specially commissioned by BBC Worldwide from Lonely Planet's production arm Freehand.

Free Rein will follow Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward as they set out on a travel adventure across The Kimberley in Australia. Following in 2012 is Year of Adventures with Ben Fogle and based on the Lonely Planet book of the same name.

''This dedicated home on BBC Knowledge marks a major step in our development of Lonely Planet as a television brand,'' says Jana Bennett, the president of BBC Worldwide Networks. ''BBC Worldwide will continue to support its growth through these programming blocks and through specially commissioned Lonely Planet productions. We hope that in time, the brand can evolve into a standalone television channel.''

In South Africa and the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, the Lonely Planet block will kick off on 5 November on BBC Knowledge with the shows Tribe, Long Way Round and Roads Less Travelled. Other shows to fill the Lonely Planet programming block include Paul Merton in India, Tropic of Cancer with Simon Reeve and Russia: A Journey with Jonathan Dimbleby.

''The Lonely Planet schedule is designed to take our viewers on a journey of exploration and discovery, and we've selected these titles to feed their passion for experiencing the world through travel,'' says David Weiland, the senior vice president for programming and TV channels.

''Along with our own growing roster of original commissions – like Free Rein and Year of Adventures – these programmes will find a natural home in the Lonely Planet block, with a host of engaging personalities and experts to transport viewers right to the heart of a place,'' says David Weiland.

Officials involved with SA's migration process to digital terrestrial television suspended after allegations of misappropriating R29 million.

Three officials involved with South Africa's digital television migration to digital terrestrial television (DTT) have been suspended after allegations of misappropriating R29 million.

Andrew Hlubi, the chief financial officer (CFO); Molefi Mollo, business development officer; and Archie Mbatha, the supply-chain manager at the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (Usaasa) have all been suspended pending the outcome of a forensic audit.

Usaasa is the body tasked with the project of the logistics surrounding the subsidy that will be given by the government to the 5 million poorest TV households in South Africa to be able to buy a set top box (STB) when South Africa's TV industry switches from analogue broadcasting to a digital broadcasting system.

According to the forensic audit, millions of rand were paid to companies who haven't completed projects, incorrect contractors who were paid even if they didn't do any work.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

REVIEW. Kenny Kunene's ca$h can't carry his KK - So What cashy-yet-trashy reality show on

Kenny Kunene's crass reality show KK – So What seems to prove that if you're name is Kenny Kunene you can buy a Lamborghini. And a Porche. Just not really quality when it comes to television.

KK – So What that started on Saturday on with cameras following Sandton's often-controversial business provocateur is a stale and boring ''show-off'' show – literally flashing the cash (and very little else) in a production filled with fluff and very little fun. Why spent money to add this show to the line-up that was apparently first offered to SABC1 will remain as much a mystery as to why Kenny and the production company have him wear sunglasses blocking his eyes to viewers – thereby keeping the title subject of this vanity project distant.'s seemingly strugging publicity department wasn't able to, or didn't care, to actually alert all South Africa's TV critics like me and several others that KK – So What is starting, what the show is about, or even make a screener of the episodes available to all critics beforehand. Yet the first of the 26 episodes of KK – So What finally unspooled on Saturday evening on the commercial free-to-air broadcaster looking like a tedious FTV party segment that got stretched out too long. The overuse of monotonous techno rave music makes KK – So What best watched with the mute function on.

Devoid of any real drama and partially looking like a shoddy Channel O music video made somewhere in Africa, KK – So What comes across as uninspired, trash television that includes scenes of hands counting cash, liquor buying dished up as drama, and the obligatory staff being berated. When you've got cash (like the Kardashians) you have servants people you can boss around. It would appear to be the same at the ZAR business empire. Turn off the sound, add narrative subtitles, and you could have the Africa Magic channel Nollywood movie of the week while you're watch KK – So What.

Meanwhile Kenny Kunene keeps dropping kernels of inane Oprah-isms like ''When you are in trouble or when you have a problem, smile and you get a smile back''. One wonders if neither Kenny nor the producers thought of how the premise of an incredibly self-indulgent show such as this would have been much more interesting, and so much better, if the show rather followed the people who have to work for South Africa's self-anointed sushi king.

Characters like Kieran Lindeque (ZAR fashion editor) with the pixie-like haircut who talks in the third person, or phat Gayton McKenzie (one of Kenny's business directors and also one of the executive producers together with Gary Edwardes) who quips ''I'm a bulldog. You can't f- like a puppy,'' could possibly prove more interesting as subjects for a show such as this than merely following Kenny Kunene's cashy-yet-trashy exploits.

KK – So What remains one dimensional and fixated/focused on Kenny and his conspicuous consumption. The show stays with the image of him already established as a sushi-caviar-champagne business maverick, providing viewers with little that's new, or of interest, than the already-familiar and overexposed tabloid persona. There's no depth, no new angle and very little else other than a wealth of fool's gold on full display.

''We can stop at any garage, anywhere, and you'll see people flocking us,'' says Gayton McKenzie to camera with a ''I don't need sex'' T-shirt in a scene where he and Kenny parks in a Lamborghini at an Engen 1-Stop and the producers then start filming the gawking onlookers. ''A lot of people criticise and say 'Ja, you're spitting in the faces of the poor. What about the poor people? You see, people are happy for us. Even poor people are happy for us.'' (Yes. The production values of KK – So What make Paris Hilton's The Simple Life look almost National Geographic.)

The seemingly constructed, carefully-edited ''reality'' of KK – So What is also painfully evident in places. Kenny gets pulled over in his car by the traffic police, but the stationary camera is already on the side of the road before the event, showing Kenny's oncoming car being flagged to pull over. Reconstructed for the cameras after the fact, or does this show also have producers who can predict events like Nonhle Thema's ''reality'' show Nonhle Goes to Hollywood earlier this year?

''The hard truth is money gives you options. People want to make as if money is not important. There's two important things in anybody's life: oxygen and money,'' says Kenny. Sadly it's clear that neither more money nor more oxygen would be able to make KK – So What breathe a little bit better.

BBC Entertainment gets a new logo change and a new moving channel ident with 5 different versions.

BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) has a new on-air look (although no word from BBC Worldwide on this, which runs this British general entertainment channel in South Africa).

The word ''entertainment'' in the BBC Entertainment logo employs a new font, and the new on-screen BBC Entertainment ident has animated, abstract shards that twirl and eventually spin out wider against the backdrop of the red, blue, purple and pink colour palette thanks to high-gloss CGI.

There's 5 different variations of the new BBC Entertainment ident, capturing a sense of dance-like movement and in a sense, the ''performing arts''. grabs the broadcasting rights of Power Rangers Samurai; the 'reboot' of the once formidable, long-running kids series.

No word from (of course), but has grabbed the broadcasting rights for Power Rangers Samurai, the next and latest in the long-running Power Rangers kids series and basically the start of a ''reboot'' of the franchise.

The Los Angeles based distributor Marvista Entertainment has signed a licencing deal with in South Africa, as well as some other broadcasters across Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Michael Holmes gone from BackStory on CNN International; Isha Sesay taking over as the new presenter of BackStory.

The veteran presenter Michael Holmes has suddenly left Backstory on CNN International (DStv 401) and will be replaced by Isha Sesay from Monday 26 September, who takes over as the new presenter of Backstory on weekdays at 23:00 (South African time).

Michael Holmes isn't giving the backstory on the Backstory departure, although he will be moving to general news anchor duties and will present one of the daily International Desk editions on the 24 hour news channel.

Michael Holmes was the presenter of BackStory since it started on CNN International in 2008.

Friday, September 23, 2011

BREAKING. TopTV: 'Digital terrestrial television (DTT) is a threat to us' and a 'significant threat to our market share expansion'.

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Pay TV operator TopTV told parliament that the advent of digital terrestrial television (DTT) in South Africa, where the country will be switching from analogue to digital broadcasting, is ''a challenge for us'' and that ''at the end of the day it represents new competition against platforms such as us''.

''One such manner that such competition manifests is that it creates more avenues for advertising. The SABC spoke of creating 18 new TV channels and that's an opportunity for them to take an ever greater portion of the advertising market, which we're only just starting to go towards,'' Thato Mahapa, TopTV's senior manager for regulatory affairs, told the government.

''Digital terrestrial television in South Africa will also be a threat to us in the sense that it will be cheaper; there will be no monthly cost and more channels. DTT creates multichannel viewing with the only significant an annual TV licence fee. Essentially DTT will also be covering the same target market that we look at. For us as a new entrant into the South African broadcasting market we see DTT presenting a significant threat to our market share expansion. But we still consider it as a necessary development,'' Thato Mahapa said.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

BREAKING. warns government on digital terrestrial television: 'New spectrum tampering is going to ghetto-ize free TV for the masses.'

You're reading it here first.'s group CEO Marcel Golding warned/implored parliament that ''new tampering with the spectrum allocation is going to ghetto-ize free TV for masses of people in this country.''

Marcel Golding appeared before parliament's portfolio committee on communications and the hearings into digital TV migration in which South Africa is lagging behind. South Africa is risking falling further behind after the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) indicated that it wants to amend the digital migration policy for the country again, with possible spectrum allocation changes.

''Working people also have ambitions to have better TV's with higher definition. It is certainly going to be the standard as time unfolds. Why cut our spectrum? There's should be sufficient spectrum available after the digital dividend is assessed, of whether spectrum should be kept for new entrants if and when a market study has been done that indicates that it's viable for those businesses to be established,'' Marcel Golding said.

''We can't make those decisions today, we need more experience to do that. We appeal to Icasa to leave the regulations for now so that we can all proceed. We're not saying there shouldn't be new TV entrants. We're saying all this is leading to a delay.''

''And while we're moving into a delay, masses of people in this country are being denied multichannel television because there are individual groups who want TV stations. From's side we want to be cosntructive. We want to make digital terrestrial television (DTT) work for the country. A lot of these things are not what we wanted but we're doing it and supporting it because we think that's what government wants.''

BREAKING. to launch its digital terrestrial television (DTT) service in April 2012; full commercial launch between July and September 2012.

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The free-to-air commercial South African broadcaster plans to launch its digital terrestrial television service in April 2012 - a soft launch, with a full commercial launch planned for between July 2012 and September 2012.

ALSO READ: plans to launch the commercial free-to-air broadcaster's DTT service and new TV channels within the first half of 2012.

'' wishes to launch a digital terrestrial television (DTT) service within the next 9 to 12 months,'' Lara Kantor, senior executive told parliament's portfolio committee on communications. She said will join SABC with a soft DTT launch in April 2012, followed by a full commercial launch between July and September 2012 ''the date to be confirmed when we are more confident.''

We don't want to raise expectations yet again and not be able to fulfill those,'' Lara Kantor warned. ''Meeting those deadlines will require focus from and strong collaboration of industry and government. is committed to work with all other roleplayers to make sure our pans are aligned and that the free-to-air platform will be successful,'' she said.

''We are committed to launching DTT in 2012. We need leadership [from government and the regulator Icasa] to resolve those matters speedily,'' Lara Kantor implored.

ALSO READ: on digital terrestrial television (DTT) in South Africa: ''Our greatest challenge lies before us''; needs DTT ''for our own survival''.
ALSO READ: and M-Net seems to be fighting with each other the functionality of the free-to-air set top box control.
ALSO READ: on free-to-air set top box control: ''We do not have any direct benefit from this system. We appeal for finality on this matter.''

BREAKING. on free-to-air Set top box Control: 'We do not have any direct benefit from this system. We appeal for finality on this matter.'

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''We believe that there are just two major roadblocks standing in the way of a major digital terrestrial television (DTT) launch in 2012. Those are continuining delays on the decision on set top box control and the possible amendment of Icasa regulations,'' Lara Kantor, senior executive, told parliament's portfolio committee on communications.

''STB Control relates to the free-to-air set top box. was asked to work on that system so that government can achieve certain policy goals,'' Lara Kantor said. ''We certainly believe it will strengthen the free-to-air platform and in that regard we support it.''

''But we do not have any direct benefit from implementing this system as But we are concerned that as long as there are objections to encryption, as long as there are debates on whether it's required, how much it will cost, and who should own it, we cannot finalise the free-to-air set top box standard,'' Lara Kantor said.

''As long as that standard is not finalised, manufacturers can't produce boxes and we cannot launch. The pay TV system can launch, because this does not impact directly on their box, but our hands are tied. We really appeal for finality on this matter.''

ALSO READ: and M-Net seems to be fighting with each other over functionality of the free-to-air set top box for digital terrestrial television (DTT).
ALSO READ: on digital terrestrial television (DTT) in South Africa: ''Our greatest challenge lies before us''; needs DTT ''for our own survival''.