Thursday, May 31, 2012

South Africa's free-to-air commercial broadcaster more profitable thanks to ongoing growth in advertising revenue., through the media subsidiary Sabido Investment Limited which is owned by Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI), has increased it profitability, with gross profits climbing 17% to R766 million for the year ending March 2012.

Sabido revenue is up 18% to R1,9 billion for the year to end March, mostly attributed to advertising revenue growth.

ALSO READ: Porn takeover battle heats up as Longkloof Limited - an sister company - increases its bid for New Frontiers Limited. as the media and television part of HCI continues to be a star performer since the broadcaster started turning a profit in late 2003 for the first time after started in 1998. receives no TV licence fees and income is derived from sponsorships and advertising.

According to HCI's consolidated results on 21 July 2011 Sabido acquired Powercorp International Limited, a London based global content distributor of films and television series.

An interest of 80% and 90% respectively were acquired in September 2011 in Media Film Equipment Services and Media Film Services Incorporated - both of them sell and rent specialised equipment.

What could impact and Sabido's profitability in the not-too-distant future would be South Africa's switch-over to digital terrestrial television (DTT), a process known as digital migration. Both the hard switch-over in terms of infrastructure and signal distribution costs, as well as the massive amount of more programming and programming costs, make this a very capital intensive compulsory exercise for all South African broadcasters.

Sony Pictures Television Networks moving Africa and South Africa into a new smaller focused management structure.

Sony Pictures Television Networks (SPT Networks) is changing its management structure as it relates to Africa and South Africa.

SPT Networks' channel brands in South Africa include Sony Entertainment Television (DStv 113) and Sony Max (DStv 126).

The international channels arm of the Hollywood studio is splitting the traditional Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region into two: Western Europe, and then Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA).

Lyle Marsh has been promoted to senior vice president for the CEEMEA region and he will report to Andy Kaplan, the president of SPT Networks. "Following a significant period of expansion in EMEA, it is clear that to accomplish the next stage of our growth it is time to look at the region in two parts," says Sony Pictures Television Networks in a statement.

SPT Networks will continue to be headquartered in London.

Isha Sesay from CNN NewsCenter will continue to do that daily show as well as a second daily new show, Evening Express, on the HLN channel.

Isha Sesay from CNN NewsCenter on CNN International (DStv 401), weekdays at 21:30 on the global news channel is staying with the show, and will indeed be doing double duty when she also starts to present the show Evening Express in America on the HLN channel (not seen in South Africa).

Isha Sesay will continue to do both CNN NewsCenter as well as Evening Express, CNN International tells me.

ALSO READ: Is Isha Sesay of CNN NewsCenter keeping that show and adding another daily show, or what is going on?

BREAKING. SABC and two unions reach a new wage agreement;SABC staff gets a 9,5% salary increase after protracted wage negotiations.

The SABC and its two recognised trade unions have reached a new wage agreement, South Africa's public broadcaster announced.

The Broadcasting, Electronic Media and Allied Workers' Union (Bemawu) and the Communications Workers' Union (CWU) have reached a new agreement after protracted talks that led to an unofficial wage negotiation deadlock earlier this month.

SABC staff will get a 9,5% increase in basic salary, backdated to April 2012.

The unions originally demanded a 15% increase, then lowered it to 12%, while the SABC upped its offer to 8% and then eventually 9,5%.

Besides Discovery, Fox and National Geographic, viewers of pay TV don't really know a lot of the channel names.

According to market research conducted by Millward Brown Optimorn (MBO) internationally, TV viewers of subscription television don't really know or apparently care a lot about TV channel names. Besides Discovery, Fox and the National Geographic Channel the vast majority of TV channels are known to less than 20% of people.

MBO conducted research in countries as diverse as Indonesia, India, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Portugal, Italy and others. Discovery came out on top with 85% of people who know the brand, followed by National Geographic Channel (82%) and then Fox (61%). FX (33%) also ranked relatively high.

Why does this matter? It gives an indication to TV executives whether they have to market a specific show or programming more, or a brand like a channel name more.

Of course if you have great programming it makes it very easy to bring that specific draw under viewers' attention, but a strong channel brand name - if viewers know it - is very powerful when it comes to movies, sport and even news. Viewers will turn to that channel not knowing the content, but having a perception and an established expectation of what they think they will find at any time.

According to the study 65% of pay TV subscribers worldwide said they're satisfied with what they're getting from their pay TV experience,compared to 39% of people who are satisfied who have access to just free TV channels.

FALLING SKIES. The second season of Falling Skies on Fox Entertainment finds Tom inside an alien ship getting a proposal.

I've just finished watching the first episode of the second season of the science fiction drama Falling Skies which will start in America on 17 June and in South Africa on Fox Entertainment (TopTV 180) on on Monday 2 July at 20:15 and all I can say is ... awesome!

I just finished watching the online screener of the first brand-new episode (thanks Fox International Channels Africa) which was made available today and although I'm going to keep my review - and the full revelations - in the first episode of the second season until a bit later, I will spill a few non-spoilers of what I've just seen.

"We've studied you in great detail, professor. We've drawn from that a proposal that will end hostilities between us."

Those are the chilling words from the alien (spoken through not the alien) when professor Tom Mason comes face to face with the aliens inside the alien ship. Viewers will remember that the first season of Falling Skies ended with Tom Mason being visited by one of the alien creatures and asked to come to their one ship.

The first episode of the second season of Falling Skies contains extensive scenes taking place inside the alien ship - somewhat resembling in appearance the Hive ships from Stargate Atlantis. Oh, and the alien makes Tom Mason - and by implication mankind - a proposal (which I won't reveal for now).

Somebody's Harley gets destroyed, the aliens have developed a new way of tracking humans, and there's one word (actually two!) that you would have heard in Star Trek ... the "neutral zone"! All the so-far known types of aliens are going to be seen, very clearly, in daylight, as well as an alien ship in the first episode.

Also Tom Mason (when he gets "released") is nowhere close to Boston, so he has to try and make his way back there.

More later, but all I can say for now is that the start of the second season of Falling Skies remains good primetime television if you like drama and like science fiction.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Disney Channel now has a new Friday afternoon movie timeslot at 17:00.

The Disney Channel (DStv 303) has a new movie timeslot on Fridays at 17:00 which has been branded the "Disney Channel Family Movie Block".

Christine Service, the country manager for The Walt Disney Company Africa, says The Disney Channel's Friday movie allows it to add even more value for viewers by providing additional family viewing opportunities.

"The Disney Channel is not just a channel for children, it's a channel aimed at the whole family. Added to this, Disney movies have always been something special; something that can be enjoyed by the kids and mom and dad too," says Christine Service.

"Because of its 17:00 timeslot, our Friday night movie brings everyone together and allows them to enjoy these old Disney favourites – and a host of new releases too – as a family.''

BREAKING. Disney CEO Bob Iger: Unbundling of TV channels on pay TV will not make it cheaper for consumer and pay TV subscribers.

Disney CEO Bob Iger today, speaking at a conference in America, came out and said that the so-called "unbundling" of TV channels on pay TV operators' bouquets will not make it cheaper for consumers and pay TV subscribers.

In America - as recently in South Africa - the matter of whether pay TV operators can and should provide TV channels separately is also somewhat of an issue.

In South Africa the uninformed National Consumer Commission (NCC) "ordered" MultiChoice, On Digital Media (ODM) and the SABC recently to "comply" with an irresponsibly issued "compliance notice" which also demanded unbundling of TV channels from them. That compliance notice has now been dismissed because the NCC overstepped its authority.

Today at the Sanford C. Bernstein 28th Annual Strategic Decisions Conference 2012 the Disney CEO Bob Iger said the notion of unbundling TV channels on pay TV platforms and providing a so-called "a la carte approach" where subscribers pick only the TV channels they want, would not save the average consumer and pay TV subscriber any money.

ALSO READ: Why forcing South Africa's pay TV operators to sell TV channels separately is not just almost impossible, but will be bad for everyone.
ALSO READ: The real cost to consumers should South African pay TV operators be forced to sell TV channels separately to pay TV subscribers.

Is Isha Sesay on CNN International keeping CNN NewsCenter and adding another daily show or what exactly is going on?

What exactly is happening with Isha Sesay on CNN International (DStv 401) where she is the presenter of the new CNN NewsCenter on weekdays: Is she leaving CNN NewsCenter to be just the presenter of the new Evening Express on the American TV channel HLN or will she be doing both?

I've been struggling for longer than a week to get any kind of coherent answer or perspective from CNN International's PR company in South Africa who appears clueless and disinterested.

Last week CNN in America announced that Isha Sesay will become one of the new presenters of a new show Evening Express on HLN, a sister channel of CNN in America. I asked but had to wait for longer than a week for any answer from CNN International's PR company in South Africa. I had to ask again this week after an answer wasn't forthcoming.

Earlier this week I was eventually told: "Isha is not moving to a new show".

Well, since the CNN press release in America already said she definitely is going to be on a new show, the answer from the PR company who is getting paid to communicate these things, seems odd and is insufficient to make clear what exactly is happening with Isha Sesay. UPDATE: In a very clear answer now, CNN International says Isha Sesay will be doing both daily weekday shows.

While its not impossible for one person to do two shows per day, its not that easy a feat to juggle. Anderson Cooper from AC360 on CNN International also does his weekday show as well as an hour of his syndicated talk show. Will Isha Sesay remain the face of CNN NewsCenter and add Evening Express in America? How does one person juggle that timewise and adequately prepare for two different TV shows per day?

I've again asked for a more clarifying answer, and if I get anything, I'll try to shed more light on this.

CNN International's primetime line-up for South African viewers meanwhile is currently one of the best its been in years. With Quest Means Business at 20:00, Amanpour at 21:00, CNN NewsCenter at 21:30, Connect the World with Becky Anderson at 22:00, a repeat of Amanpour at 23:00 and World Sport at 23:00, CNN International is now a news junkie in Africa's dream on weeknights.

The offering is incredibly strong and after a few weeks have held up - meaning CNN International is back to being about global news in primetime, comprehensively covered and less emphasis on fluff.

The various primetime programmes are strong on news, flows and complements each other perfectly. The brilliant Amanpour at just the right time for South African and African viewers is the best single TV news programme on any international news channel in my opinion as a TV critic and a journalist and it's daily appointment television for me. I enjoy the amazing take of a compendium of news, interviews and context (and on a daily basis!) tremendously. It's very well done.

The new CNN NewsCenter is also strong and well put together with little fluff (although you probably have to include the stunt guy jumping out of a plane without a parachute and landing on boxes).

Programming note: Ever After, a brand-new wedding magazine show starting on ONE Gospel on Thursday 31 May at 21:00.

Ever After is a brand-new local magazine show focusing on South African weddings and wedding stories and will start on Thursday, 31 May on ONE Gospel (DStv 331) at 21:00.

Ever After will not only focus couples planning their wedding but also have couples who have been married for very long, giving marriage advice, sharing their marital experiences and personal stories - both the positive and uplifting, as well as how they made it through very difficult and trying times of hardship.

Ever After will mostly be shot on location and interviews and inserts will revolve around wedding preparations, anniversaries and couples talking abouot how they've dealth with conflict and misunderstandings.

Cameras follow nervous brides and grooms on their preparations, shows venues, have couples share memories and first dates and the planning and stressful preparations for the big wedding day.

BBC World News to bring viewers live coverage from Sunday until Tuesday of Queen Elizabeth II" Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.

South African TV viewers will be able to follow comprehensive coverage of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations on BBC World News (DStv 400 / TopTV 400) from this coming Sunday, 3 June, until Tuesday 5 June.

The special coverage of BBC World News will start on Sunday 3 June from 14:00 (South African time) until 17:00 with live coverage of the Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant. For the first time in 350 years a flotilla of 1 000 boats will sail down the river Thames from Battersea to Tower Bridge in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's 60 year reign.

On Monday 4 June BBC World News will have a special hourlong programme starting at 22:00 (South African time) marking the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II.

On Tuesday 5 June from 10:00 (South African time) until 13:00 BBC World News will have live coverage of the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations. To mark this special occasion Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh will attend a national service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral.

On Tuesday 5 June from 14:00 until 15:00 the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations will continue on BBC World News with live coverage of the senior members of the British royal family travelling by carriage procession from the Palace of Westminster to Buckingham Palace to mark 60 years of Queen Elizabeth II's reign.

Sky News will start 5 days of special event coverage of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations from Friday.

South African TV viewers will be able to watch special coverage of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations on Sky News (DStv 402) from this coming Saturday right through the weekend and into next week with 5 days of dedicated coverage of this special event.

On Friday 1 June Sky news will kick off its coverage with Jeremy Thompson who will present live from Buckingham Palace in the build-up to the main events. Sky News will have reporters in position as the ships amass for the flotilla around West India Dock, and as the crowds gather in Putney and along the Thames.

On Saturday 2 June Sky News' royal correspondent Paul Harrison will be at Epsom Racecourse throughout the day as the Queen attends the Derby. Sky News will continue its presentation from Buckingham Palace with Anna Botting and Colin Brazier, until it moves to Putney in the evening with Andrew Wilson. Sky News' Royal, Religious and National Events commentator Alastair Bruce OBE, will be on hand throughout the weekend to give expert commentary on the ceremonial and historical aspects of the celebrations.

On Sunday 3 June as a flotilla of 1000 boats makes its way down the Thames led by the Queen in the Royal Barge, Eamonn Holmes, Sarah Hewson and Charlotte Hawkins will be presenting from the heart of the action outside City Hall. Kay Burley will be among the crowds gathering on the riverside, Andrew Wilson will be on board the specially commissioned Sky News boat, Lorna Dunkley will be in Battersea Park, Colin Brazier at Westminster Bridge and Paul Harrison will be on board Tenacious, a tall ship moored in the Avenue of Sail.

With street parties being held around the United Kingdom, Sky News' regional correspondents will look at the celebrations outside the capital. At 21:00 (South African time) there will be special highlights programme looking back at the day's events.

On Monday 4 June Paul Harrison will be spending the day in Buckingham Palace Gardens as the Queen hosts a garden party, and in the evening as the Diamond Jubilee Concert gets underway, Sky News' arts and entertainment correspondent Lucy Cotter will be live from The Mall. Later on in the evening a network of more than 3000 beacons will be lit throughout the UK and the Commonwealth. The Queen will light the last Beacon at Buckingham Palace at 23:30 with Kay Burley presenting live from the scene.

On Tuesday 5 June the Diamond Jubilee weekend will culminate with a day of celebrations in London. The presenting trio of Eamonn Holmes, Sarah Hewson and Charlotte Hawkins will guide viewers through the day's events on Sky News live from the Palace as the royal family makes a balcony appearance and with a flypast.

Kay Burley will be at St. Paul's Cathedral for the Service of Thanksgiving, and Gillian Joseph, Adam Boulton and Dermot Murnaghan will be covering the carriage procession through the streets of London from various London landmarks. At 21:00 there will be a special highlights programme on Sky News looking back at the day's events.

Sky News is running a well-done and elegant on-air promo for the channel's coverage of Queen Elizabeth II's upcoming Diamond Jubilee Celebrations, with all the anchors taking part, telling viewers what Sky News will be doing.

CNN International going with live coverage of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations from Sunday.

South African TV viewers will be able to watch the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II on CNN International (DStv 401) from this weekend with CNN's Piers Morgan and Brooke Baldwin as the presenters from London.

CNN International will be on location with Becky Anderson, Richard Quest, Zain Verjee and CNN's royal correspondent Max Foster.

CNN International's live Diamond Jubilee Celebrations coverage will start on Sunday, 3 June, from 17:00 (South African time) and continue until 19:00 on location from the Tower Bridge for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. Hundreds of boats will sail up the River Thames.

On Tuesday 5 June CNN International will broadcast the Royal Carriage procession live from 15:00 to 17:00.

ARMS WAVING WILDLY. How Bonang from SABC1's Live is influencing SABC3's My Top Billing Dream presenter search.

Imitation they say is the sincerest form of flattery - people want to be like you. And if one judges like what au courant South African celebrity most ordinary TV viewers want to be like, it would be Bonang from SABC1's LIVE.

Not only is Bonang the celebrity being imitated most in presentation and delivery style by contestants in the My Top Billing Dream presenter search which is becoming a reality show on SABC3, Bonang is also the number one choice when it comes to a fictional celebrity the contestants have to make as if they interview in a mock-interview.

The only problem is that the wild hand gestures and "Bonang-ish" presentation style is not what the weekly entertainment magazine show is looking for.

"Other celebrities people have chosen to 'interview' have been quite varied but the most common by far have been Beyonce and Mi Casa," the Tswelopele Productions production team tells me. Contestants exude a lot of "Bonang-ish" hand gestures, pointing at the camera, pitch and tone peaks which falls and rises to often and making a lot of disturbing presentation mistakes which is not the usual Top Billing way and which the judges are actually looking for.

The longrunning show is looking for a new presenter with the Cape Town and Johannesburg auditions which are still left. My Top Billing Dream will start as a reality show with 3 one hour TV specials from Saturday 23 June at 13:00 on SABC3, after which the normal Top Billing timeslot on a Tuesday from 3 July at 20:00 will become the My Top Billing Dream reality show for a few weeks.

Contestants who are planning on attending the upcoming Cape Town and Johannesburg auditions would do better to take the following advice from the producers who have seen thousands of contestants so far. "The things the judges can see almost immediately and which are not to the contestants advantage include that the person does not watch Top Billing," production crew tells me.

"The person is very shy and will speak very softly. How would they cope interviewing celebs on the red carpet if they are unable to deliver a practised piece to the judges? A lot of them also show extreme nerves. Nerves are to be expected, but what the judges are looking for in the My Top Billing Dream presenter search is someone who can control those nerves and deliver."

"Things that make contestants stand out immediately and are to their advantage are a great personality that shines through despite the nerves, a well-prepared link they present and the ability to think on your feet and deliver and impromptu feet. And smiling and engaging the camera and the audience" says the production.

"The process so far has run extremely smoothly. We have a good system in place,"I'm told. "The Protea Hotels have been great and we've had no complaints about the venues. There was an unforeseen taxi strike which started when we arrived in Durban and we had a few complaints that people were unable to get to the venue but there was nothing that we could do to remedy the situation."

"The talent has been incredible so far and we can't wait to see what Cape Town and Johannesburg still have to offer in the My Top Billing Dream presenter search."

ALSO READ: Janez Vermeiren, Top Billing presenter, who is a judge in the My Top Billing Dream presenter search and what he will be looking for in a new presenter.
ALSO READ: The My Top Billing Dream Bloemfontein auditions.
ALSO READ: The My Top Billing Dream Durban auditions.

Worldwide coverage through BBC Worldwide and BBC World News of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.

You're reading it here first. 

The BBC through BBC Worldwide Channels will be showing coverage of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations worldwide in South Africa as well as Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, India, the rest of Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

The live coverage will be taken directly from BBC One in the United Kingdom.

"I am truly delighted that we are able to deliver this truly British affair under a British brand to viewers all around the world," says Jana Bennett, the president of Worldwide Networks at the BBC.

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee: Thames Pageant will be shown on 3 June - a 4 and a half hour broadcast following 100 boats along the River Thames. The BBC will have 8 camera coverage on the specially coverted Royal Barge and coverage will be led by Matt Baker and Sophie Raworth from a special studio at the historic former Thames fish market Old Billingsgate.

Clare Balding will be aboard the Royal Bow Barge The Gloriana, which will lead the rowing section.

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert will also be shown on 4 June from in front of Buckingham Palace.

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee: Service of Thanksgiving and Royal Procession on Tuesday 5 June, is a State Occasion and will be marked by a National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral, attended by The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh together with other members of the Royal Family.

Commentary from St Paul's will be provided by James Naughtie. Sophie Raworth will be reporting from St Paul's; Fiona Bruce will be at the Palace of Westminster; and Chris Hollins and Sonali Shah will be in The Mall. Clare Balding will be at the Knightsbridge Barracks meeting new trainees of the Household Cavalry who have been learning to ride in time for this historical day.

The Royal Family will appear on the balcony to and watch the RAF fly past and a Feu de Joie – a cascade of rifle fire by The Queen's Guard.

eBotswana wants over R8 million from Sentech in damages for failing to encrypt its broadcasting signal in the rest of Southern Africa.

eBotswana, a sister company of the South Africa's broadcaster, wants more than R8 million in damages from South Africa's signal distributor Sentech for the failure to encrypt's signal outside the borders of South Africa.

Viewers elsewhere in Africa are using decoders to view the signal as well as the SABC's channels which they are not legally permitted to do.

 In February Sentech was found guilty in the case before the South Gauteng High Court.

South Africa's parastatal signal distributor was ordered to immediately take all steps necessary to stop piracy viewing of SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 outside of South Africa (which is taking place in several countries but specifically inside Botswana).

The high court ruled that Sentech is ''liable in delict for its failure to take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent pirate viewing in Botswana of SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3'' which the ruling said is ''wrongful, negligent and in breach'' of what Sentech is supposed to be doing.

The South Gauteng High Court in its judgement gave Sentech 3 months - in effect until the end of May - to cut off SABC1, SABC2, SABC3 and's signals to Botswana and the rest of Southern Africa through enacting encryption.

The BBC confuses The United Nations Security Council with the video game Halo and Space Command.

Don't blame Master Chief John-177 - it's the BBC's own mistake.

The BBC doesn't seem sure which is the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), and which is the video game Halo's United Nations Space Command (UNSC).

The on-air graphics grabber responsible for this gaffe is clearly another of those junior-level employees of the "Google images cut-and-paste" variety who doesn't know or really care for the news and have the general knowledge of a rock.

In a hard news report by the BBC on Syria, the gold and black logo for the fictional United Nations Space Command embarrasingly showed up - clearly grabbed and in a massive fail, passing through all the relevant control checks at the BBC to make it on air instead of the real logo of the United Nations Security Council (right).

Nobody with a modicum of general knowledge - either of news or the world - or who works in news, and especially in the visual representation of news, should ever be making a mistake like this.

Broadcasting Complaints Commission rules that DStv BoxOffice is not broadcasting, in a case of a terrified 3 year old who saw a scary promo.

MultiChoice's DStv BoxOffice service - the video-on-demand (VOD) service introduced a year ago - is not broadcasting, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) has ruled after a complaint from parents that a promo for another movie, Paranormal Activity 3, scared their 3 year old child.

The BCCSA received a complaint from a couple who wrote that "The DStv ad on TV, where you have the choice to rent movies via the PVR - the latest movie is Paranormal Activity 3. My wife and I were watching this ad with our 3 year old daughter and she was terrified! There were no warnings whatsoever, and we didn't have the chance to switch it off. Where do we draw the line?"

MultiChoice said in its response to the BCCSA that although the advertisement was broadcast on the DStv platform, the material being promoted in the advertisement does not form part of the programming material offered by DStv".

The BCCSA said in its judgement of the case that "the electronic relay to a subscriber of a promo of a film or films, which the subscriber may then order for an individual screening does not amount to 'broadcasting' as defined in the Electronic Communications Act of 2005.

The BBCSA said that orders by subscribers of replays of films and available promos which accompany such choice do not amount to a broadcast and do not fall under the jurisdiction of the BCCSA.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

BREAKING. Anthony Bourdain moving from the Travel Channel to CNN and CNN International for a new travel and food lifestyle show.

The celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain is leaving the Travel Channel (DStv ccc) to join CNN and CNN International (DStv 401) where he will be appearing from 2013 over weekends as the global news channel is ramping upits weekend lifestyle programming.

Anthony Bourdain will move to CNN International in a new, still-untitled programme which will "be shot on location and examine cultures from around the world through their food and dining and travel rituals".

Anthony Bourdain's new show will also be produced by Zero Point Zero Productions which did his No Reservations show fomr the Travel Channel. The first season is for 8 episodes and the plan is for at least two seasons of 8 episodes each.

"Anthony Bourdain, whose reporting has taken him from the culinary capitals of Europe, Asia and North and South America to such historically war-torn or isolated regions as Vietnam, Mozambique, Uzbekistan and Romania, will also offer commentary on other CNN programs and platforms, domestically and internationally, providing insights into current events and debates around food and health and other cultural conversations," says CNN in a press statement.

"I'm really looking forward to coming over to CNN. I think the world is going to get a whole lot bigger for me," says Anthony Bourdain in the statement. "I hope that old fans and new ones will be excited about what's coming down the road."

BREAKING. Giuliana Rancic of E! News teased by co-anchor Jason Kennedy over her brand-new white girl weave.

Giuliana Rancic, E! News anchor on E! Entertainment (DStv 124) just got teased by her co-anchor Jason Kennedy over her new hair weave on live television in the Tuesday edition of the weekday entertainment news show.

"You know what, I haven't seen anyone that excited since Giuliana got her new hair weave," mocked Jason Kennedy.

"What!" shouted Giuliana Rancic. "Jason!"

"You know what, I was very excited. I'm going to kill you," said Giuliana Rancic as they both laughed.

Below is how Giuliana Rancic still looked on E! News on Friday.

BREAKING. A livid Noeleen on SABC3 lashes out at a meddling ex mother-in-law.

A visibly livid Noeleen Maholwana Sangqu just lashed out at a viewer's ex mother-in-law, chiming in with her own advice on Three Talk with Noeleen on SABC3 with some choice words for the meddling grandmother making a woman's life hell.

Noeleen Maholwana Sangqu, with her regular panel of experts on her couch in the Tuesday episode of her weekday talk show at 16:35 gave a tongue-lashing of note to a medding ex mother-in-law.

It started when Noeleen Maholwana Sangqu read out the letter from a woman with a child begging for help, saying that her ex mother-in-law "who calls me all the time and to tell me that I'm a very bad mother, and that I should be ashamed, that I'm abandoning such a young baby. I feel that all I'm doing is for the baby. Now I can't decided if I should go or stay."

"You know what," started Noeleen, "I think that youe ex mother-in-law really is something else. Because you're ex mother-in-lawnever said to her son "Why are you abandoning a woman that you made pregnant? Who you left at 5 months pregnant? Your mother-in-law didn't say anything then? Did she?" said Noeleen. "Now she's talking about abandoning. Anyway ..." and Noeleen sat back looking at her panel, "I'm not the expert."

The experts on Three Talk with Noeleen all agreed with the talk show host. 

"You know what, at the end of the day your son and this woman made this baby," continued Noeleen Maholwana Sangu as she looked straight into the camera. "Your son was very, very present and I don't see anything wrong with him looking after the child during the week, and she comes back over weekends. I see nothing wrong with that."

INTERVIEW. TRACE Sports CEO Olivier Laouchez: 'We give viewers the opportunity to get to know their favourite champions better.'

The brand-new TRACE Sports (DStv 129) channel launched in South Africa at the end of April, bringing a great new addition and a unique concept - sportainment - to South African viewers as the channel is being rolled out aggressively all over the world.

I asked Olivier Laouchez, the chairperson and the CEO of the TRACE group responsible for this new channel, more about TRACE Sports - and he shared some fascinating and insightful answers with me.

The global roll-out of TRACE Sports has been nothing short of extremely remarkable. Nobody's said it but in terms of a new channel launch, TRACE Sports must be the fastest acquired new TV channel globally by operators if one looks at the very quick rate in which TRACE Sports landed on platforms from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. 
Is this because of management, or because platforms instantly recognised the unique and appealing format and value proposition of this channel?
I believe that TRACE Sports' quick success can be explained through the fact that the channel is unique on the market. Sports people are not just athletes anymore: they inspire us. What we have realised is that "traditional" sports channels are either focused on live events or on giving news related to sports competitions results.

With TRACE Sports we give viewers the opportunity to get to know their favourite champions better, with a more intimate approach. We also give the opportunity to share their messages and commitments with their fans. In short, TRACE Sports starts where other sports channels stop and TRACE Sports stops where other sports channels starts. This is why many pay TV operators in many different countries were so excited in offering a complementary offer to their sports fans.

Furthermore, 2012 is a very important year for sport; the Euro will take place in June and everyone around the world is excited for the Olympics in July and August. There is also the Afcon taking place in South Africa in January 2013. So obviously, it is not a coincidence that TRACE Sports is launching in so many countries in 2012. TRACE Sports proposes unique and exclusive content with many of the sports starts that will shine during these great competitions. Many platforms that will broadcast these events live were seduced by the possibility given by TRACE Sports to create a unique emotional connection between the players and the fans. Once you know the real lives of sports stars, you are more likely to switch on your TV to watch them perform live.

TRACE Sports is a wonderful fusion of the world of sports with infotainment and entertainment. How did the concept come about initially?
Sports content is a major driver to generate TV ratings and subscriptions. The TRACE brand is already very important in the music entertainment business and many of TRACE music channels loyal viewers are sports stars. Through the direct relation I have with sports stars, I realised they have more to share than their live sports performance. They inspire us, they have great lives, strong messages, committments and visions they want to talk abouot. Obviously, once this is said, the difficulty was to translate it into a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week TV channel.

TRACE Sports wants to get access to sports stars for instance for profiles programmes - for which you have to play a bit nice and be not too invasive. Yet when they mess up you cover that too - for instance their personal lives and divorces. How does TRACE Sports strikes the tone between hero worship but also being grounded in giving the facts but without then losing access, and remaining credible and entertaining?
We promised our viewers behind-the-scenes access to sports celebrities and a gateway to their intimate lives. This includes profile programmes, in which celebrities can share whatever they feel like with us, but this also includes programmes such as Sporty News, covering the latest gossip.

The purpose of TRACE Sports is to satisfy the viewer, who wants to know all about his favourite athlete. Being a bit invasive is not a major issue if we are not "trashy", and if the sports stars are okay to share.  Most of TRACE Sports content is very aspirational, infotainment and TRACE Sports will not be the TV version of some UK tabloids.We all know the News of the World story and we do not want to position TRACE Sports like this.

We do believe that champions have great things to share with their fans, and this is the whole purpose of TRACE Sports. Of course, viewers love gossip and TRACE Sports also covers some of the "verified" gossips about sports celebs - but TRACE Sports' aim is to share a real message, and not simple gossip about champions. And when we consider the great feedback we have had so far in South Africa, it looks like our viewers are actually convinced by this positioning.

How did the on-air look come about and the colours? Why black and blue and white and does it signify anything specifically? The look is very clean, understated and dynamic. How long did the work take in creating the entire appearance and feel of TRACE Sports?
TRACE Sports belong to the TRACE family and shares the DNA of TRACE branding as far as the fonts and on-air look for instance. The blue, black and white colours were chosen because these are very well recognised and identified in the universe of sports. Orange is our corporate colour and the colour of our first music channel, TRACE Urban (DStv channel 325).

We have been working on TRACE's visual and on-air identity with a design and creative agency for the last three years. When I started working in the music business in the 90's, I was already working with the creative team of 360. They are certainly among the best to design a concept around urban music and sports people.

You must have travelled an awful lot globally the past 2 years. What is your vision for TRACE Sports in South Africa but also for the channel globally? Are you done with the bulk of the global roll-out of the channel or how far are you currently with your plans for what and where you want TRACE Sports as a channel to be?
TRACE Sports has been launched just one year ago, so we consider it just the beginning of its global expansion! We are of course very pleased of the fact that the channel is already available in over 70 countries, but this is just the beginning. We are planning to launch in other countries in the next couple of months with more and more localised feeds.

I believe that TRACE Sports has a huge potential and I am confident that it will have as much success as TRACE Urban if we manage to stay fpcused on the two pillars that make a TV channel successful - great content, both local and international and great marketing.

We are working on new quirky entertaining programmes for the channel, and believe me, there will be new shows coming up soon with some South African and the world's biggest sports celebrities.

Anything else interesting?
Because of the importance of sports here, South Africa has been defined as one of TRACE Sports top 5 priority markets and the TRACE group is now allocating significant resources to make more and more South African content with local sports celebs. In order to accelerate this local content generation, TRACE will soon develop partnerships and co-production agreements with brands and other TV broadcasters who share our vision regarding the new generation of sport content.

We have already started producing the show In the Name of Good with a South African presenter Joelle Mayembe. TRACE Sports in South Africa will also benefit from digitaldevelopments we are doing to provide a deeper and richer experience around the sports celebs life through smartphone, PC and tablets.