Friday, August 31, 2012

E! Entertainment in South Africa to finally change and switch over to the new American on-air look of the channel on 23 September.

E! Entertainment (DStv 124) in South Africa will finally rebrand and change its on-air look on 23 September to look similar to the new E! Entertainment look in America which was unveiled in May and introduced in July already. The new website refresh of E! Entertainment's online portal, eonline, was also changed in July.

The new look introduced in America two months ago has since made E! Entertainment still showing red and purple in South Africa, looking schizophrenic and caught between different, overlapping, wildly incongruent looks since E! News and other material sporting the new look crept in and have already been seen daily on the entertainment channel.

Add the massive amount of highly disturbing sound bleeps E! Entertainment ironically employs to block out all other brand and media publication mentions - although its actually reporting on these brands and makes its business out of telling people about what is happening with these brands, viewers have not been happy the last few months with this channel.

Even the new E! News set looks out of kilter since its fitting in with the new look, but for South African viewers stillfinding itself stuck inside the overall old look.

South African viewers are feeling caught in the middle between two wildly differing looks for E! Entertainment. The fact that the change-over and a more unifying and uniform look will again tie everything on the channel together, it will restore some cohesion and normalcy to the channel's disappointing on-air look and feel the past few months. 

"We seek to grow the channel further in South Africa and engage more local fans in E!'s pop culture buzz," says Colin McLeod, the managing director for emerging markets for Universal Networks International in a statement. Universal Networks International in London runs E! Entertainment's UK feed for South Africa.

The new E! Entertainment look incorporates the colours of black, orange and white. South Africa will change over on 23 September along with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Asia, Australia, Israel, Portugal, Turkey, Greece, Benelux, Nordics, Romania, Poland, Balkans, Czech Republic, Slovakia and other African markets.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

BREAKING. sneaks the sexy, slutty reality show, Erotic Star, onto its schedule.

You're reading it here first. 

Whaddayaknow. has secretly snuck the sexy slutty reality show Erotic Star onto its schedule as girls apparently try to outslut each other to win the title of Erotic Star. Because every good CV apparently needs a something-something special.

From challenges ranging from pole dancing to having to try and "seduce members of the public", belly dancing, and a challenge where "their bodies become artwork" the girls have to put the sexy and flesh on display to prevent being eliminated from Erotic Star.

Precious little is known about the commercial free-to-air TV channel's latest late night tele-indiscresion. has Erotic Star at midnight on Saturdays but inexplicably somehow didn't send out any programme information about it and Erotic Star wasn't included as an upcoming programming highlight or highlighted as a new show.

And what is a show without an after show episode? When Erotic Star ends, it will have an additional episode which will "tantalise and titillate". "This is an opportunity to revisit the series and catch up," says the episode synopsis for the episode following the finale. "Those magical, memorable moments that tantalise and titillate will all be revealed once more."

Grab 'em poles girls and start swinging.

Programming note: Carte Blanche on M-Net this Sunday has Derek Watts profiling the ill Joost van der Westhuizen; also looks at mentalism.

A very interesting line-up for Carte Blanche, M-Net's weekly investigative magazine show, has just been released for this upcoming Sunday evening at 19:00.

Carte Blanche has an interview with Joost van der Westhuizen, the former rugby player who after salacious scandals and a tumultuous private life which ended in divorce, is now battling a debilitating disease. Carte Blanche got the opportunity to spend time with him and the interview is conducted by Derek Watts. Odette Schwegler is the producer.

The second insert  for Carte Blanche this Sunday sounds as intriguing. "Mentalism is a performing art that shows off highly developed intuitive abilities. Entertainers like Derren Brown attribute their 'magic' to being able to read body language and manipulate people through psychological suggestion. Carte Blanche puts Gilan Gork to the test."

The producer is Carol Albertyn and two of the Carte Blanche presenters, Bongani Bingwa and Derek Watts feature in this sure to be fascinating insert.

BREAKING. Pregnant Siba to keep cooking - now for the Food Network as young chef becomes 2nd South African to get her own show.

You're reading it here first. 

The pregnant chef Siba Mtongana will keep cooking - the young black food editor has become the second local South African chef to get her own as-yet-untitled locally commissioned cooking show on the Food Network (DStv 185).

Sibahle Mtongana who will become a mother soon was the star of Cooking with Siba on M-Net's Mzansi Magic (DStv 107) channel, and has now signed with the Food Network for a new cooking show which will be seen in 85 countries throughout Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

Her show follows on the heels of Jenny Morris, the first South African chef to sign with the Food Network whose Jenny Morris Cooks Morocco is currently on the channel on Mondays at 20:10.

"Food Network is always on the look out for fresh new talent in South Africa and Siba certainly fits the bill," says Nick Thorogood, the senior vice president of content and marketing who said the channel is delighted to have Siba Mtongana on board. "She's dynamic, passionate about food and audiences love her - everything that's important to the Food Network brand."

The channel will be conceptualising with Siba Mtongana over the course of the next few months says the Food Network to create her show, saying it wants to "deliver a fun and entertaining series on the Food Network that will inspire and delight foodies and non-foodies alike."

Filming of Siba Mtongana's new cooking show will start in early 2013 after she has given birth.

BREAKING. Biggest constellation of top-tier executives from MultiChoice, M-Net, in years attend the launch event of DStv's new set of HD channels.

You're reading it here first. 

The biggest constellation of star executives in South Africa's pay-industry in years came out together on Wednesday night - uniting for the joint press conference and press event of MultiChoice's DStv announcing its new IS-20 satellite capacity, new HD channels and channel number changes and M-Net announcing its new HD movie channels roll-out.

The media event held at a cinema venue off of Nelson Mandela Square where MultiChoice will also have a DStv Park for the public until 9 September, drew the most top-tier executives from MultiChoice as well as from M-Net - and together - for the first time in more than half a decade in South Africa.

The last time such a big number of MultiChoice executives, together with such a big number of M-Net executives jointly came together for a launch event was when MultiChoice rushed in July 2008 to launch high definition (HD) in South Africa with the unveiling of the first HD PVR in time for the Olympic Games.

Wednesday evening's announcement event was attended by a phalanx of MultiChoice and M-Net executives with star wattage. Collins Khumalo (CEO of MultiChoice South Africa) sat next to Aletta Alberts (general manager for content at MultiChoice South Africa) and Jackie Rakitla (MultiChoice's general manager for corporate affairs) patiently answering questions as the press corps did round robin rounds.

Also in attendance was Imtiaz Patel (the group CEO of MultiChoice South Africa) as well as Gerdus van Eeden, MultiChoice's chief technology officer. Several of MultiChoice's content bouquet managers and planners were at the event as well.

M-Net's CEO Patricia van Rooyen attended and addressed the invited press corps, but she was hardly alone. The M-Net representation at the event was a veritable who's who from the corridors of power at the Randburg pay-TV operator.

Jan du Plessis (director of channels at M-Net was spotted in the audience) as Pierre Cloete (the director for M-Net Movie channels) spoke about the new expansive genre movie channel offering which M-Net and DStv will be rolling out from 1 October.

The always affable Theo Erasmus (director of entertainment channels at M-Net) attended, as did Gideon Khobane (marketing manager for the AfricaMagic channels).

Chrystele Fremaux, the programming and on-air director for emerging markets for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region for NBC Universal Networks International and based in London also attended the event.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

M-NET MOVIES: All you want to know about the structure and broadcast pattern of DStv and M-Net brand-new M-Net Movies channels.

DStv and M-Net is expanding from 1 October with a new set of movie channels and several of them in HD breaking down movies into more specific genres (click on and make bigger the image above as a handy guide).

You will never see TV with Thinus shamelessly rehashing a press release, but the information guide document which M-Net and DStv handed out to the press earlier tonight after the press conference and media event is very well done and explains in detail everything a DStv subscriber might want to know.

Therefore I'm running it as received - it's quite clear and insightful:

Why did M-Net decide to launch new channels?
The primary objective is to enhance your movie-viewing experience (with a Movie for Every Mood), and to ensure that you can find your movies easier.

When will the new channels launch?
The channels will launch from 10:30 on Monday 1 October 2012

What will they be called?
They will be called:
M-Net Movies Premiere (also in HD) – DStv channel 103
M-Net Movies Comedy (also in HD) – DStv channel 104
M-Net Movies Family (also in HD – DStv channel 105
M-Net Movies Action Plus (also in HD) – DStv channel 106
M-Net Movies Drama & Romance (also in HD) - DStv channel 107
M-Net Movies Showcase (also in HD) - DSt channel 108
M-Net Movies Action (only in SD) - DStv channel 110
 M-Net Movies Stars (only in SD) - DStv channel 111

How will the channels be broadcast?
Of the 8 channels on the DStv Premium bouquet, 6 of these are broadcast in high definition (HD). The HD channels are:
 M-Net Movies Premiere – Channel 103
M-Net Movies Comedy - Channel 104
M-Net Movies Family – Channel 105
M-Net Movies Action Plus - Channel 106
M-Net Movies Drama & Romance - Channel 107
M-Net Movies Showcase- Channel 108

The channels available on the DStv Compact bouquet:
M-Net Movies Action- Channel 110
M-Net Movies Stars - Channel 111

Why is MM1 (as we know it) now changing to M-Net Movies Premiere?
M-Net is expanding to form a new family of movie channels to cater for every mood. M-Net Movies Premiere will consist of new movies, first-to-television and fresh from Hollywood. To select movies for all your other tastes will be on the other 7 dedicated movie channels.

What will now happen to M-Net Movies 1HD on channel 175?
M-Net Movies 1HD (DStv channel 175) will be replaced by M-Net Movies Premiere on DStv channel 103. M-Net Movies Premiere will be broadcast in high definition (HD). Your decoder is smart enough to detect the correct format and will display the channel in HD or SD depending on your decoder.

What will happen to MM2?
M-Net Movies 2 will be replaced by M-Net Movies Showcase on DStv cannel 108. M-Net Movies Showcase will feature a variety of movies, with a focus on festivals, themes and a viewer’s choice. M-Net Movies Showcase will also be in HD for HD viewers.

If MM1 and MM2 are falling away, what new channels am I now getting?
The four new channels are:
M-Net Movies Comedy
M-Net Movies Family
M-Net Movies Action+
M-Net Movies Drama & Romance

These four channels will all be genre-based, and will cater for the viewer’s specific tastes. For example, M-Net Movies Comedy will broadcast comedies 24/7, with a new comedy (that has not been broadcast on the channel) will be screened in prime time every day of the week.

M-Net Movies Premiere:
The crème-de-la-crème of big budget, hit movies await on the M-Net Movies Premiere channel. This is where Hollywood royalty lives and where you can find the freshest movies appearing on TV for the first time.

M-Net Movies Comedy:
Relax, put your feet up and prepare to laugh until it hurts with M-Net Movies Comedy. Whether you like your comedies tinged with romance, drama, slapstick humour or a little on the naughty side, the comedy channel will leave you in stitches.

M-Net Movies Family:
Wholesome entertainment for all ages awaits you on M-Net Movies Family. A fun and enjoyable line-up featuring animation, musicals, fantasy and feel-good family movies will keep both kids and the young at heart engrossed all day.

M-Net Movies Action Plus:
Escape on an adventure, discover what lies in the far reaches of Space, fight the bad guys and save the world. M-Net Movies Action Plus will take you there with a host of blockbuster movies from Action to Westerns, Horror and Sci-Fi.

M-Net Movies Drama & Romance:
Get swept away by an enchanting love story, or lost in a heart wrenching drama with M-Net Movies Drama & Romance. The drama and romance channel features a variety of new and entertaining content including biographies, thrillers, documentaries and war movies.

M-Net Movies Showcase:
Revisit your most magical movie moments and discover new ones with M-Net Movies Showcase. M-Net Movies Showcase shines the spotlight on specific movies and directors with exciting festivals, themes and box sets. Plus you get to take control and recommend movies with our viewer’s choices.

M-Net Movies Action:
Do high speed car chases, massive explosions, hot woman, ripped action stars and giant bloodthirsty mutant animals make your world go round? With M-Net Movies Action, you’ll find everything to keep you glued to your lazy boy.

M-Net Movies Stars:
Your best loved actors and movies shine brightly on M-Net Movies Stars. Featuring cult classics and movie favourites from past and present across a variety of genres from comedy to drama and romance, it’s the channel for young and old alike.

What about the movies on M-Net Movies Premiere?
Every Friday, there are 4 new first-to-television movies from 18:30 until 00:30, with the biggest movie of the week on Fridays at 20:30.

In addition to this, the M-Net Sunday night blockbuster movie will be screened at 20:00 on M-Net. This movie will also be broadcast at 20:30 that same evening on M-Net Movies Premiere for viewer’s convenience.

Will the existing censoring options also exist on M-Net Movies?
Yes, movies will be broadcast with the original soundtrack and the option to select family audio option. In addition, the parental control facilities will still exist.

What will HD sound quality be like?
M-Net Movies feature 5.1 Dolby surround audio as an option where available. The family and original audio will be available in Stereo.

Are the standard definition (SD) and high definition (HD) channels different?
The channel content is exactly the same and movies are screened identically. The format in which the viewer will receive the feed will depend on your decoder type. SD decoders will broadcast in SD, and HD in HD. Your decoder will automatically detect the format.

If I am a DStv Premium subscriber do I automatically receive the HD channels?
No, you will only receive the HD channels if you have an HD PVR decoder (to enjoy the full benefits of HD it is preferable to have a HD Ready or Full HD TV).

If I am a HD subscriber, will I be able to record in SD?
Not at present.

What aspect ratio will I get my movies in?
All eight channels will be broadcast in a 16:9 aspect ratio. The 4:3 viewer will have the option to choose the arch setting on their remote.

At what time do the movies start on M-Net Movies?
The movies on M-Net Movies follow a cascading pattern of broadcast. This means that there are two movies starting every half hour.

M-Net Movies Premiere and M-Net Movies Drama & Romance have a movie each at 18:30. Next is M-Net Movies Comedy and M-Net Movies Showcase, with a movie each at 19:00. M-Net Movies Family and M-Net Movies Action have a movie each at 19:30.

BREAKING. Arrow coming to M-Net as the pay broadcaster grabs the new TV season's hottest show to start in South Africa on 19 October.

You're reading it here first. 

Excellent for M-Net - I can exclusively break the news that M-Net has grabbed the first of the two hottest and most anticipated new TV series of the new upcoming TV season: M-Net got Arrow which will start on M-Net in HD on Friday 19 October at 20:30.

No word on the other most buzzed about new TV show (Elementary), but getting Arrow from Warner Bros. International Television Distribution is HUGE for M-Net.

Arrow, with Stephen Amell in the lead role, tells the tale of the comic book hero Green Arrow, the superhero who defends Emerald City.

ALSO READ: First season key art released for Arrow.
ALSO READ: Extended TV trailer for the new TV drama, Arrow, with Stephen Amell.
ALSO READ: First look: The new drama, Arrow, with Stephen Amell.

What's more is that episodes of Arrow will be unspooling for South African viewers only 9 days after America.

It's not all. I can exclusively reveal that M-Net has also acquired the new TV shows Partners (set to start on Friday 5 October at 18:00), the second season of Homeland which will start on Wednesday 10 October at 21:30 (now in an corrected appropriate timeslot), the new sitcom The New Normal (starting Friday 26 October at 19:00) and the second season of Strike Back (starting on Friday 26 October at 21:30).

BBC Entertainment grabbed Downton Abbey (Sundays) as the very best TV drama South African viewers will get to see all year, but M-Net is coming through just after halftime and majorly upping its premium watchworthy quotient for the remainder of the year.

BREAKING. MultiChoice makes a bold move as DStv rolls out a new HD movie bouquet with M-Net movie channels; upgrade Universal to HD.

Making a bold statement to South Africa and Africa's TV industry, MultiChoice signaled the start of DStv 2.0 as it officially announced the roll-out of several new high definition (HD) channels and the addition of further channels from October necessitating the next new shuffle of channel numbers from the same date.

MultiChoice as the continent's leading pay-TV platform with its DStv direct-to-home (DTH) satellite TV service officially announced this evening in a movie theatre the the roll-out of a new movie bouquet in HD for DStv Premium viewers with the channels provided by M-Net, as well as the upgrade of further channels to HD such as Universal Channel and Studio Universal.

The new HD and SD TV channels is thanks to the increased new capacity becoming available thanks to the Intelsat 20 or IS-20 satellite which was successfully launched  earlier this month.

AfricaMagic Entertainment and AfricaMagic Movies 1 are also two new channels already available in Africa which will be added for DStv subscribers in South Africa. Channel number groupings below channel 200 will also change from October  in order to expand the separate genre subset of channels falling within general entertainment, movies, lifestyle and documentaries.

Standard definition channels such as M-Net (DStv 101) which have an HD version will automatically become one channel. Therefore M-Net HD (DStv 170) cease to exist as a channel, with DStv Premium decoders automatically showing M-Net in HD on channel 101 where available.

(SuperSport HD channels and Discovery HD Showcase will remain separate since of course they're HD channels only and don't have an SD counterpart.)

Introducing the new genre specific movie channel structure  similar to the Sky model, M-Net is dropping M-Net Movies 1 and M-Net Movies 2 and replacing it with 1 premiere and 5 library themed channels from October, will all the channels getting new channel numbers and M-Net Action changing its name: M-Net Movies Premiere, M-Net Movies Action, M-Net Movies Action +, M-Net Movies Family, M-Net Movies Comedy, M-Net Movies Drama + Romance, and M-Net Movies Showcase. These channels will all be available in HD to DStv Premium subscribers, except for M-Net Movies Action and M-Net Movies Stars. (Close, huh?)

The changes will happen automatically in the early morning hours of Monday 1 October.

Channel numbers have to change as genre subsets widen. Here is where channel groupings will be found now:
101 - 143: general entertainment channels with international content
144 - 169: general entertainment channels with local content
170 - 190: documentaries and lifestyle channels
191 - 195: free-to-air channels such as the SABC and
200 - onwards: sport with SuperSport in HD and SD
400 - onwards: news channels remaining unchanged

BREAKING. SABC is repeats, repeats, repeats - according to a new study from Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) to be unveiled tomorrow.

The SABC is constantly feeding the South African public a steady diet of old programmes and repeats – that's according to a new study, the results of which will be released tomorrow.

The results of the study comes as the SABC is adding a Nigerian sitcom to SABC2, Meet the Adebanjos, while SABC3 is awash in 80s American dramas. The only Sepedi drama on the SABC is Bophelo Ke Semphego – 25 years old and having been repeated on numerous occasions over the years.

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) will release on Thursday the results of its comprehensive, recently completed study entitled "Lack of Diversity. Repeat". The results of the study will be unveiled at a public seminar at the Wits Institute for Social & Economic Research from 16:30. The SABC has been invited to attend.

Media Monitoring Africa did comprehensive research and examined the quality and diversity of the programming and news content of the SABC. The conclusion? The study found that the public is constinually fed with the same old programmes across the services of South Africa’s public broadcaster.

"This has major implications for the role and impact and future of the SABC," says the MMA. Prof. Tawana Kupe, the dean of the faculty of humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand will deliver a keynote address when the study's findings is made known.

Meanwhile the SABC announced that it's ready to start its new 24-hour TV news channel with funding from the pay-TV platform MultiChoice beginning September. The news channel will become available freely when South Africa migrates from analogue to digital broadcasting, a process known as digital migration. 

This news channel replacing the discontinued SABC News International channel, will be one of 18 new TV channels the SABC plans to launch over the course of three years as part of its digital terrestrial television (DTT) offering. The government plans to launch DTT with a ceremonial switch-on demonstration on 26 September in Kimberley.

The vast public pressure group, Support Public Broadcasting Coalition (SOS) met with the SABC's CEO Lulama Mokhobo last week. "It is important to underscore that being the public broadcaster in South Africa and the largest player in the sector, the SABC is prominently situated in a position where it must enable and ensure that we have a vibrant broadcasting sector," says the SOS Coalition in a statement.

"Now, rather than later, is the most opportune moment for the SABC to start looking to asserting itself as the public broadcaster it should be instead of putting out short to mid-term fires as it has been over the greater part of these last five years," says the SOS Coalition.

People interested to attend the keynote address, seminar and the unveiling of the study's results can contact Lethabo Dibetso at the MMA at or phone 011 788 1278.

Chriselda Lewis: The SABC TV news reporter leading the charge with a new kind of news stories on South Africa's public broadcaster.

Her TV news stories are unashamedly tabloid but Chriselda Lewis, SABC news reporter, is singlehandedly busy shaking up the SABC's staid and dreary daily TV news coverage.

Buying drugs, busting a bogus doctor, confronting shops over old meat and point-blank refusing to leave a school where pupils are being beaten, Chriselda Lewis is turning the SABC's flagship news show News @ 7 into must-watch television, as well as its other news bulletins also running her stories.

Her ongoing gawk-interest stories in prime time TV news bulletins has the South African TV industry taking notice, as Chriselda Lewis churns out eye-popping story after story which viewers of the public broadcaster's 36 years of TV news coverage have never seen in that style - or being done so consistently - before.

With veritable Carte Blanche panache - and not something South Africa's million of viewers dependent on public access television are accustomed to or have ever seen on the SABC before - the hawkish Chriselda Lewis (with shaky cameraman in tow) does story after story of actual real investigation pieces. How long before M-Net and Combined Artists poach the SABC's new news star for Carte Blanche - or eNews and the eNCA steal her away?

Not only are these Chriselda Lewis stories compelling television and groundbreaking - but because they're original investigations in the public interest, they're also unique. Now, wherever Chriselda Lewis goes she breaks news - on and for the SABC of all places and for decades not usually known for its appetite or prowess for real independent and investigative journalism.

Shamelessly (and it's meant in a good way) employing tactics of the best of confrontational television and often ambush news coverage by way of hidden camera, Chriselda Lewis courageously assails her targets with deft skill and microphone thrust in the face for possible comment.

Although tabloid in style (and too much of it would be dangerous) the often overly dramatic Chriselda Lewis pieces are unashamedly populist with consumer appeal. Her stories, and she, now have the industry and viewers buzzing.

Chriselda Lewis' feisty demeanour and "take no prisoners" approach, very much comparable to Devi Sankaree Govender of Carte Blanche on M-Net and before her Ruda Landman, makes for a refreshing change to the SABC's often de rigeur boring and politi-pandering news coverage.

From Somali and other illegal immigrants bitterly complaining about government officials demanding bribes in exchange for documents, to hunting down an illegal doctor promising outlandish cures (and even using cellphone footage!)...

From blatantly bursting through a door looking for a headmaster and confronting a school with grainy cellphone footage of pupils being savagedly beaten ...

To exposing how middle class suburbs are being invaded by druglords by posing herself as someone wanting to buy drugs in Windsor...

It is all suddenly "classic" Chriselda Lewis style - even confronting shop managers like Checkers and Pick n Pay about food products on shelves which have passed their sell by date.

This relentless, ruthless and seemingly fearless firebrand is giving SABC news viewers a brand-new revelation of what TV news and real news reporting in this medium can be.

What makes it even more remarkable is the time construct it's accomplished within - and two types of time are applicable. Firstly there is the time in which to tell these scandal-chasing, investigative stories on air.

Lasting no longer than a few minutes each in a 23 minute News @ 7 bulletin on SABC3 and repurposed for other SABC bulletins as well on SABC2 and SABC1, Chriselda Lewis is very skillfully able to tell and bring across a story by starting with finding the alleged guilty perpetrator and then widening the scope to tell South Africa why an entire country should care. Amazing to get that right in 2 to 3 minutes of precious screen time!

The second time of importance is the sourcing, scoop-digging and actual real journalism practising time coming to bear on unlocking and bringing even one of these stories to television. From experience I can tell you it takes daily, huge amounts of time. And remember: she's not working for a weekly investigative magazine show - this is daily grind stuff done for the evening news bulletin which remains an ever-consuming monster when it comes to news and wanting content.

It's quite remarkable. But keeping up the pace, Chriselda Lewis has definitely over the past few months now clearly shown that the scoops and scandal suddenly airing on SABC TV news are no mere fluke - it's hard and consistent work.

Of course too much of this (oh so enjoyable) expose awesomeness would be overkill - the avenue which America's sensationalist evening broadcasts have long since succumbed to in their chase for ratings. However, the SABC can do with, and deserves an injection of actual news, exclusive news, and investigative, independently-minded news gathering. And Chriselda Lewis' follow-up worthy and agenda setting stories are exactly that.

The interesting thing is that Chriselda Lewis is actually showing how the SABC - even though she's just one person - is actually as a public broadcaster quite capable of doing news stories which are interesting and in the public interest. Yes, it's borderline schadenfreude entertainment and somewhat voyeuristic, but definitely still pass the litmus test of real actual journalism and fair reporting. And she's taking a stand for the little guy.

Where Chriselda Lewis goes, the SABC and SABC Television News would be well-advised in sending even more reporters. This type of television is sure to lure more viewers in time - these types of news stories are far more accessible and relatable to average citizens that politispeak and the unending menagerie of ministers and government press conferences the SABC rolls out night after night.

The danger would be to overdo this more sensationalistic type of stories, or to not do them journalistically fairly and turn it into tawdry tales, but so far, so absolutely very good. Chriselda Lewis is doing a great job doing journalism at the SABC.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

BREAKING. What M-Net's next Idols winner of the 8th season won't be is ... a white guy.

Don't fret further racial conspiracy theorists. On thing which the next winner of Idols on M-Net of the current 8th season won't be, is a white guy.

With the goofy Dominic Neill dumped from Idols during the live results show on Tuesday evening on M-Net, the one thing Idols won't be having again is a white male winner. Idols voters previously made winners of Heinz Winckler, Jason Hartman and Dave van Vuuren - of course all white men.

It's led to charges several times in the past of racial undertones to the reality show - all unfounded of course since anyone is allowed to vote if they're willing to spend the money. Last month Lucy Holborn from the South African Institute of Race Relations said issues of race are still "a strong social cleavage in South Africa" when asked about Idols.

Idols now has Melissa Allison, Simphiwe Gwegwe, Monde Msutwana, Tshidi Tenyane, Shekhinah "Sheki" Donnell and Khaya Mthethwa, left in the competition which will announce a new winner in October.

Idols has undergone numerous incremental yet noticeable changes over the past few seasons, fuelling ongoing industry rumours that the current 8th season would be the last on M-Net before Idols will be moved permanently to Mzansi Magic (DStv 108).

Idols is currently, for the second year in a row, a co-budgeted production between the M-Net channel and Mzansi Magic, exposing the reality show for a second consecutive year to the pay-TV audience on the lower-tiered DStv Compact who doesn't have access to the premium M-Net channel.

Besides Idols being screened on Mzansi Magic for that channel's target demographic, over the past few seasons viewers saw ProVerb being added as a co-presenter. Then Liezel van der Westhuizen left, leaving ProVerb as the sole Idols presenter. Soweto was added as a audition destination to increase the catchment area of possible talent and also this season saw stage performances in the new Soweto Theatre for the first time as the production incorporated the specific venue into the show.

Idols is of course often featured in the weekly entertainment magazine show All Access Mzansi on Mzansi Magic where ProVerb is a presenter, who happens to also be a co-producer of Idols since the beginning of this year.

BREAKING. ESPN signs a new 8 year extension for Major League Baseball rights; will increase baseball coverage significantly.

ESPN (DStv 230) and Major League Baseball have reached a new 8 year extension which will give ESPN significant Major League Baseball rights in America as well as expanding ESPN's exclusive international coverage.

ESPN gets the right to produce a new daily baseball studio show. In addition, ESPN gets tot right to produce significantly more additional Baseball Tonight hours, the broadcasting rights to even more baseball games and footage, and rights across ESPN Radio and ESPN International will also be expanding.

BREAKING. The SABC, short on local content, load up with a Nigerian sitcom, Meet the Adebanjos, for SABC2.

Struggling to give South African TV viewers enough quality local South African television, the SABC has decided to load up its schedule with a Nigerian sitcom, Meet the Adebanjos, for SABC2.

SABC2 already runs foreign local import and badly dubbed South American telenovelle Love Her to Death daily on SABC2 for five days a week, and is now adding Meet the Adebanjos from Tuesday 11 September at 21:34.

"As SABC2 we couldn't be more excited to be the first to bring viewers such world-class content," says Zandile Nkonyeni, SABC2's publicity manager in a press statement announcing the Nigerian sitcom for the South African TV channel.

Monday, August 27, 2012

BREAKING. Fake Scandal! Facebook account has people wondering: What is going on with soap?

You're reading it here first (besides Facebook of course) is suddenly raising a lot of eyebrows with the below-the-belt joke's Scandal! posted on Facebook - but just told me its a fake account and not the real Scandal!'s.

The real -life drama started when this naughty joke was posted on Facebook - complete with words "penis", "nuts" and "panty".

"A little whoopsie on Facebook?" asks an insider. "Hacker or a drunk post? Or is this meant to replace's late night porn?"

Whatever the case, this seems bad for's reputation and for its soap. I've reached out to for a possible response as to what on earth happened here. responded quickly and tells me the account is not real. "It's not the real Scandal! account. It's not us. Scandal! is different on Facebook, it's not this one."

Here is's response:

"It has come to our attention that a fake Scandal! Facebook page has been created. The updates posted on the fake account are not shared or endorsed by the Channel or the Production Company (Ochre media). We have reported the fake page and are exploring ways to shut it down.  The official fan page for the soapie is “etvScandal”.  In the meantime, we would like to encourage fans to use the “etvScandal” facebook page to get the latest information about the soapie."

Martin Bashir on MSNBC is back with a new set and new green and blue colours.

Martin Bashir on MSNBC (TopTV 410) has a new set and a new look with new colours for his weekday show.

The colour palette is now a more "sea" colour - sea green and squiddish blue which can be seen on the flat screens and graphics panel.

The circle logo of Martin Bashir remains the same, but the colours have changed as well.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

TV CRITICS. Perspective on who we are, what we do, what we're not and why writing about television is not personal.

Video streaming by Ustream
If you write about television as a TV critic or a journalist covering television or a TV writer in South Africa, I want to implore you to watch this fascinating panel discussion between America's top-tier TV critics which I've watched this weekend.

If you work in television in South Africa, I would implore you even more to watch this if you want to learn, grow, grow in your understanding of how and why TV critics and journalists act they way they do, and get more insight into how TV critics think and operate.

The panel discussion is 1:30:00 but I can absolutely assure you that if you're a TV critic, or love television, or work in television, that it's absolutely worth watching and worth your time.

ALSO READ: The TV critic's role - A perspective on what the TV critic, writer an journalist covering television is trying to do - and what they're not.

Cynthia Littleton, the deupty editor of Variety in America was the moderator of a panel discussion about television and the new upcoming TV season in America.

On the panel was Robert Bianco, TV critic for USA Today, Tim Goodman, chief television critic for The Hollywood Reporter, Brian Lowry, chief television critic for Variety and Matt Roush, senior TV critic for TV Guide magazine.

The whole hour and a half is great. At 1:15:00 when they talk about their relationship with people in the TV industry - do they have friends, how do TV channels and executives behave towards them - I just rolled my eyes and thought ... exactly true of South Africa as well.

"It's not personal," said Brian Lowry about TV people who are extremely oversensitive within the industry and freak out about stories and reviews. "I heard from someone recently who said "I thought you hated me'. And I said "No, I hated that show. I now like this show. People tend to internalise and think you're writing about them. Meanwhile you're writing about their work."

"I've known that for a long time Steven Levitan thought that I didn't like his shows or didn't like him. I didn't like a lot of the shows. Now Modern Family I think is the best comedy of the decade. It doesn't matter to us who you are. We're not your friends. We're not socializing with you. And one thing about not being [based in Hollywood is] that we're not your industry. We're our industry. We are our own separate industry and we're writing about you. And we're writing about the work you do."

"Once I was hard on somebody's work and the person's agent called and said "What do you have against my client? What is your problem?' And I said 'It's television. I'm judging the work. It isn't working for me. And next time, it might be better.' And actually, you know what, it got a lot better," said Matt Roush, senior critic for TV Guide magazine.

Tim Goodman, the chief TV critic for The Hollywood Reporter said "I try not to be friends with anybody". "There's very few people I've become friends with, but those ones; they can take it. The same with network executives. I've only had one person really take things really personally. I think that most of them know that its a business. That if you don't like their show that it doesn't mean that you don't like them - or their network. And you just hope that they do better work next time."

"This is my 26th year," said Robert Bianco, television critic for USA Today. "And if I stop today, there may be 5 people who would take my phone call. You try not to turn it into a personal relationship. But the truth is in most cases, they're not interested in turning it into a personal relationship. A lot of people I think make the mistake of thinking that, 'Oh we're all such good friends.' And then you don't have the job and then you're not good friends."

kykNET commissions new youth drama, Thomas@, for broadcast in 2013; set to start filming from September in Stellenbosh.

kykNET (DStv 111) has commissioned a new youth drama entitled Thomas@ for broadcast early in 2013.

Thomas@ will run for 26 half hour episodes with a preliminary starting date in January 2013.

Thomas@ is currently in pre-production for this Afrikaans drama series and will be filming between September and December in Stellenbosch.

Deidre Hall, Marlena of Days of Our Lives, celebrates an amazing and most remarkable 4 000 episodes with the soap.

Some people in what they do, simply have no equal.

One such person in the TV industry is the magnificent  Deidre Hall who's just celebrated her 4000th episode with Days of Our Lives (weekdays, SABC3, 17:30) after she recently returned to the American soap.

The cast and crew of the soap celebrated her massive milestone with 8 blue and white cakes to make "4 000".

The demon might have taken you Marlena (for a little what-the-, yet wonderful time), but you've always stayed classy.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Programming note: Carte Blanche on M-Net acts fast with a Marikana mine massacre story and perspective for Sunday night at 19:00.

Carte Blanche on M-Net acted swiftly and will have a story on the Marikana mine massacre at Lonmin this Sunday night at 19:00.

I actually asked M-Net during last week whether this past weekend's Carte Blanche would address or include any Marikana mine massacre coverage.

I never got any answer, but Carte Blanche didn't quickly insert some reference in an insert with Derek Watts doing a voiceover and bringing Marikana into a story this past Sunday night.

Meanwhile Carte Blanche producer Joy Summers has been hard at work with journalist Amalia Christoforou and presenter Bongani Bingwa cover Marikana.

"As South Africa assesses the implications of the Lonmin killings and various inquiries get underway, the only good that can come out if it, say many, is that government may perhaps begin to confront the realities of poverty," says Carte Blanche in a pre-release episode blurp for Sunday night's episode. "There are power struggled underway as well, with unions and politicians accused of furthering their own agendas."

Tomorrow night Carte Blanche will also be looking at "Black Gold and Hot Rocks" - an investigation into fake scams involving diamond and oil deals.

"Diamond deals in Angola, oil wells in Texas and millions changing hands - for investors who bought into these deals, promises of great riches turned into nothing more than threats. Carte Blanche followed this case from London to Las Vegas until we finally tracked down the alleged mastermind right here in Gauteng."

The producer of this insert is Graham Coetzer, with the indominable Devi Sankaree Govender presenting and Susan Comrie as the journalist.

Move over, Teen Wolf. 13 episodes of new TV drama, Bitten, ordered about a female werewolf.

The Canadian science fiction channel SPACE has ordered a new 13 episode one hour drama entitled Bitten, about a female werewolf.

Bitten, which will be distributed worldwide by Entertainment One, will be set in Toronto and upstate New York and revolve around Elena Michaels, "the world's only female werewolf".

"This new series is the percet mix of suspense, action and heart, with compelling storylines and a really strong female lead," says Corrie Coe, the senior vice president of independent production at Bell Media.

Bitten is based on the Women of the Otherworld "Bitten" novels by Kelley Armstrong.

Bitten will  tell the story of a woman caught between two worlds after she is bitten by a werewolf and joing an exclusive group known as the Pack. Bitten will be executive produced by JB Sugar, John Barbisan and writer Daegan Fryklind.