Saturday, September 29, 2012

BREAKING. TopTV broadcasts live suicide on the air as man shoots himself in the head with a handgun on the Fox News Channel.

TopTV broadcast a suicide live on air when the Fox News Channel (TopTV 405) showed a man shooting himself in the head live on television with a handgun.

This is another first for South African television history and is due to a massive mistake by the American 24-hour news channel.

The Fox News Channel on Friday showed live coverage of Arizona police chasing a suspect who've fled the scene.

The man then pulled out a handgun and committed suicide by shooting himself in the head - before the Fox News Channel could prevent the helicopter footage from being broadcast around the world. Fox News Channel anchor Shepard Smith shouted at the control booth to "get it off, get it off" as the Fox News Channel went to commercials.

Shepard Smith apologised on-air for the mistake in Studio B with Spehard Smith, saying that Fox News Channel failed to cut it in time.

"We messed up. And we're very sorry. That didn't belong on television. I personally apologize to you that that happened.

"We took every precaution to avoid any such live incident by putting the helicopter pictures on a five second delay," said Fox News' executive vice president of news editorial, Michael Clemente, in a statement. "Unfortunately, this mistake was the result of a severe human error and we apologize for what viewers ultimately saw on the screen."

TopTV didn't respond to a media enquiry made on Saturday about the suicide broadcast.

UPDATE Monday 1 October 2012 11:30 - TopTV has now responded with comment on Monday morning:

"The circumstances around this incident will be the subject of many debates and some may argue that such happenings are always possible when one covers live news," says Ian Woodrow, the vice president for channels of TopTV. "However it would not be appropriate for TopTV to add to any comment here especially when it is a development over which it has little or no control. TopTV would refer any concerned viewer to the public apology issued by Fox News."

Franklin & Bash on M-Net renewed for a third season in America, for most likely another 10 episodes of the legal buddy drama.

Franklin & Bash (M-Net) with Berckin Meyer and Mark-Paul Gosselaar has been renewed for a third season in America.

"Franklin & Bash, with its winning cast and some of the sharpest dialogue on television, is a refreshingly clever, light-hearted take on the courtroom drama," says Michael Wright, the president and head of programming for the American TV channels TNT, TBC and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) in America in a statement announcing the show's renewal for a third season.

"We look forward to spending another season with Breckin, Mark-Paul and the rest of the terrific cast and crew of Franklin & Bash."

No episode number was announced, but the third season of Franklin & Bash will most likely again be 10 episodes, which was the episode number for each of the first two seasons.

Friday, September 28, 2012

BREAKING. Four people at SABC already arrested on criminal charges; 5th arrest imminent after Special Investigating Unit's probe.

Four people who've worked at the SABC have been arrested on criminal charges and another fifth arrest will be made soon in relation to widespread corruption and irregularities at the SABC, following the special probe of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) of the South Africa public broadcaster.

President Jacob Zuma told parliament about the arrests and that the SIU also assisted the Brixton Commercial Police Crime Unit in eight criminal matters also pertaining to cases being investigated at the SABC. Seven case dockets have already been completed; more are almost complete.

The SIU's investigation of the beleaguered SABC found multiple irregularities, including allegations of conflict of interest by a massive number of SABC employees and certain SABC board members, unauthorised spending, continuous payment of remuneration to SABC employees who had been suspended for excessive long periods and a lack of budgetary accountability.

Crime & Investigation Network orders a new factual series, A Town and Country Murder; renews Crimes That Shook Britain for a 4th series.

The Crime & Investigation Network (DStv 255) has commissioned a new factual series, A Town and Country Murder, and has renewed Crimes That Shook Britain.

The Crime & Investigation Network, a joint venture betweek A+E Networks UK and BSkyB, has ordered eight episodes of a new series, A Town and Country Murder. It will explore some of the darkest murder stories in British history and will be shown on the channel in 2013.

The Crime & Investigation Network has also ordered a new 4th season of Crimes That Shook Britain.

"I am delighted to announce the commission of a brand-new series, A Town and Country Murder and the return of the acclaimed Crimes That Shook Britain," says Koulla Anastasi, the head of acquistions and commissioning for the Crime & Investigation Network at A+E Networks UK.

"Both programmes offers viewers an informative and detailed insight into some of the most harrowing murders to have taken place in the United Kingdom. Both series expose the dark side of Britain's criminal landscape and the far-reaching and profound impact that these have on the population."

Chelsea Lately on E! Entertainment moving to the historic Stage 1 at Universal Studios from Monday 15 October with a week of special guests.

Chelsea Lately, Chelsea Handler's talk show on E! Entertainment (DStv 124) is relocating to the historic Stage 1 at Universal Studios, with a new state-of-the-art contemporary set which will be unveiled on Monday 15 October.

Chelsea Handler's guest on Monday 15 October will be Jennifer Aniston, with Fergie on Tuesday, Miley Cyrus on Wednesday and Christina Aguilera on Thursday.

The new massive sound stage can accomodate 200 audience members (up from 75) and features the latest sound and lighting technology.

The five story Stage 1 was built in 1962 for The Jack Benny Show and has since been the home to The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, Desperate Housewives and Knight Rider.

Lori Allen from Say Yes to the Dress on TLC battling breast cancer; 'naturally I was devastated when I found out,' she says.

Lori Allen from Say Yes to the Dress on TLC (DStv 186 / TopTV 453) is battling breast cancer and will be sharing her harrowing journey with TLC viewers.

Lori Allen who visited South African in October 2011 during the launch of the TLC channel on MultiChoice's DStv and Discovery's upfront presentation for 2012, discovered on 13 April this year that she had breast cancer.

According to a statement in which Lori Allen reveals her breast cancer and fight against the disease, TLC is readying a TV special, Say Yes to the Cure: Lori's Fight which will be shown at the end of October in America. No broadcasting date for South Africa is known yet.

The special will be "a deeply personal chronicle of Lori's struggle, fight and resolve to beat breast cancer," says the TLC statement. "TLC follows Lori on her journey as she leaves the bridal shop she built, into surgery, and through recovery. How will the shop carry on without the heart and soul of Bridals by Lori? Monte, Robin, Flo and the rest of the staff pull together to keep the shop running, and help brides in her absence."

"Naturally I was devastated when I found out that I had breast cancer," says Lori Allen in the statement. "Wanting to turn something very negative into something positive, I decided to share my journey with my TLC family and others, in hopes that I can raise breast cancer awareness and perhaps help other woman facing breact cancer be less afraid. Breast cancer is a personal journey, and throughout this process some days were easier than others, but I survived with faith, family and friends."

"Lori is a beloved member of our TLC family and our hearts have been with her throughout this difficult journey," says Amy Winter, the general manager of TLC. "She is a remarkable woman, who has handled this with dignity, grace and signature spunk since day one of her diagnosis. This special is about spreading awareness to our viewers, but most importantly it's about sharing Lori's story of strength, hope and perseverance."

BREAKING. Comedy Central Roast of Steve Hofmeyr lures 379 097 viewers Monday night on DStv, making it the highest ranked DStv channel.

You're reading it here first. 

The Comedy Central Roast of Steve Hofmeyr on Monday night on Comedy Central (DStv 122) pulled 379 097 viewers on DStv - the highest viewership and rating for the comedy TV channel since it launched on MultiChoice's DStv in December last year.

The heavily hyped made-for-TV event was the first of its type for Africa and South Africa, using the established American format and template for putting a polarising celebrity in the hot seat to be made fun of.

ALSO READ: REVIEW: The Comedy Central Roast of Steve Hofmeyr filled with nervous comedians; nervous laughter.

ALSO READ: Comedy Central asks R350 per ticket for The Comedy Central Roast of Steve Hofmeyr to be a part of the audience for a made-for-TV event.

"We are delighted that South African audiences have welcomes the Roast concept so warmly to their hearts," says Evert van der Veer, the head of Comedy Central Africa in a just-issued statement, saying that "our first ever Roast on African soil was more successful than we could have imagined".

"The Comedy Channel earned its highest ever rating with the TV premiere of The Comedy Central Roast of Steve Hofmeyr on Monday 34 September," says the channel. The Comedy Central Roast of Steve Hofmeyr achieved the comedy channel's highest ever rating (5,99) among DStv Premium viewers aged between 20 to 49.

"While the Roast was airing (21:00 - 22:45) Comedy Central went unchallenged as the highest ranked channel in the DStv bouquet in terms of ratings and audience share, with nearly one in four DStv Premium viewers aged 20 - 49 tuning in to watch," says Comedy Central which is run by Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa).

Programming note: Carte Blanche visits Arianespace's Space Center in French Guiana as DStv gets ready to expand its TV channels on Monday.

Timed to co-incide with the launch of DStv's new TV channels, high definition (HD) channel upgrades and M-Net Movies genre expansion happening from Monday 1 October in South Africa, M-Net's Carte Blanche will have a tie-in story on Sunday night at 19:00 visiting Arianespace's French Guiana's Space Center.

Its from Arianespace's Space Center from which the new Intelsat 20 satellite was successfully launched on 2 August and on which MultiChoice hired more capacity for its direct-to-home (DTH) pay-TV service.

ALSO READ: A new chapter - and new capacity for MultiChoice's DStv as the Intelsat 20 satellite is successfulyl launched into space.

ALSO READ: eNCA news boss: "News organisations failing; reporting on sciences downgraded, replaced with reality TV about spoilt brats."

Bongani Bingwa is the presenter of this Sunday night's insert produced by Joy Summers looking at the Arianespace's Space Center, located in an almost impenetrable rainforest. "This sparsely populated country seems the unlikely send-off place for some of the most advanced satellites ever built," says Carte Blanche. "And if you want better television, you need better technology."

Other stories on Sunday's line-up for the weekly investigative magazine show include a new look at Julius Malema with producer Este de Klerk and journalist Amalia Christoforou and Bongani Bingwa as the presenter. "Carte Blanche reports on another political battle being played out in the open and asks if it's finally the end for the once youthful kingmaker Julius Malema."

Carte Blanche plans to have two further inserts on Sunday, one on the Western Cape's plan to convert millions of maggots, the larva of fly, into protein rich powder that can be used in farming and feeding the hungry. Neo Motaung is the presenter with Nikki Otto as producer and Amalia Christoforou as the journalist.

"Damien's Rhino" is a story about an Aussie trying to save the rhino from extinction and doing so ... Rambo-style. Chantal Rutter Dros is the presenter, with Angus Begg as producer and Amalia Christoforou as the journalist. 

Programming note: Maggs on Media this Sunday on the eNCA coming from Cape Town's Creative Week and showing Gold Loerie Award winners.

Maggs on Media Sunday at 10:30 on the eNCA (DStv 403) will come to viewers from Cape Town's Creative Week where the weekly media magazine show looks at the best that the local ad industry has to offer.

Maggs on Media will meet up with the graffiti artist Mak1One who is taking over Cape Town one wall at a time. The show is also talking to the who's who at the Pendorings and the Loerie Awards, and will be showing some of the Gold Loerie Award winners.

Maggs on Media repeats on Sundays at 15:30, Mondays (23:30), Tuesdays (09:30), Thursdays (12:30), Fridays (21:30) and Saturdays (16:30).

TOLDJA! Tshwane TV added to TopTV from October on channel 185 as the pay-TV operator's second community TV channel.

TVSA broke the news half a month ago and I quickly got it confirmed as accurate: it still took TopTV half a month to admit to the news that the community TV station Tshwane TV will be added as a new TV channel to the pay-TV operator from Monday 1 October.

Confirming the open secret since 13 September TopTV says in a press statement that "Tshwane TV (TTV) will be broadcast on channel 185 on TopTV from 1 October".

"TopTV is adding a new channel to its bouquet when it proves a national platform for the community-based television service, Tshwane TV," says the pay-TV operator.

"For TopTV, the addition of Tshwane TV to its channel offering brings with it a variety of programming and local content as the second community-based channel in its platform," says TopTV which added 1KZN (TopTV 187) as its first community TV station in September last year.

Tshwane TV, started by Kopano Molefe, being added top TopTV, leaves two successful community TV stations in South Africa as yet unsigned with either TopTV or MultiChoice's DStv: BayTV in Port Elizabeth and CTV in Cape Town.

Tshwane TV's programming includes the first season of Generations, Be the Creature, Designer Guys, the American drama Safe Harbor and Chef at Home.

"This is an exciting development for TopTV since not everyone in the Tshwane area has been able to receive the channel," says Ian Woodrow, the vice president of channels at TopTV. "Now people with TopTV will be able to experience this channel not only in Tshwane but countrywide."

Tshwane TV has six hours of primetime viewing from 18:00 to midnight and offers a mix of locally-produced and international shows with a multilanguage format.

"Our goal with Tshwane TV has been to establish an independent and sustainable community TV station," says Collin Mackenzie, the marketing and sales director for Tshwane TV. "One of our initial objectives was to increase our geographical reach and viewership through a partnership with an existing broadcaster. We are delighted that we have achieved this through our agreement with TopTV."

Walka 7 handheld portable TV device with a 7 inch screen unveiled by DStv Mobile; going on sale for R900 from October.

DStv Mobile, the mobile television division of pay-TV platform MultiChoice, has unveiled its new Walka 7, its latest amazing-looking handheld portable TV device with a seven inch screen.

It will go on sale from October at at cost of R900 and will be available from MultiChoice centres and certain retailers. The Walka 7 comes with a mini USB cable for charging the battery, a USB charger, a stand and of course a much bigger screen than the DStv Walka.

Coverage for the device to work and for a user to see DStv television is within the nine major cities of South Africa. DStv Premium subscribers who buy a Walka 7 (similar to the DStv Walka) receive TV for free on the device on their existing DStv account.

Like Apple, DStv Mobile can basically do no wrong as a massive and ever increasing number of South African consumers are falling in love with handheld and digital devices.

Once again the unveiling of the Walka 7 as the commercial Christmas retail period starts from Monday, is priming and placing DStv Mobile in the perfect position with this new handheld TV device to cash in on consumers who like functional gadgets with a good value proposition.
"The massive growth in new technologies seen both locally and across Africa has shown consumers' readiness and appetite for innovative intuitive devices like the Walka 7," says Mark Rayner, the CEO of DStv Mobile in a press statement issued a day after Wednesday's Johannesburg launch event. DStv Mobile is punting the device as having "a larger screen and improved battery life".

The Walka 7 which follows the Walka, Drifta, Drifta USB and the recently unveiled iDrifta, also comes with an antenna that can be extended vertically to improve reception.

White Collar and Covert Affairs renewed for a 5th and 4th season each; Royal Pains renewed for 2 more seasons.

The American TV dramas White Collar, Royal Pains and Covert Affairs have all been renewed for further seasons, while Common Law is definitely cancelled and a 3rd season for Universal Channel (DStv 108) Fairly Legal looks extremely unlikely.

Royal Pains (seen in South Africa on M-Net) has been renewed for a fifth and sixth season and a sizeable 26 episode order. White Collar with Matt Bomer (seen in South Africa on M-Net Series) was renewed for a 16 episode fifth season. Covert Affairs (seen in South Africa on M-Net Series) was renewed for a 16 episode fourth season.

"All three of these series have found ways to stay creatively fresh and culturally relevant. The execution in writing, acting and production is among the best on television," says the USA Network, the TV channel who has these shows in America, in a statement. "In an increasingly competitive landscape, these series got new-season pickup the old-fashioned way - they earned it."

National Geographic Channels International unveils new upcoming shows for 2013 going behind Dubai airport and tough jobs in Russia.

National Geographic Channels International (NGCI) has announced new upcoming programming which South African viewers will start to see on the National Geographic Channel (DStv 260) on MultiChoice's DStv in 2013.

The shows commissioned by NGCI's international content unit in London include Dubai: Ultimate Airport, Vinnie Jones' Toughest Russia and Preppers UK: Surviving Armageddon (above).

Dubai: Ultimate Airport is a 10 part series from Arrow Media going behind the scenes at the incredibly busy airport.

Preppers UK: Surviving Armageddon is a British version of the American show which South African viewers can see already on the National Geographic Channel about people making their own amateur yet astounding preparations should a global calamity befall civilization so that they can survive.

Vinnie Jones' Toughest Russia sees Vinnie Jones taking on some of the toughest jobs and lifestyles in Russia, from being a bodyguard to a policeman.

"From capturing the tension and complexity of operating a very large, dynamic airport to following Vinnie Jones' quest to uncover the grit and glory behind Russia's toughest jobs, NGCI's newly commissioned programming slate offers viewers extraordinary access to some of the world's most remarkable people and places - all delivered by some of the brightest producers in the field," says Hamish Mykura, the executive vice president and the head of international content for NGCI.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

BBC Worldwide unveils a new commissioning strategy for localised content for BBC Entertainment, BBC Knowledge, BBC Lifestyle.

BBC Worldwide Channels today revealed a new commissioning strategy for original content, wanting to commission 100 hours of new original content per year by 2014, and aiming for a threefold increase in the number of original hours ordered in 2012 for BBC Entertainment (DStv 120), BBC Knowledge (DStv 251) and BBC Lifestyle (DStv 180) which BBC Worldwide runs in South Africa on MultiChoice's DStv as well as elsewhere in the world.

In the same way that BBC Worldwide Channels has done a first and is now broadcasting a second series of Come Dine with Me South Africa, BBC Worldwide wants to diversify its international portfolio of programming from beyond just a largely acquisitions-based content pipeline.

BBC Worldwide Channels wants to commission a lot more local programming for individual target markets, such as South Africa, which fit in with the global brand.

Producers like Rapid Blue who are producing Come Dine with Me South Africa  for BBC Worldwide as an ITV format show, have to match the quality of shows acquired from the BBC for BBC Worldwide's international audiences - which of course Come Dine with Me South Africa did and continues to do beautifully.

BBC Worldwide wants to make a long term investment in high volume formats with the potential to run up to 50 episodes. Tracy Forsyth, the vice president for commissioning, wants producers to create shows around factual entertainment formats with strong British connectivity, which might be through talent, subject matter, or irreverent wit and homour, but still with a tangible takeaway for the audience.

BBC Worldwide Channels will be looking to fully fund and also co-produce projects, working with the independent production community as well as the BBC's in-house production teams. In addition to ordering new shows from the BBC, Tracy Forsyth will commission international versions of some of the BBC's flagship shows, but tailored specifically for viewers outside the United Kingdom.

"Since I joined the business in January this year, I've been working with the regional programming teams within BBC Worldwide to clearly identify the gaps in our schedules that can't be filled from our acquisitions pipeline," says Tracy Forsyth in a statement.

"The new shows I am ordering will give viewers of our BBC branded channels around the world more of the quality British content and talent they love, in their first run and tailor-made to suit their tastes."

"I look forward to working with independent producers as well as the BBC's in-house teams to create a brand new slate of shows that will celebrate the best of British talent and creativity, and inform, educate and entertain audiences around the world."

BREAKING. eNCA news boss: 'News organisations failing; reporting on sciences downgraded, replaced with reality TV about rich spoilt brats.'

The news boss Patrick Conroy of the eNCA (DStv 403) has some harsh words for the news media, saying that "news organisations are failing their audiences in modern times. Reporting on sciences has been downgraded to niche publications and been replaced with gossip rags and reality TV series abour rich spoilt brats who are famous just for being famous."

The weather department of the eNCA hosted South Africa's Society for Atmospheric Summit in Cape Town yesterday and today with the eNCA's chief meteorologist Derek van Dam and Patrick Controy both addressing the annual conference. Delegates also got a behind-the-scenes look at the eNCA's weather department.

"As the planet struggles to cope with 7 billion people, we face a very uncertain future. The mainstream media has been too slow to realise this fact and report on it adequately. eNCA's support for the SASAS 2012 conference is an indication that we take the need for increased scientific reporting very seriously," says Patrick Conroy.

"The role of a modern weather broadcaster continues to diversify as science meets broadcasting," says Derek van Dam. "TV stations across the planet are recognising that all-encompassing 'station scientists' are required especially when weather and science becomes news," said Derek van Dam.

"Whether it's covering tsunamis or typhoons, climate change or volcanic eruptions; knowledge of every type of scientific phenomenon has become a basic requirement for broadcast meteorologists."

"The purpose of this conference is to identify new research in the field of atmospheric sciences, while eNCA Weather seeks new ways to bridge the divide between broadcasters and the scientific community," says Derek van Dam.

BREAKING. SuperSport extending its rights with English Premier League (EPL) to show live matches on DStv until 2016.

SuperSport is keeping its rights to show live English Premier League (EPL) soccer matches on MultiChoice's DStv in South Africa, Nigeria as well as elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, extending its contract ending this year for the period of 2013 to 2016, the EPL just announced.

Earlier this year MultiChoice said that the EPL contract for broadcasting rights was the only big contract which had to be renegotiated this year.

The costs of broadcasting rights which keeps escalating for MultiChoice at an annual rate faster than inflation, could see the pay-TV platform at some point in future start to having to choose about what rights to pursue further and which to drop.

Although the value of the new deal which will see SuperSport continue to broadcast EPL matches for the next four year has not been disclosed, its a given that the EPL will get paid more by SuperSport than the previous deal which ends at the end of the current season.

"We have worked with SuperSport for a number of years and are extremely pleased to extend our partnership," says Richard Scudamore, the Premier League chief executive in a press statement.

BREAKING. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) rules M-Net is not guilty of deceitful advertising over the prize for MasterChef South Africa.

The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) has ruled that M-Net's wasn't deceitful in the pay-TV channel's advertising and marketing of the controversial prize for the winner of the the first season of MasterChef South Africa which heavily hyped that the winner would receive "over R8 million worth of prizes" and "his or her own restaurant".

After receiving a complaint following public uproar when it became clear that the MasterChef South Africa winner Deena Naidoo won't be actually "getting" his own restaurant but only the use of it for a period of time, the ASA said that M-Net's likely viewers would be able to appreciate that "one does not actually 'own' any part of a complex like Montecasino ... but rents floor space from the building owners".

The ASA directorate dismissed the complaints and said that "a hypothetical, reasonable person would not expect the winner to own the physical structure in the sense that the building which houses the restaurant would be theirs too".

FIRST LOOK. Vikings, the new fictional historical drama about the legendary Norsemen of medieval times, coming to television in 2013.

Here's your first look at Vikings the fictional historical drama about the legendary Norsemen of medieval times which South African viewers could see in 2013 on History (DStv 264) and which tells the tale of two brothers and their families in nine 60 minute episodes.

Vikings is produced by MGM Television for the History channel in America where it will start in 2013. That makes the likelihood big that Vikings will also be shown on History in South Africa which is a channel feed from Britain.

Vikings could also go to another broadcaster in South Africa, since MGM is the distributor of Vikings outside of Ireland and Canada.

Vikings was filmed in Northern Ireland and other locations in Northern Europe similar to where the first seasons of the fantasy shows Camelot and Game of Thrones were filmed last year.

It's a fictitious historical family drama, chronicling the exploits of historical figure Ragnar Lothbrok and his band of Viking brothers as Lothbrok rises to become king of the Viking tribes.

So much blurring! So much blocking! So much censorship! E! Entertainment in South Africa seems to think its viewers are idiots.

E! Entertainment (DStv 120) seems to think its audience and target market in South Africa are idiots -so much self-imposed censorship!, so much blurring!, so much blackout! - and ironically on the Kim K channel which has made the business of shameless self-promotion its business.

It's highly irritating to watch something like the weekday E! News or inserts on E! Entertainment and have multiple "news" bits blatantly bleeped, blubbed, flubbed and blurred out.

It's highly ironic, since what that blocked out news is - the name of a TV channel, or magazine, or starting date or cover date for a publication - is the news and popular culture titbits which viewers would presumably tune to E! Entertainment for in the first place. (South Africans on MultiChoice's DStv receive the UK feed from the American-based channel through Universal Networks International.)

E! News often carries what we in the biz call derivative news segments: so-and-so has talked to so-and-so (an outlet or media platform, like a magazine like Vanity Fair). Then when the new quote attribution happens - for instance an image of the new issue of Vanity Fair, or its name, or both, are blurred and bleeped out. Exactly as if South African viewers live in an isolationist pop culture bubble.

Further irony: It was channels such as E! Entertainment which helped to grow and sustain the obsession with American pop culture and making its popular culture the de facto global celebrity culture in the first place - pumping it to South Africa and around the world. Yet South African viewers it seems are only good enough for a half-baked, lobotomised version these days.

If E! Entertainment and Universal Networks International have ever heard of the word (shhh) ... internet ... they will know that when they blur out: "The second season of The X Factor will start on [censored] on [censored]" that viewers who tune to E! Entertainment in the first place, very likely already know the words "Monday" and "Fox" were blocked out. Why take it out if you know you're competing with information streams who are not shy about giving it all to viewers and readers?

While viewers with a high affinity and interest in these things and content are simply shaking their heads and laughing at E! Entertainment and the weird blurring / beeping / sound silence, its the channel itself which comes across as somewhat archaic and out of touch. And it wasn't always this way.

E! Entertainment launched in South Africa without blurring and without blackouts - which suddenly crept in much more and became much more pronounced since last year.

I don't Twitter - but please E! Entertainment, stop blurring out twitter handles for those viewers who care.

Stop taking out starting dates for the new shows for the new upcoming American fall season as if we don't know it exist. Stop completely botching the real little bit of actual journalism of quote attribution by refusing to show or let it be heard who and what the sources of stories are - the magazines, websites and names of people.

A new on-screen image for E! Entertainment - coming months later to South Africa after its roll-out in America and only one press release and nothing else to explain it - again makes the entertainment channel just seem way behind the times.

It's funny (and not the ha-ha kind) that in an era where a TV channel such as E! Entertainment has to fight stronger and harder than ever before to maintain a form of relevance and keep and grow audiences and audience share with the vast explosion of deep coverage of entertainment and entertainment news, that it making it offering seem at times, half-baked.

 A new on-air image isn't what makes a TV channel better - its the content.  Less blurring, less blotting, less "oh is something now wrong with the volume or sound on my TV?" is what will make E! Entertainment look and sound so much better.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

BREAKING. The second series of Come Dine with Me South Africa on BBC Entertainment is again an instant viewership hit on DStv.

You're reading it here first. 

The ascendant BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) TV channel has even more reason to smile: the second season of Come Dine with Me South Africa which started on Monday night for a new 13 episodes is again a viewership success story.

From Downton Abbey to Come Dine with Me South Africa and The Only Way is Essex , BBC Entertainment since the latter part of 2011 has suddenly become that most rarest of TV channels: one that can proudly boast a sterling line-up of highbrow, high quality TV shows - but shows also getting ratings.

Flushed with productions that's both quality and viewership hits, the second series of Come Dine with Me South Africa is instantly delivering for the channel and BBC Worldwide Channels.

The second series of Come Dine with Me South Africa, an ITV format for BBC Worldwide Channels and produced by Rapid Blue, started on Monday night at 20:00. It immediately lifted BBC Entertainment's viewership in the timeslot with 64% on DStv compared to the previous two month's average.

The debut episode of the second series of Come Dine with Me South Africa Monday night pulled 160 000 viewers on DStv, doubling the audience share for DStv viewers between 16 and 50 compared to the previous three months.

Come Dine with Me South Africa is the very first - and highly successful - originally produced TV show from BBC Worldwide Channels in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. Not only did viewers love it, making BBC Entertainment the number one international TV channel on DStv in its timeslot during its run, but TV critics could find no fault at all.

BBC Worldwide Channels says the show is an example of the way in which BBC Worldwide Channels is committed to commissioning original programming targeting local TV markets as well as a gloval audience.

Come Dine with Me South Africa is the very first - and highly successful - originally produced TV show from BBC Worldwide Channels in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. Not only did viewers love it, making BBC Entertainment the number one international TV channel on DStv in its timeslot during its run, but TV critics could find no fault at all.

"Given the fantastic response to the first series we knew that it was going to be a hard act to follow, but we had faith in our production and the hugely entertaining contestants that have come forward to compete for the title of South Africa's ultimate dinner party host," says Ian McDonough, the senior vice president and general manager for the EMEA region for BBC Worldwide Channels.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

SABC AFTER THE ISIDINGO FIRE: 'Lots of work still needs to be done and some threats have been identified,' says Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The SABC as a public broadcaster is still steadfastly refusing to give a value to the horrific damage and loss caused by the fire which engulfed Henley Studios on 13 June at the SABC Aucklandpark headquarters and destroyed the Isidingo set (although the exact amount of the millions of rands of damage will eventually come out - it has to be reported in the financial year report, so just wait), but says the broadcaster is "pleased" with the progress it has made.

The fire which burned out of control for hours on the night caused water, electrical, heat and smoke damage to seven studios, the adjacent building and facilities, impacting on the production of not just Isidingo which had to continue emergency production on location elsewhere, but also Muvhango and Generations.

Studio 6 at Henley Studios - wrecked in the massive blaze - has now been decommissioned.

The SABC now says that the electrical system, sprinkler system and air-conditioning system have been reconfigured and restored and that all studios, except for the damaged studio 6, are back in full operational condition. "All productions continued internally, with the exception of Muvhango, which has been accommodated externally."

"Lots of work still needs to be done and some threats have been identified," says Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the SABC's acting chief operating officer (COO). "I am confident we will be able to recover completely and return to full scale production."

The SABC says Studio 6 "has been temporarily decommissioned".

"Engineers are determining the extent of the damage and are currently compiling a plan that will ensure efficient restoration of the studio. Alternative arrangements have been made to ensure that all productions continue uninterrupted."

AfricaCast 2012 coming to Cape Town on 14,15 November as continent's TV execs converge to talk about changes sweeping Africa's TV landscape.

The second annual AfricaCast 2012 is taking place in Cape Town, South Africa on 14 and 15 November and will once again be brimming with South Africa and Africa's top TV executives and digirati to talk and hear about the massive changes and trends sweeping the African continent when it comes to pay-TV, television, video and social media as the media eco-system continues to converge.

AfricaCast 2012, taking place again in the Cape Town International Convention Centre alongside the broader AfricaCom 2012 conference, is a fascinating two day conference specifically for sub-Saharan Africa broadcasters and attracts the largest number of delegates to talk about and hear more about the TV and broadcasting industry on the continent.

Sivan Pillay, the managing director of Endemol South Africa will be the keynote speaker this year at AfricaCast 2012 taking about "Unlocking the potential of African TV through digital transformation".

Nick Thomas, a principal analyst, will be examining the Outlook for the pay-TV market in Africa.

Alex Okosi, the senior vice president and managing director for Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) - the man responsible for launching MTV Base in Africa, is also on the talk roster, together with representatives from MultiChoice, ABN, Rovio,, YouTube, SouthTel and Facebook.

AfricaCom 2012 has a truly fascinating line-up according to this year's broschure.

Panel discussions and presentations include Understanding the TriplePlay offering in Africa and how TriplePlay is impacting on African broadcast revenues, How satellite will share the future of broadcasting in Africa, Looking at the role of TriplePlay on African viewing trends, Assessing the potential impact of the digital switchover, How are preparations going for Africa's digital switchover, and the continued and growing importance of local TV content in the African market.

AfricaCast 2012 and AfricaCom 2012 will have Mike Aldrige from the community TV station CTV in Cape Town talk about the role of local TV content players, and a panel discussion will look at the major challenges and key success stories of being a global broadcaster based in Africa.

Eutelsat's Marc Welinski will talk about satellite in the new TV landscape and what are the current trends and how that will impact on satellite operators and the development of the broadcast business.

People can register for AfricaCom 2012 and AfricaCast 2012 taking place on 14 and 15 November by visiting

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Emmy Awards and Jimmy Kimmel getting Josh Groban to make a joke with a One Direction song leaving no time for Matt Damon.

 "Normal" people will probably not like it; they won't get it since you really really have to know and love and be completely up-to-date and in-tune with your popculture.

The American late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel was the host of the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday night in America and tonight on M-Net.

He did this spoof  "In Memoriam" segment - to himself during the Emmys. Very clever he got Josh Groban to sing it - the song is a cover version of One Direction, "What Makes You Beautiful". Similar to his talk show he works in his meme of "Sorry Matt Damon" as well, and Josh Groban plays along.

It's all so popculture dense, you're either going to get it and get it all, or you will be completely confused.

It's clear that Jimmy Kimmel loves television. He actually watches it. A cool moment was after the montage of TV shows and dramas when it was clear he watches all of those shows and saw all of the images and stories from the past year, and then deadpanned with his wit: "I really do need to get out more".

REVIEW. The Comedy Central Roast of Steve Hofmeyr filled with nervous comedians, nervous laughter, and more hype than actual real funny jabs.

The first South African and African "roast" of a South African personality, the Comedy Central Roast of Steve Hofmeyr on Comedy Central (DStv 122) was an event filled with extremely nervous laughter from nervous and posturing comedians, and more hype than actual funny comedians. At least it is a first try at something new for South African television.

The roast hosted by Trevor Noah was executive produced by Lydia Mason and most of the participants came across as too nervous (and perhaps uneducated) as to what they were supposed to do. Did all of them watch the American version before they were presumably paid to be a part of this production?

Trevor Noah laughing at his own jokes initially was bad (but he got a little bit better), although his impromptu delivery of jokes made up on the spot later were zingers.

Anele Mdoda (who wasn't funny at all with erratic arm, hand and body movements) and the utterly terrible Minki van der Westhuizen (who read haltingly, like reading a storybook to a three year old) didn't belong. Both seriously looked and sounded out of place. (Why were they included?)

Shaleen Surtie-Richards sat through the whole broadcast looking highly disdainful of everyone and everything, making it clear she's not amused and looking as if she didn't want to be there. Only to in the end lash out inappropriately at everyone.

The overly dramatic and pedantic roasting from Robert Whitehead who was first (and sashayed to the podium in a Scottish kilt) was painfully awkward to listen to. It was also too long. As he nervously made his way through his speech he came across as the drunk brother-in-law at the wedding who's not good at public speaking and an embarrassement to himself, who gets asked to do a speech. It was painful to see.

Kuli Roberts following him was distracting with her erratic, hunched delivery, and also came across as nervous; constantly touching her clothes and hair.

The "most famous nobody in South Africa" John Vlismas also started off with nervous laughter, although his delivery following Robert Whitehead and Kuli Roberts was the first clear and good comedically timed stand-up monologue of the broadcast. Sadly he also laughed at his own jokes during his own delivery.

David Kau - also filled with highly nervous laughter - summed it up well: "I'm gathered here with a bunch of South Africans; that are trying to do some sh*t they saw on American TV."

The comedic timing, extremely sharp and on-point jabs, self-assuredness, and straight-forward extreme zingers delivered by Casper De Vries - who didn't shy away from completely going for the jugular - largely helped to save this made-for-TV event.

To John Vlismas he said: "Your existence is proof that Satan f*cks rats". And to Kuli Roberts: "Except for Oscar Pistorius and myself, who haven't you f-?"

And to Shaleen-Surtie Richards: "I saw you on television the other day. But I was mistaken. My glasses was off, so I put on my glasses and it was a news item about a whale that tried to get back into the sea..." And to Steve: "The first time I heard you I thought: Is this an old lesbian with throat cancer?" and "You threw tea in the face of the editor of Huisgenoot. That's the first time you left a woman not wet inside but on top.")

Shaleen Surtie-Richards and her clearly serious anger outburst aimed at the audience, the other roasters and then with venomous remarks to Kuli Roberts was inappropriate for what the format of this show is. Back after her mild stroke, her performance was uncomfortable to watch and detracted from the show. Why was this kept in this TV production if its not suitable - the show was already long enough time-wise?

The stage design of the Comedy Central Roast of Steve Hofmeyr (and inbued with circular themes and an ox wagon) was well done but came across sparse compared to the American roast episodes the comedy channel has been inundating viewers with over the past few months, creating a visual benchmark for how roast sets are "supposed" to look.

Sociologically the broadcast was funny - the first time that white, coloured and black South African personalities laid into each other on television under the banner of comedy, with a live studio audience in attendance.

Comedy Central would be served well by tighter editing in the future of future roasts. And don't do audience shots in which people are clearly visible who are engaged with their cellphones and blue screens which give an impression of them being disinterested.

Roasters should also be more appropriately chosen, although the American roasts often suffer from the same debilitating effect in being unable to secure appropriate comedic talent.

The Comedy Central Roast of Steve Hofmeyr made a good decision in Steve Hofmeyr as an appropriate candidate, but like Donald Trump he "won" (and they're not supposed to).

The too many references and side jokes to Kuli Roberts also made it look as if it was a roast of her - good television requires good editing and knowing what to leave out. With too many nervous comedians and too much left in, the first African roast diluted the tight on-screen impact on television it could have had.

The SABC's flagship daily news bulletin, News @ 7 on SABC3, changes its aspect ratio to the letterbox screen format.

The SABC's flagship daily news bulletin, the English language News @ 7 on SABC3 weekdays at 19:00, has just quietly changed to a 16:9 or so-called letterbox broadcast.

The SABC's news bulletin on SABC2, Nuus om 7 also changed to 16:9.

Of course no word from the SABC or SABC News about the aspect ratio change - or why. The bulletin broadcasts are now artificially squashed from the top and bottom to force it into a 16:9 format.

BREAKING. KidsCo on DStv and TopTV changing its look from beginning 2013 with new content to deliver a much stronger channel.

You're reading it here first. 

KidsCo (TopTV 255 / DStv 308), the children's TV channel available in South Africa on both MultiChoice's DStv as well as On Digital Media's (ODM) TopTV pay-TV platforms will be changing its look from the beginning of 2013 and roll out new content globally.

The refreshed KidsCo will feature a redesigned on-air look the kids channel is announcing, and will also have new content as the channel transition to Corus Entertainment's fascilities at their Toronto-based headquarters, Corus Quay.

Under the new shows KidsCo plans to introduce from 2013 is the new original production, Zuzu and the Supernuffs currently being produced by Matchbox Pictures from NBCUniversal with whom KidsCo announced a content deal earlier this year.

Zuzu and the Supernuffs follows five furry intergalactic Nuffs who crashland on Earth in a rusty old bathtub and meet a new friend, Zuzu.

"2013 is set to be an exciting year for KidsCo," says Hendrik McDermott, the managing director of KidsCo. "We will leverage the global capacity and expertise of both our shareholders, NBCUniversal and Corus Entertainment, to deliver a refreshed and much stronger channel, which will allow us to compete on the global stage."

"We will continue to drive our international growth plans through investments in safe, responsible and localised content," he says.

Giuliana Rancic super thin on the red carpet, anchoring E! Entertainment's E! Live from the Red Carpet at the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards.

Giuliana Rancic from E! News on E! Entertainment (DStv 124) is appearing super thin on the red carpet where she is anchoring the red carpet coverage for E! Live from the Red Carpet: The Primetime Emmy Awards 2012 from Hollywood.

The extremely thin looking Giuliana Rancic has been on maternity leave with her husband Bill Rancic and returned to work to do the red carpet coverage for the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards.

"We're broadcasting live right now to 150 countries, so United Kingdom to South Africa - happy Emmy Day on E!," said Ryan Seacrest who is co-anchoring E! Live from the Red Carpet: The Primetime Emmy Awards 2012.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

E! Entertainment's 'new' on-air look in South Africa - white, black and blue - seems as if its ripped-off and copied from Trace Sports.

E! Entertainment (DStv 124) which implemented its "new" on-air look today for South Africa comes across to me as having been ripped-off and copied from the look of Trace Sports (DStv 129) which South African viewers have seen already.

Above is an intertile and promo board for the entertainment news and lifestyle channel's E! News
Below is an intertile and promo board for the sport entertainment and sports lifestyle channel's Top Gossip.

By the way, E! Entertainment and Trace Sports are two different TV channels, if you are maybe confused.

E! Entertainment now uses a new colour palette consisting of primarily white, black and baby blue, as well as white, black and orange for its on-air look - and strikingly in very much the same way as Trace Sports to which South African viewers have now had access to for months.

Oh, and don't forget about MTV Base (DStv 322). Yep - black, white and blue look. It's so funny that E! Entertainment is now the third TV channel seen in South Africa in these exact same colours.

You can see how the "new" E! Entertainment looks very derivative of what South African viewers on DStv have already seen.

'MTV always had an intention of going to Africa,' says Alex Okosi from VIMN Africa, talking about establishing MTV Base on DStv.

"MTV always had an intention of going to Africa. The challenge was trying to find someone that can create a plan that made sense. For me, and for the business, and I think it was the right approach, it wasn't creating an African outpost just to have one - it had to be a real business; a profitable business."

"So with the London team I worked as part of our strategy team internationally, which is where I crafted a business plan, hitting it around the business, and eventually got it approved, and eventually launched our first MTV service in Africa, MTV Base (DStv 322) in 2005."

So says Alex Okosi, the senior vice president and managing director for Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) who was interviewed by Nkepile Mabuse on African Voices on CNN International (DStv 401).

Today more than 90 million people have access to the content of MTV Base. which was established as a new TV channel on the continent on MultiChoice's DStv pay-TV platform.

"We knew that a music video channel like MTV could work. It's always difficult when you're sitting behind a desk trying to find data on Africa. It doesn't work," said Alex Okosi about trying to build the business plan of trying to establish MTV Base.

"South Africa was of course much easier to get data on regarding the ad market. Once it was done and I started presenting it to the business it made sense from a creative standpoint, from a financial standpoint, and just a growth standpoint and why we just needed to be in this great continent," said Alex Okosi.

He also talked about the challenge of quality content.

"Quality is tough. In South Africa for instance, taking music clips, you had decent music videos. "The rest of the continent it was awful quite frankly. And we did research, because it was important to us to understand. You don't just put together a business plan."

"You need to do research to understand what kind of content would work. And we found a young viewer would watch something but it had to be of quality - otherwise they would spend time giggling and laughing at the quality, versus appreciating what they see on the screen."

"We had to create a benchmark for quality and put people on the ground in these different [African] markets that we deemed to be our key markets to train, to work with the producers and the artists in terms of how to create better music videos. It wasn't really the cost of it; it was just that people didn't really know how to do it," said Alex Okosi.

"To make it work, to make it a showcase for not just something for people who have the ability to have pay-television, but to the masses, we created partnerships with terrestrial players."

"So for instance with the SABC in South Africa, for instance in Tanzania, in Nigeria we created random blocks of MTV Base that we aired content within that block in access the mass audience to be able to get a taste of what we have to offer," said Alex Okosi.

Idols' ratings on M-Net way down compared to previous years; why the noticeable viewership drop for the reality show?

You're reading it here first. 

Idols' ratings for the current 8th season on the M-Net channel is way down year-to-year compared to the exact same period last year and the 7th season - why the noticeable viewership drop for the longrunning reality show?

Idols which won't have a white young man as the winner again (following previous seasons' viewer voting wins for Heinz Winckler, Dave van Vuuren, Elvis Blue and Jason Hartman), still cracks it as a top 10 show on M-Net's most watched weekly list - but only the Sunday performance show and with not as high a ranking.

A year ago during the 7th season and during the last stretch of the show, both weekly shows from Idols - the Sunday performance show as well as the Tuesday Idols results show would make the weekly top 10 most watched shows on M-Net as anticipation and viewership built towards the finale.

Not so this season.

Only the Sunday show of Idols garners enough viewership to make the weekly top 10 on M-Net. The viewership of the Sunday performance show of Idols on M-Net is also lower, and getting a lower overall rating and ranking than the corresponding time exactly a year ago during the 7th season of Idols.

The latest available viewership places Idols 7th on M-Net's list of most watched shows (the Sunday show), below shows such as Dallas, Hawaii Five-O, Revenge and NCIS: Los Angeles for the current 8th season in which three contestants are remaining.

It's a major drop from exactly a year ago when Idols held the place as 3rd most watched show on M-Net and had its result show on Tuesday's also feature on the top 10 list, giving Idols two places on the list last year.