Monday, December 31, 2012

Suspended SABC news boss Phil Molefe loses his court application to have his suspension and pending disciplinary hearing ruled unlawful.

The SABC's embattled and suspended news boss Phil Molefe who has been placed on "special leave" for the largest part of the year from his R2,2 million job has lost an acrimonious court battle to force the SABC and its CEO Lulama Mokhobo to reinstate him as the public broadcaster's head of news and current affairs.

Lulama Mokhobo placed Phil Molefe on "special leave" back in April (while the SABC was working on creating a new 24-hour TV news channel with pay-TV platform MultiChoice, now with no permanent head of news at the SABC) when Phil Molefe refused to hand over the SABC News division's news diaries to her.

The SABC which has refused to talk about the reasons, said at the time Phil Molefe was placed on "special leave" due to "human resource matters". Phil Molefe decided to challenge his suspension, saying that the order to forward the daily news diary to the SABC's CEO Lulama Mokhobo amounted to editorial interference.

Phil Molefe, interestingly represented by advocate Dali Mpofu - a previous CEO of the SABC - will now have to face off with the SABC's top executive in a disciplinary hearing after the South Gauteng High Court dismissed Phil Molefe's court application to have the pending disciplinary hearing declared unlawful.

Phil Molefe also wanted his suspension to be declared unlawful in a bid to get his "special leave" declared "unlawful and, accordingly, invalid, null and void".

Sunday, December 30, 2012

SABC acting after broadcaster paid millions in unauthorised spending on the South African Sports Awards, soccer and rugby matches.

The beleaguered South African public broadcaster is taking action against high-level executives at the SABC involved in unauthorised spending totalling more than a hundred million rand with payments made for events ranging from the trashproduced South African Sports Awards to Sapa, SuperSport, the South Africa Football Association (Safa) and Cricket South Africa (CSA).

The SABC incurred R114 million in irregular expenditure and is now taking action against the SABC officials who were responsible or involved in payments for events shown on SABC television each totalling millions of rands and which were broadcast without any signed contracts or payments which were made for events without proper contracts actually being in place.

The payments include Cricket South Africa who was paid R28 million and SuperSport which was paid R5,2 million for the broadcasting rights to the Tri-Nations home rugby tests in 2011.

The SABC forked over R7,5 million to Sports rights holder Sport Five and the South African Football Association (Safa) to show the soccer matches against Burkina Faso and Egypt in which Bafana Bafana played.

The SABC paid R2,1 million for the broadcast of the South African Sports Awards classified as irregular spending. Another R2,6 million was paid by the SABC for a Confederation of African Football (CAF) under-20 event.

The SABC also paid the South African Press Association (Sapa) R4 million within the public broadcaster's radio division.

BREAKING. Dali dining with a despot: Dali Thambo jets to Zimbabwe for a feast with Robert Mugabe in his famine ravaged country.

Now this is a TV dinner in very bad taste: The SABC will show South African viewers how Dali Tambo dines with Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe in utter opulence for People of the South - this while ordinary Zimbabwean citizens still starve and live on less than a dollar a day in in that poverty stricken Southern African nation.

Dali Tambo and a 14 person crew jetted into Zimbabwe as he interviewed and ate with Robert Mugabe during 19 and 21 December.

The opulent episode will be shown on SABC3 early in 2013 in Dali Tambo's interview show People of the South.

The Zimbabwean president is described by critics of conducting a "reign of terror" and being "an extremely poor role model" for the continent of Africa.

Whilst feasting in the country ravaged by famine for a "celebratory dinner", Dali Tambo and his entourage were also given access to State House, the majestic official presidential residence of Robert Mugabe for the episode.

The local talker and profile show was resusitated by the SABC in 2012 for a new run on public television in South Africa, the second season of which will be shown on SABC3 during the first half of 2013.

In the new incantation of People of the South which was made possible with assistance from South Africa's department of communications, Dali Tambo interviews personalities and their family members around family feast tables laden with a massive amount of food which 90% of ordinary Africans, in all likelihood, will never be able to afford nor taste in their lifetimes.

The People of the South episode shot in Zimbabwe will also include Dali Tambo interviewing Robert Mugabe's wife, Grace Mugabe, as well as the Mugabe offspring, Bona Mugabe and Chatunga Mugabe.

Fox News Channel to ring in 2013 with an All-American New Year's Special with Bill Hemmer and Megyn Kelly.

The Fox News Channel (TopTV 405) will bring viewers a 2013 New Year's Special which South African viewers will be able to see on Tuesday morning 1 January 2013 from 06:00 until 07:30 (South African time).

Bill Hemmer and Megyn Kelly from the Fox News Channel will be back in New York's Times Square as the hosts of the channel's All-American New Year's 2013.

The All-American New Year's 2013 will feature performances by Sarah Brightman and Pat Benetar, as well as the cast of Broadway's "Million Dollar Quartet".

Other Fox News Channel personalities who will be a part of the All-American New Year's 2013 include Greg Gutfeld, Anna Kooiman, Kimberly Guilfoyle and Maria Molina.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Game of Thrones, Dexter, The Big Bang Theory the most pirated TV shows of 2012.

Game of Thrones, Dexter and The Big Bang Theory - all shown on M-Net in South Africa, top the list of the most illegally downloaded shows in 2012, followed by sitcom How I Met Your Mother seen on in the 4th place.

TorrentFreak released its annual list of most popular illegally pirated TV shows and in 2012 more than 80% of all TV content downloaded illegally, came from countries outside of America.

Viewers with internet access in countries around the world are taking to illegal downloads in an ever increasing number as their impatience grows and as they're unwilling to wait for TV shows and episodes to show up on their TV sets in countries where pay-TV is prohibitively expensive or distribution of specific shows are limited.

No African country made the list of top 10 countries where the biggest illegal downloads happens. According to TorrentFreak more than 90% of illegal downloading through the internet happens within the first seven days after a new episode of a TV show becomes available.

The top Game of Thrones episode was downloaded 4,28 million times in 2012, followed by the top episode of Dexter with 3,85 million illegal downloads and The Big Bang Theory with 3,2 million illegal downloads.

The top 10 is rounded out by How I Met Your Mother (2,96 million), Breaking Bad (2,58 million), The Walking Dead (seen in South Africa on TopTV's FX channel), Homeland, House, Fringe (all also seen on M-Net) and Revolution (seen in South Africa on the M-Net Series channel and the only brand-new TV show to crack the Top 10 list).

James Gibbons appointed as the new country manager for Discovery Networks looking after Discovery's channels in South Africa and Africa.

James Gibbons has been appointed as the new country manager for emerging business for Discovery Networks' Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA) region.

That means that James Gibbons becomes responsible for looking after Discovery's multiple TV channels available on MultiChoice's DStv and On Digital Media's (ODM) TopTV pay-TV platforms in South Africa and on DStv throughout Africa.

James Gibbons will be looking after TV channels such as TLC, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and ID Investigation Discovery in South Africa and across the African continent from London. He has been based in Japan the past five years managing Discovery's operations there. His new goal will be to grow and develop Discovery's business in South Africa and Africa as well as in the other CEEMEA regions.

"I am both excited at this new opportunity and confident that we will continue to focus on the expansion of Discovery Networks in South Africa, Turkey, the Middle East and across the African continent through broader distribution with a view to creating greater local relevance for our valued viewers and partners," says James Gibbons in a press statement.

"We continue to lead the factual entertainment space in these markets and I'm looking forward to working with our talented teams to further expand Discovery's footprint, while continuing to deliver the highest quality programmes in the region," says James Gibbons.

"I am delighted that James is joining our team," says Kaisa Kieli, the president and managing director for Discovery CEEMEA. "He is well-placed to springboard our business in markets where we believe there is potential for greater growth, such as Turkey, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East."

Community TV station 1KZN to now remain on TopTV 'indefinitely'; therefore available on both DStv and TopTV.

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An interesting development is that the KwaZulu-Natal based community TV station, 1KZN, will now remain on the struggling TopTV pay-TV provider's channel line-up "indefinitely", meaning that 1KZN is available on both TopTV as well as DStv.

MultiChoice added 1KZN from 13 November to its own DStv channel line-up.

1KZN then told me that the communtity TV station will no longer be available on TopTV from the end of November.

1KZN now tells me that 1KZN "will remain op TopTV on channel 187 indefinitely and will therefore be seen on both DStv channel 261 and TopTV".

The community TV station which started broadcasting last year from the Richards Bay area didn't respond to a follow-up media enquiry as to why 1KZN originally would have left TopTV and now remains available.

1KZN's dual availability makes it one of a limited number of TV channels seen in South Africa on both TopTV and DStv and included on both platforms, such as BBC World News (strikingly available on channel 400 on both services), Al Jazeera, FashionTV and TLC besides the must-carry public channels of the SABC and then

History's cracking mini-series Hatfields & McCoys coming to South Africa from 12 January at 20:30 on M-Net Movies Drama & Romance.

The hugely popular mini-series Hatfields & McCoys which lured record TV audiences in May to the History channel in America is coming to South Africa but won't be seen on History (DStv 186) here - the South African pay-TV broadcaster M-Net grabbed the three part show which will start on M-Net Drama & Romance (DStv 107) on 12 January at 20:30.

Hatfields & McCoys will be shown in South Africa, as it was in America, in three 2 hour episodes on M-Net Drama & Romance. It stars Kevin Costner as William Hatfield and Bill Paxton as Randolph McCoy and follows the intrigued multi generational, extended family feud between the two families and their legendary saga from just after the American Civil War.

Hatfields & McCoys received a whopping 16 Emmy nominations winning several, one of which for Kevin Costner. The mini-series was History's first scripted TV programming ever.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

BREAKING. Award-winning SABC cameraman Jan de Klerk dies after a long battle with cancer.

The award-winning SABC cameraman Jan de Klerk has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 53.

Jan de Klerk's career spanned several decades at the SABC behind the scenes as a veteran cameraman and he leaves behind his wife and a two year old daughter. Funeral arrangements are not yet known.

Jan de Klerk is most noted for the several stories on which he worked in tandem with the investigative TV journalist Jacques Pauw for SABC3's Special Assignment for which the pair won numerous awards.

"We worked together from 1993 until 2007 for 13, 14 years," Jacques Pauw told the SABC. "We've probably produced 50 television documentaries him and myself, from half an hour to two hour special documentaries for mainly Special Assignment."

"As staff and management at the SABC we are deeply shocked and saddened by Jan's untimely passing away," says Themba Mthembu, the SABC's acting head of news and current affairs. "Jan was passionate and committed to his craft. In fact he stands among the best of the cameramen we've ever had at the SABC."

Karen d'Orville, an SABC colleague and friend told the SABC that "my impression of Jan was always that of a mentor. He's been an incredible mentor for junior journalists and producers in the field. He had an incredible ability to convey knowledge in a very patient way."

"I always remember him as someone who was very neatly dressed with a jacket," says SABC colleague Jan Singleton. "I remember him as someone who was always friendly, and always made time for a joke."

M&S, Vusi Zion's new short form profile show on South African movers and shakers, starting on the eNCA on 14 January.

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As usual and the eNCA (DStv 403) are not communicating anything to the press about the 24-hour news channel's upcoming new programming, but M&S, short for Movers & Shakers, is a new local show which will be starting on the eNCA on Monday 14 January at 10:50 (South African time).

M&S with Vusi Zion will profile and interview South African business personalities in the new eNCA series with every short form episode which will be repeated every day on the eNCA until a new episode every Monday.

M&S will profile the "visionary entrepreneurs and creative champions we would like to emulate" such as Jenna Clifford, Ivor Ichikowitz, Richard Loring, fashion designer Nkensani Nkosi of Stoned Cherrie and artist Hugh Masebenza.

Vusi Zion was responsible for The Edition magazine show on eNCA which was shown in 2012.

M&S will be repeated on the eNCA on Tuesdays (14:50), Wednesdays (20:20), Thursdays (10:50), Fridays (08:50), Saturdays (08:20) and Sundays (07:20).

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Curiosity on Discovery Science creates a magnificent virtual sun to explore the nuclear fusion reaction taking place inside a star.

Curiosity on Discovery Science (TopTV 302), the excellent scientific investigation series, is creating a virtual sun for an upcoming episode which South African viewers will get to see in 2013.

With the help of one of the world's top astronomers and leading experts in the field, Curiosity is set to dazzle viewers by creating a virtual sun using the latest scientific data from telescopes on Earth and in space, combined with the latest special effects imaging techniques to recreate the nuclear fusion reaction taking place at the heart of a sun, radiating out to its surface and into space.

Astronomer Phil Plait will take viewers on an amazing journey deep inside the virtually created sun's core and through its atmospheres in the episode entitled "Sun Storm".

The Curiosity episode will be shown in America on 30 December and later in 2013 in South Africa. it will try to look at and explain what's really inside the sun and what could be expected when the next solar super storm takes place.


Sony channels its new but cancelled TV drama, The Mob Doctor, straight to Sony Entertainment Television from 25 February at 20:30.

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I can break the news and exclusively reveal that The Mob Doctor, the new but cancelled America TV drama is coming to Sony Entertainment Television (DStv 127) where it's set to start on Monday 25 February at 20:30 (South African time).

The Mob Doctor revolves around doctor Grace Devlin (Jordana Spiro) in Chicago who, reluctantly, agrees to become an after-hours doctor for the mafia besides her real daytime job, to work off her brother's debt.

Sony Pictures Television produced The Mob Doctor for the Fox TV network in America where it started in September but got cancelled last month. Sony Pictures Television International Networks decided to channel the 13 episode season of The Mob Doctor straight to Sony Entertainment Television.

Sony Entertainment Television's biggest exclusive TV content for tune-in to the channel remains The Amazing Race, and the channel has had some limited success for bringing South African viewers the shortlived and cancelled drama The Firm earlier this year.

Sony recently decided to yank The Late Show with David Letterman from Sony Entertainment Television which South African viewers can no longer see on the channel or elsewhere on South Africa.

BREAKING. MASSIVE SHOCKER coming; Downton Abbey the heir apparent of Dallas as major character gets killed off in season ending cliffhanger!

This is as massive as it gets in television - a massive fatal plot twist so breathtakingly spectacular and surprising that shocked British television viewers sat stunned as a major main character unexpectedly got killed off in the 3rd season finale of the worldwide British TV hit Downton Abbey last night.

While Britons are reeling in shock, if I were BBC Worldwide Channels I'd start showing the new 3rd season of Downton Abbey not from April in South African on BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) as their plan is currently, but right now.

Last night in the 3rd series finale on ITV in the United Kingdom viewers saw a great character die and that news is not going to remain a secret to South African viewers who will have the show spoiled by the time its seen many months from now on BBC Entertainment.

Britains are reeling this morning (and word will very soon get out as to who it is who died as the spoiler spreads quickly around the world) after last night's 3rd season finale of the worldwide British TV hit in which Downton Abbey all but finally and firmly took over television's cliffhanger crown.

Whereas Dallas in the 80s started the modern-day trend of season-ender cliffhangers in television giving viewers an unexpected jolt in the last seconds of a season with unbelievable plot twists (inaugurated by the shocking second season "Who shot JR?" finale), Downton Abbey has now firmly entrenched itself as the show making viewers' jaws drop and keeping them buzzing until a new season starts.

As if one massive death earlier in the new 3rd season of Downton Abbey wasn't enough, another major main character, never close to death, danger or old age, suddenly got killed last night in the extremely popuar Julian Fellowes British period melodrama.

BBC Worldwide Channels which pipes the various BBC channels to South Africa through MultiChoice's DStv play-TV platform will get a lot more bang for its buck from the ITV bought series if the new 3rd series of Downton Abbey starts showing in South Africa now.

By April when the show is due to start on BBC Entertainment in South Africa, pay-TV subscribers to DStv will not be able to experience the same shocking sensation as the TV production intended, since the shocking surprises, twists and the death packed into the final episode will be firmly all over the internet and have been seen, unwillingly, by a lot of people who didn't want to know and will have the dramatic television narrative spoiled for them due to online media.

The actor who just got killed told The Telegraph that it was "very emotional shooting the end of the series because those guys are like family".

Monday, December 24, 2012

Festive messages from all of South Africa's TV broadcasters and pay-TV operators, reflecting on 2012 and looking ahead to 2013.

I asked all South African broadcasters, TV channels and pay-TV operators for a special 2012 festive, end-of-the year message to reflect on the year that was, look forward to what might be in store for 2013 and to share any and all that they might want to tell their viewers, subscribers, and all stakeholders about their television business for the year past - and the year ahead.

Below are all of their responses.

The channel management of SABC1 would like to express its sincere gratitude to the continued support of our audiences, talent, our content suppliers, media and advertising partners who have continued to support this brand in the current year.

Despite the challenges experienced by the channel as the industry continues to fragment both in terms of the audience base and revenue share, SABC1 has continued to be the most viewed channel with a daily audience of over 20 million viewers with the channel consistently delivering the top ten most watched television programmes. This continued dominance affirms the channel's brand promise as Mzansi's Original Storyteller, crafting content that resonates with and inspires South Africa.

Generations continues to deliver an audience base in excess of 60% audience share per night at 20:00. The channel's daily drama offering at 20:30 that included programmes like the new Shakespeare in Mzansi series Dreaming in Jozi and Room 9 bore testimony to the channel's committment to originate new fresh South African stories and support the local industry and talent.

From an entertainment point of view, the channel was proud to launch our first ever interactive technology-based programme, Zone'd, that allowed the normal South African viewer from all corners of the country to co-create content withthe channel by uploading their own videos shot on mobile phones. In this year we revived our popular dance programme Turn It Out and brought back an old favourite All You Need is Love back to the screen. Our popular documentary slate continued to enthral and educate South Africa about its history with the popular Robert Sobukwe series Why Are We So Angry, My World as well as the series that celebrated the positive impact various women leaders have had in our lives in the I Am, We Are series.

As we move towards 2013, the channel promises to deliver a more exciting schedule starting with the African Cup of Nations from 19 January until 10 February 2013. The channel will also launch new seasons of our successful dramas Skeem Saam and Intersexions alongside new dramas like Hustle and Mawaza on Friday night at 20:30. Next year promises to be an even more exciting year with great empowering, exciting, informative content that resonates with our target market.

To all our viewers, the production industry, our talent, media and advertising clients, we wish you a restful holiday period and a blessed new year.
Leo Manne
Acting SABC1 channel head

For SABC2, 2012 has been a year of reflection and stocktaking. We recently bid a sad farewell to the iconic Afrikaans newsreader Riaan Cruywagen, who, after a career of 47 years at the SABC, decided to retire.

After 20 years on SABC2, Noot vir Noot continues to draw massive audiences. Muvhango celebrated 15 years of broadcast and Morning Live 13 years.

SABC2 reported some programming highlights: after a successful run of 10 years Stokvel came to an end. SABC2, where everyone feels at home, also brought South Africans the 2012 London Olympic Games. SABC2 comedies, Ga Re Dumele and Stokvel walked away with some Safta Awards.

Looking back on the year that's been, it goes without saying that SABC2 owes its successes to a number of people: our content producers, advertisers, the print media and last but not least, our loyal audiences. May you enjoy a blessed and safe holiday break in the company of SABC2, where you always Feel at Home.
Bessie Tugwana
SABC2 channel head

On behalf of SABC3 I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the media who has supported us this year in which SABC3 has become the most watched TV channel in South Africa in daytime (05:00 to 18:00 in LSM 7-10, with an average share of 13,9% Mondays to Sundays, and 15,5% Mondays to Fridays.

The channel broadcast a range of premium content with signature properties Isidingo and Days of Our Lives, Survivor and Amazing Race which continue to dominate the channel's top 10.

New international content included popular variety formats The Voice and The Sing Off, dramas such as The Good Wife, Numb3rs and The Mentalist, retro dramas, notably MacGyver and Mission Impossible, as well as blue chip documentaries in the form of National Geographic and the popular Dr. Oz.

There has been a growing emphasis on local content, with Isidingo, Top Billing, Three Talk with Noeleen and Expresso being joined by the likes of Dr. Mol, The Business Coach, Life with Thami, People of the South, the new local sitcom Those Who Can't and the popular I Am Woman. The acclaimed local series Shoreline returned for a second journey around the South African coast and The Ultimate Braai Master outclassed MasterChef as the premium local cooking format.

As we look forward to 2013 may we wish you a blessed time over the festive period with family and loved ones and every success in the year to come.
Ed Worster
SABC3 channel head
2012 ends on a high note; the channel viewership has grown by 2,6%. It is leading growth ahead of all terrestrial TV channels and it is ahead of total viewership which is 1,2%. It has been a great year and we are excited about 2013 and ready for all that it has to offer.

Our diverse content portfolio, from drama to reality, factual programming and current affairs programmes were real strengths this year. In true style we are always willing to raise the bar and are bold enough to roll out creative brand interaction opportunities set to solidify our position in the market and strengthen relationships with our viewers. Through strategic market research we will continue to provide fresh, original content which addresses the issues faced by ordinary South Africans.

South Africa has a vibrant television industry and as a key player we need to ensure that we stay ahead of all trends and continue to satisfy the growing appetite for original high quality local and international content. We will continue to capitalize on South Africa's rich social, economic and political climate to elevate our programming offering.

We kick off 2013 with a refreshed brand image which is a clearer expression of the channel's vision to inspire free thinking and to celebrate the diverse South African cultural landscape. 2013 is also a special year because the channel will celebrate a hige milestone - 15 years of being the only free-to-air commercial TV station in South Africa.

Over the years the channel's remarkable growth has seen it become a major force in the South African broadcasting industry and we remain grateful to all our loyal viewers who have contributed to this growth.

As we prepare for a multi-channel environment, it is crucial that we stay plugged into what our viewers need and broaden our content portfolio by being more innovative. This requires development of new ideas and talent; it also means taking more calculated creative risks.

Above all we will continue to monitor our audience needs and remain true to our mandate of serving ordinary South Africans and becoming the entertainment destination of choice.

We would like to wish all our viewers a joyous festive season and a great new year. We hope that they manage to rest and get recharged for the new year. Remember to join us for the countdown on Monday 31 December as we welcome the New Year with a dynamic new identity that will inspire the imagination of our beautiful nation.
Monde Twala channel head

2012 has been a remarkable year in the history of M-Net - Africa's leading television network.

Being a passionate and innovative content provider, everything we do revolves around bringing our viewers the best entertainment possible. That's why our family of channels expanded like never before this year.

The company launched eight new genre-based movie channels, two dedicated music channels (Mzansi Music and kykNET Musiek) as well as several AfricaMagic channels, of which two - AfricaMagic Entertainment and AfricaMagic Movies 1 - now also keep South Africa viewers updated with what's happening on the continent.

In total, M-Net is now the custodian of more than 40 channels, aimed at diverse African audiences - quite a feat for any television operator.

On top of that, we created dozens of fantastic shows for a variety of channels, as well as watercooler showstopper such as Idols, Big Brother StarGame and MasterChef. Idols Season 8, a co-production between M-Net and Mzansi Magic, delivered the highest Idols SA viewership figures ever, while Big Brother StarGame became the most interactive show in the stable. It had Africa buzing on the social media networks, with hundreds of thousands of tweets and more than 900 000 likes on Facebook.

Furthermore, M-Net's corporate social investment brand, M-Net Cares, made a difference where it's needed most. Our M-Net Cares projects include upgrades at several schools where basic fascilities were lacking and we are extremely proud of the M-Net Naledi initiative, which teaches grade three learners the joy of reading. This year, M-Net Naledi not only included more schools in more provinces; it also reached out to the Sive School for the Deaf.

Salutations to all of the passionate behind-the-scenes magic-makers at M-Net, whose boundless creativity and dedication led to many success stories, who excelled with our new ventures, and who ensured that existing products remained in shipshape form.

A huge thank you to all our international and local suppliers as well as the production companies and on-screen stars that kept the magic flowing. We're proud to know that our channels have been the home of top-performing series, those shows that raked in accolades at international awards ceremonies, such as the Golden Globes and Emmy Awards.

On the local front, many of our channels have also initiated award ceremonies to honour the best in the business. Congratulations again to the winners of the Channel O Music Video Awards, the kykNET Fiestas, the MK Awards and the kykNET Silwerskerm Awards.

The most important charm attached to the chain of magic, however, is our viewers. Thank you for welcoming us into your homes and hearts. We look forward to sharing more unforgettable moments with you in 2013.

The good news is that plenty new fabulous shows are already in production or in the planning phase. To mention a few: Big Brother Africa will be back; the search for South Africa's new MasterChef will continue; it will rain money in localised versions of Million Dollar Money Drop; and the hand-picked choirs of celebrity choir masters will sing for their supper in the coolest choir show imaginable, Clash of the Choirs SA.

Wherever you are, enjoy every minute of the holiday season. We're wishing you a magical time in the company of loved-ones, now and into the new year.
Koo Govender
M-Net Director: Corporate Marketing and Communications

MultiChoice South Africa (DStv)
2013 will be a very exciting year at MultiChoice, especially for our customers.

We will increase our focus on creating a great experience for our customers. In fact, we are always looking for opportunities to enhance our customers' experience to give them great entertainment at good value for money.
Collins Khumalo
MultiChoice South Africa CEO

On Digital Media (TopTV)
Reflecting on 2012 for TopTV, I think the word "eventful" best sums up the year for us!

I took over as interim CEO in February and it's been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride since then. We've enjoyed a number of highs - including the launch of the first and exclusive prepaid payment option for pay-TV in South Africa, the introduction of three new local productions and providing the exclusive platform to showcase top international programmes such as The Walking Dead and new channels including Setanta Action and Tshwane TV.

On the downside we took the decision at the end of October to place TopTV in business rescue as a safeguard while seeking an equity partner.

However, overall we have enjoyed a successful year as TopTV and would like to take this opportunity to thank all our loyal subscribers for their continued and ongoing support of our service.

With more than 50 channels that offer a variety of international and local programming to entertain our viewers 24/7, we are hard at work to ensure that this continues into the New Year.
Eddie Mbalo
TopTV interim CEO

Saturday, December 22, 2012

AFTER 21 12 2012. National Geographic Channel going big with end of the world daily documentaries and Sunday Doomsday TV marathons.

Besides the 50% off sale on Mayan calendars National Geographic Channel (DStv 181) is going big with a veritable doomsday delight of documentaries and a TV marathon about the end of the world.

National Geographic Channel has a Doomsday marathon for South African viewers tomorrow, Sunday 23 December starting at 09:00 (all South African times) with Maya Underworld: The Real Doomsday followed by an episode of Doomsday Preppers at 09:50; and then marathon episodes of Doomsday Preppers from 16:15 until 19:00 (continuing next Sunday 30 December at the same times).

Next week, from Monday 24 December until Friday 28 December, National Geographic Channel continues its "Aftermath" strand with intriguing programming following the Mayan Doomsday 21 December 2012 prophecy.

From Monday until Friday between 20:00 and 22:00 next week National Geographic Channel has scheduled two documentaries per day.

The two hour block consists out of Aftermath episodes with titles such as "World without Oil," "Population Overload", "Betrayed by the Sun" and "When the Earth stops spinning", to 2012 The Final Prophecy, Omens of the Apocalypse, Surviving Armageddon and on next Friday the two hour special Evacuate Earth.

2012 Christmas wishes received from Fox International Channels Africa and National Geographic Channel.

E! Entertainment developing Shoreline and Gallerina as a further 2 brand-new drama series for 2013.

E! Entertainment (DStv 124) is continuing the massive overhaul of the general entertainment TV channel to a radically more scripted programming television channel and is adding another two new possible TV dramas to its development plans.

Following the massive number of brand new dramas and sitcoms E! Entertainment announced in May this year the channel will start make pilot episodes of and which might become TV series in 2013, E! Entertainment also commissioned a brand-new supernatural, romantic drama about a dead entertainment lawyer in New York looking for love earlier this month, also for 2013.

Now E! Entertainment is adding yet another two new drama shows.

Gallerina will be a new hour long art gallery drama on E! Entertainment about a young woman trying to make it at Bettencourt Gallery, the centre of Los Angeles' art scene.

The young woman has to deal not only with her iconic and famous mother in whose shadow she lives, but also the womanising art gallery owner and the fake and real art world players and artists inhabiting the elite sphere in which she lives her life.

Shoreline is yet another new drama series in development at E! Entertainment.

Shoreline will revolve around a main character who returns home to see that a major Hollywood primetime soap, The Shore Line Yacht Club, has taken over the small town with the scale of the TV production and is starting to change the nature of the townspeople while a big gap exists between the glitzy producers and cast, and the ordinary inhabitants of the small coastal town in South Carolina.

How I Met Your Mother on renewed for a 9th season with the sitcom's entire ensemble cast set to return with new contracts.

How I Met Your Mother, seen in South Africa on has been renewed for a 9th season in America, Deadline reports.

The sitcom produced for the CBS network in America by 20th Century Fox Television will be back for another season after Jason Segel initially refused to return for another season of the ensemble sitcom with Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, Josh Radnor and Cobie Smulders.

Changing Fortunes, a new 6 part series examining the world's new rich, coming to BBC World News in February 2013.

BBC World News (TopTV 400 / DStv 400) has commissioned a new 6 part documentary series, Changing Fortunes, which will start in February 2013 and will look at the world's new wealthy at a time when being jet-set rich and conspicuous wealth has become somewhat controversial.

Changing Fortunes will take a contemporary look a bout new patterns of wealth emerging in the early 21st century and the new generation of wealthy men and women around the globe which have emerged in the last two decades.

The fall of the Soviet Union, the liberalisation of india and the opening of China have brought vast new markets into the global economy and has created an explosion of wealth from Brazil to Africa as the internet and technology boom continue to generate new fortunes around the world. As a result the rich are not only getting richer but also younger, more female and less Western.

Changing Fortunes on BBC World News will set out to meet some of the innovators, entrepreneurs and business success stories whose fortunes offer a window into our rapidly changing world.

From the Nigerian entrepreneur heading one of Africa's largest energy companies to the world-renowned beauty expert and CEO of a leading US cosmetics company, each episode in the series profiles individuals who will reveal their extraordinary journeys to success.

''Changing Fortunes offers a fascinating insight into the economic history of the last 20 years and the accumulation of wealth," says Mary Wilkinson, the head of commissioning for BBC World News. "All of the individual stories we feature are remarkable and demonstrate that the newly rich are diverse and very global."

Yalda Hakim joining BBC World News as a presenter and correspondent for a new current affairs programme in 2013.

Yalda Hakim is joining BBC World News (DStv 400 / TopTV 400) as a presenter and correspondent for a new current affairs programme.

Yalda Hakim will launch a new international current affairs programme for BBC World News in 2013. BBC World News says in a statement the 24 hour British news channel is "investing heavily in new programmes and fascilities".

Yalda Hakim was born in Afghanistan and moved to Australia in the late 1980's after her father fled Kabul with his family when Russia invaded the country. As well as English, Yalda Hakim speaks five other languages including Farsi, Hindi, Pashto and Dari and is currently learning Mandarin.

"I'm delighted to be joining the dynamic team at BBC World News," says Yalda Hakim in the statement.

"Yalda is an exceptionally talented young journalist who has already achieved a great deal in her career and we're very excited to welcome her to the team.With her international background and language skills she'll provide a perfect fit for BBC World News as we continue to develop our services to global audiences during the course of 2013," says Richard Porter, the controller of English, global news at the BBC.

Leverage on Sony Entertainment Television cancelled after 5 seasons and 77 episodes.

Leverage seen in South Africa on Sony Entertainment Television (DStv 127) has been cancelled and will end after its current 5th season and 77 episodes.

"Im so happy we were able to film the series finale we had always envisioned," says Dean Devlin, the executive producer and director of Leverage in a statement, calling it "a bittersweet goodbye".

Earlier this month, before knowing whether the 5th season would also be the final season, Dean Devlin told the show's fans in an open letter that the season 5 finale was designed as a "powerful" series finale, should Leverage not be picked up for a 6th season.

"Fellow executive producer John Rogers and I decided to end this season with the episode we had planned to make to end the series, way back when we shot the pilot," Dean Devlin wrote and is "the series finale we had always envisioned".

Friday, December 21, 2012

WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? E! Entertainment remains the most idiotically censored TV channel seen on South African television.

The terrible E! Entertainment (DStv 124) remains the blatantly most, most idiotically, schizophrenically non-sensical censored TV channel seen in South Africa.

E! News on Friday night on E! Entertainment in South Africa on DStv had more than a dozen blatant blackouts - blurred images, utter silence on the soundtrack multiple times, and a lot of deliberately censored content within a news show.

For a general entertainment TV channel purportedly bring viewers entertainment news, so much on E! Entertainment is constantly blacked-out, blurred, beeped, fuzzed-out and blatantly censored that besides being highly distracting and making for extremely uncomfortable viewing, the channel  - especially its daily supposedly news programme, E! News, is a sad joke.

A crazy yet typical example is for instance this evening in E! News, when the episode even blurred the Facebook logo during the regular ''Talk Meter" segment during which viewers are encouraged to share their opinions and views on movies. The top most discussed movies are then listed and discussed by the anchors.

On the one hand E! Entertainment and E! News wants to encourage viewer interaction and build buzz on social networks. On the other hand Universal Networks International which pipes E! Entertainment to South Africa on MultiChoice's DStv platform through London, is so over-zealous in its extreme censorship, blurring and beeping that watching E! Entertainment and E! News has become an joyless, soulless exercise in watching a botched, lobotomised, over-censored TV channel.

Universal Networks International and E! Entertainment either caters for idiots as the target market for the channel, thinking that South African TV viewers are too unsophisticated to get that things like magazine issue dates, movie release dates, magazine covers, TV show starting dates, websites referenced as sources and even a Facebook logo is too confusing and that viewers won't be able to understand that it follows an Americancentric roll-out schedule.

Or otherwise the over-zealous channel censors doesn't get that the very stuff the channel is conveying and bringing to viewers - even though it is dates, and product logos and brands - is the very aim and purpose of the channel and see it as free advertising.

Imagine a car channel like IgnitionTV which is showcasing cars starts blurring, blocking and censoring every single car with a big black block because heaven forbid the viewer sees its a Bentley, a Merc, a Lamborghini or a Ferrari because that amounts to free marketing and advertising.

Imagine a food channel like the Food Network blurring out actual food products and specific ingredients. You can't see that the red blur for a specific recipe is actually Aubergine strawberries because strawberries aren't in season for South Africa right now, or its free publicity for the strawberry industry or Aubergine strawberries.

It's unforgivable and superbly ironic that a pop culture news channel has people like E! News anchors who would often talk for seconds with all that viewers hear is the sound of silence as their lips move. Totally muted out. Yet it's news. In a news show. But E! Entertainment and Universal Networks International totally censors its own product on a daily basis for a badly lobotomised version for South Africa.

Rather remove the E! Entertainment channel fully from DStv, or broadcast it fully without blurring and blocking and beeping. This in-between censorship like an intermittent Morse code radio signal during World War II is just too painful to endure.

Programming note: The 3rd season of Haven on The Universal Channel starting on Sunday 6 January at 20:00.

The 3rd season of the supernatural series Haven will be starting on The Universal Channel (DStv 117) on Sunday 6 January at 20:00 (South African time) for 13 episodes.

In the new third season of Haven (which is actually filmed on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, Canada but is set in a town in Maine called Haven, the search will continue for the FBI agent Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) - who went missing in the second season finale.

By now viewers of Haven will know some of the mythology of the show which is tied into things repeating every 27 years - such as a murder mystery, and that Audrey has been in Haven before, 27 years ago but then known as Lucy Ripley.

Audrey's helped by the policeman Nathan Wuornos (Lucas Bryant) and Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour), this sleepy port town's smuggler.

This season viewers can get ready for a string of ocean-related deaths, a haunted house during Halloween, another clue about the Colorado Kid's real identity, a killer who harvest organs, a string of murders at Haven High School, everyone mysteriously falling asleep in the town and a cool episode which takes place in Haven in 1955.

Programming note: The 3rd season of Ice Loves Coco starting on E! Entertainment on Sunday 6 January at 22:00.

The 3rd season of Ice Loves Coco will start on Sunday 6 January on E! Entertainment (DStv 124) at 22:00 (South African time).

In the premiere episode of the new 3rd season kicking off early in the new year, construction continues on the couple's luxury new home, but Coco can't understand why Ice wants to delay the process by first wanting a car elevator system installed in the garage.

Over the course of the 3rd season of Ice Loves Coco she decided that it's time to stop walking the bulldog Spartacus in the cold while she's on the New York set of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, so she comes up with the idea of opening Club Spartacus, an opulent indoor dog park where dogs and their owners can be pampered in a more comfortable setting. Finding the new spot for her new business isn't that easy however.

Coco is also excited to produce a fashion show featuring her apparel during Fashion Week in New York as Ice goes back to one of his other loves this season - music, when he works on new material in the recording studio. Coco gives the weather a whirl when a local TV station asks her to become a weather presenter, and Ice gives stand-up comedy a short for the first time.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Programming note: Fashion Police 2012 Year End Special on E! Entertainment

Fashion Police on E! Entertainment (DStv 124) will end the year with an hour long Fashion Police 2012 Year End Special seen in America on Friday 28 December and hopefully in South Africa on Saturday 29 December at 11:30 (South African time).

Joan Rivers, Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne and George Kotsiopoulos will dissect and recap the year's most elegant fashion victories along with the most impressive trainwrecks seen on the red carpet in 2012.

The hour long Fashion Police special will include never-before-seen "lap dances", the team's top five must-see celebrities of the year, and Ellie Kemper from The Office who will stop by to reveal her personal favourite and not so great red carpet looks from the past year.

The special will take a look at some of the breakout fashionistas to watch out for in 2013 and the team will crown one celebrity the Sexiest Star of 2012 with an acceptance speech from the A-list celebrity herself.

The foursome will talk about the most buzzed about couples of 2012 and will crown the 2012 Fashole of the Year - the one celebrity who has crosse the line into fashion infamy in 2012. Who will be taking home this most notorious Hollywood fashion prize?

2012 Christmas wishes received from TopTV, looking forward to sharing many more TopTV times in 2013.

BREAKING. Psych on The Universal Channel renewed for an 8th (and possibly final) shortened season of 8 episodes.

Psych, seen in South African on The Universal Channel (DStv 117) has just been renewed for an 8th and most probably final shortened season of 8 episodes.

The new 7th season of Psych will include its 100th episode as well as a 2 hour musical episode.

Meanwhile I can report that the 6th season of Psych will start on The Universal Channel in South Africa from Tuesday 19 February at 20:00 for 16 episodes.

"Santa Barbara's favourite fauz psychic and his sidekick, played by James Roday and Dule Hill, will return with eight new episodes featuring the zany crimes, hilarious antics and a bevy of guest stars that the series has been known for since its premiere in 2006," says the USA Network in a press statement which carries Psych in America.

"Psych is one of those rarities - a show that continues to grow its fan base season after season, with exceptional storytelling, a consistently inspired cast and talented guest stars. We thought that Shawn Spencer would have seen this coming..."