Thursday, January 31, 2013

Curtailed cricket coverage continues on SABC with 'highlights packages' only of the national cricket team's international tour.

The SABC's embarrassing treatment with paltry cricket coverage of the national cricket team continues with the SABC which will again not be showing any live broadcasts of the upcoming international cricket tour of the Proteas against Pakistan.

The SABC only accepted a daily "highlights package" in a deal with Cricket South Africa (CSA) for the international tour, the first test of three which starts on Friday.

In December the SABC - pleading poverty - finally inked some kind of a deal with CSA to show the T20 matches and one day international matches live on SABC3.

The rest of the test matches in February and in March will not be broadcast live but will consist out of highlight packages shown in the afternoon and then again late at night on SABC3.

SABC3 will also do some live crossings during the day for at least the first test and which could be extended later to the others.

"Although we could not reach an agreement on live ball-by-ball coverage of the Test Series, we are satisfied that there is an increase in coverage compared to the New Zealand series," says Marc Jury, CSA commercial manager.

"We will definitely be looking at how best to manage our free to air broadcast rights going forward to ensure that all South Africans are able to watch the Proteas when playing at home," says Marc Jury.

Will you pay R141.55 to get access to 6 pay-TV sports channels for a day as part of a 24 hour 'day pass'?

Will you pay R141.55 per day to get access to 6 sports channels for 24 hours?

That's the intriguing question after BSkyB, Britain's biggest pay-TV operator, today announced that it will now be making its sports channels available to non-subscribers on a day-by-day, buy-in basis.

That's a radical rethink of the existing paradigm of pay-TV operators.

Non-subscribers or people who don't have BSkyB's sports channels as satellite TV subscribers, will be allowed to pay £9.99 (R141.55) a day and get access to the channels for a period of only 24 hours as a day pass.

'Spiralling programming cost' becoming a big concern for pay-TV operators; is South Africa heading to where America finds itself?

Is American pay-TV operators complaining about the rising cost of programming and the impact it is having on profits the shape of things to come for South Africa's pay-TV industry sometime in the future?

Executives in South Africa's pay-TV industry have noted in the past the forever rising cost of content - a very large chunk of that attributed to sports rights and exclusive access to certain sports programming. And in that sense South Africa is following very much in the trend of overseas pay-TV platforms - although they're just further down the line.

That begs the question: Is what is starting to happen to overseas pay-TV operators waiting to happen to South Africa?

He's not the first one to say so, but take the conference call of Time Warner Cable's CEO Glenn Britt today when he said that the rising cost of programming - specifically sports rights are affecting profits the most, and more than expected.

Time Warner Cable knows that it needs the rights, because that lures and keeps the subscribers. But the rising cost is becoming such a problem that it's eating into profits. Time Warner Cable says it has little choice but to keep paying the rising costs.

"We do not pretend that these deals are inexpensive or cheap," said Glenn Britt. "But sports is must-have programming, and the agreements minimize and stabilize the cost over a long time period."

Time Warner's programming costs have jumped 32% over the last four years. In South Africa pay-TV operators also face content costs which are growing at a much higher rate than inflation - about 16% per year in South Africa.

American operators are now threatening to dump low-rated and underperforming channels to save costs. Dish CEO Joe Clayton said at the beginning of the month in America that "spiralling programming costs" of pay-TV is at a crossroads: "We, as an industry, are rapidly approaching a tipping point: how many consumers are going to spend $100 per month for video content? I don't know, but we'll soon see."

GONNER. Morena Sefatsa done as presenter of's Craz-e afternoon youth strand, Craz-e World Live, after a decade at

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Craz-e World Live on is done with Morena Sefatsa as presenter of the youth strand on the free-to-air channel - today was his last day without so much as a word about it from

"It was fantastic. It's been 10 years baba," said Morena Sefatsa known as "Mo" just before he walked off the set leaving Zola Hashatsi behind at the Red Pepper Pictures produced youth show.

Morena Sefatsa became a presenter for's Craz-e back in 2002 and he went on to present Frenzy and Shiz Niz on the channel as well.

There was no statement of press release from regarding Morena Sefatsa's departure from Craze-e World Live after a decade with the broadcaster.

David Kau's Taxi Rank extended into a five part TV series starting on Mzansi Magic on Tuesday 5 February at 21:00.

David Kau's movie Taxi Ride is coming to Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) as a new five part TV series starting on Tuesday 5 February at 21:00.

The TV series, produced by Disadvantaged Background Productions, is a TV extension of the movie Taxi Ride, now venturing further into the lives of the people at the taxi rank.

"We have a storyline that runs throughout the five episodes in which the two taxi rank drivers, Dlamini (Skhumba Hlophe) and Bhakabhaka (Sifiso Nene) are trying to start an airline," says creator David Kau.

"My personal highlight whilst working in this production is to witness how talented people are who have no television experience. There's definitely no shortage of new characters that people will love and definitely want to see again, with the usual suspects that viewers met in the movie, Shampoo and Elpheous," says David Kau.

Second season of Geordie Shore set to start on MTV on 4 February at 23:00 on weekdays with two new housemates.

The second season of Geordie Shore will start on MTV (DStv 130) on Monday 4 February at 23:00 with new episodes every weekday.

The first season of the oily and outrageous reality show started on MTV on 14 January and follows the exploits of a group of young women and men from Newcastle in England. They frequent nightclubs, drink, fight, and obsess about their external appearance to the extend that it makes The Only Way is Essex on BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) seem like high society.

Two new housemates will be joining Geordie Shore from the second series.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

First ever Fashion Police Fashion Bowl special coming to E! Entertainment next week.

Fashion Police on E! Entertainment (DStv 124) will have its first-ever Fashion Police Fashion Bowl with Adam Pally as the studio guest to be shown in South Africa next week after it premieres on 1 February in America.

Joan Rivers, Kelly Osbourne, Giuliana Rancic and George Kotsiopoulos will all wear FP football jerseys in a  "victory dance-off".

Guest Adam Pally will"Rate the Rack", the show's most popular segment among male viewers.

In "Tight Ends" the "Guess Me From Behind" segments gets a gridiron makeover as the presenters try to guess which celebrity derriere is which.

"Must-See Half Time Show Style" and "Guess the Mess" will be included as well together with "Playoffs" in which each presenter is given 10 seconds to demonstrate their best "touchdown dance". The live in-studio audience will be judging the performances.

MTV on DStv shows hard liquor ads in South Africa - but hey, it's not for sale to people younger than 18.

MTV (DStv 130) is running hard liquor TV commercials on MultiChoice's DStv platform. The TV ads on the youth channel clearly state that it is not for sale to persons under the age of 18.

MTV positions itself, its brand and its channel proposition as a youth brand. Broadcasting to the mass African youth with MTV and MTV Base, it's highly conceivable that a large chunk - if not possibly the largest chunk - of the viewers of the channel are actually under the age of 18.

So why accept and run an ad that's not geared towards and not aimed at people younger than 18 - and which is inappropriate for a large part of your supposed TV audience?

MTV like any TV channel mirrors its audience and shows them them - the channel is known for shows such as My Super Sweet 16, 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom - even the upcoming The Inbetweeners about awkward teenagers in high school.

A lot of teenagers watch MTV who are not 18. Yet a product is advertised and marketed to them on the channel - for instance Skyy Vodka - which these viewers, younger than 18, can't legally buy.

It could be that the TV channel and the advertiser are actually thinking that they're reaching not necessarily the younger than 18 crowd, but the older than 18 crowd. Or that there's actually more viewers older than 18 than younger than 18 which makes it an attractive TV spot to buy.

Is MTV therefore actually skewing more towards an older audience when it comes to viewers, although it's trying hard to programme towards a younger audience?

Of course MTV has a lot of viewers older than 18 making the commercial legitimate, but it's interesting and notable that MTV would run something like a vodka TV ad and selling such a product to its African audience on its advertising space when it's maybe not so appropriate for the entire target market.

It's not illegal, of course. It just seems inappropriate - like if Nickelodeon ran condom ads or Style ran commercials for beard trimmers. Vodka ads on MTV is Awkward and not appropriate for a channel with shows such as When I Was 17.

Numtums Adventures coming to CBeebies as a new kids show, embedding maths learning into comic adventures.

Numtums Adventures is a brand-new children's show for kids between 4 and 6 which is being produced by BBC Worldwide Channels for CBeebies (DStv 306) and which South African viewers will get to see on the kids channel from later in 2013.

BBC Worldwide Channel unveiled Numtums Adventures today as a new title for the international CBeebies channel. Numtums Adventures is produced by the CBeebies in-house team and animated by A Productions in Bristol.

There will initially be 52 episodes and the show embeds maths learning in a range of comic adventures.

"We've created some groundbreaking and popular shows with CBeebies in the United Kingdom across a range of formats and I have no doubt that Numtums Adventures will be just as popular with fans of the channel around the world," says Henrietta Hurford-Jones, the director of CBeebies Investment, BBC Worldwide Channels in a statement announcing Numtums Adventures.

Comedy Central cuts all the musical performances from Saturday Night Live for broadcast in South Africa to bring episodes to viewers quicker.

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Comedy Central (DStv 122) is cutting out all of the musical performances by high-profile American music stars from all episodes of Saturday Night Live (SNL) shown in South Africa and Africa in order to show episodes of the comedy sketch show quicker, and close to the American broadcasting date.

Viewers of Saturday Night Live are wondering why they're seeing the high-profile music stars in episodes of SNL but no longer any of the music or the actual performances since the show switched from M-Net Series (DStv 114) to Comedy Central.

Episodes of SNL are actually being cut and re-edited for broadcast in South Africa and Africa on MultiChoice's DStv and the music performances deleted because the actual music rights for that can't be cleared in time.

Leaving the music in and waiting for the work to be done to clear the rights, would require episodes to be shelved for longer before Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) which programmes Comedy Central's schedule, can broadcast SNL episodes.

Having to choose between bringing viewers the comedy to Comedy Central and quickly, or the comedy and the music but then later, VIMN Africa opted for the comedy and quicker leaving the music on the cutting-room floor.

"Comedy Central tries to air each episode of SNL as close as possible to its transmission date in the USA - normally one week after the American premiere," VIMN Africa tells me.

"Unfortunately this means that we are obliged to edit out the musical performances. These elements can take up to three months to get legal clearance."

"We've weighed up the options and on balance we prefer to let audiences enjoy the programming as close as possible to the US airdate."

"We are sorry if viewers miss the music performances as a result, but we feel that our audiences would rather have their SNL as fresh as possible," says VIMN Africa.

Programming note: 3rd annual Big Cat Week kicking off on Nat Geo Wild from Sunday 3 February at 19:00 with 5 nights of cat documentaries.

The third annual "Big Cat Week" programming strand returns to Nat Geo Wild (DStv 182) this Sunday 3 February at 19:00 with five nights of documentaries about big cats in the wilds - including the first-ever capture and release of an endangered snow leopard in Afghanistan.

Snow Leopard of Afghanistan on Sunday 3 February at 19:00 will take viewers behind the groundbreaking tracking, capture and release of a rare snow leopard by the expert big cat wrangler Boone Smith. Mounting an expedition in a war zone, he has to contend with faulty and missing equipment and sudden weather changes to try and find this elusive creature.

Cheetah: Fatal Instinct on Tuesday 5 February at 19:00 follows one cheetah mother as she struggles to teach her offspring to survive in one of the most cutthroat environments on Earth. High-speed cameras reveal every detail on how they hunt.

Phantom Cat on Friday 8 February at 19:00 travels to South America's Pantanal, one of the world's last natural paradises and the home of the jaguar. Christian Baumeister wants to film this elusive beast and wants to capture a jaguar on film as it goes up against the caiman reptile.  It's mammal versus reptile as these two super predators pit their strength, speed and stealth against each other.

Attack of Big Cats on Saturday 9 February at 19:00 focuses on the four in the big cat club: the lion, tiger, leopard and jaguar. In their world, nothing is small. What exactly makes a big cat a big cat? Take a look at their roar, teeth, claws, speed, size and hunting capabilities.

Trace CEO Olivier Laouchez jetting into South Africa again next week; now visiting SA monthly.

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I can reveal that Olivier Laouchez, the chairman and CEO, of Trace is once again jetting into South Africa next week.

Trace runs the channels Trace Urban (DStv 325) and Trace Sports (DStv 188) on MultiChoice's DStv pay-TV platform.

Olivier Laouchez will have some meetings, as well as do an industry presentation next week of Trace's innovations within the music, sports and mobile industries in Africa.

Insiders tell me that Olivier Laouchez now regularly visits South Africa.

"He travels a lot around Africa as well but I would say he spends about two weeks every month at the South African offices," I'm told.

Olivier Laouchez is of course a very busy man and clocking up the frequent flyer miles.

The highly-successful Trace Sports channel keeps signing carriage agreements around the world on an extremely fast growing list of pay-TV providers.

Nominees for the 7th South African Film and Television Awards to be announced on 13 February in Johannesburg.

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The South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) will announce the nominees in the various categories of this local awards ceremony on Wednesday 13 February in Johannesburg, which will be followed by the main, two-evening awards show, the 7th South African Film and Television Awards taking place on 15 and 16 March at Gallagher Estate.

This year the Saftas, organised by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) received 354 entries - 120 more than the year before.

While SABC2's 7de Laan is back in as a contender in the best soap category, both of kykNET's soaps Villa Rosa and Binneland are not - continuing the public farce of this category purported to be a "viewers' vote", although the public can't really vote for all soaps.

The Saftas is currently in the last phase of judging which started in October 2012 and which will be completed by 4 February.

Nodi Murphy is the chairperson of the judging panels this year.  Vibe 200 and Vertical Limit Production have been appointed by the NFVF to do the stage and event production in March.

For the first time the second round of judging for categories took place in Durban and Cape Town as well, and not all in Johannesburg.

"This year the media was requested to be a part of the Saftas final judging process as observers in order to get first-hand experience on how the final nominees and winners are selected," the NFVF tells me.

"The judges have commented on the quality of the content and are impressed by the standard of the entries."

SABC board member Patricia Makhesha the latest member to quit from the board of the public broadcaster.

The SABC board member Patricia Makhesha is gone from the SABC and has become the latest SABC board member to quit the beleaguered publicbroadcaster.

Patricia Makhesha has resigned according to the department of communications which will once again mean a search for yet another SABC board member to fill the new vacancy at the troubled public broadcaster.

The image of the SABC board was severely dented all through 2012 with high-profile in-fighting between members of the SABC - a situation still unresolved by the end of 2012 - with accusations of corruption and mismanagement which was made in public.

It's not yet known why Patricia Makhesha handed in her resignation in December but parliament will now have to find yet another replacement in her place. She was supposed to remain an SABC board member until 2015 but Patricia Makhesha quit with two years to go.

Parliament's portfolio committee on communications spent the past three years constantly looking for, interviewing and suggesting new SABC board members to parliament and the president in an attempt to replace members following an ongoing spate of resignations from the SABC board.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Two trophies dropped from the upcoming AfricaMagic Viewers' Choice Awards since entries were not good enough.

Two trophies are getting dropped from the overall awards count of 28 and will not be handed out at the upcoming AfricaMagic Viewers' Choice Awards in March - the judges feel nobody was good enough to deserve the bronze and mahogany trophy in the categories for best documentary and best online video.

That means that the count of 28 trophies is down to 26.

According to a statement from M-Net which is holding the first AfricaMagic Viewers' Choice Awards on on 8 and 9 March in Lagos, Nigeria in conjunction with MultiChoice, organisers decided to "not name nominees in two categories, Best Documentary and Best Online Video".

The judges don't feel that any of the entries in these categories were up to scratch and want to ensure that the AfricaMagic Viewers' Choice Awards only recognise "outstanding achievement". Therefore the entrants in these two categories will only get "award certificates of encouragement" instead.

In total the first AfricaMagic Viewers' Choice Awards lured 110 nominees from 43 different African countries ranging from South Africa, Zmabia and Uganda to Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria.

"We are truly delighted with the list of nominees and we wish them all well," says Biola Alabi, the managing director of M-Net Africa in a statement.

"Well done to all the selected nominees," says Nico Meyer, MultiChoice Africa CEO in the statement. "The contribution you have made to the development of the African film and television industry is very significant."

Shameless, House of Lies and Californication, all on M-Net, renewed for further seasons in America.

Shameless, House of Lies and Californication, all shown on M-Net in South Africa, have been renewed for further seasons in America.

"Californication, House of Lies and Shameless possess highly distinctive comedic voices, and given that all three continue to grow their audience season after season – the pick-up decision was easy," says the Showtime channel in America in a press statement announcing the renewals.

The Bold and the Beautiful and The Talk renewed for further seasons; joining the already renewed The Young and the Restless.

The Bold and the Beautiful (SABC1) and The Talk (M-Net) have both been renewed for further seasons joining The Young and the Restless ( which had already been renewed as part of a multi-year deal in America by the CBS network.

The Bold and the Beautiful turns 26 this year and The Young and the Restless turns 40.

The Talk has been renewed for a 4th season and The Bold and the Beautiful for another year joining The Young and the Restless for another TV season.

Department of communications says it met again with South African broadcasters to 'avoids unnecessary delays' over digital television.

The department of communications says it has met for a second time with South African broadcasters, this time to review the options available to speed up the implementation of South Africa's long-stalled switch-over to digital terrestrial television (DTT) through a process known as digital migration.

The department of communications is currently embroiled in a highly contentious court spat with the free-to-air broadcaster The South Gauteng High Court ruled that South African broadcasters lik themselves have the right to control the conditional access (CA) mechanism which will be built into set-top boxes (STB's) - the digital decoders which South Africans will need to buy for hundreds of rands in order to view digital TV signals in the country in the future.

The department of communications appealed the ruling and the court case is dragging on together with several other issues surrounding DTT in South Africa. The country has become the laughing stock in digital migration for television as South Africa keeps getting passed by one African country after the other switching to digital television broadcasts.

The department of communications says it had "a meaningful engagement" with the SABC, and other free-to-air broadcasters following the first meeting on 14 January which was about the goverment's stance on the encoding system and it's control which will be placed in the STB's.

The government will be subsidising the STB's but only for the so-called "poorest of the poor" households in a scheme which has so far not yet been announced publicly and with nothing spelled out exactly how it will work and who will qualify. The South African Post Office will be used to distribute STB's, although the Podt Office told parliament at the end of 2012 that it doesn't have enough branch capacity and capacity in certain rural areas.

According to the department of communications, "broadcasters made their independent recommendations" and the department is now "reviewing all the input and will decide on the way forward". The department say it is "pleased with the level of engagement from all the parties and the importance they attached to ensuring that DTT avoids unnecessary delays".

eNCA video footage of escaped crocodiles makes it to primetime news on American television.

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Video footage of South Africa's 24-hour news channel, eNCA (DStv 403) made it onto American primetime television last night - the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.

The American news bulletin showed eNCA video footage (with the channel logo intact) as part of a story insert about thousands of South African crocodiles on the loose after a flood.

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams is one of the three main evening news bulletins on American broadcast television.

The news bulletin used eNCA footage to tell about the 15 000 crocodiles which escaped from the Rakwena crocodile farm near Pontdrif after the Limpopo River came down in flood on Sunday evening and kept the easily recognised eNCA channel marker in the corner intact.

SABC1 dumps America's Next Top Model from the schedule 3 days before it is supposed to start; new 'cycle' soon on Vuzu.

SABC1 has removed, without giving a reason, America's Next Top Model from its schedule; the model based American reality show from Tyra Banks was set to start in 3 days' time on SABC1 on 1 February at 16:30.

The reality show has been yanked from the SABC1 schedule only three days before it was supposed to start.

SABC1 didn't announce what is replacing the hour long show on its schedule. SABC1 didn't provide a reason as to why America's Next Top Model is suddenly being pulled.

The likelihood is high that the SABC didn't secure the broadcasting rights in time, necessitating the last minute pull and schedule disruption.

Meanwhile the 18th season of America's Next Top Model is set to start on Vuzu (DStv 116) on Wednesday 13 February at 20:30.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Fox on TopTV gets another brand-new TV drama, Low Winter Sun, coming to Fox later in 2013.

Another brand-new drama series which will definitely have a full first season is coming to South African viewers later this year and it will be exclusively on one of the Fox channels on TopTV: Low Winter Sun is will be going to either Fox Entertainment (TopTV 180) or Fox FX (TopTV 110) later in 2013.

Fox International Channel (FIC) nabbed the broadcasting rights for Low Winter Sun outside of America and FIC Africa will definitely roll out the new cop drama series on TopTV when it does so 119 other countries besides South Africa.

The Fox set of channels on TopTV and its consistent performance over the past two years has now solidified it as TopTV's strongest suit. It's because of and on these Fox channels that South African viewers are getting to see big-buzz dramas like The Walking Dead, Falling Skies, Copper and the upcoming big-buzz and brand-new Da Vinci's Demons on Fox Entertainment from April.

The first season of 10 episodes Low Winter Sun is based on a 2006 British miniseries with Mark Strong (who also in the America version).

The Detroit detective Frank Agnew (Mark Strong) murders a fellow policeman. It's the perfect crime, but in this story of murder, deception, revenge and corruption, Frank starts to be pulled into the underworld of Detroit and the shady characters who live in and rule this crime-filled world.

"2013 is shaping up to be a banner year for FIC's continued push into global series," says Jason Simms, FIC's senior vice president of global acquisitions in a press statement. "We're certain that Low Winter Sun will shine brightly among our sensational line up of must-see global shows."

FIRST LOOK. The trophy of bronze and mahogany wood for the AfricaMagic Viewers' Choice Awards.

Here's a first look at the trophy which will be awarded to winners of the AfricaMagic Viewers' Choice Awards (AMVCA's) which will be taking place for the first time this year and in Lagos, Nigeria with 28 awards which will be handed out during a two-night event with gala ceremonies on 8 and 9 March.

The nominees for the AfricaMagic Viewers' Choice Awards will be announced tonight at 21:30 in a special edition of the entertainment news magazine show 53 Extra across various AfricaMagic TV channels on DStv across the African continent.

The trophy made of bronze and wood has a cut-out silhouette of an African woman formed by three bronze blades, mounted on a glossy mahogany base.

"As an original creation, it is hoped that the AfricaMagic Viewers' Choice Awards trophy will speak to both industry professionals and television audiences," says Biola Alabi, the managing director of M-Net Africa.

"Internationally there are certain iconic entertainment trophies that carry the same weight with winners and audiences, loved both for its physical form and its emotional meaning."

"We hope that our trophy will do the same – be a statuette that motivates filmmakers and TV professionals while also inspiring those still to join their ranks and captivating those who watch at home."

Sunday, January 27, 2013

BACK TO THE FUTURE. The new upcoming TV season will be all about the world of tomorrow as futuristic dramas dominate.

There's quietly a Revolution that's been happening behind-the-scenes of the television industry, which means that the new upcoming TV season and a lot of brand-new shows that South African viewers will be seeing, will all be about the future world of tomorrow.

With the success of the new TV drama Revolution (on M-Net Series, returning in America on 25 March and returning to M-Net Series for episode 11 on Thursday 4 April) TV channels and producers are working on the biggest number of futuristic TV dramas and science fiction shows depicting some form of "the world of tomorrow" that will start to roll out at the same time on general television later in 2013.

The big lesson of 2012 was, of course, that the Mayas were wrong. The other lesson (and because Hollywood loves to imitate success) is that viewers are in love with seeing utopian and dystopian visions of the future.

There is a whole crop of awesome looking films coming up in 2013 about future Earths (Oblivion (the image above), After Earth etc.) but it's going to be on television where the trend of futuristic versions of our planet is going to become an inescapable programming strand.

Of course existing shows with this theme there already are, such as Revolution, The Walking DeadFalling Skies and Continuum which are all doing well, just as the little watched, yet critically acclaimed Fringe came to and end. But there's a whole lot of new ones underway.

A lot of pilot episodes are currently being shot, any number of which could become full new TV series. And a number of shows will already be guaranteed full first season series like Under the Dome and Defiance. Step back a moment, and look at the overall picture to see the important trend:

I already reported on the pilot episode being shot for The Last Ship in which a nuclear submarine and its crew become all that's left of humanity after a nuclear war as they embark on a voyage looking for a new home, since every single landmass they approach is enveloped by a dense radioactive cloud.

I've told you about The Hundred, a pilot episode for a new youth centered show set in a post-apocalyptic Earth which takes place a century after mankind has destroyed civilization. The first step to "colonize" Earth is to send 100 juvenile delinquents back to Earth in a spaceship and to a planet which has radically changed.

Oxygen which will be almost like the South African movie District 9, will revolve around a future Earth where a group of alien visitors are kept in isolation, because we don't know what they might really be up to.A group of alien boys are however integrated into a suburban high school, and then one of the aliens has a romance with a human girl.

Then there's The Selection, set 300 years in the future (and like the movie The Hunger Games) is about a hardworking young woman who is chosen by lottery to partake in a competition to become the nation's next queen.

Defiance anyone? Odds are that show is going to be huge, since it's launching worldwide with a full first season at the same time as a global online video game. It will be interesting to see which South African broadcaster on TV channel on DStv or TopTV bring this TV show to viewers while its hot.

Defiance is set - ta-da - in the future in what remains, or is now the transformed St. Louis where mankind and aliens live together (not peacefully) and fight bigger aliens after a devastating war destroyed much of what used to be civilization.

The Returned is going to look to replicate some of The Walking Dead magic. Yes, with the zombie drama doing exceptionally well worldwide, The Returned is about zombies who are able to live normal lives - but maybe not for long. In this TV drama about a future Earth, in this post-zombie world where the infected live normal lives, their retroviral drug is running out...

Another big one coming up in 2013 is S.H.I.E.L.D. Yep, this is an Avengers-themed TV effort hoping to bring some Marvel action heroes to television.

Stephen King's book Under the Dome is becoming a full already approved TV series as well this year - a small town is suddenly cut off from the rest of the world. Steven Spielberg and Dreamworks Television is in on this one as the residents trapped inside the invisible force field has to figure out what is going on and how to escape.

J.J. Abrams is working on a new as-yet-untitled drama for 2013 as well - yes, set in the future. In this futuristic cop drama, where all LAPD officers are partnered with highly evolved human-like androids.

Shonda Rhimes is working on robots and a future world too for 2013. She's already looking after Grey's Anatomy and Scandal (retitled as The Fixer in South Africa) but now she's going to produce an android science fiction thriller as her next new TV drama entitled MILA 2.0.

MILA 2.0 based on Debra Driza's book is about a young woman who discovers that she is a Mobile Intel Life-like Android or Mila - an experiment in artificial intelligence created by the U.S. government and her scientist mother, who kidnapped her when she was found to have human emotions.

Delirium is coming in 2013 as a pilot episode and possibly a TV series. That too is set in a futuristic dystopian world where love is illegal and gets eradicated with a ... special procedure. Just 95 days before her scheduled treatment, the lead character Lena Holoway falls in love.

And finally, who knows? Not that Disney bought George Lucas' LucasFilm Ltd and the Star Wars franchise in 2012, could Disney finally be making that long gestating live action Star Wars TV drama of which all the scripts have already been written but which required a big budget? Will it finally get the green light in 2013 to become a real TV show?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Talk show Trisha on Sony Entertainment Television renewed for a second season.

Trisha, the new American conflict talk show hosted by the British Trisha Goddard on weekdays at 17:20 on Sony Entertainment Television (DStv 127) has just been renewed for a second season in America.

"It has been an incredible experience working with Trisha and I look forward to another successful season," says Paul Faulhaber, Trisha executive producer in a press statement.

"Trisha and our staff have put their hearts and souls into this show and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring more compelling stories to our audience."

Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2013 coming to Nickelodeon in South Africa on 27 March at 17:45.

The Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2013 will be broadcast in South Africa on Nickelodeon (DStv 305) on Wednesday 27 March at 17:45 - 4 days after it is happening in America on 23 March at the Galen Center in California.

The annual kids' awards ceremony honouring stars from television, film and sports as chosen by children will be repeated on 29 March at 20:15 and on 31 March at 12:05.

Josh Duhamel has been announced as the host of this year's award ceremony. "Josh has come out to play before for Kids' Choice and we know he'll do what it takes to be a great host," says Marjorie Cohn, the president of content development for Nickelodeon and the executive producer of the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2013.

"We promise that this year will deliver the special, one-of-a-kind, surprise-filled slimefest for which our annual telecast is famous".

"Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards is a great event that honours kids by honouring their opinions and taps into the kids in all of us," says Josh Duhamel in the statement. "I have a lot of secret plans for when I host the awards, but I can tell you I'm excited to lead millions of kids into total crazy fun, chaos and of course endless slime."

BRAVO. M-Net adds The BRIT Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards to the pay-TV broadcaster's growing slate of award season coverage.

M-Net is adding to both the Screen Actors Guild Awards 2013 as well as The Brit Awards 2013 to the South African pay-TV broadcaster's suddenly burgeoning slate of exclusive annual award season coverage.

The sudden flourish of expansive award shows which M-Net is acquiring the exclusive broadcasting rights to, signals a major drive from the Randburg based pay-TV operator to increase not just the quantity of TV events now being secured for South African pay-TV viewers but also the buzz-factor quality.

Besides the three staples of The Golden Globe Awards, The Annual Academy Awards and The Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - for years exclusive staples on M-Net, the broadcaster is suddenly on a massive mission to increase and grow its awards season shows.

M-Net which already broadcast The 70th Golden Globe Awards live and in HD and again in South African primetime this year, will now also be showing the Screen Actors Guild Awards 2013 live and in HD on Monday morning 28 January at 03:00 on M-Net Movies Premiere (DStv 103) and again in primetime on the Monday evening at 20:30 on the same channel.

The Screen Actor Guild Awards 2013 will also be shown on M-Net Stars (DStv 111) on Saturday 2 February at 18:00.

Then there is the massive step forward when M-Net broadcast live for the first time on South African television the nominations for the 85th Annual Academy Awards on M-Net Movies Premiere.

M-Net will again be showing live and in HD, and repeat in South African primetime, in February.

The 85th Academy Awards will be shown on M-Net and across M-Net channels on DStv as follows:
Monday 25 February from 03:00 on M-Net Movies Premiere (DStv 103)
Monday 25 February from 20:30 on M-Net (DStv 101)
Tuesday 26 February at 20:30 on M-Net Movies Premiere (DStv 103)
Saturday 2 March at 18:00 on M-Net Movies Stars (DStv 111)

M-Net has now also secured the broadcasting rights to The BRIT Awards 2013, the British equivalent of the American Grammy Awards. M-Net will show The BRIT Awards 2013 on Saturday 23 February at 21:45 on the M-Net channel (DStv 101).

The changes and additions is quickly helping to raise M-Net's profile which is seriously expanding its foray into hiherto unseen yet available programming, for the first time in years and bringing South African viewers more in line with the global television conversation which happens specifically during Hollywood's annual award season. 

Young adult youth series, Underemployed and The Inbetweeners, both coming to MTV from the end of January.

Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMNA) has secured the rights for Africa and South Africa of both the youth series The Inbetweeners (the American version) and Underemployed (above).

The Inbetweeners will start on MTV (DStv 130) on Monday 28 January at 22:10 and Underemployed will start on MTV on Wednesday 30 January at at 21:20.

The Inbetweeners has been cancelled in America due to low viewership and Underemployed which started in October is currently in its first season.

The Inbetweeners was an American remake of the British series following four guys plotting a course through the akward and humiliating teenage years into young adulthood.

Underemployed follows the angst of a group of young adults - five friends who have high expectations for their professional and personal lives, and realize with a shock that after college graduation life may not be immediately what they thought it was going to be.

Sex, romance, pregnancy, financial worries, brushes with the law, sexting and career challenges are all a part of the unforeseen hurdles the five friends have to face.

Films shown on South African television with a PG10 age restriction increasing to PG13 from March 2013.

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Ordinary South African viewers won't notice but I can reveal that all films shown on South African television up until now rated with a PG10 age restriction, will be shifting up to PG13 from March 2013.

South African broadcasters who have up till now shown movies with an are restriction of "parental guidance advised for viewers younger than 10 years of age" will now have to change those age restrictions for that same movies to "parental guidance advised for viewers younger than 13 years of age".

The change is due to instruction from the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) requiring South African broadcasters to to use PG13 from now on on movies which used to carry PG10 up until now.

Dr. Phil renewed for another three years; will take it to the talk show's 15th season.

Dr. Phil currently in its 10th season on SABC2 has been renewed for another three years, which means that the weekday talk show will continue until at least its 15th season with Dr. Phil McGraw.

"My staff and I have never been more passionate about the work that we are doing at the Dr. Phil show, and we take very seriously the faith and confidence that our viewers continue to show by bringing us into their homes each day," says Phil McGraw in a press statement.

"This renewal gives us the endorsement to continue to do the work we do, telling compelling stories for years to come."

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Programming note: Nominees for the first AfricaMagic Viewers' Choice Awards to be announced on 53 Extra on 28 January at 21:30.

The names of the nominees of the first AfricaMagic Viewers' Choice Awards will be announced on Monday 28 January at 21:30  in a special edition of the show 53 Extra.

The special edition of 53 Extra which will be broadcast on 4 TV channel simultaneously: AfricaMagic Entertainment, AfricaMagic, AfricaMagic Movies, AfricaMagic Movies 1 and AfricaMagic World/Magic World in order to give subscribers on different DStv bouquets from MultiChoice the ability to see the nominee announcement.

Eku Edewor and Dolapo Oni of 53 Extra will read out the nominees list along with Jara presenters Uti Nwachukwu and Helen Paul. The nominees were chosen in Johannesburg earlier this month, led by head judge Femi Odugbemi.

M-Net, AfricaMagic and MultiChoice will be holding the first AfricaMagic Viewers' Choice Awards (AMVCA's) as a two night ceremony on 8 and 9 March in Lagos, Nigeria.

In similar fashion to the South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) in South Africa which is also taking place in March, the AMVCA's will hand out technical awards on the first evening of 8 March, followed by on-air talent categories the second evening on 9 March.

There will be 26 categories and 28 awards in total. The award ceremony's two special prizes will be the Industry Merit Award and the TrailBlazer of the Year Award.

The AfricaMagic Viewers' Choice Awards received 350 entries.

"Whether you're named a nominee or not, we're very grateful for your participation," says Biola Alabi, M-net managing director for Africa. "In doing so you've made an impressive statement that the African film and TV industry is making significant strides forward."

"The investment made by MultiChoice is a show of commitment to the development of skills and talent in the continent," says Nico Meyer, MultiChoice Africa CEO.

BREAKING. MultiChoice, Irdeto and Botswana police seize 1 800 pirate Magicbox decoders; arrest two in Southern African pirate TV scheme.

The Botswana police have made arrests following a year long investigation run in conjunction with the content security firm Irdeto's anti-piracy and forensic unit and MultiChoice Africa's anti-piracy unit of people who allegedly stole MultiChoice smart card coding and then resold it to pirate viewers who then access and unlock the DStv signal through illegal decoders such as Magicbox.

Two Chinese nationals were arrested in Botswana after an investigation which began in December 2011 and which allegedly skimmed and sold the coding from MultiChoice decoder smart cards to people who then get access to an unencoded pay-TV signal through pirate decoders such as Magicbox, Avatar, Hawk, Microbox and Eagle.

The Chinese nationals used a refrigeration sales and repair company as the front for their alleged illegal piracy television business which spanned Southern Africa and reached into countries such as Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia and even South Africa.

The Botswana police confiscated 1 800 Magicbox decoders, computers, a smart card reader and cash.

"The raid was very succesful and sent a firm message that this kind of illegal activity will not be tolerated and that strong action will be taken against those who illegally abuse MultiChoice Africa content," says Frikkie Jonker, senior Africa Piracy manager for MultiChoice Africa.

"As long as their are consumer who are prepared to pay for illegal content, pirates will contrinue to try to hack encryption systems and turn a profit," says Irdeto. "One very effective way of addressing this form of piracy is to use technology to disrupt the pirate offering, thereby upsetting the pirate viewer and destroying the pirate credibility."

"Together with MultiChoice Africa, we will relentlessly fight these illegal businesses on the African continent, using technology and the law to its full extent."

PROJECT SPEAR: The film the SABC commissioned a year ago and which the South African public broadcaster now refuse to show.

The new February issue of the South African investigative magazine Noseweek has a must-read cover story headlined "The movie you need to see - but SABC dares not screen it".

The Noseweek article details the South African public broadcaster's refusal to broadcast a documentary film, Project Spear, the SABC commissioned itself, but which is critical of the ANC government.

Project Spear, produced by the respected TV reporter and filmmaker and former SABC face, Sylvia Vollenhoven, is a feature length documentary detailing an aleged ex-MI6 spy who presented the South African government with a plan - dubbed Project Spear - to recover billions of rands misappropriated by apartheid-era bankers, officials and politicians from state coffers.

According to Project Spear, the ANC government allegedly refused to take any action despite being given a strategic plan to recover the stolen billions.

According to the Noseweek article, Project Spear was produced for a new documentary strand Truth Be Told on SABC2.

According to Sylvia Vollenhoven, in April 2012 the SABC okayed the script.

Sylvia Vollenhoven tells Noseweek in the article that by September 2012, after the broadcaster was couriered a final edit of Project Spear, that Thando Shozi, the acting head of factual commissioning at the SABC, in an email told her that the film was "too sophisticated for an SABC2 audience".

In the email to Sylvia Vollenhoven, Thando Shozi allegedly also writes to her and says among other things, that: "The government is not going to take kindly to being asked, why are we walking away from recovery so much money?"

In the must-read Noseweek article in which Sylvia Vollenhoven goes into detail about the whole process, how it happened from her side, and gives her thoughts on how the SABC has changed, she tells how the Project Spear documentary which the SABC initially wanted, got sidelined.

She now says the SABC "has a responsibility to show this to the people". She's apparently also looking at trying to buy back the rights to the documentary and possibly taking it to other TV platforms such as or DStv.

I've asked the SABC if the public broadcaster has any comment, statement, or explanation from the public broadcaster's side on the Noseweek cover story. If there is a response from the SABC, I will bring it.

More daring stories around sex and relationships in second season of Intersextions starting on SABC1 on 12 February at 20:30.

The second season of Intersextions will start on Tuesday 12 February at 20:30 on SABC1 for another 26 episodes, with the drama show revolving around sex, love and relationships which will keep with its first season format of interlinked episodes.

The show, a partnership between SABC1, SABC Education and Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa (JHHESA), is produced by Quizzical Pictures and AntS Multimedia.

"We are confident that the new talent will breathe new energy into the series," says Harriet Gavshon of Quizzical Pictures. The second season of Intersextions will have over 100 new actors.

"What is extraordinary about Intersextions is that we try to use it as a platform to develop new talent on every level. Many of the episode directors are first time directors and the writing team and cast is full of new and fresh faces," says Rolie Nikiwe, Intersextions creative director.

"The programme will continue to drum home the overarching message of responsible sexual behaviour, HIV testing and TB screening, condom use and reduction of multiple partners," says Pontsho Makheta, SABC content general manager.

"Viewers can expect a more daring script that the first series as we have gone back and consulted widely," says Richard Delate, the managing director of JHHESA. He says the second season of Intersextions will feature storylines that "are gripping yet real in bringing to the fore society's unspoken issues on relationships."

"As a channel we are thrilled to bring our viewers the second season of this popular cutting-edge drama," says Vukile Madlala, SABC1's publicity manager. "Viewers should look forward to more authentic, insightful and thought-provoking South African stories," she says.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Real Husbands of Hollywood coming to BET on TopTV in South Africa from Wednesday 13 February.

You're reading it here first. 

Real Husbands of Hollywood, the brand-new reality show on BET in America is coming to BET (TopTV 190) in South Africa with episodes of the first season of the highly-rated show to start here less than a month after the American premiere.

Last month I reported about the new reality show from BET which was set to start on 15 January in America on BET, as indeed it did,.

The semi-scripted reality show following the surreal tinseltown lives of Nick Cannon (husband of Mariah Carey), Boris Kodjoe (husband of Nicole Ari Parker), Duane Martin (husband of Tisha Campbell-Martin), J.B. Smoove (husband of Shahidah Omar) and Robin Thicke (husband of Paula Patton).

Now I can break the news that Real Husbands of Hollywood will start on BET on TopTV in South Africa on Wednesday 13 February at 00:00 (South African time) (the midnight of the Wednesday, which technically makes it Thursday morning).

Real Husbands of Hollywood - the first season is so far set to have 9 episodes - performed extremely well in the ratings in America where it just started, the first episode pulled in 4,14 million viewers on BET.

dt2: Yet another new logo and name to add to the madness of South Africa's digital television migration process already frought with confusion.

You're reading it here first. 

An already confused and uninformed South African public is getting confused even further: With new "dt2'' television adverts now running on South African television regarding South Africa's long-stalled digital television migration process, I can reveal that it's nothing more than yet another awareness campaign - it's not a new product, and it's not a new service.

dt2 - yet another new moniker, and yet another new logo - is set to confuse South Africans even further, who have already been told (incorrectly) in newspaper ads last year that digital terrestrial television (DTT) means that they will get access to high definition (HD) channels (not true: none of the terrestrial broadcasters are planning HD channels).

The dt2 logo also adds to the clutter of the digital migration process where the "Go Digital" logo already exist.

And this is even before the SABC and introduce their bespoke joint set-top box (STB) and channels which will in all likelihood be called a service offering known as MultiView. M-Net will of course introduce their own new set of TV channels and their own new decoder box for its terrestrial subscribers which will also have its own name.

Whether MultiChoice which just launched GOtv in Ghana as the latest African country where it introduced a DTT service will also be launching GOtv in South Africa, is not yet known or certain.

it is however clear that all these logos and names will most likely just add to huge consumer confusion regarding digital television and the switch-over process already frought with delays, in-fighting and industry confusion.

The new dt2 is a government initiative from the department of communications to drive consumer awareness around DTT and doesn't represent any of the upcoming DTT brands from the individual broadcasters such as the SABC, or M-Net in South Africa.

Why suddenly dt2 is being used to drive consumer awareness in South Africa of DTT, instead of the Go Digital logo with which it started, is not clear. I'm hearing from a lot of confused people who are now thinking that dt2 is a new service or a new type of television. Meanwhile its just a new advertising awareness campaign.

Unconfirmed chatter that MultiChoice is looking at possibly introducing a new 3rd DStv Select bouquet from February.

Here is what I'm hearing, although at this stage I want to make it clear that it is unconfirmed: that a new third DStv Select package is coming with a new Select bouquet which would be introduced in February.

I've reached out to MultiChoice to ask whether the pay-TV operator can confirm whether there is indeed a new 3rd DStv Select bouquet on the cards and if that would be introduced in February this year.

"When we are ready to make an announcement around new products or services, we will do so," says MultiChoice in response to a media enquiry.

MultiChoice took over the management of the two DStv Select bouquets from Vodacom in October 2011.

MultiChoice currently has two DStv Select bouquets which are cheaper than both DStv Premium and DStv Compact and contains a selection of channels with a small channel variation between the two options, with the one making a differentiation for specifically Afrikaans subscribers.

I heard chatter in October 2012 for the first time from sources surrounding a possible new DStv bouquet.

At the time, one source put it to me exactly like this and said that "DStv wants to launch a new bouquet which would contain a few new channels but unfortunately we don't know how much the bouquet is going to cost." None of the sources then mentioned that it would specifically be a new DStv Select bouquet.

Coincidentally, around the same time, another source also said to me that the new kykNET Musiek channel (which launched in November 2012 on DStv Premium and DStv Compact) would be one of the channels included on a new bouquet in the future.

Now the chatter around a possible new bouquet has surfaced again. This time another source mentioned the word "Select" for the first time, saying that "in February 2013 a new Select package will be made available" and also that it would contain "exciting channels".

It's conceivable that should there ever be a new DStv Select bouquet - if MultiChoice ever rolls out a further Select bouquet and which it doesn't currently want to talk about - that it would be aimed and targeted at a new demographic at a lower price point which isn't currently being captured with commercial satellite television services.

At the moment it's unconfirmed and whether there is a new 3rd DStv Select bouquet in the works for 2013, time will tell.

Medical romance drama, Saving Hope, coming to Sony Entertainment Television from 4 March at 20:00 for 13 episodes.

I can reveal that Saving Hope, the Canandian romantic medical drama will be starting on Sony Entertainment Television (DStv 127) on Monday 4 March at 20:00 for 13 episodes.

SET secured Saving Hope in October 2012, and the show has since been renewed for a second season in Canada. The medical romantic drama revolves around dr. Alex Reid (Erica Durance), a doctor whose finace, dr. Charles Harris (Michael Shanks) is in a coma after a car accident.

Saving Hope follows Charlie in his coma state and Alex dealing with patients, hoping that her fiance will awake from his coma. He is however, roaming the hospital in spirit form, following and seeing and trying to help.

Meanwhile her former lover and surgeon dr. Joel Goran (Daniel Gillies) also re-enters the picture. Will her love to her fiance stay true?

ESPN has exclusive live broadcasting rights to Super Bowl XLVII on Monday 4 February.

ESPN (DStv 230) will broadcast live Super Bowl XLVII from New Orleans between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens on Monday 4 February between 01:00 and 05:00 in the morning, South African time.

ESPN will also be bringing viewers the build-up programme from New Orleans with a special four hour edition preview show, Sunday NFL Countdown - Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday 3 February from 21:00 to 01:00 (South African time).

Super Bowl XLVII will be repeated on ESPN on Monday 4 February from 10:00 to 14:00 and again from 19:00 to 23:00.

M-Net looking for a scheduler and planner for its general entertainment channels.

M-Net is looking for a scheduler/planner for the South African pay-TV operator's general entertainment channels division in Randburg.

Excellent organisational and planning skills are of course a requirement, since the job's main role is the planning and scheduling of programming.

SuperSport acquires broadcasting rights to the knockout stages of the Copa del Rey

SuperSport has acquired the broadcasting rights to the knockout stages of Spanish football's oldest competition.

''We are delighted to be bringing to most most of our subscribers more matches of Spanish football's premier cup competition," says Brandon Foot, the head of acquisitions and legal at SuperSport.

Copa del Rey on SuperSport has not been cleared for Angola, Mozambique and Cape Verde.

SuperSport has scheduled the tournament with all four of this week's quarterfinal second leg matches which will be broadcast live.

Wednesday 23 January: Sevilla vs Real Zaragoza, SuperSport 6 (DStv 206), 20:25
Wednesday 23 January: Valencia vs Real Madrid, SuperSport 3 (DStv 203), 22:25
Thursday, 24 January: Real Betis vs Atletico Madrid, SuperSport 6 (DStv 206), 20:55
Thursday 24 January: Malaga vs Barcelona, SuperSport 3 (DStv 203), 22:55