Sunday, June 30, 2013

Jo-Ann Strauss launches her Online Presenter Search 2013; cyber social media web TV competition will find a new online presenter.

Jo-Ann Strauss - now South African television's third most watched local TV talk show host rating wise with her talk show Glambition - is launching her own and second online presenter search competition, this time looking to find an online presenter for

Jo-Ann Strauss who ventured out with her own TV talk show try, Glambition on Mondays at 20:30 on since earlier this year, is launching her Online Presenter Search 2013 from July. With a litany of corporate sponsor partnerships the aim is to find an online presenter.

Monday night on Glambition the guests are Bonang Matheba, Dineo Moeketsi and Nodumiso Tembe all speaking about fame and media scrutiny, which is also when the Online Presenter Search 2013, done by Jo-Ann Strauss Productions (JSP) will be launching officially.

"If you think you've got what it takes to make it in the media industry, here's your chance," says Jo-Ann Strauss, calling the cyber social opportunity for people which is taking place in an exotic locale, the chance to "learn a lot" and to "getting a fast-track into the media industry".

People who want to enter this year's competition have to create a TV presenter audition clip of 30 seconds in English introducing yourself and doing a link to camera. The clip then has to be uploaded to the internet and contestants have to enter through the entry form on the website.

Four chosen finalists will be flown to Reunion Island with Jo-Ann Strauss and a celebrity mentor where they will spend a few days at the five star LUX* Ile da Reunion resort getting media training and honing their presentation skills.

The event which will include adventure sports will be filmed for a mini-reality series which will be broadcast on The winner, who will be announced on 20 September, will become an online presenter for the TV channel.

People between 18 and 35 from across Africa can enter and the public will be given the opportunity to vote for their favourite.

Jo-Ann Strauss did her first online presenter search in 2012 with her good friend Bonang Matheba who is a talk show guest on Jo-Ann Strauss' show tomorrow night. The former Miss South Africa's online presenter search in 2012 yielded five webisodes and became the world's largest competition of it's kind with hundreds of entries which were uploaded.

For this year's second online presenter search Jo-Ann Strauss clearly planned to leverage online media and social media to an even larger extent as a strategic component, especially given that the aim is to find an online video personality.

Samsung which makes mobile devices is for instance the main sponsor and will supply mobile devices on the island.

The edited show will be broadcast on the web; aspiring presenters are encouraged to upload their auditions which they can record on their cellphones, smartphones and digital cameras to YouTube; finalists will continue to upload a series of clips while they're on the island; and social media such as Twitter and Facebook will be integral to not just engage the viewing audience but also to help find the winner.

The online reality talent show initiative is interesting, given Africa's growing broadband penetration and rapidly advancing mobile video capabilities throughout the continent.

The rapid growth means that millions more ordinary Africans are now able to not only watch but also actively participate, engage and coalesce around online video creation and consumption online - something which was previously not generally available, or simply too expensive.

TV news reporter climbs on flood victim in India to report a news story; gets fired.

The Indian TV news reporter Narayan Pargaien of Indian's News Express TV news channel has been fired after he climbed on a flood victim to report his story about flooding in India.

Narayan Pargaien blames his cameraman and says the cameraman was trying to "sabotage" him when he reported flooding in Uttarakland where 1 000 people had died.

Narayan Pargaien climed on a flood victim who've lost everything and was wobbling under the TV news reporter's weight to do his TV story.

"You cannot ride on someone's back for a story," says Nishant Chaturvedi, News Express boss who called the behaviour of the TV reporter "inhuman". "We terminated him on Tuesday."

Carte Blanche on M-Net on Sunday returns to the studio and inside for the first time in two years.

Carte Blanche on M-Net on Sunday night returned to a studio and an anchor desk for the first time in exactly two years since the longrunning weekly South African investigative news magazine show ditched its studio presentation format in July 2011 and went outside and roofside in Johannesburg.

Carte Blanche presenter Bongani Bingwa presented Carte Blanche from the SuperSport studios in Randburg where M-Net's All Access was housed before SuperSport moved into the floorspace.

It's not clear whether this is a new permanent change for the Combined Artistic Productions show, whether inclement weather forced the show inside, whether it was just a once-off experiment, or whether it was a once-off late week decision.

Carte Blanche will be celebrating its 25th anniversary within months since the show started back in 1989.

Friday, June 28, 2013

BREAKING. TopTV ends its own Top Explore channel, replaces it with Spark as a new factual entertainment channel from July.

On Digital Media (ODM) is dropping a third self-compiled "Top" channel from the South African pay-TV operator's channel line-up but is replacing it immediately with a new third-party channel, Spark, from 1 July, which won't be carrying the "TopTV" name.

Spark which was started in April 2011 will replace Top Explore on the same channel number 300 on TopTV, although it is in reality still being supplied by the same German-based supplier who packaged Top Explore for TopTV.

TopTV in April immediately discontinued its Top Junior and Top Movies +24 channels  and has so far not announced any replacements for those channels.

Top Explore was a self-compiled factual entertainment channel for TopTV and Spark, provided by Autentic, also covers a wide range of factual entertainment genres like science, technology, nature, biology, history, travel, archeology and adventure.

"Spark is the new brand for our existing documentary channel Top Explore," says Ian Woodrow, the vice president for channels at TopTV in a statement.

"Subscribers will still see many of the programmes which they have enjoyed on Top Explore in the past but will also be impressed with the new programming that has been secured for the channel."

The German-based supplier of the channel is keeping the already licenced content on Spark for TopTV and will be adding some additional documentary programming together with the name change.

Expresso on SABC3 adds Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp to the existing presenters' group from 1 July.

The former M-Net TV personality Elana Afrika who is now married as Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp is shifting TV channels to SABC3 and is joining SABC3 and that channel's weekday morning show Expresso from July.

The show announced Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp's addition from 1 July to the revolving presenters' corps currently existing out of Ewan Strydom, Leigh-Ann Williams, Katlegoe Maboe and Graeme Richards who will be involved with the upcoming 6th season of Strictly Come Dancing now on SABC3 as well.

According to the show Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp will continue to present her afternoon radio show in Cape Town.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

SHOCKER! NFVF shocked at creation of South African Film Commission; says Cape Film Commission CEO 'hijacked' a process.

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) is shocked at news over the apparent establishment of a South African Film Commission (SAFC) - but one not created by parliament and through the department of arts and culture as is currently underway.

The NFVF is upset with the the Cape Film Commission's (CFC) CEO, Denis Lillie, saying claims by him that the NFVF, the department of trade and industry, and the department of arts and culture provided permission to start such a commission is not true. The NFVF in a statement issued late Wednesday says that Denis Lillie "decided to hijack the process thereby misleading the industry".

Yesterday I reported on the surprising creation of the South African Film Commission (SAFC) which has been created and registered as an independent and non-profit organisation with the aim to help, serve and promote South Africa's growing film industry.

The newly created organisation was careful to explain that it will not replace the Gauteng Film Commission, KZN Film Commission, the Cape Town Film Commission, the Durban Film Office or other film promotion offices in South Africa but will work as a broad, national body to supplement on a national level what these existing offices are doing for film and television production work in South Africa.

Today the NFVF is reacting in anger, lashing out at Denis Lillie, who is the CEO of the Cape Town Film Commission, saying that the NFVF "has learned with great shock the news of the registration and establishment of the South African Film Commission by Cape Town Film Commission's Denis Lillie."

"The NFVF distances itself from the utterances of Denis Lillie, who in his statement, claims that he has been provided permission by the NFVF, department of trade and industry and department of arts and culture to start such a commission."

"In his statement to members of the Cape Film Commission, Denis Lillie suggests that the he has been having discussions with various agencies and entities across South Africa over the past 12 to 18 months."

"These included discussions with representatives from DAC, NFVF, the National Lotteries Board, the DTI and others and tabled a proposed South African Film Commission some time ago, and again at Cannes in 2012, with the NFVF CEO. He further states that he believes his commission would complete the NFVF and film commissions mandates."

"This statement is far from the truth and the NFVF would like to emphasise that it has never been and is not in talks with CFC and Denis Lillie regarding the establishment of the South African Film Commission with them."

The NFVF says in the statement that "the establishment of a South African film commission is the responsibility and falls under the ambit of the department of arts and culture and the NFVF as the agency of the department of arts and culture responsible for the film industry in South Africa."

The NFVF said the department of arts and culture is currently in the process of converting or restructuring the NFVF into a fully-fledged National Film Commission. 

"This process has commenced with the NFVF having successfully applied to register the trademark "South African Film Commission" and together with the department of arts and culture are currently following appropriate parliamentary channels to amend the relevant legislation."

"It is unfortunate that CFC and Denis Lillie have decided to hijack the process thereby misleading the industry," says Zama Mkosi, the CEO of the NFVF in the statement.

The NFVF says that the establishment of a South African Film Commission will be effected through an act of parliament and "is the sole responsibility of the department of arts and culture and not of an non-governmental organisation or any other private entity."

Denis Lillie says "although the NFVF state that our statements are far from the truth, these statements from the NFVF conveniently ignore discussions that took place between the Cape Film Commission and the NFVF over 12 to 18 months."

"They also ignore the discussions and email exchanges between the department of arts and culture ministry and the Cape Film Commission between June and October 2012 and beyond where the CFC initially tabled a proposal for a national film commission to complement the NFVF."

Dennis Lillie says the Cape Film Commission was "subsequently encouraged by the department of arts and culture to progress the proposal through interactions with the NFVF. These emails confirmed discussions the CFC had with the NFVF in June 2012 over the creation of a national film commission."

"Traditionally the CFC has worked with the department of trade and industry on film related matters as the department of trade and industry is the agency for economic growth, investment and job creation in the film sector."

"Our understanding from the NFVF mandate is that they are in part mandated to promote South African culture though film. The role of a Film Commission is partly to promote South Africa as a film making territory to both local and international filmmakers, hence the complementary process between both agencies."

MAJOR SHOCKER! South African TV ratings war explodes as SABC and jointly jettison Saarf amidst viewership measurement fiasco.

There's major drama within South Africa's TV industry following a South African TV ratings war which has exploded: both the SABC and are ready to jettison the organisation responsible for compiling South Africa's television viewership after a damning audit highlighting major viewer panel problems.

The SABC and - in total representing basically almost 100% of South African freely accessible and public television broadcasters since community television viewership is still largely negligible although growing - have both decided to withdraw from the South African Audience Research Foundation (Saarf). The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) the body representing broadcast media in South Africa, has similar plans.

Saarf compiles South Africa's TV viewership figures and South African broadcasters and the country's TV industry is in turmoil following a shocking audit highlighting problems and serious shortcomings with the panel measurement which has been used, the ratings of which broadcasters and advertisers use as currency to determine ad spend and to what TV channels those ad rands go.

The SABC and say they are still calculating the losses due to potential advertising income the broadcasters might have lost out on, but says it "is estimated to run at hundreds of millions of rands".

The decision by the SABC and to leave Saarf, follows the indication of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) - of which the SABC and are members - to resign from Saarf. Saarf is responsible for compiling South Africa's television viewership metric known as Television Audience Measurement Survey (TAMS) which is done by the Nielsen Media Research research company.

There's major upheaval behind the scenes within South Africa's TV and broadcasting biz - the drama began when an audit conducted by the French media research audit firm CESP - and asked for by South African broadcasters - brought to light serious shortcomings in the conduct of the TAMS panel.

TAMS ratings are critical because that determines broadcasters' ad rates. Problems with the TAMS panel means inaccurate ratings and viewership measurement, which has a massive impact on the potential ad income for broadcasters such as the SABC and

The SABC and experienced falling ratings in certain viewership groups - especially in the lower viewership brackets of middle income South Africans who are actually the largest consumers of free-to-air television such as the SABC's three TV channels and

The audit showed that the TAMS panel failed to keep up with the evolving South African demographic profile, only partiallymeasured certain homes, failed to balance the panel by individual living standards measurement, failed to properly maintain the household meters which measure TAMS households' viewership, and failed to manage the declining efficiency of the panel.

The effect was that upper income television households - such as those watching DStv - became over-represented on the TAMS panel as compared to middle and lower income households who are underrepresented.

"In the South African context, this effectively translates into an over-representation of white television viewership and a serious under-representation of black television viewership," says the SABC and in a joint statement as to why they're abandoning Saarf.

"Not only is this morally unacceptable in South Africa in 2013, it has a direct financial impact on the free-to-air broadcasters who broadcast programming to the majority of South Africans. Of even more concern to the SABC and is that this state of affairs had been ongoing for many years without any intervention from Saarf executive management," says the broadcasters.

"It has become apparent to the SABC and that the concerns of free-to-air television broadcasters are not being taken seriously and have not received the urgent attention from Saarf which they demanded," says the broadcasters. "The SABC and therefore fully support the NAB intention to resign from Saarf."

The SABC and now wants a new industry research body "which is sensitive to the fast-changing demographics of South Africa and which treats all South African audiences with equal importance" the broadcasters say in the strongly-worded statement released late today.

"The SABC and firmly believe that this will be to the benefit of all stakeholders in the broadcasting industry as South Africa moves to a digital free-to-air market."

Paul Haupt, the CEO of Saarf says the organisation is "extremely disappointed at the proposed resignation of the National Association of Broadcasters".

"Saarf has been the custodian of all industry audience measurement for 39 years and the measurement of television and radio has been an important part of its activities".

He says the statement made by the SABC and contains "serious inaccuracies and Saarf will respond in full to the allegations and inaccurate interpretation of the audit findings".

Paul Haupt says "Saarf wants to state unequivocally that it was not the Saarf board that refused the NAB proposal for greater representation of broadcast media on the Saarf board. Saarf members asked the NAB for two weeks extra time before meeting again with the NAB to try and resolve the issue amicably and to get a consensus decision from all Saarf stakeholders."

"The NAB refused and insisted that the matter be put to a vote knowing well that they could not get the 75% majority required for the approval of a special resolution."

BREAKING. eNCA and plans simulcast 'Obama in South Africa' live TV coverage on Saturday from 15:30.

The eNCA (DStv 403) and will have simulcast live coverage on Saturday 29 June from 15:30 until 17:00 of the visit of the United States president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama in South Africa with the eNCA's "new" American reporter Simon Marks covering proceedings.

The eNCA and will be crossing over for a live simulcast broadcast of Obama in South Africa on Saturday at 15:30 until 17:00 when the schedule will resume with WWE NXT.

The eNCA will in fact already start pre-coverage at 15:00 on Saturday, although will join in from 15:30.

The SABC didn't immediately respond to a media enquiry made asking what the SABC's possible coverage plans of the Obama trip to South Africa might entail on which channels.

On Saturday MTV Base in Johannesburg will also film an episode of MTV Base Meets... with Michelle Obama when she will be talking to South African teenagers for an episode to be broadcast on MTV Base in July.

BREAKING. Michelle Obama to talk to South African teenagers on MTV Base; recording a special MTV Base Meets episode this Saturday.

Michelle Obama, the first lady of the United States, will take part in MTV Base Meets... which will be recorded this Saturday in Johannesburg when the American president Barack Obama together with Michelle Obama visit South Africa.

Michelle Obama will talk to teenagers from across South Africa at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre with the event which will be streamed live on Saturday on, and the White House Google+ pages.

MTV Base Meets Michelle Obama will be shown across sub-Saharan Africa on MTV Base (DStv 322) on Friday 19 July at 17:00 (repeated on Saturday 20 July at 13:30. The Grammy-winner John Legend will also join the discussion.

"Michelle Obama's involvement in the MTV Base Meets programme reinforces her committment as an advocate for young people," says Alex Okosi, the senior vice president and managing director for Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) Africa, in a statement.

"We are excited to work with her in leveraging our platform to engage with young people on the continent. Her extraordinary career and personal journey will be an insightful and inspiring contribution to the programme," says Alex Okosi.

BREAKING. The Justice Factor of the eNCA coming to from Monday 8 July at 20:30.

More DStv pay-TV content is being made available to free-to-air South African viewers with adding the political talk show The Justice Factor with Justice Malala on the eNCA (DStv 403) to the schedule from Monday 8 July at 20:30.

The eNCA which is a pay-TV channel is leveraging more of its previously pay-TV-only content to its freely available sister channel with The Justice Factor which will be shown on from July at the same time as the 6th season of the political talk show is broadcast on the eNCA.

The show which has so far been unsuccessful in securing president Jacob Zuma for an in-studio sit-down interview, has been using the "empty swivel chair" promo technique in a public bid the past few months trying to call out the president and getting him to talk to Justice Malala.

With The Justice Factor now gaining a wider audience as is added into the fold, the lure of The Justice Factor hot seat increases for Jacob Zuma who will be seen by millions more South African viewers.

BREAKING. StarTimes in trouble for allegedly selling obsolete TV decoder boxes in Uganda to viewers.

StarTimes, the Chinese television company which has bailed out South Africa's floundering TopTV satellite pay-TV service by acquiring a 20% shareholder stake, is in trouble elsewhere in Africa where StarTimes is being accused of allegedly selling obsolete TV decoders to viewers in Uganda.

A public interest law suit has now been filed in Uganda claiming that allegedly soon to be obsolete decoders have been sold to unsuspecting Ugandans who buy them because they are cheaper although they will soon no longer work.

The Uganda Consumers Protection Awareness Association (UCPAA) has now joined a class action lawsuit representing 130 000 Ugandan TV viewers who demand new decoders from StarTimes in exchange for the old ones

The plantiffs claim that the DVB-T set-top boxes (STBs) contain outdated technology as declared by the 2006 International Tellecommunications Union (ITU) Conference which sat in Geneva.

in question go by the name DVB-T Set Top Box, which the plaintiff claim are products of outdated technology as declared by the 2006 International Telecommunications Union Conference that sat in Geneva.

Deen TV on TopTV apologises for months of repeats as the channel works on new programming and a new on-air look and feel.

Deen TV (TopTV 355) op TopTV is apologising for viewers for months of repeats, saying the Islamic TV channel is working on new programming "which has a fresh look and feel, and makes for more interesting viewing".

Deen TV says the channel's physical infrastructure has been upgraded the last few months. Deen TV launched on TopTV a year ago. The channel says Deen TV has over "the last three to four months undergone a major upgrade which left viewers to unfortunately endure continual programme repeats".

A new website is "on the verge of launching", says Faizel Sayed, Deen TV vice president.

"It is important as media and especially Islamic media to continually ensure the best service delivery to its audiences, listeners or readers," says Faizel Sayed.

"Like everything and anything in life its all work in progress and we thank the public and viewers for being patient during this time at the channel," says Farouk Arieff, Deen TV president.

Deen TV's changes and upgrades will be rolled out over the next couple of weeks heading into Ramadaan.

When Nelson Mandela does pass on, South African president Jacob Zuma will make an announcement on national television in South Africa.

When Nelson Mandela (94) does pass on, South African president Jacob Zuma will make an announcement on national television in South Africa.

The frail Nelson Mandela battling a lung infection remains in critical condition after his condition deteriorated in hospital on Sunday and as the world's media mobilised for round-the-clock coverage.

CNN International's Isha Sesay flew to South Africa and Soweto to cover the developing story today, with Nkepile Mabuse also reporting.

The eNCA was in the Eastern Cape to cover the Mandela family meetings today in Qunu which were held to "discuss delicate matters".

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

'This is CNN': The baritone voice of James Earl Jones is back on CNN International after years.

The voice of James Earl Jones is back on CNN International (DStv 401), months after the venerable actor's iconic voice-over which was retired years ago, has been brought back to CNN in America at the beginning of the year.

The authoritative baritone of James Earl Jones saying "This is CNN" can now once again be heard on CNN International after it was reintroduced on CNN in the United States in January, part of the plans of Jeff Zucker, the chief executive of CNN Worldwide, to revitalise the CNN channel in America which is grappling with a prolonged struggle for viewership in that country.

The symbolic return of the James Earl Jones CNN sound byte is pleasant to hear and harkens back to an era - also in South Africa - when CNN International was almost the only 24-hour TV news channel in the game.

South African TV viewers saw CNN International broadcast in afternoon blocks on TV1 and late at night on TV1 and CCTV in the early and mid-nineties, when it was also added to MultiChoice's DStv platform as one of only a few 24-hour news channels.

Now the sound clip of "This is CNN" has also been relicensed for CNN's international news channel.

MultiChoice starts a new bouquet, DStv Extra, at R380 per month as a new mid-tiered channel package.

MultiChoice launched a new mid-tiered package for its DStv satellite pay-TV service called DStv Extra, the second new DStv bouquet launched this year following DStv Family in April which is replacing DStv Select which is getting phased out.

DStv Extra which was not announced to the press, will cost R380 per month placing it between the most expensive DStv Premium, and the DStv Compact bouquets.

DStv Extra has 86 channels as opposed to the 119 of DStv Premium and the 73 of DStv Compact. DStv Extra has less premium sports than DStv Premium but includes a lot more first-run general entertainment premium TV content that DStv Compact.

DStv Extra will also not afford viewers any high definition (HD) television watching but do offer DStv subscribers the ability to make use of the DStv BoxOffice service to rent movies through an HD PVR.

DStv Extra contains a number of channels not offered on the DStv Compact bouquet such as BBC Entertainment, Comedy Central, E! Entertainment, kykNET, AfricaMagic Movies 1, FOX in standard definition, Crime & Investigation Network, Tracel Channel, History Channel, TRACE Sports, Nickelodeon, CBeebies, VH1 Classic and Sky News.

DStv Extra includes SuperSport Blitz, SuperSport 3 and SuperSport 4 but not SuperSport which mostly carries rugby coverage.

Eben Greyling, Naspers' CEO of pay-TV business said today in the press conference discussing the media giant's financial report for the financial year ending 31 March 2013, that MultiChoice is focusing on penetrating and growing its lower subscriber base through cheaper DStv bouquets.

Generations on SABC1 now getting 3 year renewal contracts from the SABC; Generations creator Mfundi Vundla blasts SABC1 for lack of capitalising on the show popularity.

Generations on SABC1, the weekday soap with 8 million viewers which also ranks as South Africa's most watched TV programme, will now be getting three year contract deals from the South African public broadcaster as the soap actively moves into engaging fans and vieweings in a growing digital platform.

This comes as Generations executive producer Mfundi Vundla blasted the SABC at the media launch of Generations' new social media networking website for not having done enough to capitalise on the soap's ongoing popularity as a primetime TV property shown on weekdays at 20:00 on SABC1.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the acting chief operating officer (COO) at the SABC, announced at the event that Generations, which includes the cast, will now be getting renewal contracts from the SABC in three year increments instead of the annual renewal process.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng also warned the Generations stars to behave. "If you're famous, live responsibly," he said.

Mfundi Vundla is meanwhile not happy with the lack of SABC initiative to make more of Generations and the show's pulling power on SABC1. He is criticising the SABC for the public broadcaster's lack of imagination when it comes to leveraging the powerhouse soap's pulling power for the SABC1 schedule and other TV properties as well as for the show itself. "They haven't led with shows," says Mfundi Vundla.

The website is being relaunched to attract fans and viewers beyond the daily Generations episode. Mfundi Vundla says Generations' bigger social media and cyber presence is part of greater social television engagement with the audience.

Generations viewers can now get updates from the cast, interact with characters, download photos, win a day on set and even offer story ideas. It's being done as online and smartphone use in South Africa is growing and Generations expands its online presence beyond the traditional TV screen..

Isha Sesay on CNN International jets to Soweto, South Africa, as anxiety and TV news coverage ramps up over ailing Nelson Mandela.

Isha Sesay of CNN International (DStv 401), the presenter of NewsCenter jetted into South Africa and Soweto to cover from there the deteriorating health of Nelson Mandela.

All the 24-hour TV news channels and TV news crews are ramping up their coverage around the ailing South African statesman who remains in critical condition in a Pretoria hospital as the world waits on edge for any updates.

Nkepile Mabuse continues with her media vigil outside the Pretoria hospital together with dozens of foreign media and reporters, their cameras and satellite trucks aimed at the hospital where Nelson Mandela remains in critical condition.

Nkepile Mabuse did live crossings again on Tuesday from the hospital and Isha Sesay was also in South Africa and filed from Soweto.

The eNCA had reporter Xoli Mngambi in the Eastern Cape filing reports from Qunu covering the two family meetings today of the Mandela clan who met to "discuss delicate matters" - a traditional type of meeting held in Xhosa culture to talk about any kind of "significant family event".

SABC finally fills 6 executive positions as three top executive positions at the South African public broadcaster remain vacant.

The South African public broadcaster has filled six executive positions at the SABC while three positions - the head of news and current affairs, that of chief financial officer (CFO) and chief operating officer (COO) still remain vacant.

The SABC appointed Sipho Masinga as the group executive for technology, Itani Tseisi as the group executive for risk and governance, Jabulani Mabaso as the group executive for human capital services, Madoda Shushu as the head of procurement, Zwelibanzi Mthembu as the head of strategy and Iris Francis as the chief executive of the SABC Foundation.

The SABC says the six vacancies has been filled since "it has become imperative for the organisation, as it is steadily becoming financially stable, to complement this with individuals who will bring immense value" to the SABC.

"These appointments of skilled people will help the organisation deliver on its set objectives and make sure there is stability at the SABC as we implement our three year corporate plan effectively, which is crucial in us fulfilling our public service mandate," says Lulama Mokhobo, the SABC's CEO in a statement.

BREAKING. MultiChoice focusing strongly on penetrating and growing lower subscriber base with cheaper bouquets; want to expand online.

The South African pay-TV platform running the DStv direct-to-home (DTH) satellite service in South Africa and across the African continent is strongly focusing - and will continue to do so - on penetrating and growing its lower subscriber base of viewers by enticing them to sign up to cheaper DStv bouquets; MultiChoice is also strongly focused on the growing expansion and delivery of content online.

Eben Greyling, the CEO of pay-TV platforms at Naspers said in Naspers' investors' press conference during the presentation of Naspers' financial year report for the period ending 31 March 2013 which took place late this afternoon, that the average revenue per DStv subscriber is expected to decline in the future.

ALSO READ: MultiChoice grows revenue by 20% to R30,3 billion for the year ending 31 March 2013; tops 6,7 million subscribers across Africa.

Although MultiChoice's overall revenue is up, and although the average revenue per subscriber increased marginally for the year until the end of 31 March 2013, the average revenue per DStv subscriber will likely decrease in the future because the number of DStv subscribers who are part of lower-tiered DStv bouquets will grow.

What it means is that MultiChoice will  have more subscribers - and in fact wants more of these subscribers  (since it enlarges the customer base) - on cheaper bouquets below the most expensive DStv Premium bouquet.

While DStv Premium subscribers bring in the most revenue per subscriber as the most expensive bouquet, more subscribers on lower-tiered bouquets such as DStv Compact - who are more in number than DStv Premium subscribers - bring in lower average subscriber revenue but overall more money because there's much more of them.

ALSO READ: MultiChoice starts a new bouquet, DStv Extra, at R380 per month as a new mid-tiered channel package.

"Average revenue per subscriber increased marginally but we expect it to decline as we change the mix in our subscriber base because of our focus to penetrate the lower subscriber base," said Eben Greyling during Naspers' financial report press conference.

"Growth in the lower priced DStv Compact bouquet remains strong," said Eben Greyling. DStv PVR households also "recorded good growth" and this MultiChoice decoder is now in just under a million TV homes."

Naspers achieved an annual growth rate in its pay-TV business of 21% for the last five years and "the business continues to show good growth," said Eben Greyling.

He also said that Naspers' pay-TV business division is strongly focused on increasing the online delivery of content as broadband internet penetration in South Africa and across Africa grows.

"Regarding competition we continue to see an increase in competition across the continent from both traditional players as well as online players," said Eben Greyling. "Existing players in the broadcasting space are aggressively growing their business and we're also seeing new players. Regarding the online delivery of content there's also video-on-demand (VOD) services and international players such as Apple expanding their online business here."

"We're sure that this trend will definitely increase in the future and our own online developments will continue in future to help face this onslaught," he said.

Eben Greyling said the popular DStv BoxOffice service on PVR's was recently made available online. The DStv Catch-Up service was also recently expanded to more devices like the iPad and that MultiChoice will later this year expand it to Android tablets and other devices.

BREAKING. The South African Film Commission created for South Africa; aims to to help, serve and promote South Africa's film industry.

The South African Film Commission (SAFC) has been created and registered as an independent and non-profit organisation to help, serve, and promote South Africa's growing film industry and to complement the work being done by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF).

The South African Film Commission will not replace the Gauteng Film Commission, KZN Film Commission, the Cape Town Film Commission, the Durban Film Office or other film promotion offices in South Africa but will work as a broad, national body to supplement on a national level what these existing offices are doing for film and television production work in South Africa.

The South African Film Commission says its aim is to - on a national level - promote filmmakers in South Africa, the industry and job creation through partnerships with existing bodies. Because the South African Film Commission is independent it will work with a range of agencies, offices and industry bodies to develop and promote South Africa's film industry.

The South African Film Commission has started a website it will expand at and can be contacted at 021 701 0924.

BREAKING. MultiChoice adds Telemundo, the South American telenovela TV channel to DStv from 12 August.

MultiChoice is adding Telemundo (DStv 118), South America's telenovela TV channel to the DStv bouquet from Monday 12 August following a carriage agreement between MultiChoice and Universal Networks International (UNI).

The telenovela channel has not previously been available outside of Latin America as a satellite pay-TV channel but will now be shown in Africa. Telemundo is a channel division under NBCUniversal International Television.

Telemundo will show Spanish language telenovelas such as Aurora, Precious Rose, My Heart Beats for Lola and Behind Closed Doors only, but will be dubbed into English for South Africa and Southern Africa on DStv, and will be dubbed into Portuguese on DStv in Mozambique and Angola.

South American telenovelas made its entry into the South African TV market two years ago when the FOX channel launched on On Digital Media's (ODM) TopTV platform. FOX has since gained carriage on DStv as well. SABC2 also has a weekday South American telenovela slot which recently got extended to include an omnibus airing over weekends.

The purely telenovela Telemundo channel - soap serialised TV drama but will a limited number of episodes usually running a year or two years and capped by a definite end - is MultiChoice's first foray into such a specific channel in this genre since the Soap Channel on DStv was tried and ended. MultiChoice when it ended the Soap channel a few years after it was launched in August 1997, said viewers suffered viewing fatigued and struggled to keep up with multiple soaps running with multiple new episodes per week.

The Telemundo channel on DStv will only show telenovelas and none of the other programming shown on Telemundo across South American countries. Telemundo will be available on the DStv Premium, DStv Compact, DStv Access and DStv Family bouquets.

"We are particularly excited to bring Telemundo to Africa," says Colin McLeod, the managing director for emerging markets for UNI. "We believe we can help to drive multi-channel television to an even broader market - for those who traditionally only want to watch free TV, Telemundo will give them a great reason to want DStv."

MultiChoice says DStv subscribers will for the first time be able to enjoy "the best telenovelas available worldwide in English". "Our customers are already enjoying the entertainment on offer on the 5 Universal Networls International channels available on DStv. Telemundo is a great addition which further strengthens our partnership with Universal Networks International," says Collins Khumalo, the CEO of MultiChoice South Africa.

BREAKING. Shahan Ramkissoon leaves the eNCA after 6 years; reporter can now be seen on the Arise News TV news channel.

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Shahan Ramkissoon, one of the solidly dependable reporters who also moved in behind the anchor desk has left the eNCA (DStv 403) after 6 years.

There's been no word yet from the eNCA about Shahan Ramkissoon's departure from the news channel.

Shahan Ramkissoon has shown tremendous growth the past few years as the eNCA grew and has honed his image, style, news presentation skills, contacts and sources as he became one of the recognisable and solidly dependable news telenalities on South African TV screens.

Shahan Ramkissoon steadily progressed to behind the anchor desk where he also anchor timeslots on the eNCA.

Shahan Ramkissoon's last day at the South African 24-hour news channel was on Sunday, according to sources and he now works for the new African-centric Arise News news channel which launched in February. Arise News can be seen in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Arise News, which is on an aggressive recruitment drive - similar to the nascent Africa News Network 7 (ANN7) set to start later this year as a 24-hour news channel in South Africa - is not yet available on MultiChoice's DStv or On Digital Media's TopTV platforms.

Arise News can however be watched online as the channel is live-streamed at where Shahan Ramkissoon can now be seen.

The reporter has already done live crossings on Arise News to London and New York from South Africa. According to sources the reporter might also be working for France24 (TopTV 402) on breaking news stories.

Shahan Ramkissoon's departure from the eNCA follows the departure of eNCA name-brand telenalities such as Debora Patta recently, as well as Lukwesa Burak who came to the eNCA from Sky News to anchor Africa Edition but is suddenly back on Sky News.

BREAKING. MultiChoice grows revenue by 20% to R30,3 billion for the year ending 31 March 2013; tops 6,7 million subscribers across Africa.

The satellite pay-TV business MultiChoice has grown its revenue by 20% to R30,3 billion for the year ending on 31 March 2013 and has increased its subscriber base by 1,1 million new subscribers to now top 6,7 million subscribers across 48 markets across Africa.

The media group Naspers which owns MultiChoice released its financial report for the financial year ending 31 March 2013, with the pay-TV business side which achieved 18% growth in trading profit to R7,6 billion for the year.

ALSO READ: MultiChoice focusing strongly on penetrating and growing lower subscriber base with cheaper DStv bouquets; wants to expand online.

Naspers says the pay-TV trading profit was somewhat weighed down by the company's increased investment in digital terrestrial television (DTT), as well as investments in local content production. MultiChoice paid R1,6 billion to subsidise decoders.

Naspers' pay-TV business now produces more than 6 000 hours per year at a cost of R1 billion in local TV content in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. Seven further locally programmed TV channels were launched on DStv in the past financial year.

MultiChoice's GOtv brand for digital terrestrial television is now operational in 8 countries across Africa and reaches 376 000 households. MultiChoice's DStv Compact bouquet accounted for 38% of growth and the base of DStv PVR decoder users grew by 26% to 956 000.

DStv Compact subscribers now comprise 37% of all DStv subscribers, DStv Premium 34% and the rest is 27%.

In South Africa 4,451 million households now have access to DStv. That is up from 3,981 million a year before.

Meanwhile the average revenue per DStv subscriber increased from R298 per month to R307 per month, although MultiChoice sees that decreasing in the future as the pay-TV business looks to aggressively court the lower subscriber base.

Programming cost increased by 15%. Naspers cites increasing regulatory pressures, and that competition is growing, especially from the online sphere.

MultiChoice will continue to extends its online services, and foresees continued subscriber growth.Naspers warns that more regulation in the pay-TV market "may stifle innovation".

Monday, June 24, 2013

Lukwesa Burak is back on Sky News just a few months after moving to Johannesburg to join the eNCA as anchor of Africa Edition.

Lukwesa Burak is suddenly back on Sky News (DStv 402) - less than a year after she moved to Johannesburg to become a news anchor on the eNCA (DStv 403).

Lukwesa Burak channel hopped from Sky News to the eNCA last year to become a news anchor for the eNCA's Africa Edition.

Lukwesa Burak moved to South Africa at the end of last year when her husband got a better job offer here. But a few months later he got yet another better job offer back in the United Kingdom the eNCA tells me, and Lukwesa Burak and her family moved back again - so she left the eNCA and is now back on Sky News.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

BREAKING. Nelson Mandela in critical condition; Madiba's condition deteriorates as TV news crews mobilise for coverage.

Nelson Mandela (94) is now in critical condition in hospital after his condition has deteriorated the past 24 hours, according to a statement from the presidency, prompting TV news crews in South Africa and internationally to mobilise for a fresh week of coverage of the ailing statesman.

In a statement released on Sunday night by the presidency, the South African government says "the condition of former president Nelson Mandela, who is still in hospital in Pretoria, has become critical."

Nelson Mandela's condition has deteriorated the past 24 hours who is now in "critical" condition.

"The doctors are doing everything possible to get his condition to improve and are ensuring that Madiba is well-looked after and is comfortable. He is in good hands," says president Jacob Zuma.

BBC World News (Toptv 400 / DStv 400), CNN International (DStv 401) and Sky News (DStv 402) are just two of the 24-hour global news channels which immediately went live to the front of the Pretoria hospital for reports.

Friday, June 21, 2013

BREAKING. Paul Deen dumped by The Food Network over racial slur; TV chef fired after admission that she used racial slur in the past.

The Food Network (DStv 175) has dumped Paula Deen after the TV chef's admission - and a few hours ago a video apology - of using a racial slut in the form of the "N" word in the past.

"The Network will not renew Paula Deen's contract when it expires at the end of this month," says the TV channel, owned by Scripps Networks Interactive, in a just released statement.

Paula Deen appeared in her own apology video a few hours ago, saying "I want to apologize for everybody for the wrong that I've done," in 46 seconds in which a haggard-looking Paula Deen said that she wasn't able to go on television in America on Friday to talk about it. "Inappropriate hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable."

"I want to apologize to everybody for the wrong that I've done. I want to learn and grow from this."

"I've made plenty of mistakes along the way, but I beg you, my children, my team, my fans, my partners – I beg for your forgiveness. Please forgive me for the mistakes that I've made."

Paula Deen appeared on The Food Network in shows such as Paula's Home CookingPaula's Best Dishes and Paula's Party has built a food empire around her brand which includes cookbooks, restaurants and cooking utensils.

Kim to Khanye: North West is windy. Okay this is actually about another E! personality. Ryan Lochte's reality show is coming to E! Entertainment.

What Would Ryan Lochte Do?, E! Entertainment's (DStv 124) new reality show following the fast-in-the-water but "dumb and dumber" American Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte is set to start on the channel from Sunday 21 July at 22:00 (South African time). 

Reality cameras follow the swimmer as he tries to balance his training with spending time with family and friends, working on his own fashion line and all the while looking for true love.

Looking for KK news? Well, the 8th season of Keeping Up with the Kasdashians will start on the same date, Sunday 21 July on E! Entertainment, just an hour before What Would Ryan Lochte Do? at 21:00.

BREAKING. Minister Dina Pule lists everything for South Africa to successfully transition to digital terrestrial television ... just not TV content.

South Africa's minister of communications, Dina Pule, giving an update about South Africa's far-behind schedule and convoluted process to switch from analogue to digital terrestrial television broadcasting - a process known as digital migration - mentioned almost everything needed to make the process successful - just not the two most important things: actual TV content to drive viewers to switch over, and affordability.

TV content to fill additional TV channels - a massive cost which will be bore by existing broadcasters in South Africa such as the SABC, and M-Net - is what the country's TV industry knows will be the pivotal driver of DTT uptake under ordinary consumers.

Without compelling content, South African consumers are not going to fork out the money to buy a set-top box (STB) which will cost hundreds of rands to get more channels during the period of dual illumination when they will still be able to keep watching analogue television when broadcasters also start broadcasting digital signals and new TV channels on their available multiplex.

A DTT network which exists won't be successful without enough enticing channels, and without enough and enticing TV content to fill the additional channels.

Affordability is the other most important and entertwined issue to make DTT truly successful through cheaply available decoders.

Ordinary South Africans battling with keep up with rising inflation, added costs like price hikes in petrol, electricity and e-tolling, decreased discresionary spending power and a dreary economic outlook which negatively impacts consumer confidence, are unable to spend R700 and upwards on a STB and new antennas which are also required, just to continue to receive "free" public TV signals.

According to the government "only the poorest of the poor" will benefit from an STB subsidy scheme.

South Africa is many years behind schedule with the roll-out of DTT with an official commercial switch-date which has seen numerous delays and postponements.

While South Africa was first to start planning for DTT, the country has been passed by several countries in Africa and will no longer make the cut-off date of 2015 for the completion of the implementation of DTT as agreed by International Telecommunication Union (ITU) after which analogue broadcasting frequencies will no longer be protected. Zimbabwe last month passed South Africa when DTT broadcasts started in that country.

Speaking in Nkowankowa in the greater Tzaneen region to update local residents and by implication the country, Dina Pule said that "for South Africa to successfully migrate to the digital broadcasting era, we need three things."

"Number one, we need to have the DTT network. Secondly we need set-top-boxes. Thirdly we need to make every South African aware of digital migration and the many opportunities this era bring to the country."

"On the DTT network I'm proud to say that the signal reached 81% of all people living in South Africa. Sentech is hard at work to ensure that all citizens have access to this network by the end of 2013," said Dina Pule.

"On set-top boxes we continue to interact with all role players in this sector, including broadcasters and manufacturers. This week the department of communications met with bidders for set top box tenders to explain the implications of my decision to review the set-top box control system."

She said that the department of communications will be in a position to evaluate tenders in September and that the first set top boxes should be available by the end of 2013.

"Driving public awareness and education about DTT is the most important part of the digital migration process. We have identified that jobs will be created in areas such as the content development sector, set-top box manufacturing and distribution, installation and the maintenance of set-top boxes and call-centres," said Dina Pule.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

M-Net's planning a massive public preview of pay-TV broadcaster's new science fiction TV dramas Defiance and Under the Dome.

You can see it first.

Now you can be a TV critic and see it first: M-Net is planning a massive public preview of the new tentpole science fiction dramas Defiance and Under the Dome before it starts on the schedules of M-Net (DStv 101) and M-Net Series Showcase (DStv 113) - and the public is invited to watch the first episodes on the big screen in cinemas.

For the first time ever M-Net is going to preview big-buzz TV shows which the pay-TV broadcaster clearly believes in very strongly, not only to the public before it starts on television, but also on the big screen in cinemas in association with Nu Metro Cinemas.

If you're older than 16, you can email M-Net at for one of the 500 tickets up for grabs to join TV critics and journalists across South Africa to watch the first episode of Defiance and the first episode of Under the Dome on Thursday 27 June at either Monte Casino in Johannesburg, the Galleria in Durban or at Canal Walk in Cape Town.

You need to email your name to and say where you would like to attend the special preview screening of these upcoming TV shows. Yes, you also get a popcorn and a soft drink for free. The TV shows preview will start at 20:00.

Defiance is a futuristic TV drama - imagine Dr Quinn Medicine Woman meets Bravestarr meets Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in which a guy becomes the new sheriff in a town filled with various space races at the end of a devastating war between mankind and aliens. Defiance starts on M-Net Showcase on 15 July at 20:30.

Under the Dome is likewise a super-new big-buzz TV drama based on the book by Stephen King and is a new TV series about a town suddenly cut off from the rest of the world by an invisible dome-shaped "bubble". Who is responsible and why and what will the townsfolk do now? Under the Dome starts on M-Net on 26 July at 20:30.

Earlier today I got on the phone to ask M-Net about this monumental (masterful marketing) plan.

"M-Net's channels remain the exclusive home of the best first-run TV content and the preview of Defiance and Under the Dome which M-Net and M-Net Series are doing in conjunction with Nu Metro Cinemas will give exclusive access and a preview of great new TV content coming to subscribers in July."

"Just as we did movie screenings and movie previews we are going to show people what they're going to be able to see before it starts. And we're doing it on the big screen because the shows are massive."

"We want to attract people to our big shows and we're sure if they see Defiance and Under the Dome before it starts on television they're going to be drawn in to want to see more," M-Net tells me.

I asked why Defiance and Under the Dome. "They're part of the biggest shows this season," says M-Net. "M-Net Series Showcase launches as a brand-new high-definition TV channel on DStv and Defiance is our diamond of the line-up."

"Our marketing efforts are therefore also aligned behind this show in a big way. Defiance will in a sense be the face of M-Net Series Showcase. Under the Dome is another very big show starting in the United States starting soon there and which M-Net will have very soon. And we're showing it on the big screen and exclusively to people before it starts as a big-buzz TV series."

I wondered how easy or difficult it is for a broadcaster such as M-Net to pull something like this off. This is definitely a first for South Africa, a first for M-Net and to sort out the details of such a deal and permission with studios and distributors must be extremely intricate.

"There's deals we enter into and sign with studios and if those are aligned and everyone agrees, all the parties are happy, and in the end it serves the shows and it serves the viewers."

"Everything is worked out and agreed upon, we change what might need to be changed and everything is done exactly by the book to bring a great experience to the viewers who will be able to see preview the shows and then watch it from week to week on M-Net and M-Net Series Showcase."

"To do something like this  isn't something which gets decided two weeks before the time. It's a long process, a meticulously planned process, and something which is planned long in advance."

Do you want to see the first episodes of Defiance and Under the Dome previewed in a cinema on a big screen? If you like science fiction television, you are really going to enjoy this novel experience. Send that email to now.

BREAKING. Survivor South Africa reality format show to return to M-Net with Survivor South Africa: Champions and Nico Panagio as host.

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Survivor South Africa is set to return to South African TV screens on M-Net for another season with Nico Panagio as host and two teams divided under either rugby player Corne Krige or soccer player Mark Fish as tribe captains.

The pay-TV broadcaster made the announcement on social media to journalists just before the lunch hour in a closed Facebook group after dropping hints and teaser questions since Thursday morning.

Always coy regarding contestants, M-Net teased that two South African sporting stars are included in the new crop of contestants before revealing that it will be Corne Krige and Mark Fish who will be heading up two tribes in Survivor South Africa: Champions. In a new twist, Corne Krige and Mark Fish won't be voted off.

Survivor South Africa: Champions will be filmed towards the end of 2013 at an as yet undisclosed location and will be done by the Endemol South Africa production company.

South African citizens older than 18 will be able to enter from the beginning of July for a possible place on Survivor South Africa: Champions to endure "the harshest of circumstances".

"Mark and Corne are both highly competitive and physically strong but have different personalities," says Pierre Cloete, M-Net director for general entertainment channels. "It will be fascinating to see how these tribe captains strategise to get their team ahead and how they deal with the multiple challenges on the island."

Sivan Pillay, the managing director of Endemol South Africa promises "many surprises" in the new season.

"Pitting two champions with the gravitas of Mark and Corne against each other opens up plenty of opportunities for curveballs and additional pressure on the contestants."

Mark Fish says he wants to be surrounded by individuals who "will showcase their individual qualities that will help the team progress".

Corne Krige says he likes "tribe members who are tough when the tough gets going and have a fighting spirit".

BREAKING. Revealed! Strictly Come Dancing's 10 South African stars who will strut their stuff in the 6th season on SABC3 from 10 July.

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Connie Ferguson, Graeme Richards, Kuli Roberts, Lalla, Jay Anstey, Zakeeya Patel, Damon Kalvari, Mpho Popps Modikoane, L'Vovo and Thapelo Mokoena are the 10 South African celebrities who will be dancing in the 6th season of the floor format dance reality show Strictly Come Dancing starting in less than three weeks on SABC3 on 10 July at 20:00 TV with Thinus can be first to reveal.

The biggest battle for the ballroom floor awaits as the dance reality show shifts from SABC2 to SABC3 for the 6th season.

There's been no response from the broadcaster as to why Strictly Come Dancing is shifting channels. The 6th season of the popular live entertainment reality show was originally planned for the latter part of last year but was then shifted to 2013.

Strictly Come Dancing's 6th season will run for 10 weeks from the SABC's Renaissance Centre in Auckland Park on Wednesday nights between 20:00 to 22:00 as the dance couples compete against each other trying to impress a panel of judges and viewers who get to vote for who they want to help keep in the show.

Dance pairs will start to be cut from Strictly Come Dancing from the third episode.

Strictly Come Dancing is once again produced for the SABC by the format show powerhouse Rapid Blue, the production company behind reality entertainment shows which has already seen multiple seasons on South African television ranging from SA's Got Talent on and Come Dine with SA on BBC Entertainment, to The Bar-One Manhunt on SABC1.

The South African celebrities who will be stepping into their dancing shoes range from the darling TV soap queen Connie Ferguson currently on the Mzansi Magic channel in her own TV drama series and the socialite Kuli Roberts, to SABC3's fit morning breakfast show presenter Graeme Richards who can be seen on Expresso.

Lalla Hirayama, the Vuzu TV channel presenter who has a dance history, actress and reality star Jay Anstey, the Indian actress Zakeeya Patel seen in the SABC3 drama High Rollers and the comedian Mpho Popps Modikoane are also onboard the 6th season of Strictly Come Dancing.

The radioman Damon Kalvari from 5FM, musician L'Vovo Derrango and the actor and presenter Thapelo Mokoena round out the top 10 stars who are all paired with dance professionals and who will be dancing live in front of a studio audience as viewers watch at home.

With less than three weeks to go before Strictly Come Dancing starts on SABC3, the channel and its PR company has so far declined to release any names or photos.

While news about the upcoming season and the show's return to SABC3 has been known for quite a while now, SABC3's PR company only officially confirmed the show's return to the schedule late yesterday afternoon with an official announcement which including no celebrity contestants' names.

SABC3 said that the channel is in no doubt that the 6th season of Strictly Come Dancing will become the programme of choice on Wednesday evenings.

"Full of warmth, joy and the 'wow'-factor, we are thrilled to be bringing back Strictly Come Dancing, the most glamorous entertainment show in the world, for its 6th season," said Kee-Leen Irvine, the managing director of Rapid Blue and the executive producer of the show in the issued statement. "It's war on the dance floor and we can't wait to see this year's celebrities in action."