Tuesday, March 31, 2015

SABC salary bill set to balloon by another R100 million as latest corporate plan notes revenues are constrained due to non-performing programming.

The SABC is set to spend R100 million more on staff salaries and paying SABC board members, while the public broadcaster warns in its new corporate plan for 2015/2016 to 2017/2018 that revenues are "constrained" since advertising clients are cutting back "as a result of declining TV audiences due to non-performance of critical programming".

Meanwhile president Jacob Zuma is weighing in on the ongoing instability at the SABC where three SABC board members were fired the past two weeks and says in a statement that the presidency is "looking into the matter with a view to finding a solution".

In its latest corporate plan, "a 7.5% increase has been included for permanent staff, board fees, freelancers, and various temporary staff requirements" by SABC executives. Meanwhile revenues from SABC TV licence fees are projected at R1 billion.

The SABC's latest corporate plan however cautions that the public broadcaster's commercial revenues are constrained due to tough economic conditions causing advertisers to "reduce their marketing and resultant advertising spend".

The SABC's latest corporate plan comes as four of the six SABC board members who were opposed to the permanent appointment of the SABC's famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng as chief operating officer (COO) have now been axed.

SABC board member Bongani Khumalo abruptly resigned in January, Hope Zinde was fired earlier in March and last week the remaining SABC board fired Rachel Kalidass and Ronnie Lubisi. Krish Naidoo and Vusi Mavuso who were also opposed to Hlaudi Motsoeneng's permanent appointment remain.

Rachel Kalidass told Business Day that she is "still a member of the SABC board because the process used was unlawful. People are misquoting the Companies Act and taking no notice of the current parliamentary and legal process that is under way. This shows that the removals are motivated by malice and it is a purge."

In a statement Ronnie Lubisi says "the decision was illegally made in contravention of the Broadcasting Act 4 of 1999" and that he is seeking legal advice.

After the SABC board said Ronnie Lubisi and Rachel Kalidass were fired due to alleged fraudulent conduct and non-disclusore of conflict of interest among board members, Ronnie Lubisi says he views "the decision of the board and such statements as unfortunate".

"I have been registered as an auditor with the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors and South African Institute of Chartered Accountants for the past 14 years. In all that time I have always conducted my business with absolute adherence to the professional and ethical requirements of my profession."

"I shall welcome an independent enquiry by a duly authorised body into my conduct as an SABC board member," says Ronnie Lubisi.

In a statement issued Monday evening president Jacob Zuma's spokesperson Mac Maharaj says "the president, who appoints members of the SABC board on the advice of the National Assembly, views stability and good corporate governance at the SABC as being of paramount importance. He is looking into the matter with a view to finding a solution".

On Thursday, 2 April, parliament's portfolio committee on communications will start the interviews with the shortlisted candidates to replace the disgraced former SABC chairperson Ellen Tshabalala who resigned in mid-December 2014 after she was mired in a scandal about lying about tertiary qualifications she never had.

The five candidates shortlisted to become a new SABC board member are Saskia Janine HickeyNtomizandile Lesame (academic), Keabatswe Modimoeng (businessman), Jenni Irish-Quobosheane (former civilian police secretary) and Ashwin Trikamjee (attorney).

Today's interesting TV stories to read from TV with Thinus - 31 March 2015.

After Comedy Central leaked to The New York Times that Trevor Noah is taking over for Jon Stewart ...

Comedy Central in America's president, Michele Ganeless explained why Trevor Noah was chosen as the new host of The Daily Show, someone who can "evolve The Daily Show for the next generation".
South African comedians congratulate Trevor Noah, even South Africa's puppet is happy.
Salon has Trevor Noah's "journey so far" and "everything you have to know" about him, and you can watch every one of his clips to learn about him.
TIME asks whether Trevor Noah's The Daily Show will have a more international focus?

American TV critic Tim Goodman is silly. In his latest column he notes Trevor Noah's inexperience and lack of name recognition and says Comedy Central is "bungling an opportunity" to put a woman in the chair.

Variety has 5 reasons why Trevor Noah is a good replacement for Jon Stewart.

Meanwhile it feels like Trevor Noah was over-prepped to use the word "team" as he says he is "progressive like Jon Stewart. How many times does Trevor Noah use the word "team" in an interview with Associated Press (AP) to drive home the point that he isn't "stealing" Jon Stewart's late night chair?

SABC's wage bill to grow by another R100 million.
The SABC's new corporate plan for 2015/2016 to 2017/2018 has salary increases for the SABC board, a 7.5% increase for permanent SABC staff.
The SABC also admits that its revenues are constrained due to "client cutbacks as a result of declining TV audiences due to non-performance of critical programming".

President Jacob Zuma looking for a "solution" for the SABC.
South Africa's president puts out a statement about the ongoing instability at the SABC, saying "he is looking into the matter with a view to finding a solution".

Sunrise turns 7 today; not as much as a word from e.tv on the 7th birthday of the channel's weekday breakfast show which it doesn't seem to care about.

Sunrise, e.tv's weekday morning breakfast shows turns 7 today, but you wouldn't know it if it depends on e.tv - the channel apparently can't care less about the show or its birthday and couldn't get itself to say a single word about Sunrise's birthday ... or congratulations.

There wasn't as much as a peep out of e.tv's publicity department about Sunrise's birthday; no single sentence to the press from e.tv executives, what Sunrise will be doing or having on the show today (a braai!, performances), or at the very least the obligatory quote from a Sunrise producer or executive producer.

Here is why it matters - or rather what it signals: e.tv indicates to the press (and therefore the public) that Sunrise doesn't matter. 

In TV, as elsewhere with other products, politicians, sports teams and commercial services, companies jump at the tiniest chance to issue a press release, or craft and issue a statement about achievements, performances, new services, products, scores, speeches and milestones.

When a TV channel doesn't talk about a show or a specific TV talent, it means that person, show or on-screen talent isn't deemed worthy - that it shouldn't be promoted, or that the channel or executives don't want to promote it: it's not good enough or it will clash with some other existing promotion or show campaign and create noise that will detract.

It was so telling when Barbara Walters, who produced Iyanla Vanzant's first talk show had a falling out during the first season behind the scenes with Iyanla.

Barbara Walters appeared on another programme and was asked about her projects and involvements and The View. Barbara talked about everything, but didn't mention Iyanla. At the end the interviewer asked Barbara: "Any other interesting projects you're working on?"

Barbara's icy retort was: "No. Nothing".

Barbara's deliberate decision not to talk about Iyanla, said and signaled as much by saying nothing.

e.tv's total failure to "celebrate" or to even acknowledge Sunrise's 7th birthday today is shocking, sad and hopelessly pathetic.

Like e.tv's publicity failure to even try and give Sunrise a little ratings bumps today as a birthday present and to drive some viewership by deliberately failing to even tell viewers, the press and the public before today to maybe watch, is perplexing and indicative of how little e.tv cares about what it puts on TV.

e.tv and whatever publicity strategy that exists around Sunrise - if there even is one - seems to be one of "lets do the bare minimum, if anything, yet magically expect results and lots of love and interest from viewers, the media and TV critics and editors". Nope. Not going to happen.

The irony around the ongoing lack of anything to do with Sunrise from e.tv, comes as shows and channels like SABC3 and Expresso pushes it and promotes it by constantly telling the press what interviews there will be, and programming notes about who will be on and when and what is happening, weekly. For sad Sunrise? Nothing.

If you wonder why something has a bit of buzz and why something has nothing, the support - or lack of any support behind it - is often a very telling part of the puzzle.

If e.tv can't congratulate Sunrise or even tell viewers the show is turning 7, does Sunrise even matter? Why does e.tv then have Sunrise on the air?

TV shows are a TV channel's consumables on a shelf. If e.tv doesn't deem Sunrise worthy as a product to promote, why is it still on the shelf in the first place? 

If a show isn't worthy to crow about at each and every opportunity you get - irrespective of how big or how small - why is it on your schedule?

e.tv apparently doesn't care about Sunrise, and TV critics notice that. 

And what e.tv is telling the press is that they shouldn't care about Sunrise either.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Comedy Central Africa on Trevor Noah taking over The Daily Show from Jon Stewart: 'An extraordinary milestone for African comedy'.

Comedy Central Africa (DStv 122) run by Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa" calls South African Trevor Noah's appointment as the new host of The Daily Show taking over from Jon Stewart "an extraordinary milestone for African comedy".

Viacom's Comedy Central today officially announced Trevor Noah as the new host of The Daily Show after news leaked over the weekend that Trevor Noah was the frontrunner to replace Jon Stewart when he retires in September.

"When you hear that a South African comedian is going to replace Jon Stewart as the host of the most trusted satirical comedy show in the world,you know it's a great day for Trevor Noah and an extraordinary milestone for African comedy," says Evert van der Veer, the head of Comedy Central Africa in a statement on Monday afternoon.

"Supporting African comedians and comedy has been one of the key tenets of Comedy Central Africa since we started, and we salute Trevor's achievement with pride on our hearts and a tear in our eye," says Evert van der Veer.

Comedy Central says the debut date of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah is not yet certain.

"Trevor Noah is an enormous talent," says Comedy Central president Michele Ganeless in a statement.

"For the next host of The Daily Show we set out to find a fresh voice who can speak to our audience with a keen take on the events of the day, and we found that in Trevor. He has a huge international following and is poised to explode here in America, and we are thrilled to have him join Comedy Central".

In the statement Trevor Noah says "it's an honour to follow Jon Stewart. He and the team at The Daily Show have created an incredible show whose impact is felt all over the world. In my brief time with the show they've made me feel so welcome. I'm excited to get started and work with such a fantastic group of people."

Trevor Noah who appeared on The Daily Show for the first time in December and has made two other appearances since, has been the subject of David Paul Meyer's award-winning documentary film You Laugh But It's True which tells the story of his comedy career in post-apartheid South Africa.

Trevor Noah's Nationwide Comedy Tour has just been added by MultiChoice to DStv's DStv BoxOffice video-on-demand service.

The Hollywood trade publication Variety called Trevor Noah "a South African comedian with a low profile in the United States" and The Hollywood Reporter said that "the search to find a successor has been complicated by the fact that many of the presumed top choices have recently signed onto new shows that prevent them from taking the gig".

BREAKING. South African comedian Trevor Noah taking over The Daily Show on Comedy Central from Jon Stewart.

Later today Comedy Central (DStv 122) will name South African comedian Trevor Noah as the replacement host for The Daily Show on Comedy Central (DStv 122) The New York Times reports.

After only three appearances since December on The Daily Show, the Viacom pay-TV channel will announce that Trevor Noah is taking over as the new host in the place of Jon Stewart who announced his retirement last month. Jon Stewart's contract ends in September.

News leaked over the weekend that Trevor Noah was the frontrunner to replace Stewart.

Before appearing on The Daily Show since December, Trevor Noah appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman in 2013, and early in 2012 became the first South African comedian and "first African comedian" to appear and do stand-up on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

His Showtime channel stand-up special, Trevor Noah: African American was broadcast in 2013.

Although Trevor Noah on The Daily Show plays an uninformed American, clueless of international events and is seen as African-American, his mother is South African and his father is Swiss.

Noah, repped by Creative Artists Agency in America, previous did his own local talk show, Tonight with Trevor Noah on M-Net from August 2010 which lasted two seasons. His Nationwide Comedy Tour has just been added by MultiChoice to DStv's DStv BoxOffice video-on-demand service.

Trevor Noah's appointed as new host of The Daily Show comes after only three appearances on the satirical news show.

"I'm thrilled for the show and for Trevor," Jon Stewart says in a statement. "He is a tremendous comic and talent that we've loved working with. I may rejoin as a correspondent just to be a part of it!"

kykNET adds new daily news summary show kykNET Verslag from 6 April at 21:30; moves actuality themed shows later to 22:00.

After cancelling its breakfast morning show Dagbreek after just two years and shortening the running time of the programmes of its recently introduced late night timeslot, kykNET (DStv 144) will debut kykNET Verslag from 6 April.

kykNET Verslag, a summary of the day's most talked about events, will be broadcast from Mondays to Thursdays at 21:30 as a new half hour programme on M-Net's Afrikaans language TV channel supplied to MultiChoice's DStv, and will be repeated in the mornings at 06:00.

The changes come five months after the different themed late night timeslot, with programmes ranging from news to comedy and talk, was introduced in October 2014.

Besides Insig which remains an hour in duration, all the other actuality programmes on kykNET in the themed timeslot strand are cut to half an hour and also moved half an hour later to start at 22:00. Thursday's Flits which was to be cancelled will now remain, but the format shaken up. Friday's VrydagNag Laat, a satirical show, remains cancelled.

From 6 April, on Monday nights, Rapport editor Waldimar Pelser will continue to present Insig for an hour from 22:00 on kykNET, a news and actuality show looking at news and political events shaping the country as well as interviews with newsmakers.

On Tuesdays Winslyn, now at 22:00, is reduced to half an hour and business woman presenter Santie Botha is gone. Co-presenter Divan Botha remains and will now anchor the show focused on entrepreneurs and business ventures and looking at the South African economy.

On Wednesday Prontuit, now at 22:00, is reduced to half an hour and presenter Mariëtta Kruger is gone. Co-presenter Kabous Meiring remains in this talk show interviewing interesting South Africans.

On Thursday Flits, now at 22:00, was to be scrapped but will now remain, but with a changed focus. Previous co-presenter Yvonne Beyers from Huisgenoot magazine remains, Fanie Cronjé is gone and Bouwer Bosch joins the show.

From 10 April at 17:30 kykNET adds Aktueel Bestes, a weekly digest which is a collection of shorts culled from the week's various shows in the late night timeslot.

According to Karen Meiring, M-Net's director of Afrikaans channels, the adjustments are being made to better accomodate kykNET's target market interested in actuality programming.

"We trust that these moves will see an even bigger increase in viewership within the next couple of months".

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Today's interesting TV stories to read from TV with Thinus - 29 March 2015.

Terrifying death threat to BBC's director-general after firing of Jeremy Clarkson.
Round the clock bodyguards dispatched to home of BBC's boss Tony Hall in London after Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear on BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) is sacked.
Top Gear says in a statement the dumping of Jeremy Clarkson leaves "a big, big hole to fill".
Meanwhile BBC camera crew members say they're all tired and hungry due to the BBC's inadequate food allowance "but we don't hit people" like Jeremy Clarkson.

4 of the 6 SABC board members who opposed Hlaudi Moetsoeneng at the SABC now fired.
The Sunday Times reports that Krish Naidoo, Vusi Mavuso, Rachel Kalidass, Ronnie Lubisi opposed the permanent appointment of the famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng as chief operating officer.
Hope Zinde was fired two weeks ago and Bongani Khumalo resigned in January from the SABC board which remains in mired in chaos and instability.

Dermot O'Leary done with The X Factor UK.
The presenter is done with the British version of the talent TV show after 8 years.

Dawn Matthews is done with e.tv soap Scandal!
Actress leaving the role of Shakira after a decade to go to America with husband Charlie Sapadin.

Give us more real women on British television.
In an extensive report done by the BBC, viewers tell the British public broadcaster they want more "real" women and less "scantily clad females in reality shows".

That rumour about a new Star Trek TV show is false.
Star Trek: Federation as a new TV series is a rehashed old story of a pitch from a decade ago.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Today's interesting TV stories to read from TV with Thinus - 28 March 2015.

The new The Walking Dead spin-off will be called Fear The Walking Dead.
Fear The Walking Dead will be seen in South Africa and Africa on MultiChoice's DStv and on On Digital  Media's (ODM) StarSat on the AMC channel who will have the spin-off zombie drama.

Top Gear producer will not press charges against Jeremy Clarkson.
Oisin Tymon will not make a case against the fired presenter of Top Gear on BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) after the violent attack which saw the BBC sack Jeremy Clarkson.

Does the SABC fall under the Companies Act?
The SABC as a public broadcaster falls under the Broadcasting Act. Yet the minister of communications Faith Muthambi says the SABC falls under the Companies Act which is used as the excuse for her and the SABC board to purge and get rid of SABC board members at will.

The Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to intervene over DStv price hikes.
As anger continues over MultiChoice's increase from April for DStv subscriptions, the NBC says it had received several complaints DStv subscribers in Nigeria.

David Duchovny is nervous about the return of The X-Files.
Says "I'm amazed that there's still an appetite for it and I'm touched".

Fired SABC board member Rachel Kalidass says its unlawful.
After Rachel Kalidass and Ronnie Lubisi were both dumped from the SABC board on Thursday, Rachel Kalidass says "the removals are motivated by malice and it is a purge" and that the Companies Act is wrongly used to get rid of SABC board members.
The unstable SABC board has now lost 6 members since the middle of 2014.

Disney Junior (DStv 30X) is making Fancy Nancy a TV show.
The children's book seeries about a girl who always dresses up is becoming a TV series.

Masi Oka will be back for Heroes: Reborn.
The Hawaii Five-0 star will be back in the miniseries reboot of Heroes.

Downton Abbey's Julian Fellowes talks The Gilded Age.
After the announcement that Downton Abbey is done after 6 seasons, the creator and writer says the new period drama for American television is "looming large in my future".

New season of Sherlock "frightening".
The 4th season of the British Sherlock on BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) is "frightening, tough" and filled "with emotional upheaval".

The upcoming Killing Jesus on National Geographic Channel is shallow.
The Boston Globe says Killing Jesus which will be shown in South Africa on National Geographic Channel (DStv 181) on Sunday 5 April at 19:10 is "lackluster" and is "terribly overbaked".

Empire is the first black TV drama that isn't being "ghettoized".
The hit drama on FOX's (DStv 125 / StarSat 131) idea's about race "operate at a higher idea of difficulty".

BREAKING. Trevor Noah the frontrunner to replace Jon Stewart on The Daily Show on Comedy Central.

The South African comedian Trevor Noah is the frontrunner set to replace Jon Stewart on the satirical The Daily Show on Comedy Central (DStv 122) later this year.

Jon Stewart announced his retirement last month from Comedy Central’s signature show; his current contract is set to expire in September.

Trevor Noah has now emerged as the frontrunner to replace Stewart, although he only made his first appearance on The Daily Show as a hapless senior international correspondent on 4 December 2014.

Before that Trevor Noah appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman in 2013, and early in 2012 became the first South African comedian and “first African comedian” to appear and do stand-up on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. His Showtime channel stand-up special, Trevor Noah: African American was broadcast in 2013.

Comedy Central says "we are not commenting or providing guidance on any speculation about any individuals".

According to sources Viacom's Comedy Central wants a new host for The Daily Show "who is not another white guy".

Although Trevor Noah on The Daily Show plays an uninformed American, clueless of international events and is seen as African-American, his mother is South African and his father is Swiss.

The Hollywood trade publication Variety reports "Comedy Central's selection process has accelerated in recent days" according to Viacom executives and that Trevor Noah "has moved to a short list being put together by executives".

Noah, repped by Creative Artists Agency in America, previous did his own local talk show, Tonight with Trevor Noah on M-Net from August 2010 which lasted two seasons. His Nationwide Comedy Tour has just been added by MultiChoice to DStv's DStv BoxOffice video-on-demand service.

Friday, March 27, 2015

SABC News channel on DStv dropping Afrikaans TV news bulletin, all other African language additional bulletins from April in drastic schedule change.

SABC News (DStv 404) will dump the Afrikaans TV news bulletin as well as the additional TV news bulletins in other indigenous South African languages on the channel from 1 April.

The South African public broadcaster's 24-hour TV news channel is apparently also doing away from April with its regular weekly half hour magazine shows like Health Talk, Film SA, Bophelong, Afroshowbiz News, Rights & Recourse, The Journal and Kaleidoscope which are not to be found on the April schedule of SABC News.

Question Time will remain past April, while the future of some of the other programming on SABC News remains unclear.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago didn't respond to multiple media enquiries and calls made since last week about the upcoming SABC News schedule changes and why the SABC is cutting news in all vernacular languages on the channel and getting rid of the other magazine magazine programming.

From April, SABC News as the public broadcaster's news channel will run only in English while the additional daily half hour news bulletins in South Africa's other official languages - Afrikaans, Zulu, Siswati, Tsonga, Xhosa, isiNdelebe, Sotho and Venda - are scrapped.

In its place SABC News is adding a new show from April, The State of Our Nation, weekdays at 21:00, a program that will give "well-rounded coverage of our provinces, rural areas and well as big picture municipal issues", according to the new SABC News schedule.

On its website and in marketing material the SABC says "a unique selling point is SABC News Channel's multilingual programming" and that SABC News is delivered "to audiences in all 11 South African official languages".

When the channel launched, the SABC's famously matricless chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, said the SABC News channel will be an opportunity for the SABC to "enhance its public service mandate and extend its focus on provincial stories and the different official languages".

The SABC News channel launched in August 2013 which replaced the SABC's first struggling attempt at a 24-hour news channel, SABC News International. SABC News International was shut down after bleeding millions of rands after just three years at the end of March 2010.

An SABC staff member at the news channel told TV with Thinus last week in regard to SABC News' drastic line-up change and the termination of the existing magazine programming from April that there is "consternation among the employees".

Another SABC staff member said the SABC News channel is also planning "a bulletin with Africa news to compete with the international TV news channels".

SABC News, now running for a year and a half, is part of a controversial deal worth millions of rand Hlaudi Motsoeneng signed with MultiChoice's DStv platform.

It makes SABC News exclusively available to DStv only, keeping it off On Digital Media (ODM) and China's StarTimes Media SA's StarSat, as well as Sabido and Platco Digital's OpenView HD satellite TV platforms.

SABC News channel 'a pilot project'
The SABC News channel is supposed to become available as a TV channel from the SABC's new bouquet of digital TV channels once the South African government's long-delayed switch-on happens of digital terrestrial television (DTT) as part of the country's digital migration process.

As part of the deal, the SABC is also supposed to supply a general entertainment TV channel, SABC Entertainment, largely sourced from SABC archive content, to MultiChoice's DStv but that 5th SABC TV channel has not launched yet.

Earlier this month in an interview on SABC2, Hlaudi Motsoeneng said "the channel that is sitting on the MultiChoice bouquet, the news channel, it is a SABC channel".

"When we migrate to DTT, that channel will be migrated to our own platforms. It is an SABC channel. It is sitting there as a pilot project."

"There's this 'must carry' regulations, where all content of the SABC, it should be carried by pay-TV, because government want to access all citizen in different platforms, including pay-TV."

"That is the reason why you have the 'must carry' regulations, where, when our content sit there, we are not getting paid from those pay-TV's."

"But we've been engaging MultiChoice to say to them, 'No, look, you benefit because of the SABC. And when you look the channels, the most watched channels in the MultiChoice bouquet is SABC channels. We said, 'Put money in the SABC because you are also benefitting from SABC'. That is the reason why they are investing in the SABC," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Today's interesting TV stories to read from TV with Thinus - 27 March 2015.

Vikings renewed for a 4th season.
The MGM Television distributed historical drama shown on History (DStv 186) in America and the UK but on M-Net Edge (DStv 102) in South Africa and Africa gets another season with an unspecified number of episodes.

SABC blackout of South Africa's national soccer team lamented.
Soccer expert and former SABC soccer commentator Mark Gleeson remembers a time when the South African public broadcaster which didn't show Wednesday's Bafana Bafana match in Swaziland used to show all the national soccer team matches.

SABC1's Selimathunzi is done with Zizo Beda.
Zizo Beda done after 7 years with Siphesihle Vazi taking over.

Two Al Jazeera (DStv 406) journalists detained in Nigeria.
The properly accredited Ahmed Idris and Ali Mustafa detained by Nigeria's military since Tuesday and their camera equipment confiscated ahead of Nigeria's general elections on Saturday.

The fired Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear on BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) was trouble from the start.
Former BBC Top Gear editor Tom Ross reveals he got calls as far back as 1987 about things Jeremy Clarkson had said, and he explain how Top Gear can survive without Jeremy Clarkson.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Bonang Matheba dumps Sun International and M-Net's Miss South Africa 2015 as judge to attend Viacom's Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2015.

After having been announced as a judge for the Miss South Africa 2015 pageant presenter Bonang Matheba dumped Sun International to rather attend Viacom's Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards 2015 taking place in Saturday in Los Angeles.

The Miss South Africa 2015 pageant will be broadcast live this Sunday, 28 March on M-Net (DStv 101) and Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) at 17:30, with the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards 2015 taking place on Saturday in Los Angeles.

The Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2015 will be broadcast on Nickelodeon (DStv 305) a few days later in South Africa and Africa on Wednesday 1 April at 16:00.

Bonang Matheba is a nominee in the localised add-on category of Favourite South African Radio DJ" to help market the American awards show in South Africa.

Bonang Matheba's announcement as judge, only for her to withdraw and jet off to Los Angeles for a better made-for-TV special is highly embarrassing for Sun International as the Miss South Africa 2015 organisers.

Sun International through its PR agency, Ninesquared Communications, announced on 14 March that Bonang Matheba will be a judge of Miss South Africa 2015, just as she was in 2014.

After that announcement, Bonang Matheba jetted off this week to Los Angeles for the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards 2015, leaving the judging chair with her name on it at Sun City empty.

Ninesquared Communications on Thursday didn't respond with an answer to a media enquiry as to how Sun International feels about Bonang Matheba agreeing to be a judge and then pulling out.

In a statement on Thursday Bonang Matheba said she has "stepped down as judge of the Miss South Africa 2015 pageant taking place at Sun City this weekend due to an urgent international commitment", confirming that she dumped the local pageant show.

"It is unfortunate that I had to step down as Miss South Africa judge due to an urgent overseas work commitment".

It's not clear, and Bonang Matheba failed to explain, why she committed to be a Miss South Africa 2015 judge if she knew prior to this commitment and announcement of her being a judge that she is going to, or must go to the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2015 for Viacom International Media Networks International Africa (VIMN Africa).

Likewise if Bonang Matheba was only asked to attend the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2015 after the decision was made to be a Miss South Africa 2015 judge, is strange that she would dump and cancel on an existing diarised commitment for an apparently "better" one.

BREAKING. Downton Abbey on DStv's BBC Entertainment done after 6 seasons; 'want to close the doors while it felt right'.

The acclaimed British period drama Downton Abbey will be done after the upcoming 6th season which will be the final series for the ITV drama shown in South Africa on BBC Worldwide's BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) and Times Media's VIDI.

NBCUniversal-owned Carnival Films, the producer of Downton Abbey is confirming the months-long rumours that Downton Abbey's 6th series will be the final one.

Carnival Films managing director Gareth Neame, who is also Downton Abbey's executive producer, says "Millions of people around the world have followed the journey of the Crawley family and those who serve them for the last five years".

"Inevitably there comes a time when all shows should end, and Downton is no exception".

"We wanted to close the doors of Downton Abbey when it felt right and natural for the storylines to come together and when the show was still being enjoyed so much by its fans."

"We can promise a final season full of all the usual drama and intrigue, but with the added excitement of discovering how and where they all end up..."

"The Downton Abbey journey has been amazing for everyone aboard,” says Julian Fellowes, creator and writer in today's statement.

"People ask if we knew what was going to happen when we started to make the first series and the answer is that, of course we had no idea."

"Exactly why the series had such an impact and reached so many people around the world, all nationalities, all ages, all types, I cannot begin to explain."

"But I do know how grateful we are to have been allowed this unique experience. I suspect the show will always be a principal marker in most of our careers as we set out from here, and if so, I consider that a blessing and a compliment."

NBCUniversal International Television Production's president Michael Edelstein says "Downton Abbey is nothing short of a global cultural phenomenon, whose compelling storylines and characters are beloved by millions around the world".

"Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame's sublime drama has secured its place as a beacon of British creativity that will live on for decades to come."

BREAKING. SABC fires two more SABC board members: Rachel Kaladiss and Ronnie Lubisi dumped as unstability once again engulfs SABC board.

The latest SABC board purge continues with the SABC board which has, as expected, rid itself of the two further SABC board members - Rachel Kalidass and Ronnie Lubisi - who the SABC board couldn't dump on 13 March since there was no longer a quorum left.

Now Rachel Kalidass and Ronnie Lubisi are also immediately out after they received letters in March accusing them of fraudulent conduct.

Their firing follows that of Hope Zinde earlier this month, where both Rachel Kaladiss and Ronnie Lubisi walked out, causing the planned ouster of the further two SABC board members to be postponed.

The SABC confirms that Rachel Kaladiss and Ronnie Lubisi have been terminated from the SABC board, saying in a statement they've been "removed as non-executive directors with effect from 26 March" and that the shareholder - meaning the minister of communications, Faith Muthambi - has been informed.

Unstability has once again engulfed the SABC board in 2015, amidst allegations of undue interference from the minister of communications into the workings of the SABC.

Last week Faith Muthambi told parliament that she rejects the Broadcasting Act and that she can directly interfere with the workings of the SABC since the South African public broadcaster is a state-owned firm falling under the Companies Act.

While parliament has yet to decide on a new SABC board member to replace the disgraced Ellen Tshabalala who resigned after lying about bogus qualifications, there will now be a further three positions to be filled yet again.

Today's interesting TV stories to read from TV with Thinus - 26 March 2015.

Jeremy Clarkson now faces police arrest for his physical violence.
Co-horts James May tells Sky News the sacking of Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear on BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) is a "tragedy" and that "the three of us are a package" while Richard Hammond says "we're all three of us idiots in our own different ways".

The BBC has "The Jeremy Clarkson Story" - a reflexive post-firing explainer.
Meanwhile abused producer Oisin Tymon has been targeted by online vicious trolls after the firing news.
The BBC is looking for a new Top Gear presenter without the racial slurs and offensive behaviour of Jeremy Clarkson.
Jeremy Clarkson also lawyered up just before his firing with the American "litigation boutique" of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.
Twitter went "into meltdown" after Jeremy Clarkson got fired, and Jeremy Clarkson fans threaten to boycott Top Gear and the BBC after his sacking. He also changed his Twitter profile while his girlfriend Philippa Sage "flew in to comfort him" in his West London home.
Variety asks what's next for the damaged Top Gear? and a former BBC boss says "Jeremy Clarkson was a disaster waiting to happen".
GQ Britain says the BBC was "foolish" to fire Jeremy Clarkson over a violent drunk fight - the BBC is supposed to "take care" of a drunk TV presenter during a work trip.

BBC Worldwide and Brand Events are quiet about what is happening to the Top Gear Live events scheduled - including the one in South Africa in June - as anxious people who've bought tickets are wondering what's going on with Top Gear Live's future "in doubt".
Analysis: Jeremy Clarkson's horrible violence left the BBC no choice but to fire the Top Gear presenter.

Oprah's OWN orders an Iyanla Vanzant spin-off.
With Iyanla: Fix My Life broadcast on TLC Entertainment (DStv 172) and now SABC2, OWN is ordering an as-yet-untitled spin-off with Jay Williams. Also, Oprah unveils a brand-new theme song and anthem for her TV network.

BET's (DStv 129) Wendy Williams gets a show on ID: Investigation Discovery (DStv 171).
Death by Gossip with Wendy Williams will focus on crimes that were fueled by rumors and lies.Wendy Williams will be the presenter and executive producer.

An Alien Nation remake is in the works.

Leighton Meester and the dear Dorota are still friends.
The Gossip Girl star and her maid are still in touch.

Why all of the sudden 1990's TV show remakes?
The X-Files creator Chris Carter says its "because its worked before and there's a possibility it can work again".

The Goldbergs sitcom on M-Net wanted to do a "Thriller" Halloween episode.
But its too expensive: The Michael Jackson Estate has to give permission for the song - which has a high price tag, and then the show has to pay $100 000 for the choreography.

Muggers of Vuyo Mvuko and the SABC crew are due back in court.
The criminals who are illegal immigrants in South Africa will appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court again today.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

BREAKING. The Supreme Court of Appeal dismiss - with cost - StarSat's appeal over its porn TV channels ordered off South Africa's airwaves.

You're reading it here first.

The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein has ordered the South African satellite pay-TV service StarSat - operated by On Digital Media (ODM) and China's StarTimes Media SA - to stop broadcasting pornography on South African television.

The court has dismissed, with cost, StarSat's appeal of the earlier judgment of the Western Cape High Court at the end of 2014 - a judgment which also ordered StarSat to stop broadcasting porn.

At the beginning of November 2014 Judge Lee Bozalek in the Western Cape High Court ordered StarSat to stop broadcasting its hardcore pornography TV channels in South Africa.

That court case decision came after the the non-profit organisations Justice Alliance of South Africa (Jasa), Cause for Justice and Doctors for Life took South Africa's broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), and StarSat to court for allowing and broadcasting pornography on television in South Africa.

Icasa admitted to the court during that case that the regulator had failed to appoint experts to consider StarSat's porn plan.

The struggling On Digital Media, still in business rescue, also failed to register with the Film and Publications Board (FPB) as a porn purveyor.

The Woodmead-based satellite pay-TV operator then appealed the High Court ruling.

In December 2014 the Western Cape High Court rejected ODM's appeal, again finding that the broadcasting regulator must relook the process and decision which gave StarSat (formerly TopTV) permission to broadcast the hardcore pornography in the form of Brazzers, Desire TV and Playboy TV channels.

ODM then decided to take the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal at the beginning of this year and again resumed broadcasting its sex channels.

Now, in the latest chapter of the porn broadcast case, the Supreme Court of Appeal has ordered that StarSat's application for appeal "is dismissed with cost on the grounds that an appeal has no reasonable prospects of success".

It means that due to StarSat's failed attempt to appeal, the satellite pay-TV operator must immediately stop broadcasting its controversial porn package of channels.

StarSat which already spent a large sum of money on the case, can still approach the Constitutional Court in order to apply for leave to appeal. 

In such a case the original order of the Western Cape High Court will be suspended, pending the leave to appeal proceedings at the Constitutional Court.

There's been no statement yet from StarSat, which, despite its focus on fighting for televised pornography, has failed in the past year and a half to significantly expand and improve the quality and number of the general entertainment and movie channels of its bouquet - the real driver of pay-TV uptake.

According to the 2014 court documents, ODM last year had around 400 subscribers for the sex channels which subscribers need to subscribe to as a separate porn package.

While StarSat's hardcore sex channels remain a niche offering - something which ODM at launch in May 2010 promised subscribers and South Africa's TV industry it would never broadcast only to do a U-turn - StarSat at the end of 2014 said that the company sees its porn channels as a "freedom to view" issue.

ODM said that the pay-TV operator "will continue to ensure that citizens in South Africa have the freedom to view the programmes they wish to".

While StarSat has been fighting its porn battle in court, ordinary StarSat subscribers in 2015 continue to blast the operator.

StarSat subscribers constantly complain about bad service, a bad customer call centre and long call waiting times, the bad video and audio quality of some channels and channels freezing up, payment problems, erratic electronic programme guide (EPG) errors, removed TV channels and old programming.

BREAKING. The BBC fires Jeremy Clarkson; inquiry finds Top Gear presenter guilty of physical and verbal attack 'of an extreme nature'.

The BBC has fired Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear on BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) after an inquiry found him guilty of a physical and verbal attack "of an extreme nature" of producer Oisin Tymon.

Tony Hall, the BBC director-general, just released the following statement:

"It is with great regret that I have told Jeremy Clarkson today that the BBC will not be renewing his contract. It is not a decision I have taken lightly. I have done so only after a very careful consideration of the facts and after personally meeting both Jeremy and Oisin Tymon.

I am grateful to Ken MacQuarrie for the thorough way he has conducted an investigation of the incident on 4th March. Given the obvious and very genuine public interest in this I am publishing the findings of his report. I take no pleasure in doing so. I am only making them public so people can better understand the background. I know how popular the programme is and I also know that this decision will divide opinion. The main facts are not disputed by those involved.

I want to make three points.

First – The BBC is a broad church. Our strength in many ways lies in that diversity. We need distinctive and different voices but they cannot come at any price. Common to all at the BBC have to be standards of decency and respect. I cannot condone what has happened on this occasion. A member of staff – who is a completely innocent party – took himself to Accident and Emergency after a physical altercation accompanied by sustained and prolonged verbal abuse of an extreme nature. For me a line has been crossed. There cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another dictated by either rank, or public relations and commercial considerations.

Second – This has obviously been difficult for everyone involved but in particular for Oisin. I want to make clear that no blame attaches to him for this incident. He has behaved with huge integrity throughout. As a senior producer at the BBC he will continue to have an important role within the organisation in the future.

Third – Obviously none of us wanted to find ourselves in this position. This decision should in no way detract from the extraordinary contribution that Jeremy Clarkson has made to the BBC. I have always personally been a great fan of his work and Top Gear. Jeremy is a huge talent. He may be leaving the BBC but I am sure he will continue to entertain, challenge and amuse audiences for many years to come.

The BBC must now look to renew Top Gear for 2016. This will be a big challenge and there is no point in pretending otherwise. I have asked Kim Shillinglaw to look at how best we might take this forward over the coming months. I have also asked her to look at how we put out the last programmes in the current series."

'EXCLUSIVE!' Is eNCA's Karyn Maughan becoming South Africa's Connie Chung? Why eNCA is on a slippery slide to tawdry tabloid coverage.

"Just whisper it to me, just between you and me?"

Remember when America's Connie Chung on CBS leaned forward and exploited Newt Gingrich's mother in 1995 to tell her what he called Hillary Clinton? ("A bitch" the mother said.)

Well, it looks like eNCA (DStv 403) reporter Karyn Maughan is now becoming South Africa's Connie Chung as eNCA is starting to slide precipitously closer and closer to tabloid television and tawdry tabloid TV territory with salacious "personality" stories in the mold of Entertainment Tonight.

It is news, yes, but should eNCA do it?

The tabloid trash television markers are all over the eNCA story of Karyn Maughan interviewing the mom of slain rapper Flabba who, worthy of an Inside Edition segment, tells of the "threatening" Whatsapp messages girlfriend Manqele allegedly sent him before she killed him.

"She's gonna kill me," mourning mamma reveals to Karyn Maughan, billed as an "exclusive" - complete with exclamation mark - in a sensational profile story, the hallmark of tabloid entertainment news shows perfected in America like Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight and Extra.

Tabloid fodder - the more tawdry, trashy and tragic the better - is one of the ways TV news uses to try and juice the ratings, and now it seems eNCA is on the same slippery slide.

Yes, Karyn Maughan did extensive coverage of the Oscar Pistorius court case last year and she excelled at it.

In a story and ongoing TV narrative of that scope, length and with larger-than-life characters, you cannot help but focus on the various media characters, the minutiae of their personal lives and every morsel of scandal-riddled lives.

The danger would be, and is for TV news channels like eNCA, it's addictive nature. Channels like eNCA should try and stay away from that trough as far as possible. But it's difficult.

Once a shark has smelled the blood, something more akin to instinct takes over.

Last year Andrew Tyndall, who tracks American TV news, told The Hollywood Reporter how ABC's ABC World News Tonight has started to veer away from "real news" and try to lure and keep viewers in sneaky ways to stay tuned in.

Trashy tabloid coverage is TV news' version of sugar and of partially hydrogenated oil - oh so good tasting but not really good for you.

The problem is creates is one of credibility. What real news value does a story - exclusive! mind you - based on trashy Whatsapp messages, relayed by a grieving mother put on camera - have? And what does it to for eNCA's image and brand and news name over time?

Most journalists, especially broadcast journalists, secretly live for these kinds of lurid Connie Chung stories.

They're "easier" to do in a sense because you hook viewers by hooking a talking head who is essentially somewhat exploited (since they're not media savvy) into talking and saying things that will make a salacious, lovely sound byte for a day.

It's the "Barbara Walters interviewing Donald Sterling's girlfriend V Stiviano" type TV trash: people who don't fully comprehend what they're doing, nor the power of the media, but who willingly talk for a empty calorie tabloid story.

Full disclosure: I've done those stories too as a journalist. I've jumped on unsuspecting people who didn't realise what they were saying. I've called a mom about her son who've assaulted someone and she told me exactly what he told her. A front page, main headline banner story.

As a news editor I've sometimes told other journalists to pursue these stories, as well. Dad forgot his baby in the car who died? You want that interview! Someone close to someone famous has some words or message or keepsake or document and is willing to reveal it? You want to get it! First!

But it's trashy and stupid. And eNCA should know, and do, better.

Today's interesting TV stories to read from TV with Thinus - 25 March 2015.

South Africa's set-top box tender for DTT delayed ... AGAIN.
Digital terrestrial television (DTT) further stalled with new drama and a legal battle looming over the tender process for the multi-billion rand set-top box (STB) manufacturing tender.
Meanwhile the switch from analogue to digital TV will cost South African viewers, consumers and the TV industry billions of rand which is not budgeted for.

BBC decision on Jeremy Clarkson 24 hours away.
The star of Top Gear on BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) will know his fate in a day, says a BBC executive, after an inquiry about on-set "fracas". Jeremy Clarkson will be fired Wednesday (today) by the BBC, reports The Telegraph.

National Geographic Channel (DStv 181) bans CNN reporter from Killing Jesus media premiere.
Sarcastic National Geographic Channel spokesperson Chris Alberts "thanks" journalist Tom Kludt for the "extra attention". National Geographic Channel banned the journalist due to "negative coverage" of Bill O'Reilly - who is on FOX News Channel, which is part of the group Nat Geo belongs to.
Nat Geo banned Tom Kludt from the entire Killing Jesus event and denied his media accreditation "out of respect for Bill O'Reilly and because there allegedly isn't space alongside the red carpet.
And ... How National Geographic blatantly intimidated Society Matters until it just closed down last year.

The Empire strikes back.
FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131) sues to keep the name Empire for its TV show - after a real-life record label with the word Empire says the show is causing "trademark dilution by tarnishment" because it is about "a label run by a homophobic drug dealer prone to murdering his friends." ... Yet the record label wants its own stars to appear in Empire.

Mad Men's Jon Hamm went to rehab for alcohol addiction.
Jon Hamm completed a 30-day stay to dry out and "completed treatment for his struggle with alcohol addiction".

The real reason why FOX is reviving The X-Files.
With The X-Files coming back after 13 years to TV its actually more about making the past 9 seasons which also belong to FOX more relevant and appetising to streaming services like Netflix - FOX will monetise The X-Files when new episodes stir interest in people wanting to watch the old episodes.
Also, the revived The X-Files will actually benefit from an older Mulder and Scully. And 7 things that need to happen in the new The X-Files.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Five people shortlisted as a possible SABC board member replacement; Lumko Mtimde dropped due to lack of proof of qualifications.

Five people - Saskia Janine Hickey, Ntomizandile Lesame, Keabatswe Modimoeng, Jenni Irish-Quobosheane and Ashwin Trikamjee - have been shortlisted by parliament as a possible new SABC board member.

One of these five people will replace the disgraced Ellen Zandile Tshabalala, who lied about her qualifications, on the SABC board.

Lumko Mtimde, who was on the SABC board and resigned in 2013 after ugly SABC board infighting with the then SABC chairperson dr. Ben Ngubane, was shortlisted as one of the 97 nominees but he was disqualified.

Lumko Mtimde was disqualified as one of the final shortlisted SABC board member candidates after proof of his academic records, as stated on his CV, were not submitted.

BREAKING. The X-Files back on TV after 13 years with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as Mulder and Scully for limited 6 episode series.

Thirteen years (that's the first conspiracy right there) after The X-Files ended on television, the truth is still out there: The X-Files will return to TV this year as a limited series of 6 episodes with stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, as well as series creator and executive producer Chris Carter, who also is returning.

FOX Television Group announced that The X-Files will return to television, 13 years after the drama series about FBI agents involved in paranormal investigations and conspiracy theories which lasted 9 years, ended its run.

Besides 20th Century Fox TV and Ten Thirteen Productions returning to the show, its also a reunion for FOX Television Group chairmen and CEO's Dana Walden and Gary Newman who were both with 20th Century Fox Television when The X-Files originally started.

"I think of it as a 13-year commercial break," says The X-Files series creator and executive producer Chris Carter, in a statement.

"The good news is the world has only gotten that much stranger, a perfect time to tell these six stories."

"We had the privilege of working with Chris on all nine seasons of The X-Files - one of the most rewarding, creative experiences of our careers - and we couldn't be more excited to explore that incredible world with him again," says Dana Walden and Gary Newman in the statement.

"The X-Files was not only a seminal show for both the studio and the network, it was a worldwide phenomenon that shaped pop culture - yet remained a true gem for the legions of fans who embraced it from the beginning."

"Few shows on television have drawn such dedicated fans as The X-Files, and we're ecstatic to give them the next thrilling chapter of Mulder and Scully they've been waiting for."

During its original broadcast run in South Africa The X-Files which started in 1993, was one of the few American TV shows the SABC had exclusively on the public broadcaster and which wasn't on pay-TV.

All nine seasons were shown first on TV1 which later changed to SABC2, with The X-Files which became the number one most watched show on TV1 in 1995, and the second most popular TV show on SABC2 in 1997.

It will be interesting to see whether the revived The X-Files - still popular in reruns - is shown on M-Net (DStv 101) on MultiChoice's DStv in South Africa, or whether it will also be going to FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131).

FOX recently scooped the year's biggest new TV show and high-buzz Empire, as well as Wayward Pines, Backstrom, Legends and others in a new 20th Century FOX TV studio output deal.

The Royalty Soapie Awards 2015 set for Saturday in Durban; DJ Merlon, R&B singer Bucie set to perform with Durban's Gospel Choir.

The Royalty Soapie Awards is set to take place this Saturday at 19:00 at Durban's International Convention Centre where DJ Merlon, the Durban Gospel Choir, R&B singer Bucie will perform.

The Royalty Soapie Awards, taking place for a second year this year, won't be broadcast live on South African television, but will be shown later in the year on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161).

Mzansi Magic's Isibaya and e.tv's Scandal! are leading the charge with 16 nominations each in this year's Royalty Soapie Awards, followed by SABC2's 7de Laan with 14 nominations.

On stage this year will be DJ Merlon with Mondli Ngcobo, as well as Durban's Gospel Choir and the R&B singer Bucie, with Goliath & Goliath as the hosts.

Besides awards for various categories, the Royalty Soapie Awards will also be handing out two Lifetime Achievement Awards to veterans of South Africa's TV industry.

The Royalty Soapie Awards was started in 2013 as a new genre-specific awards ceremony set to honour soap opera television in South Africa.

Entries open for ANN7's 2nd South African of the Year Awards 2015; award show honouring notable South Africans to take place on 26 September.

ANN7 (DStv 405) is returning its South African of the Year Awards it started last year, with the ANN7 South African of the Year 2015 Awards which will take place in September for a second time.

The 24-hour local TV news channel run by Infinity Media is now once again looking for South Africans to enter. ANN7 will add the I Am South African show as a daily stripped programme from July at 17:00 as a lead-up to the awards ceremony.

The ANN7 South African of the Year Awards 2015 will be broadcast live on ANN7 on 26 September, and like the daily show will focus on bringing viewers inspirational stories of notable South Africans who are making a positive difference in the country.

The awards ceremony in September will hand out awards in the categories of Trendsetting celebrity of the Year, Campaign of the Year, Sportsperson of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Spirit of Humanity Award, Young South African of the Year and South African of the Year.

Entries can be done through SMS (a SMS to 43043 costing R1.50 with SATY, category, name and surname and description) and email (to satynominations@ann7.com, with the category, nominee's name and surname, and a description).

The eligibility period is for work between June 2014 and July 2015 and for more enquiries people can call 011 542 1222. The closing date for entries is 30 April 2015.