Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Travel Channel on DStv announces 3 brand-new series and renews Hotel Impossible, Xtreme Waterparks, Bizarre Foods spinoff and Bert the Conqueror.

The Travel Channel (DStv 179), supplied to MultiChoice's DStv by Scripps Networks International has commissioned 3 new travel entertainment series and is renewing four existing shows.

Production has been greenlit in new series Could I Live There?, I Adventure (working title) and Meter's Running (working title) with Andrew Zimmern.

Travel Channel is also renewing the four shows for further seasons: Bert the Conqueror, Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations, Hotel Impossible and Xtreme Waterparks.

I Adventure will provide an intimate glimpse into the true enthusiasm for a special destination with actors Terry Crews exploring Detroit, Jon Cryer looking at space exploration and Eric Stonestreet intrigued with World War II espionage.

I Adventure will have these three one-hour episodes produced by Herzog & Company.

Meter's Running with chef, food writer and culinary explorer Andrew Zimmern is a drive-along in various places with a local that knows the best-kept secrets in a city - the taxi driver.

Whether it's a shikara driver in Kashmir, a gondolier in Venice or a taxi driver in the Deep South, Andrew Zimmern discovers the uniqueness of every location, exploring the food and culture from a whole new perspective. There will be 8 one-hour episodes produced by Intuitive Content.

Could I Live There? will follow real people faced with a life-changing decision - should I pick up the family and move to a new foreign city?

The family hop on a plane and take three days to experience the sights and sounds of their prospective new home city. The first season will have 13 half hour episodes produced by Karga 7 Pictures.

After an absence of four years, Travel Channel is bringing back Bert the Conqueror for a third season with the reluctant daredevil Bert Kreischer. It will have 6 half-hour episodes and 7 one-hour episodes and is produced by Sharp Entertainment.

In the new season Bert Kreischer will explore the fun and ingenious side of America as he takes on the most exciting rides and challenges.

Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations, also presented by Andrew Zimmern will sample more mouth-watering foods in a third season.

Destinations explored in the new season will include Bogota, Charleston, Honolulu, the Philippines, Providence, Seattle, Singapore and Tel Aviv. The new third season of Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations will have 7 half-hour episodes and 6 one-hour episodes produced by Tremendous! Entertainment.

Hotel Impossible will return for a 7th season with presenter and hotel fixer Anthony Melchiorri, transforming struggling hotels. The new season will have 13 one-hour episodes produced by Atlas Media Corp.

Xtreme Waterparks will be back for a 5th season as it explores some of the world's most extreme waterslides.

The new 5th season of Xtreme Waterparks produced by High Noon Entertainment will take viewers to the world's tallest and fastest body slide in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; the largest funnel slide on the planet in Yongin, South Korea and a homemade slide that turns you into a human slingshot in Quebec, Canada. 

"Travel Channel's shows explore the world's most beautiful and fascinating locales and connect with our audience by informing, inspiring and perhaps most importantly - entertaining," says Ross Babbit, the senior vice president for programming and development at the Travel Channel.

"What makes these series so much fun to watch are the surprises that our viewers discover along the way. We head out on remarkable and well-planned adventures that somehow turn into the unexpected."

EXCLUSIVE. Studio Universal movie channel on MultiChoice's DStv changes its logo and on-screen look in a global refresh of the brand starting in Africa.

Movie channel Studio Universal (DStv 112) will change its on-screen look from tomorrow on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform and this is how it will look.

The channel from NBCUniversal International Networks (NBCUIN) - part of NBCUniversal - is rolling out the brand refresh for Studio Universal in South Africa and Africa first, before the global refresh moves to other territories and countries like Latin America, Brazil and Italy over the coming months.

Red Bee, part of the Ericsson group, was responsible for the refreshed look, logo and on-screen imaging of the new Studio Universal from 1 October, and worked with NBCUIN's in-house creative and marketing team. The Studio Universal website will also be refreshed on Thursday.

The iconic world of film served as the inspiration of Studio Universal's new look. Studio Universal's look is now "a confident black and white marque with a cinematic feel", celebrating every aspect of movies.

Eight new idents were also created by Red Bee bringing to life Studio Universal and the "We Are Movies" tagline.

Each of the idents draws viewers in to carefully choreographed scenes, providing a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the people whose skill and dedication bring stories to life and reflecting the audience's emotional connection to the movies.

Each ident - shot on location at Universal Studios in Hollywood - has an opposite version, either light or dark in tone, which uses the same set,key actors and props unveiling a very different scene and emphasising the magic of cinema.

"Since its launch four years ago, Studio Universal has gone from strength to strength in Africa and is now one of the leading entertainment channels in the market," says Colin McLeod, the managing director for emerging markets at NBCUniversal International Networks.

"The channel's unique proposition, based around themed movie nights, continues to resonate with DStv subscribers and we believe that the brand refresh will further enhance their viewing experience."

"In refreshing Studio Universal we wanted to challenge typical movie-channel conventions, taking inspiration from the craft and dedication of movie-makers for our positioning, packaging,logo and tagline," says Marco Giusti, the senior vice president of the creative division at NBCUniversal International.

"We've firmly placed our love and passion for the movies at the heart of the Studio Universal brand with the aim of bringing viewers even closer to the full movie experience."

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

MultiChoice combines DStv Indian add-on packages as DStv South Indian package is phased out; price goes up as 3 additional channels are added.

After years of separate DStv North Indian and DStv South Indian packages MultiChoice is immediately dumping its DStv North Indian package and phasing out its South Indian package, combining it into a single DStv Indian package that will cost more and come with three additional entertainment channels.

MultiChoice says Indian subscribers remain very important to the satellite pay-TV operator.

The DStv North Indian and DStv South Indian package will now combine to form one DStv Indian package that will cost R319 per month, or R205 if it's bolted on to an existing other DStv package subscription.

Existing DStv subscribers of the DStv North Indian package, or subscribers who had both the DStv North Indian and DStv South Indian package will automatically be migrated to the single DStv Indian package on 15 October.

Similar to the DStv Select packages, DStv is phasing out the DStv South Indian package.

DStv subscribers who have the DStv South Indian package only, will be able to keep it but will not be able to return to it if they upgrade or change to the DStv Indian package, or if they disconnect from DStv for longer than 90 days.

MultiChoice is adding the Colors, Star Vijay and Star Plus channels to the DStv Indian package.

Colors is a general entertainment Hindi channel with English subtitles offering content like The Anupam Kher Show, Krishna Malram and Meri Aashiqui Tum se Hi.

Star Vijay and Star Plus will only start on 1 December as part of the DStv Indian package. Until then the Star Tamill and Star Hindi channels will be shown between 15 October and the end of November.

"The Indian community is very important to us - this is why we've reviewed our offering based on their feedback and created the new DStv Indian package," says Mark Rayner, chief operating officer (COO) for MultiChoice.

"We thank our Indian customers for their loyal support over the years and trust you will enjoy the three additional entertainment channels."

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The 12 contestants of The Great South African Bake Off range from students and a vet to a professional dancer, actuary, painter and a property manager.

The 12 contestants of The Great South African Bake Off come from a range of backgrounds for the reality competition show starting on Tuesday 6 October on BBC Lifestyle (DStv 174) at 20:00 and will kick off in the first episode with a cake challenge.

The show, produced by Rapid Blue and shot near Maropeng, is based on the Love Productions format.

The Great South African Bake Off will fill the void in cooking reality shows on South African television in the absence M-Net's MasterChef South Africa and kykNET's (DStv 144) Kokkedoor which are not currently on air, and the 2nd season of the baking spin-off Koekedoor which will only start showing in April 2016 on kykNET.

The Great South African Bake Off has local chef Tjaart Walraven and food stylist Shirley Guy who runs her own cooking school in the judging roles filled by Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry in the British version.

Anne Hirch and Donovan Goliath are The Great South African Bake Off presenters.

The Great South African Bake Off takes place inside a white marquee tent just like the British version, with teal coloured work stations.

The contestants range from a psychology student and a vet to an actuary and professional dancer to a property manager, client care rep, a painter and a design manager.

Viewers will see Johan Botes (44) an attorney, Johannesburg;

Dot Dicks (55) admin manager, Johannesburg;

Andrew Dore (25) an actuary, Johannesburg;

Shawn Govender (39) a design and production manager, Benoni;

Gavin Ronald Huxley Boyd (52) a transition lead, Johannesburg;

Shainaaz Kariem (42) client care representative, Cape Town;

Raeesa Manjoo (23) Wits university student, Johannesburg;

Lauren Morrison (42), a veterinarian, Johannesburg;

Mmala Motsepe (20), psychology student, Pretoria;

Alice Toich (24) a painter and creative consultant, Cape Town;

Michaela Tsuen (22) a professional dancer, Cape Town;

Teddy Zaki (42) property manager, Johannesburg.

FIRST SNEAK PEAK. M-Net introducing a brand-new on-air look Monday; will be warmer with the iconic blue ribbon device also making a comeback.

On Monday morning 28 September at 06:00 M-Net (DStv 101) will debut a brand-new on-air look.

The new look with new colours and imaging will be a marked departure from the falling and swirling glass petals look that the pay-TV broadcaster used since June 2011.

The promo board above gives a sneak peak at M-Net's new on-screen look - a small bit of the much larger and expansive make-over in the look and feel of the premium channel which occupies literally the number one position on MultiChoice's DStv channel line-up.

M-Net says the channel's new look, created by Monarchy, will be warmer. M-Net iconic blue ribbon device is also making a fantastic comeback.

Last month at M-Net's content showcase and upfront for advertisers and press, the channel first announced that the new look is coming from October and teased with a small preview.

I will report more in-depth on M-Net's new look after it's been unveiled and come into use on Monday, but for now M-Net has been willing to say this to TV with Thinus without letting the cat out of the bag completely.

M-Net is teasing something happening on 28 September. What is happening?
M-Net (DStv 101) will refresh its on-air look on Monday, 28 September and the new imaging kicks in at 06:00 in the morning. This co-incides with two of the biggest shows returning to the channel on Monday night - Grey's Anatomy at 19:30 (12th season) and The Fixer at 20:30 (5th season).

Why the decision to change the on-air look now?
Our brands are ever-evolving and we felt it was time to upgrade our image to something that complements the proposition of the channel. The end of September, beginning of October is the ideal time to hit the refresh button. Spring is here and with it there are many new and returning shows starting on the channel from Monday onwards.

How much of a departure will the new look be?
The new imaging will be much warmer, in line with the content on the channel,and will make it easier to communicate important information to our viewers. There's also a hint of nostalgia with the M-Net ribbon from many years ago making an appearance again.

How is the colour palette changing? What will be the main colours?
There is no specific dominant colour, but we're using bright, vibrant and modern colours that will be interchangeable depending on the content.

How much time did it take to create?
It has taken approximately seven months to create and develop the new imaging and Monarchy is the creative agency behind this exciting new look.

Isha Sesay and John Vause to co-anchor new CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles from Monday at 06:00 on CNN International.

Isha Sesay and John Vause will co-anchor a new show CNN Newsroom, also called CNN Newsroom Live from Los Angeles, starting on Monday morning, 28 September at 06:00 (South African time) on CNN International (DStv 401).

Isha Sesay has been the presenter of CNN NewsCenter on CNN International at night time.

"I'm the China guy. I'm the Middle East guy," says John Vause in a CNN promo. "I'm drawn to stories from the developing world, and women and minorities," says Isha Sesay in the promo.

"Between the two of us, we're gonna have the world pretty much covered," says John Vause. "So that you get a sense of the stories that are important to me, and important to John and why we think you should care about them too," says Isha Sesay.

The two hour CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles (there's more CNN Newsroom from 08:00 10:30 but not done from Los Angeles) will run on weekdays on CNN International.

It's not clear who will be taking over the anchoring of CNN NewsCenter from Atlanta permanently now that Isha Sesay has moved from Atlanta to Los Angeles and it appears that CNN NewsCenter which used to be at 20:30 has been dropped from the schedule.

Christina Aguilera can't perform at ANN7's South African of the Year Awards on October because she's a judge on the 10th season next year and now already filming that.

Although initially announced as the headline act but then suddenly withdrawing, the American popstar Christina Aguilera can't perform at the upcoming South African of the Year Awards 2015 because although she's not a judge for the new season she is one on the next 10th season for next year which is already filming some parts for 2016.

The South African of the Year Awards 2015 is set for 17 October at the Ticketpro Dome in Randburg, Johannesburg.

The South African of the Year Awards 2015 will now continue to be a private event like the inaugural event first held last year by Infinity Media which runs ANN7.

"Christina Aguilera has had to withdrawn due to a change in scheduling of the top-rated show The Voice on which she is one of the judges," says ANN7 in a statement issued on 18 September.

"The schedule change requires her to be in the United States on the day of the South African of the Year Awards show."

The 9th season of The Voice just started and Christina Aguilera is not a judge. The judges were announced in July with Gwen Stefani replacing Christina Aguilera for Gwen Stefani's second season on the show.

The American TV channel NBC also didn't announce any schedule changes to the latest 9th season of The Voice which just started.

TV with Thinus asked ANN7 several times what it means, why ANN7 is saying Christina Aguilera is a judge on The Voice if she isn't one on the new season and why ANN7 said the TV show has had a schedule change when the episodes as listed it didn't.

ANN7 representatives Carlene Brown de Jongh and Haranath Gosh didn't responded with answers to the media enquiries seeking clarification.

Meanwhile Oakbay Investments did reach out to me. Oakbay Investments asked that I contact agent Robert Norman at the Hollywood talent agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and Marc Robbins at Azoff Music Management in Los Angeles.

Robert Norman at CAA didn't respond to an email media enquiry, but Marc Robbins very kindly did and explained that Christina Aguilera is not a judge on the 9th season but of The Voice but is on the 10th season for next year and that early sections are now being filmed for that season already:

"Christina is on the next season of The Voice. The Voice has an exclusivity agreement with all the judges. The Voice changed the schedule on shooting the "blind auditions", "coach post blind interviews" and "promo" from the beginning of October to 10 October through 20 October. The only days without a The Voice commitment was 13, 14 and 15 October".

Friday, September 25, 2015

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

9 ways to tell if a new TV show is going to be worth watching.
Really the day's must read article you should take time to read with 9 really absolutely true points.

Show me that smile again!
It's exactly 30 years ago that sitcom Growing Pains started. The cast then and now, and sing along with the theme song.

You won't believe this ... but it's true.
Morena Baccarin of Gotham on M-Net (DStv 101) is with child. And the baby daddy is her co-star Benjamin McKenzie. And Morena is still getting divorced.
And fans of The O.C. are going insane that Seth and Ryan are becoming dads at the same time! "The only way this could be better would be if they were having babies with each other."

The new Tropika TV commercial on SABC3...
...makes viewers feel like cancelling their SABC TV licences. Tropika's "irritating" TV ad with Gloria "has got to be the worst advertisement" ever.

TV pilot error: TV critics about reviewing shows in the binge-watching era.
Does it matter if the first episode is bad if a season represents the chapters of an overall novel?

Remake of The A-Team is in the works.
80's drama series the latest heydey TV show getting a possible reboot.

MultiChoice in Africa adding channels to lower DStv bouquet...
...before the 1 October price hike kicks in. MTV (DStv 130), Comedy Central (DStv 122) and TCM (DStv 137) opened to lower-tiered package together with BBC's channels as subscription increase for a 2nd time this year.

A strong premiere doesn't mean that a new TV show will survive.
Broadcasting&Cable reports that a new show that starts out with low ratings will definitely not survive beyond a first season - but often shows that start strong also flames out.

Heroes Reborn feels "pointless" in the glut of superhero shows.
Heroes Reborn is starting on Vuzu AMP (DStv 114) close on the heels of America.

Premiere of 2nd season of Empire is strong.
The second season debut of Empire on FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131) has the show's second best viewership yet. The first episode of the new season outperformed everything else on TV in America.

Michelle Obama is going to appear on Doc McStuffins.
Will be animated for this hit pre-school show on Disney Junior (DStv 309).

Scandal's Olivia Pope "drinks way too much wine"
The character in The Fixer on M-Net (DStv 101) according to university study that analysed the addiction portrayal in the drama series.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Today's interesting TV stories to read from TV with Thinus - 24 September 2015

Scream Queens on FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131) also a flop.
The second new FOX drama is also a loser and follows Minority Report as a ratings failure.

Meanwhile the new procedural thriller Limitless is solid and it will be available on your DStv Explora from Thursday instantly and later on M-Net (DStv 101) so you can watch it - the show won't go away or be cancelled.

Donald Trump slams FOX News (StarSat 261).
"FOX News has been treating me unfairly," says the Republican Party candidate in America; says he won't be doing any interviews with any FOX News shows in the future.
FOX News hits back and says Donald Trump's attacks are "stale and tiresome".

Egypt's president pardons Al Jazeera journalists.
After months in prison Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed of Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / StarSat 257) are freed from jail. Peter Greste says the fight is not over despite Al Jazeera colleagues' release from prison.

New MultiChoice headquarters in Johannesburg is green.
The new MultiChoice City complex in Randburg - complete with an artificial lawn and 15 real trees in the atrium - is turning heads and showing how corporations can create greener, healthier spaces for employees in South Africa.

The HBO Now account the Emmy's gave out has been deactivated.
Emmy host Andy Samberg told millions of viewers worldwide on TV to log in to the HBO Now streaming service. It has now been deactivated.

Trevor Noah: "There's been an epidemic of blackness on The Daily Show since I took over".
The new South African host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central (DStv 122) tells The New York Times that there was a "racial blindspot" with Jon Stewart at The Daily Show. "Since I've joined, blackness has tremendously increased on the show".

BBC to turn 3 J.K. Rowling novels into a new TV series.
Will adapt The Cuckoo's Calling, The Silkworm and the upcoming thriller Career of Evil into a new crime series called The Cormoran Strike Mysteries.

Netflix knows exactly what episode of what show can trigger binge-viewing.
The global streaming video-on-demand service knows precisely what shows and what episodes of a show will likely trigger binge-watching - and its not necessarily the pilot episode.
Netflix is now offering audio description - which proves that journalism (covering television) can still change the world.

TV's reality craze is over 15 years after Survivor started it.
Viewers are fatigued and tired of reality TV shows of the American kind. The reality genre has become stale and there's been too much reliance on "gimmicks". Of course totally faking things like South Africa's Oulap se Rooi on kykNET (DStv 144) helps to erode and break viewers' trust in the fake TV trash programming.

After that Robert Downey Jr. junket went wrong, yet another press junket interview blows up with Robert De Niro.
Another massive film publicity press junket makes headlines for all the wrong reasons as the difficult and condescending Robert De Niro walks out.

In Cuba there's barely internet - but they watch everything.
Fascinating insight in this article about how Cubans watch all the American TV shows and movies and read The New York Times through a vast underground system of distributing TV shows and publications through the entire country for their "subscribers".

THE SABC SALARY THAT IS SHOCKING A NATION: Hlaudi Motsoeneng R3.78 million salary ... while the SABC made a loss of a massive R401 million.

It's the astronomical R3.78 million pay of the SABC's famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng that's completely shocking South Africa:

Keep in mind that the SABC's controversial chief operating officer (COO):

■ doesn't have a degree. Any degree.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng doesn't have matric.

■ even a judge of South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeals said last week that after reading hundreds of pages he doesn't even know what grade of school Hlaudi Motsoeneng successfully completed.

■ admitted in a recorded interview to South Africa's Public Protector that he lied. Hlaudi Motsoeneng admitted he lied about having matric; he admitted he faked symbols for a certificate he knew he couldn't produce.

This person was paid in excess of R3.78 million by the South African public broadcaster, which is a public broadcaster, funded by your SABC TV licence, which the SABC wants you to pay.

The SABC made a massive loss of R401 million for the last financial year - yet Hlaudi Motsoeneng's salary shockingly went up almost R1 million - a whopping 31% in just one year to R3.78 million.

(Remember back in April when The Sunday Times reported that the SABC is facing a loss of around R500 million? Hlaudi Motsoeneng then slammed The Sunday Times and South Africa's journalists for "bad stories" - which turns out to be very accurate months later.)

In Hlaudi Motsoeneng's world a massive loss of hundreds of millions is "progress".

Hlaudi Motsoeneng's R3.78 million means that he now earns more money than South African president Jacob Zuma who gets R2.75 million annually.

"We're not shy to spend to spend money on the things we believe in," SABC CEO Frans Matlala tells the press at a media briefing on Wednesday afternoon at the SABC's Auckland Park headquarters.

The almost R1 million increase to R3.78 million per year for Hlaudi Motsoeneng is freaking the South African nation out Rand Daily Mail reports.

"Hlaudi's R3.78 million jackpot" says The Star, noting that the SABC boss who only has Grade 9 could be facing yet another probe by the Public Protector. "SABC boss pay shock" reports The Mercury about Hlaudi Motsoeneng's millions.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng's "brazen R1 million salary increase causes outrage" reports The Media, with "South Africans taken aback at the news of Motsoeneng's salary increase".

"The South African public's failure to pay their SABC TV licences" is being blamed as the main reason for the massive loss, says SABC CEO Frans Matlala.

Ironically less people will pay their SABC TV licences reports The Herald, saying there's "fury at the mind-boggling SABC pay hike" and that "no wonder so many people are not paying their SABC TV licence fees".

An an old granny says the "SABC can whistle for my SABC TV licence money" - she's not paying anymore due to the waste of money going on at the public broadcaster.

The R401 million loss of the SABC is a 201% below budget. Cash reserves also dropped R400 million to R1 billion. Hlaudi Motsoeneng's massive pay hike comes as the SABC faces an ongoing cash crisis and tough conditions.

The SABC's annual report reveals a massive problem: SABC salaries went up R400 million as expenses balloon.

And Hlaudi Motsoeneng says: "We are not like Telkom or any other state enterprise. What we care about is to give people what they want which is quality programming and good local content".

Hlaudi Motsoeneng says "it is not a sin for a black man to earn a decent salary - people should be rewarded at the SABC, even if they're cleaners. according to News24.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng also said "if someone performs well and comes up with a R1 billion revenue, why should we not reward them?" according to the Independent group.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng also said "other broadcasters are talking about retrenching people, but we are not" according to The Citizen.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng says he has no plans to go back to school to get his matric, but that he "reads". He tells the YB20 Gauteng Youth Assembly that he had been to several "tertiary institutions" where he did various courses - although he never got any degrees or diplomas.

-The Democratic Alliance (DA) political party wants the Public Protector to investigate the shocking salary of Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
-The FF Plus political party calls it an attempt of fast self enrichment.
-The COPE political party condemns Hlaudi Motsoeneng's abuse of the SABC.
-The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) "notes with great concern" his ridiculous salary increase and demands that the SABC sets "a correct example".
-The ANC political party says Hlaudi Motsoeneng's skyricketing salary "sets a dangerous precedence".

The Communication Workers' Union (CWU) says Hlaudi Motsoeneng's massive increase is unreasonable. The CWU says it will decide at the end of September to decide what action CWU members will take over this.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng is "suffering from delusions of grandeur" and the silence of Faith Muthambi, the minister of communications, is deafening with calls for her to be fired immediately.

The SABC's financial situation is now once again under scrutiny after Hlaudi Motsoeneng lied to parliament earlier this year about the projected loss of R401 million.

The public broadcasting pressure group SOS Coalition is astonished at the massive salary and wants to know who authorised the latest pay hike for Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The Sowetan reports Hlaudi Motsoeneng is earning more than president Jacob Zuma who is already the 4th best paid president in the world.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng was paid a bonus of R279 000 by the SABC and R916 000 for "other allowances" - while the struggling public broadcaster remains riddled with acute financial, personnel and management troubles according to BusinessDay and of course a gutted and unstable SABC board.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng's expensive homes: A R2.8 million home he bought in 2011 in Ruimsig Country Estate in Krugersdorp (now worth R3.3 million); a R1.6 million home in Langenhovenpark in Bloemfontein (now worth R2 million); and a R190 000 home in Pellissier in Bloemfontein bought in 1999 (now worth R1.2 million).

SABC chairperson Mbulaheni Maguvhe on Thursday tells 702 that "it is within the SABC benchmark" to pay Hlaudi Motsoeneng a million more from one year to the next. "I don't see any crisis there at SABC," says Mbulaheni Maguvhe.

"For us this is a good story," says SABC CEO Frans Matlala in the good spin and one-sided 2 minute, 28 second story reported on SABC3 and SABC News (DStv 404) on Wednesday evening that you can watch here. See if you can see what the SABC deliberately omitted to tell viewers.

Listen to Hlaudi Motsoeneng say - as the SABC recorded a loss of R401 million: "SABC is doing very well. People because they don't want to give credit where it is due, they try to put their own agenda within the organisation".

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

BREAKING. SABC's matricless boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng salary gets a staggering 31% increase in one year from R2.87 million to R3.78 million.

The remuneration of the SABC's controversial boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng went up by a staggering 31% in just one year from R2.87 million to R3.78 million in the latest financial year - including a bonus paid of R279 000.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng's eye-popping pay is nearly R1 million more in payment from the public broadcaster than in the previous financial year, and was revealed today when the SABC tabled its annual report in parliament.

The SABC's famously matricless chief operating officer (COO) is embroiled in a protracted court case currently at the Supreme Court of Appeals, over his appointment as COO at the SABC after he lied about having matric and was fingered in last year's scathing report from the Public Protector which found that he should "never have been appointed at the SABC".

The report found maladministration and abuse of power at the public broadcaster and said that Hlaudi Motsoeneng admitted in a recorded interview to lying about having matric and made up symbols for a certificate he knew he couldn't produce.

The Public Protector ordered the SABC to suspend Hlaudi Motsoeneng following the findings of the irregular appointment and that a disciplinary process be started immediately.

"This nearly R1 million pay increase is incomprehensible given the ongoing crisis at the SABC," says the Democratic Alliance's Gavin Davis, member of parliament and member of parliament's portfolio committee on communications, in a statement on Wednesday.

"It is significant that in 2014 the Public Protector found Hlaudi Motsoeneng guilty of unlawfully increasing his own salary three times in the space of one year. It appears that is at it again," said Davis.

"Hlaudi Motsoeneng continues to rake in millions of rands at the expense of the TV licence paying public. There can be no justification for Motsoeneng's salary to increase by 31% in one year."

"In comparison, other workers in the public sector such as nurses, teachers and police officers received a 7% increase over the same period".

"It should be remembered that Hlaudi Motsoeneng was earning just R334 000 as a SABC radio producer in 2010. Five years later and his salary has increased more than ten-fold," said Gavin Davis.

"We cannot sit back and allow Hlaudi Motsoeneng to wreck the SABC and be rewarded handsomely for doing so."

SABC staff upset over 'threat' that they must wear Boks T-shirts every Friday; 'gifts should not come with demands like this,' says SABC workers.

SABC staff are unhappy over a "threat" from the public broadcaster that they must wear the Rugby World Cup 2015 T-shirts they were given on Fridays and that not wearing it "will be viewed in a serious light".

Hannes du Buisson, president of the trade union Bemawu on Tuesday wrote to Mandiwe Nkosi at the SABC, asking that "this threat be withdrawn and the same be communicated to SABC employees".

The SABC, in an internal communiqué this past Friday, told SABC staff that they're reminded "to wear your Bokke T-shirt every Fridayfor the duration of the Rugby World Cup 2015" and that "if you have been allocated the T-shirt and do not wear it, this will be viewed in a serious light".

In his letter Hannes du Buisson says that the SABC "says its values are conversations and partnerships, restoration of human dignity and building a common future. Apparently not the human dignity of its employees".

The letter includes feedback from several upset SABC workers about the Boks T-shirts.

"We have just received this email.  There were no stipulations with regard to receiving T-shirts.  I didn't even sign for it.  I found my T-shirt on my work seat.  It is not the correct size for me as was the case with several people. The only sizes available were Small or XXL. I will not wear one which is too tight (I was given a small) or XXL which is way too large for me."

"Whatever it means 'in a serious light' is not right. Should we really be pressurised into wearing a 'uniform' just because the SABC decided to give us a gift? 'Gifts' should not come with demands like this.'

"I was allocated with a 3XL Springbok shirt that does not fit me. I tried to find out if I could get a 4XL and I was told that there are only small sizes. But that is not the point, the point is that they are threatening us if we don't wear a rugby shirt, does it make any sense?? Once again I have no problems wearing a Bok shirt, but without threats."

"I take exception to the implied threat in this communiqué," said another SABC worker. "I have a constitutional right to wear what I like, when I like."

"The threat of 'will be viewed in a serious light' implies disciplinary action will be taken against an employee or an employee will be subjected to an occupational detriment should they not wear it. This is to say the least unconstitutional and very bad management style," says Hannes du Buisson.

"Instead of motivating employees and encouraging them to support the national team, they are threatened. This clearly reflects the current style of management at the SABC where employees are threatened and intimidated, and the SABC acts as if employees have no rights," says Hannes du Buisson.

He said SABC staff "should  be allowed to wear what they want to work, not be threatened. Our complaint is not about the Bokke shirts, but the threats to wear it."

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago didn't respond to a media enquiry on Wednesday asking about the SABC's Bokke T-shirts given to staff, workers' reaction and the Bemawu letter.

Isidingo on SABC3 going for more 'real drama'; soap adds Richard Lukunku from's Ashes to Ashes to the cast as a new doctor.

Desperate to claw its way back to relevancy, the weekday soap Isidingo on SABC3 is promising viewers more "real drama" and added's Richard Lukunku from Ashes to Ashes to the SABC soap's cast.

The ratings challenged weekday soap on SABC3, once a critical and viewer darling, slipped the past few years, eclipsed by soaps Rhythm City and Scandal!, and lately by SABC1 telenovela Uzalo and's Ashes to Ashes as buzz-watch local South African fare.

With stale stories the Endemol South Africa produced weekday soap slipped in buzz and viewership since the devastating fire in 2012.

The past few years Isidingo didn't make headlines so much for what it's been putting on screen as the behind-the-scenes drama of cast defections, firings, writers' room tumult and turn-over, bad story directions and angry actors leaving saying as recently as last month that they will "never return to Isidingo ever again".

Several jarring timeslot changes the past two years on SABC3 hasn't made it easier for viewers to find, or stay with the lethargic soap which recently celebrated its 17th birthday in a low-key fashion.

In a somewhat tacit admission that what Isidingo has been giving viewers the past while wasn't real drama, executive producer Pumla Hopa is now promising viewers a return to "real drama" in terms of storylines.

Richard Lukunku who had a role on rival's popular Ashes to Ashes has been added to Isidingo's roster of new cast members as a French speaking doctor.

M-Net and MultiChoice launch Express to Explora, adding new series to DStv Explora first before broadcast; adding first episodes of series on M-Net, M-Net Edge.

In response to the flurry of streaming video-on-demand (VOD) services that started in South Africa M-Net and MultiChoice are now adding several new TV series straight to its DStv Catch Up service on the DStv Explora for DStv Premium subscribers before its been broadcast on M-Net linear channels.

The new M-Net and DStv service - essentially a whole new M-Net provided "channel" - is branded as "Express to Explora".

M-Net and MultiChoice will add episodes of the new thriller procedural drama series Limitless and hospital drama Code Black from tomorrow, Thursday 24 September to the DStv Explora, as well as the new 6th season of Blue Bloods, all within 24 hours of their American broadcasting dates. The new season of Blacklist will be added from 3 October.

M-Net will broadcast Limitless, Code Black, Blue Bloods and Blacklist later on the linear M-Net (DStv 101) and M-Net Edge (DStv 102) channels when the linear play-out schedule allows.

M-Net and MultiChoice are also from now on adding the first episodes of all shows on M-Net and M-Net Edge to DStv Catch Up for the DStv Explora for DStv Premium subscribers, with viewers who now longer have to remember or know to record the first episode of a show when a new series starts.

"Instead of waiting for a gap on the already bumper-to-bumper prime time schedule on M-Net or M-net Edge, hand-picked series will be available exclusively on the DStv Explora within 24 hours of their United States launch times," says M-Net.

"Our superfast Express from the US delivery service has already revolutionised the way in which many people watch TV," says Gideon Khobane, M-Net director for general entertainment.

"We believe that series fans will love being able to watch more shows for which there simply are no available time slots yet, as they play out in the US. We're thrilled that we're able to make use of the incredible technology provided by the DStv Explora to make Express to Explora happen".

M-Net and MultiChoice are also from now on giving DStv Premium subscribers the first episodes of series as they premiere on M-Net and M-Net Edge.

"The new age of television is all about convenience - as a result of their busy lifestyles, viewers sometimes miss out on an entire series because they couldn't watch the first episode that introduced the main characters and vital story lines," says Gideon Khobane.

"We're now making it easier for them to never miss out on one of our excellent series again".

E! Entertainment on DStv censors Jimmy Kimmel saying 'masturbating' to Ryan Seacrest on Emmy red carpet, but the Kardashians can say f- and s- .

NBCUniversal Networks International continues with the crazy and irrational censorship of E! Entertainment (DStv 124) on MultiChoice's DStv - this time suddenly censoring Jimmy Kimmel saying the word "masturbating" to Ryan Seacrest on the Emmy Red Carpet - after first showing it uncensored and then inexplicably deciding to mute out the word in Jimmy Kimmel's joke.

E! Entertainment remains an utter frustration and irony to watch while NBCUniversal Networks International keeps botching the channel that has Botched with bad censorship that makes no sense.

Shows like E! News are constantly blurred and bleeped to irritating effect, while reality trash like Keeping Up with the Kardashians are "allowed" to say words like "sh*t" and "f-" uncensored.

Initially, viewers on E! Entertainment heard Jimmy Kimmel's joke uncensored on Sunday. He took over the mic on the E! dais in a joke with Ryan Seacrest and asked him what he's wearing. Ryan Seacrest of course now wears his own Ryan Seacrest Collection.

Jimmy Kimmel told Ryan Seacrest "Oh you're wearing yourself? That's like masturbating" in one of the red carpet night's funniest impromptu jokes, after which Ryan Seacrest grabbed the mic back.

In the initial live broadcast and the rebroadcast of the E! Live on the Red Carpet the joke remained uncensored - until E! Entertainment suddenly had the word censored and muted out on DStv in later broadcasts.

Strangely, and bizarrely, on Wednesday night in Fashion Police on E! in its post Emmy special, the exact same clip was used - and this time Jimmy Kimmel's "masturbating" was heard - meaning that the E! Entertainment and NBCUniversal Networks International censorship is not even done consistently.

It's apparently okay to see massive bare breasts on Botched on E! Entertainment and other private parts of the human anatomy and other distateful scenes and words on shows like The Soup but you can't hear the word "masturbating" on E! Entertainment more than twice.

The constant, irritating and inappropriate E! Entertainment censorship and deplorable infringement on freedom of speech (on NBCUniversal Networks International's own channel!) makes E! extremely hard to watch with the incessant and ongoing interruptions.

E! on DStv makes you feel as if you've suddenly forgotten to put on your glasses when things inexplicably go blurry while watching a supposed news show like E! News, or as if you need to change your hearing aid batteries because of intermittent sound problems.

Meanwhile there's nothing wrong with your eyesight or hearing - it's NBCUniversal Networks International botching their own channel for the people who the channel is supposedly for: viewers.

If the content E! Entertainment shows on MultiChoice's platform isn't appropriate for E! and E! doesn't want viewers to see or hear a word like "masturbating", why is NBCUniversal Networks International then carrying the channel on DStv in the first place?

Today's interesting TV stories to read from TV with Thinus - 23 September 2015

Tutankhamun drama series will film in South Africa from mid-October.
Sam Neill and Max Irons will star in the 4-part drama from ITV Studios based on Howard Carter and his discover of the boy-king pharaoh's tomb. ITV Studios Global Entertainment will distribute the show internationally.

BBC making big drama about (fall of) Troy.
Fall of the City will start later this year as an epic new drama series.

After America's ESPN dumped South Africa and Afric on DStv
times are getting tough as ESPN prepares to fire up to 300 ESPN workers.

Massive job cuts also coming to Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / StarSat 257).
Falling oil prices to blame for the Qatari TV news channel set to sack hundreds of workers worldwide soon. Internal email warns staff to get ready for "painful cuts".

"Hlaudi Motsoeneng is our Messiah".
Must-read laugh of the day: SABC employee Lungelo Gumede writes in The Sowetan that Hlaudi Motsoeneng is "the best boss we have ever had" and that at the SABC under Hlaudi Motsoeneng "hundreds of employees were freed from slavery".
Oh, and before Hlaudi, SABC employees allegedly were "forced to pay bribes to get shifts" and female workers allegedly were "forced to do sexual favours". You can't make this stuff up.

New DStv changes are unfair...
...says South Africa's commissioner of the Competition Commission, Tembinkosi Bonakele. Speaks in Namibia about how MultiChoice in Africa took out the most popular TV channels from the cheaper package and moved it to the more expensive package.

The clock is ticking for the SABC's "Teflon man".
The controversial and famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng is facing a speeding bullet in the case before the Supreme Court of Appeals.

Don't get attached to FOX's new Minority Report.
The new science fiction drama Minority Report on FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131) is a failure - only 3.1 million viewers and in basically last place, this show is basically doomed just like last year's Almost Human. Meanwhile the fascinating Blindspot coming to M-Net (DStv 101) is tops.

Minority Report lacks imagination with its old and boring vision of the future. And how TV executives secretly now know within 15 minutes whether a new show will survive or get cancelled.

The new American TV season is already stumbling says AdAge.

Scream Queens is bad and a howler says The Los Angeles Times.
The new drama starts tonight on FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 125) in South Africa. It's a missed opportunity and bad says TIME.  Scream Queens on FOX is bad and flat and Scream Queens goes from good to really bad quickly.

How long before it starts happening in South African television?
In America, actors and producers now "live-tweet" along with episodes and debut episodes to do publicity and help hype up interaction and awareness for TV shows.

"When you hear the term MultiChoice Content Showcase what comes to mind is boring"
For me as part of the South African press what comes to mind is the word "exclusion".
Anyway, who knew the SuperSport volleyball session in Mauritius rained out off?
All the gifts given to the press at the MultiChoice Content Showcase - like the Canon EOS Digital SLR camera.

Bloomberg Television is adding Bloomberg as a new morning show.
No word on whether it will be seen on Bloomberg Television (DStv 411) in South Africa and Africa when it starts on 5 October with David Westin and Stephanie Ruhle.

When Aaron Spelling ruled Television.
Your must-read, long-read article of the day.

MultiChoice celebrates 20 years of DStv in Uganda...
...with a party last Thursday night at the new MultiChoice head office and customer care centre in Kampala. Meanwhile there's a big "Multichoice" spelling mistake on its own dedication plaque.

Really? Sean Penn sues Empire co-creator Lee Daniels for $10 million.
Claims defamation and says Lee Daniels accused him of domestic violence in a comparison with Terrence Howard. Of course tied up Madonna in the 80s and physically assaulted her for hours - but you forgot about that.

ShowMax has no plans to increase its price.
The South African streaming video-on-demand (VOD) service will remain at R99 per month.

Trevor Noah will "re-introduce" The Daily Show as a 4-day miniseries.
The Daily Show will return on Comedy Central (DStv 122) as a 4-part series. "We're dividing the week into a four-part miniseries that will set the tone for what we hope the show will be," Trevor Noah tells Rolling Stone.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

National Geographic Channel reteaming with Bill O'Reilly for next movie, Killing Reagan, about the assassination attempt on the American president.

As usual there's not as much as a single word from FOX International Channels or FOX International Channels Africa (FIC Africa) about this, but National Geographic Channel (DStv 181) has announced that the factual entertainment channel will produce the next movie based on Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard's book, Killing Reagan.

Killing Reagan about the attempted assassination attempt on American president Ronald Reagan, will follow in the previous National Geographic Channel films Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy and Killing Jesus.

Since Ronald Reagan survived the assassination attempt, Killing Reagan will be different - it will look at how the attack impacted his presidency, shaped America and influenced power within the White House.

"Over the past three years, Scott Free Productions and National Geographic Channels have been incredible partners in bringing my books to life, and I'm confident Killing Reagan will be no different," says Bill O'Reilly in a statement.

"Their formula for translating these stories from the page to the screen, using A-list talent both in front of and behind the camera, has proven to be successful with both audiences and the industry at large."

Killing Reagan will be broadcast on National Geographic Channel in 2016 and is executive produced by Ridley Scott, David Zucker, Mary Lisio and Bill O'Reilly.

Foodie Sarah Graham's new cooking show, Sarah Graham Food Safari, picked up by M-Net, starting on 29 November at 18:00

Sarah Graham is the latest talent jumping from SABC3 to M-Net with the foodie's show Sarah Graham's Food Safari picked up by M-Net (DStv 101).

The new cooking show, the second since Bitten was broadcast on SABC3 in 2013, will see the South African food blogger and cookbook author take viewers on a food safari across Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa from Sunday 29 November at 18:00.

The show is currently filming across 31 locations with Louise McClelland as executive producer and Chris Lotz as director, with Okuhle Media as the production company.

Sarah Graham's Food Safari will try to fulfill "the armchair foodie's sense of curiosity about the off-the-beaten track spaces and delightful new flavours" while showcasing wildlife and in-the-bush dining experiences with Sarah's friends and family.

The show is filming in Zimbabwe, Zambia and then across South Africa in Johannesburg, Prince Albert and along the Garden Route as well as Cape Town.

"Sarah Graham's Food Safari promises to be perfect prime time entertainment for the laid-back festive season," says M-Net.

"The show celebrates everything our viewers love - from the most mouth-watering dishes to the beautiful African landscape."

"Together with Sarah we're thrilled about the opportunity to collaborate with M-Net and bring our new series to a channel that is synonymous with bringing highly pedigreed and exceptionally entertaining cooking shows to discerning local audiences," says Louise McClelland.

Sarah Graham published her latest cookbook, Home. Food From My Kitchen earlier this year.

This is one of the things that upsets me probably the most about a bulk of really lazy and incompetent PR people working in SA's TV industry.

Just saw this funny today.

One of the big ironies being a journalist in South Africa is how incredibly bad some people who work in communication (and who get paid to communicate) are in South Africa at actually ... communicating.

When I haven't taken my Ritalin, having to co-incidentally see some "announcement" or news on social media is the second biggest gripe that can set me off and lead to a meltdown worse than Chernobyl.

Personally my biggest gripe is when PR's - supposedly in the business of building and maintaining media relationships - can't be bothered in the slightest to just even tell you beforehand that something newsworthy is happening and I have to read it after the fact.

People get money to communicate their brands - in my case TV shows and channels - to the South African press and journalists.

Yet a lot of them take that money and do ... nothing or below minimum nothing - in the "process" actually harming and inflicting damage to those brands.

It's also gotten worse the past few years, not better - and I've been covering just South African television for 15 years now, so I have perspective.

With more and more TV channels, more and more shows, more and more fly-by-night PR companies and publicist and all kinds of trashinations rising up and wanting in on the game, its gotten worse since there's more and more people who are clueless and who don't know and/or simply don't care what they're doing or don't know how to do what's supposed to be done.

There's also some really great people who've just always been great. People who are not scared to do the actual hard work to represent their companies, their shows, their channels, their brands.

People who stand firm and realise they're the wall and that that money they get is because they're supposed to be the first line of defense when media wants answers and information for good or bad stories and when the rest run away.

I truly salute the responsive, relentlessly available, honest and good PR people out there working in South Africa's TV industry and who knows what's going on, who cares and who actually do the hard work.

You are amazing.

For the rest of the uninformed lazy, can't-be-bothered Robins - slap, slap, slap.

BBC Worldwide says its new channels BBC Brit and BBC Earth are 'instant winners' with DStv subscribers; response from audiences 'very promising'.

BBC Worldwide says its rebranded BBC Brit (DStv 120) and BBC Earth (DStv 184) global genre channels in South Africa launched with strong overnight ratings during the channels' first week on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform in the first week of September.

According to DStvi/Kantar audience ratings, BBC Brit was up 83% in all day share under LSM 7-10 males and showed a 173% improvement in this demo during daytime viewing compared to the 2015 viewership of BBC Entertainment which the channel was previously known as until the end of August.

BBC Worldwide says BBC Brit "overtook established rivals to rank in the top three of its international broadcaster competitive set for key audiences" in terms of overall share.

BBC Worldwide didn't provide similar information for BBC Earth which replaced BBC Knowledge but said BBC Earth reached "the highest proportion of audiences in its key competitive set for LSM 8-10" and that the ratings ranking of the new channel - now available in HD on DStv, "rose by four places" compared to BBC Knowledge during its final week in August.

BBC Worldwide calls BBC Brit and BBC Earth "instant winners".

"I'm delighted with BBC Brit and BBC Earth's performance so far," says Joel Churcher, the general manager and vice president for Africa at BBC Worldwide.

"The response from South African audiences is very promising and we're looking forward to seeing the channels continue to grow over the coming months."

The third new channel, BBC First will launch on 18 October on DStv.

There's been unhappiness from DStv subscribers on lower tiered subscriptions who are upset at MultiChoice's "restructuring" of the BBC bouquet.

Angry DStv subscribers feel that the new realignment of channels means they won't get the content that used to be on BBC Entertainment, since its replacement, BBC First, will be a premium channel for DStv Premium only.

DStv Extra subscribers are losing access to shows like Downton Abbey and Doctor Who that's moving to BBC First. The quality kids channel CBeebies is however opened to DStv Compact subscribers that was previously only for DStv Premium.

South Africa is the first territory in the world to launch all three of BBC Worldwide's new genre brands and follow the successful European debuts of BBC Brit and BBC Earth in Poland, the Nordics, Hungary, Romania and Turkey earlier this year.

BBC First launch in Australia in mid-2014 and in Belgium and the Netherlands earlier this year. BBC Earth launched in Latin America on 1 September and will launch in Asia on 3 October.