Tuesday, January 31, 2017

MultiChoice Zimbabwe fires all staff in Bulawayo branch, except for the office messenger, for selling their own decoders during work hours.

MultiChoice has fired all its staff in Zimbabwe's Bulawayo branch, except for the office messenger who protested, after they were allegedly found guilty of selling decoders personally, and during work hours.

The Chronicle reports that MultiChoice Zimbabwe's regional manager as well as 5 other MultiChoice employees were fired. MultiChoice staff from Harare has been temporarily redeployed to Bulawayo.

The fired workers were accused of having misused company resources.

MultiChoice Zimbabwe publicist Elizabeth Dziva told The Chronicle that she would respond to a media enquiry and questions on Monday this week but by the end of Tuesday haven't.

Ellen DeGeneres slams Donald Trump's Muslim travel ban on her talk show, using Finding Dory: 'When you see someone in need - you help them'.

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres used her talk show Ellen and her film Finding Dory to slam American president Donald Trump's misguided new Muslim travel ban which he signed on Friday and caused travel chaos over the weekend and led to worldwide condemnation.

On Ellen, seen weekdays on M-Net (DStv 101) at 17:00, Ellen DeGeneres used Finding Dory to explain why she doesn't agree with the way in which Donald Trump is banning Muslim refugees and immigrants entering America.

Ironically, Donald Trump watched Finding Dory over the weekend in the White House with his family after banning immigrants and refugees from several Muslim countries and nationalities from entering America.

M-Net is now just one day behind America with the current 14th season of Ellen episodes, with South African and African viewers who will be able to see Ellen DeGeneres' speech in Tuesday's episode on Wednesday afternoon.

"If you haven't heard, this is what happened over the weekend. On Friday the president gave an order banning people from seven countries from entering the United States, including people with green cards," said Ellen DeGeneres.

"Then on Saturday, the president screened Finding Dory at the White House. I don't get political, but I will say that I am against one of those two things."

"Finding Dory is about a fish named Dory. Dory lives in Australia and these are her parents, and they live in America. And I don't know what religion they are, but her dad sounds a little Jewish. It doesn't matter."

"Dory arrives in America with her friends Marlin and Nemo. She ends up at the Marine Life Institute behind a large wall. They all have to get over the wall and you won't believe it, but that wall has almost no effect in keeping them out," said Ellen DeGeneres.

"Even though Dory gets into America, she ends up separated from her family, but the other animals help Dory. Animals that don't even need her. Animals that don't have anything in common with her."

"They help her, even though they're completely different colors. Because that's what you do when you see someone in need - you help them. So that is what I hope everyone who's watching Finding Dory has learned."

On Monday Donald Trump fired America's attorney general and career prosecutor Sally Yates because she told the Justice department not to defend Donald Trump's Muslim immigration ban.

M-Net buys buys Swedish series, Midnight Sun, and thriller series, The Five, from STUDIOCANAL for its new foreign series block on M-Net Edge.

M-Net has bought the broadcasting rights to two beautiful European series - Midnight Sun and The Five - from STUDIOCANAL for the new foreign language TV series block on M-Net Edge (DStv 102).

Midnight Sun and The Five will be broadcast during 2017 as part of the new foreign language TV series block on M-Net Edge on Saturday nights at 21:00 where DStv Premium subscribers can now watch acclaimed European drama series.

To stay ahead of offerings like BBC Worldwide's BBC First (DStv 119) and even subscription video-on-demand offerings like Netflix and Naspers' ShowMax, M-Net Edge is rapidly evolving into a connoisseur TV channel destination, adapting its channel proposition with an expanded emphasis on the sumptuous best of European, British and American TV dramas.

The critically-acclaimed Midnight Sun is a 2016 Swedish-French noir drama, a CANAL+/SVT/Filmpool Nord co-production, with the Swedish crime thriller that's been described as setting "a new high watermark for TV drama".

Midnight Sun – or Midnattssol, as it's known in Sweden - hails from writers Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein also responsible for The Bridge.

With utterly incredible production values and a stunning visual look, Midnight Sun keeps viewers spellbound with its arrestingly beautiful and haunting story.

Set remote Sweden with stunning cinematography, Midnight Sun tracks a murder investigation in which the French police officer Kahina Zadi (Leïla Bekhti) works with the local Sami policeman Anders Harnesk (Gustaf Hammarsten) to try and solve the horrific crime that divides the local Sami community.

Harlan Coben's The Five, produced by RED Production Company (belonging to STUDIOCANAL) of which its first season of 10 episodes will also be shown on M-Net Edge, is a British crime drama, created by the renowned crime author. It is his first original TV series.

Set in the fictional town of Westbridge, the former childhood friends Mark, Danny, Slade and Pru reunite after DNA evidence left at amurder scene is revealed to be that of Mark's brother Jesse.

Jesse disappeared years ago while playing in the park with the four friends.

A second season has already been commissioned and will be entitled, The Four.

"We're delighted to sign this new deal with M-Net, brokered by STUDIOCANAL sales manager Elise Woolfe, which will see these leading prime time dramas broadcasting throughout Africa," says Katrina Neylon, STUDIOCANAL's executive vice president for sales and marketing.

"Our titles have grabbed the attention of international buyers, offering intelligent, thought-provoking and absorbing content".

SHOCKER. South Africa's broadcasting regulator lays criminal charges against the SABC over failure to end TV news censorship; Hawks now investigating SABC.

So far into apparent lawlessness has the SABC now fallen that South Africa's broadcasting regulator has been forced to lay criminal charges against the South African public broadcaster over the SABC's utterly failure to adhere to Icasa regulations and to comply with an order to end its TV news censorship of public protest visuals.

For South Africa's official broadcasting regulator to lay criminal charges against the SABC is wholly unprecedented for the regulator, for the SABC, for broadcasting and TV broadcasting in South Africa and TV news in the history of the nation. It has never happened before.

The SABC's faces a massive and unprecedented R1 million fine or jail time for those responsible, over its failure to comply with the Icasa order and its failure to inform Icasa what the broadcaster's situation is regarding its ban on public protest visuals it started in 2016.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) told parliament's ad hoc committee investigating the SABC that criminal charges have been laid against the SABC at the Bramley police station in November 2016 over the SABC's complete failure to respond to Icasa's order that the SABC end its censorship of protest visuals in SABC News TV coverage.

South Africa's Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) known as the Hawks, are now investigating the SABC after months of silence from the South African Broadcasting Corporation refusing to officially inform Icasa that it will end the censorship on SABC TV news the SABC started in May 2016.

Nomvuyiso Batyi, Icasa councillor, told parliament's portfolio committee on communications that they have written to the SABC several times in 2016 but that the SABC refused to comply. Criminal charges have now been filed against the SABC.

"We can pursue criminal charges against the SABC, which we have."

"As of two weeks back, we made follow ups as to know the status of the investigation because we have an investigator assigned and then we were advised now that the matter is with the Hawks. We're yet to be furnished with the case number there."

Peter Capaldi done with BBC's Doctor Who on BBC First in a shock announcement; will leave the Tardis at the end of 2017.

Peter Capaldi is done with the BBC's Doctor Who, becoming the latest exit for the BBC facing an ongoing exit of high profile on-air talent from TV shows ranging from Top Gear to The Great British Bake Off.

Peter Capaldi (58) made the shocking and surprising announcement on the BBC's BBC Radio 2 on Monday saying that "I've never done one job for three years before and I feel it's time for me to move on to different challenges".

Peter Capaldi's exit from Doctor Who comes after a dramatic viewership loss for the science fiction series the past few seasons, with Capaldi blaming the BBC for moving it to a later timeslot, and slamming the BBC for "undoubtedly" taking Doctor Who for granted.

The Scottish actor will finish out the year at Doctor Who, seen in South Africa and 6 other Southern African countries on BBC Worldwide's BBC First (DStv 119) on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

The new season of Doctor Who will start in April, and Peter Capaldi will leave after the conclusion of the Christmas 2017 special episode.

Peter Capaldi told the shocked BBC radio presenter that his upcoming last season of Doctor Who will be "a huge event" with an "unexpected" turn of events. The season will "roll along in a vintage way" before it turns dark and emotional.

After three seasons of playing the space and time traveller since 2013, Peter Capaldi will exit the British science fiction series at the same time at the end of 2017 as the Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat who has been with the show since 2010 as lead writer and executive producer.

Peter Capaldi is the fourth actor to play Doctor Who since the BBC relaunched the sci-fi series in 2005, taking over after Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith played the inhabitant of the British blue police phone box.

In a statement that Steven Moffat released after Peter Capaldi's announcement, Moffat says "Peter's amazing, fiery, turbulent Doctor is still fighting the good fight, and his greatest adventures are yet to come. Monsters of the universe, be on your guard - Capaldi's not done with you yet!"

"Like Peter, I'm facing up to leaving the best job I'll ever have, but knowing I do so in the company of the best, and kindest and cleverest of men, makes the saddest of endings a little sweeter."

Now viewers are wondering who the 13th Doctor will be, and whether the BBC will finally cast a woman, a black man, or someone other than a white man in the iconic Timelord role.

Monday, January 30, 2017

It's 'I do' for wedding shows on SA television as new M-Net reality series, The Wedding Bashers, gets ready to judge South African weddings.

M-Net is getting in on the wedding wonderful craze sweeping South African television with its new reality show, The Wedding Bashers that's gearing up to film - and judge - various South African weddings with the show set for broadcast during September.

It's definitely a case of "I do" when it comes wedding shows on South African television.

While viewers simply can't get enough of the lavish South African celebrity weddings that continue to be featured on Top Billing on SABC3 and the buzz-worthy, spectacle prone reality series Our Perfect Wedding on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161), TV channels are ramping up their wedding programming for 2017.

Despite criticism that it's cheapening the act of getting marriage, A+E Networks UK will debut Married at First Sight South Africa on 3 February on Lifetime (DStv 131), while kykNET (DStv 144) is working on Ons Sprokiesbruilof.

M-Net is now countering with The Wedding Bashers, produced by [sic] entertainment and Gavin Wratten also responsible for Idols, in which South Africans can win big by having their weddings judged by a party of celebrity wedding crashers who will weigh in on all aspects of weddings ranging from R20 000 to over R1 million.

For The Wedding Bashers M-Net and [sic] entertainment are using someone old, someone new, someone borrowed and someone blue: former Survivor South Africa host Mark Bayly as the "best man" presenter, socialite and V-Entertainment presenter Denise Zimba, Food Network chef Siba Mtongana, fashionista and former Miss South Africa Cindy Nell-Roberts, and former Survivor SA Champions star and wedding planner Zavion Kotze who also has a show on VIA (DStv 147).

The Wedding Bashers - in a cross between Come Dine with Me SA and Four Weddings South Africa - will see Denise Zimba snark over the wedding entertainment, Siba Mtongana judge the food, Cindy Nell-Roberts weigh in on the fashion, with Zavion Kotze, who recently got married as well, who will be giving his view about the decor.

People getting married have until Valentine's Day - 14 February - to enter their wedding to be judged.

'The whole idea behind The Wedding Bashers is that we've all been to weddings," said Gavin Wratten.

"We all have sat with a bunch of people that we may or may nor like. We all sit and mind our p's and q's while the wedding is on, but then when we get in the car on the way home and we go: 'Oh my goodness, did you see what she was wearing?"

"So our wedding bashers are going to be going to weddings and judging each wedding. And while the show is called Wedding Bashers, it's actually The Wedding Bash. We're not really really there to try and rip everybody's wedding apart," said Gavin Wratten.

"They're going to be honest - and they're going to love some moments of the weddings but they're also going to comment on parts of some weddings they find questionable."

Sunday, January 29, 2017

SuperSport and PSL celebrate the 10 year anniversary of its PSL TV rights partnership; 'scores of DStv dishes on township roofs illustrates how much local soccer resonates'.

"There are scores of DStv dishes on township roofs, which illustrates how much local soccer resonates with local fans," Imtiaz PatelCEO of Video Entertainment at Naspers and former SuperSport CEO, said on Saturday night at the SuperSport PSL 10 Year Gala celebration of its PSL TV rights partnership.

"We have made every effort to produce affordable viewing packages, and the response has been humbling. The strength of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) is its vibrancy and energy. We hope to continue to play our part in what has become a case study in sport partnership," said Imtiaz Patel.

SuperSport and the Premier Soccer League (PSL) celebrated their 10th anniversary since the landmark pay-TV deal between the subscription sports broadcaster and the South African soccer league was signed amidst great controversy a decade ago on 13 June 2007.

A decade ago SuperSport took over the PSL live TV rights from the SABC after it clinched a new rights deal after the SABC completely failed to respond at all during the window period to renegotiate rights. Since then the public broadcaster gets to show some games but with restrictions. 

Since then the SuperSport TV rights deal completely revolutionised not just PSL broadcasting in the country upping production values and increasing the volume of content and ancillary magazine shows, but professionalism within the PSL and matches itself, propelling it to one of the top 10 soccer leagues in the world in terms of revenue.

The SuperSport PSL 10 Year Celebration bash held at the Sandton Convention Centre attracted a large group of the top soccer bosses and pay-TV executives in South Africa, as well as celebrities and politicians including the ministers of sport and communications.

In an on-air TV talent announcement, Minnie Dlamini was officially welcomed as the latest new SuperSport presenter who will do duty across several SuperSport shows, as well as a new lifestyle and entertainment TV show, as yet unnamed, on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) and co-produced by SuperSport.

"I can't help but be both humbled and excited by what the past 10 years have delivered, not least in the part we played in giving South African soccer the respect and prominence it deserves. It truly now has a place in the sun," said Imtiaz Patel

"The relationship was a defining moment for the industry in this country," said dr Irvin Khoza, PSL chairman. "It's been far more than a mere investment in the PSL. Development has benefited, too, with club academics producing top players". 

Where there used to be 75 PSL matches broadcast per year, 250 are not broadcast live and there's the decidicated SuperSport PSL channel in high definition (HD) on DStv that shows 180 matches live.

Other interesting broadcasting facts from the SuperSport and PSL partnership:
  • Up to 30 cameras are used per production, up from 10 a decade ago.
  • There are multiple commentary options with state-of-the-art graphics.
  • Apart from the use of pundits, commentators and analysts, the partnership also spurred job creation in both television and soccer.
  •  Global interest in the PSL is constant with requests from African countries, UAE, Scandinavia and even the US for broadcast of PSL matches.
  • The partnership also gave rise to the MultiChoice Diski Challenge, a feeder competition to the PSL, which has proven a staggering success.
  • A higher percentage of clubs have sponsors than ever before; they can now get a better return on investment through additional broadcast exposure.

Minnie Dlamini joins SuperSport and Mzansi Magic; will present shows across SuperSport on DStv, as well as a new lifestyle show on Mzansi Magic.

Minnie Dlamini has joined SuperSport and Mzansi Magic as a presenter after dumping the SABC and will soon present a new lifestyle and entertainment show on Mzansi Magic, co-produced by SuperSport.

In October 2016 Minnie Dlamini gave the SABC a week's notice that she's done presenting SoccerZone on SABC1 with the show that's been seeing a viewership drop.

Minnie Dlamini will however still appear on the South African public broadcaster in March when she pop up as the presenter of the 7th season of Clover's advertiser-funded production (AFP) Tropika Island of Treasure moving from SABC1 to SABC3.

Minnie Dlamini has become the latest of former SABC on-air talent, like Carol Tshabalala and others, who've jettisoned the public broadcaster to move over to more substantial and higher prestige TV productions on South African pay-television.

The 26-year old will present on several SuperSport shows broadcast across MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform including Love PSL and Super Diski, besides an entertainment lifestyle show, co-produced by SuperSport, for Mzansi Magic (DStv 161).

Minnie Dlamini already played host of the PSL Awards for several years and made appearances in M-Net and Mzansi Magic shows like The Wild and Rockville.

"The World of Champions family is very happy to welcome Minnie," says Gideon Khobane, SuperSport CEO.

"She's a dynamic person who numbers among the country's top movers and shakers. She's plugged into the lifestyle of sport and will be able to tell those stories in her own inimitable fashion".

"Sport is part of my DNA," says Minnie Dlamini in a statement about joining SuperSport.

"I couldn't be happier right now than to be a part of such an incredible leading international brand like SuperSport. Exciting times ahead."

Friday, January 27, 2017

South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) moves to Sun City as the award show dumps categories, adds others.

The South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) is moving from Johannesburg to Sun City as it dumped categories and added some others in order tro try and become more inclusive.

At a press conference on Thursday the Safta organisers revealed that the awards show handing out Golden Horn trophies to South African TV shows and films will no longer be taking place in Johannesburg where it’s been held for the past decade, but will be leaving Gauteng and moving to the North West province.

Safta organisers said the move from Johannesburg to Sun City has been done to develop and transform the TV and film industry in other provinces outside of Gauteng, although its not clear how a 2-night TV awards show will promote actual long-term provincial upskilling.

The awards show will be televised next month from Sun City.

In previous years the Saftas have been marred by bad production values, the inclusion of some bizarre nominees wrongly appearing in certain categories, boycotts by various broadcasters and TV soap productions ranging from public to pay-TV productions and for ongoing non-inclusivity issues.

Controversy also continue to swirl around the Saftas for dumping certain TV soaps from the Most Popular TV soap category if they refuse to enter in any other categories although Safta organisers say they want to make the awards show more inclusive.

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) organising the Saftas, dumped categories like Best Sports Show, Best Animation film and Best TV animation, saying South Africa lacks adequate submissions in these TV and film fields.

Categories within news and actuality remain almost non-existentwith no recognition of TV news anchors and TV journalists. Best TV Talk show host and Best Micro film have now been added, as well as the New Discretionary Award that the Saftas will hand out to a youth achiever.

The number of entries for Safta categories increased from 416 to 440, judged by 181 judges with John Kani, Jerry Mofokeng and Firdoze Bulbulia as the three judging chairpersons.

The various Safta nominees are likely to be announced on 16 February.

M-Net and MultiChoice's 007 James Bond pop-up channel will launch on 23 February on DStv channel 109 for 12 days, showing every Bond film.

M-Net's special 007 James Bond pop-up channel will launch on MultiChoice's DStv channel 109 on 23 February for 12 days and will show every James Bond film.

The "shaken not stirred" spy film channel will be the first of DStv's special pop-up channels for 2017.

Other M-Net Movies pop-up channels on DStv include a Fast and Furious movie channel for DStv Premium subscribers that will run from Friday 31 March to 9 April, a Proudly African Films pop-up channel for all DStv bouquets running from Thursday 18 May to 28 May, and Martial Arts film channel for DStv Premium and DStv Compact subscribers running from Friday 16 June to 9 July.

A 100 Best Movies pop-up channel will also make its appearance on DStv; a broadcasting time period isn't fixed yet.

The 007 James Bond channel will show every film of Ian Fleming's suave British super spy on channel 109 for DStv Premium subscribers from 23 February and follows the success of M-Net's themed, once-off DStv channels the past three years.

"Viewers can tune in to watch every single James Bond in every single James Bond film ever made, all the Bond girls, all the mystery and action," Lani Lombard, M-Net's head of publicity, tells TVwithThinus, saying the channel will likely also include some additional specials and behind-the-scenes shorts, similar to what M-Net did recently with its Harry Potter pop-up channel.

"A few years ago we did a James Bond festival on M-Net and since then there's been several new Bond movies in the 007 film series. It's one of the biggest film franchises there is if you look in terms of box office success and everyone has their favourite James Bond movie."

About why M-Net continues doing M-Net Movies pop-up channels on DStv, Lani Lombard says "the pop-up channels are do very well".

"Viewers love it. It's as if you're giving them a choice collection of content - like an anthology. Fans absolutely love it and these channels perform very well in terms of ratings. It creates event television for viewers."

Thursday, January 26, 2017

M-Net's new content discovery show, The 101 will have the presenter troika of Donovan Goliath, Ebenhaezar Dibakwane and Virgil Prins.


The comedians Donovan Goliath, Ebenhaezar Dibakwane and Virgil Prins will be the TV presenter troika of M-Net's new weekly content discovery show, The 101.

The 101 on the M-Net (DStv 101) channel will highlight programming across M-Net’s various channels on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

The show will guide viewers to help them find what's new, what's changing, possible programming pre-emptions and timeslot changes, returning seasons and also what new shows are about.

The weekly half-hour show will also help with practical DStv PVR and Explora decoder issues and tips, as well as mini educationals to help DStv subscribers use some of the powerful technology under their TV sets better to enable enhanced time-shifted and catch-up viewing.

The 101’s comedian presenters will do interviews with various famous faces, while informing viewers about M-Net's "Express from the US" titles, international production breaks in shows and why it happens, the very latest schedule changes, as well as do on-set visits to local shows that are broadcast across M-Net's range of channels on DStv.

Donovan Goliath already started showing up in short, generalised M-Net programming promos across DStv since late-2016.

The 101 was originally scheduled to start this Sunday on M-Net but has been pushed out by a few weeks due to production issues and some logistical challenges.

While The 101 will be broadcast on M-Net as a weekly linear show, M-Net is looking to make The 101 episodes as widely available as possible, including as non-subscription options and across as many digital platforms as possible to help TV viewers watch it – like for instance YouTube.

The main aim of The 101 is to help all TV viewers to be better informed about M-Net's programming and scheduling across the pay-TV broadcaster's large group of M-Net general entertainment and M-Net Movies channels on DStv.

M-Net is the biggest single provider of content to MultiChoice’s service in terms of self-compiled and packaged channels but a growing number of DStv subscribers – as is the trend with pay-TV viewers globally – struggle with the content discovery process and knowing where to find, and to watch, what.

When viewers know where and when to get and watch as well as record programming in their interest, the guided viewer behaviour helps to lift ratings.

Research regarding the powerful content suggestion algorithm functionality used by subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services like Netflix and Naspers' ShowMax to show viewers similar type programming that they might also enjoy watching, based on their existing viewing preferences, have shown that people will actually watch even more television if they’re told about shows and films that are the same as what they already enjoy.

M-Net will make an official announcement about The 101 and its presenters soon.

SABC2's latest strange scheduling moves are again set to irritate viewers - coming just 7 months after the previous changes.

The latest scheduling moves for SABC2 coming into effect from this coming Monday is set to confuse and irritate viewers as the SABC once again moves programming like the Afrikaans soap 7de Laan and the Afrikaans news to new timeslots following timeslot changes to these and other shows just months ago.

Exactly as TVwithThinus reported last week will happen, SABC2 announced on Wednesday all of the channel's latest new permanent scheduling changes coming into effect from Monday 6 February after the broadcaster's AFCON 2017 coverage.

Last week SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the new set of changes, like 7de Laan moving, is (still) part of the AFCON 2017 coverage changes.

Viewers commuting and not home yet, old age residents eating dinner and working families preparing dinner will now have to watch 7de Laan in the inconvenient and now its third new timeslot of 18:00 after the the 18:30 soap produced by Danie Odendaal Productions was moved in July 2016 to 19:00.

As TVwithThinus reported, viewers of the SABC's daily Setswana and Sotho TV news bulletin will now have to watch it no longer at 18:00 but at 20:00 on SABC2 opposite the SABC1 soap Generations, while the Afrikaans TV news that's seen several timeslot changes the past two years is once again moving – this time to 18:30, now opposite e.tv's eNews Direct and SABC3's English TV news bulletin.

SABC TV head publicist Zandile Nkonyeni didn't respond to media enquiries asking about the programming changes and the reasons for shows that are moving. SABC2 has seen ongoing viewership declines for shows like 7de Laan, the Afrikaans news and the Sesotho news the past few months with falling ratings.

The SABC said "SABC2 is stepping up to the needs of our ever-evolving world with brand new shows, new seasons and new timeslots". 

In a new official and public promo that contains mistakes, SABC2 struggles to keep its new shows separate, for instance saying Tumi Morake and Rocco de Villiers are in a show together as presenters [they're not]. 

Fighting on 3
In another programming change, the SABC signed a multi-year agreement with Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC) to broadcast mixed martial arts (MMA) on Saturday nights on SABC3, starting 11 February at 21:00. 

This content will be repeated on Mondays at 14:00 replacing the local kids time slot Fun-Natix where the fighting contact sport content might be in breach of the broadcasting code.

Other changes include SABC2's breakfast show Morning Live that will from this Monday onwards show the additional hour that until now had been broadcast between 08:00 to 09:00 on SABC News (DStv 404) only. The programming change will will effectively extend Morning Live to three hours on SABC2 from 06:00 to 09:00.

Talk show Motswako gets moved to Wednesdays at 20:30. Local sitcom Skwizas is moved to Sundays at 20:30. A new season of environmental magazine show 50/50 will start on Sunday 9 April at19:00.

More details have been released about the shows that TVwithThinus last week reported is being added to the SABC2 schedule.

The former SABC2 continuity presenter Derrick Gardner and SABC radio station RSG presenter is returning to television as presenter of the new Afrikaans music show Kliphard from Monday at 19:30.

Tumi Morake and Alan Committee will host the talk show Red Cake, starting Friday 10 February at 19:30. 

Thami Ngubeni will host a new lifestyle talk show on Saturdays on SABC2, Life with Thami, starting on Saturday 11 February at 18:00. Music show Soul’d Out Sessions will start on Sunday 12 February at 14:00.

While the SABC2 schedule remains peppered with old content and rebroadcasts that's years old like Afrikaans sitcom Vetkoekpaleis starting yet another rerun on Monday at 19:00, SABC2 says it wants producers to bring the channel quality shows and new ideas.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

SHE TURNED THE WORLD ON WITH HER SMILE: TV icon Mary Tyler Moore dead at 80; feminist icon who threw her hat up in the air an inspiration to generations of women.

When Mary Tyler Moore threw her beret up in the air in that indelible, inspirational opening theme of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, she did more than that: she gave women in the 70's and 80's - also in South Africa - the freedom to be more, and to dare to be more than what the world told them they could be.

The woman who turned TV and the world on with her smile, Mary Tyler Moore died on Wednesday, aged 80 in the Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut..

Mary Tyler Moore battled diabetes for decades and has been hooked up to a respirator for more than a week before her passing today and who was taken off of life support on Tuesday night, according to TMZ, who first broke the news about the actress death.

The New York Times reported that Mary Tyler Moore died of cardiopulmonary arrest after she had contracted pneumonia.

"Today, beloved icon, Mary Tyler Moore, passed away at the age of 80 in the company of friends and her loving husband of over 33 years, Dr. S. Robert Levine," said her publicist Mara Buxbaum in a statement.

"A groundbreaking actress, producer, and passionate advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Mary will be remembered as a fearless visionary who turned the world on with her smile."

Leslie Moonves, chairman and CEO of CBS Corp. in a statement says "Mary Tyler Moore was a once-in-a-generation talent. She will be long remembered as a gifted actress, television pioneer and a role model to so many. CBS has lost one of the very best to ever grace our airwaves and our industry has lost a true legend and friend."

South African TV viewers got to know Mary Tyler Moore and The Mary Tyler Moore Show with the beginning of television in the country and watched a black and white version on the SABC's then TV1, and in the 80's the colour version on the SABC's same channel.

Later during the 90's, South African viewers got the chance to watch the character of Mary Richads in The Mary Tyler Moore show again, with umpteenth rebroadcasts on M-Net's The Series Channel, forerunner of M-Net Series, when MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform started in the country.

"It has surprised me year after year from the last episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show that it was revered and continues to be, but I think I've become used to it," Mary Tyler Moore told The Toronto Star in 1997. "I treasure the esteem with which the public holds Mary Richards - and Mary Tyler Moore, who helped create her. It's a great feeling."

Mary Tyler Moore's sitcom was revolutionary, although it now seems quaint just 4 decades later: Here was a main character, a woman, who dared to be independent, worked in TV news, never married and forged her own way. She was a role model for single, working women.

It's no wonder that the beloved star who won 7 Emmy Awards and who has a statue of herself flinging her hat into the air in Minneapolis - became an icon for the feminist movement for generations of women who wanted to be like Mary.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show won numerous Emmys and rightly remain on numerous lists of the most influential TV shows of all time.

Her MTM productions - that on-air meowing kitten - was hers, and gently poked fun at MGM's roaring lion while it produced hit American shows that were all shown in South Africa, from Hill Street Blues and WKRP in Cincinnatti to St. Elsewhere, Remington Steele, Rescue 911 and many more.

Thank you for everything, Mary Tyler Moore. You took the town and really made it after all.

SABC and Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC) signs multi-year agreement to broadcast mixed martial arts on SABC3 from 11 February.

After the SABC failed to realise many of the promises the South African public broadcaster made for more live boxing on the SABC in June 2015 the SABC on Wednesday signed a multi-year broadcasting partnership with the Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC) to broadcast mixed martial arts (MMA) through the SABC Sport banner on SABC3.

EFC content was broadcast on e.tv in 2016 but this partnership is now switching to the SABC.

The announcement comes as the SABC struggles to provide enough and relevant sports coverage of national interest to South African viewers, with SABC executives the past two years warning parliament that the SABC will go bankrupt if it has to continue to fork out millions of rand for sports rights of which the costs keeps escalating.

Sully Motsweni, SABC Sport executive says in a statement he is "proud to announce that SABC Sport has partnered with EFC, a home-grown world-leading mixed martial arts organisation."

In the new deal between the SABC and the EFC, EFC fights will be broadcast on SABC3 from Saturday 11 February at 21:00 in two-hour blocks per week, with 10 live EFC event broadcasts per year.

The SABC says this EFC coverage will then be rebroadcast on Mondays at 14:00 on SABC3. This means the local Fun-Natix youth and kids programming usually broadcast at 14:00 on SABC3 is being replaced by fighting.

During the 10 live EFC events, SABC3 will broadcast three hours of EFC coverage live until midnight. The first live EFC event on SABC3 will be EFC 57 broadcast on 4 March.

"This is a huge day for mixed martial arts and EFC fans across South Africa," says Cairo Howarth, EFC president.

"Now Saturday nights have got a whole lot more exciting thanks to SABC Sport. This is a huge milestone for EFC, its partners and the EFC athletes, who will all be showcased to millions of SABC3 viewers every Saturday night and repeated on Monday afternoon. Exciting times for MMA!"

SABC3 doesn't have million of viewers, with its most watched show in prime time during December 2016 luring 889 585 viewers.

"The SABC has always prided itself in producing and promoting the best home-grown television productions as well as bringing the best international sport and entertainment to local viewers," says SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.

"EFC events are hosted across South Africa, and appeal to a wide local audience. We are very proud to be promoting the sport in the different provinces and bringing all the top-quality EFC programming to SABC."

Nigerians furious that Big Brother Naija is filmed in South Africa; Nigerian Broadcasting Commission to investigate 'location fraud'; MultiChoice explains production decision.

Controversy has erupted and Nigerians are furious after "discovering" that the second season of Big Brother Naija shown since Sunday night on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform is being filmed in South Africa, with even the West African country's government ordering its broadcasting commission to investigate if there's been "location fraud".

M-Net's West Africa division and production company Endemol Shine Africa are using the exact same production house in Johannesburg for the second season of Big Brother Nigeria shown on MultiChoice's DStv, already outfitted and technically rigged previously, that's been used for other iterations like the pan-continental Big Brother Africa, Big Brother Mozambique, Big Brother Angola and Big Brother Mzansi.

The latest Nigerian viewer rage is part of a bigger trend: growing animosity in Nigeria - struggling economically and with a slipping currency making premium products like DStv more expensive - towards especially products and services perceived to be from South Africa, like MultiChoice.

The past year has seen growing customer and government resentment in Nigeria towards MultiChoice Nigeria in terms of DStv subscription prices and services, with several instances of Nigerian TV censorship that caused programmes to be pulled from DStv channels for the whole of Africa because Nigerians found it objectionable.

In the latest uproar, Nigerians are furious that a show for Nigerian viewers is not actually filmed in the country because the production demands uninterrupted electricity, greater security, and can be done cheaper on a tight production budget.

Interestingly The Voice Nigeria and The Voice Angola in 2016 were also filmed in South Africa to make use of the already constructed South African set used for The Voice South Africa, as well as the better and cheaper studio facilities, expert film crews and infrastructure - without a similar ruckus.

A litany of Nigeria's biggest music stars have, and continue to, film their glossy, upmarket music videos, filled with show-off blingola, in South Africa, especially Cape Town, with several Nigerian companies that also chose to rather film their TV commercials over the past year at the southern tip of Africa and constantly seen across various DStv channels.

As Nigerians vented on social media on Monday and Tuesday, Nigeria's ministry of information and culture put out a statement late Tuesday saying it has ordered Nigeria's National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to investigate why Big Brother Naija is not filmed in Nigerian soil and possible deceitful "location fraud", claiming viewers were never told the show would be done outside Nigeria.

"As a country of laws, only the outcome of the investigation will determine our next line of action," said the ministry in a statement.

'We don't have light and other crucial infrastructure'
Although there's no shower hour as in order Big Brother iterations in Africa due to Nigeria's conservative viewer mores, the show does need to be on the air 24 hours per day, seven days a week for 11 weeks - something that's extremely difficult to achieve and guarantee in Nigeria's struggling TV industry hampered by infrastructure issues and an intermittent electricity supply.

The production also opted for South Africa due to being able to film the same show cheaper than what it would cost in Lagos, with greater security.

On social media Aderemi Ogunpitan, producer of the first season of Big Brother Nigeria, said "maybe DStv should relocate to South Africa", admitting that "yes we don't have light and other crucial infrastructure" but that "using our environment as an excuse is rather tardy".

Producer Obi Asika who also worked on the first season however told Nigeria's The Pulse newspaper that even though the show used generators due to the inconsistent electricity supply in Nigeria on "a particular day our generator provider decided to switch off the generator at 5am on a Saturday morning".

"We had to put the cameras on loop. Some guy was just being an irritant. I can't remember why he even did it. He had decided he wasn't getting enough adverts or something. So it was probably the most hectic day of all the days."

"It took us till about 12 noon to get the generator back on but because it was Saturday morning, people did not know that we were looping the whole tape".

Show's quality is the overriding concern
MultiChoice Nigeria, asked for comment, in a statement says it decided to produce Big Brother Naija in South Africa because the quality of the show that viewers see is of the utmost importance.

The show that's made for Nigeria, is shown across Africa on DStv, including in South Africa on DStv channel 198.

"It's with this commitment in mind that a decision was taken to stage the show in the fully-equipped Big Brother house located in South Africa."

"Both MultiChoice and our customers are currently experiencing tough economic times which have forced us as a business to review our operations so we can continue to deliver the best entertainment value for our customers."

"Staging the show in a Big Brother facility that already exists - and has been specially built for such purposes – is not only cost-effective but has also allowed M-Net and Endemol Shine to maintain the same excellent production values as with previous Big Brother editions whilst meeting tight timelines."

MultiChoice Nigeria says that "Big Brother Nigeria is a proudly Nigerian show featuring Nigerians as housemates, in the production staff, as Biggie’s voice, all led by a Nigerian series director."

"The musical performances that will delight viewers in the next 11 weeks also includes some of Nigeria's biggest and hottest stars."

"MultiChoice is a proud supporter and investor of local creative industries and currently has ongoing entertainment productions across the continent, including the much-loved Tinsel and upcoming Africa Magic Viewers' Choice Awards which are filmed and produced in Nigeria and aired in several countries across Africa."

MultiChoice Uganda's publicist Tina Wamala getting fired for telling a tabloid she's ready for a one night stand with any man - report.

MultiChoice Uganda's publicist Tina Wamala is getting fired, according to reports, for telling a tabloid recently that she desires to have a one night stand with any man that's ready for her.

According to reports, Tina Wamala as MultiChoice's PR and communications manager in Uganda "has always tried to maintain a clean image until few weeks back".

Tina Wamala was summoned for a disciplinary hearing, and apparently told she's bringing MultiChoice's brand into disrepute.

Why Tina Wamala - whose personal life is her own business - would make such public comments to Uganda's The Kampala Sun , who ran the interview on 14 January this year - is inexplicable.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Why did M-Net put Emerald City on Vuzu AMP on DStv when this Games of Thrones like show clearly belongs on M-Net Edge?

A woman is shown stabbed and killed from the back, explicitly pierced by a sword. In a whore house soldiers are sexed. A woman (a witch actually) is shown blowing her brains out and toppling over, while three young women are seen jumping to their deaths in a "hanging" suicide.

In another scene a murdered soldier's chopped off pieces (head etc.) is shown, while winter is literally coming and has now arrived as snowflakes sift down because of a problem with magic.

If you think it's the latest new episode from the upcoming 7th season of Game of Thrones on M-Net Edge (DStv 102), guess again.

It's scenes from the inappropriately placed and scheduled new American fantasy drama series Emerald City on Vuzu AMP (DStv 102) on a channel where DStv subscribers in their content discovery process won't expect to find it, and where it doesn't actually belong.

The at times graphic show - now four episodes in and one of M-Net's Express from the US titles - has been placed on the youth-centric Vuzu AMP although its much more similar in nature in look, sense, feel and some graphic depictions, to fantasy dramas like Game of Thrones, Vikings and Beowulf.

Guess on what M-Net channel on MultiChoice's DStv these types of shows are actually shown.

Somebody at M-Net acquired Emerald City and didn't bother to actually watch it. For Emerald City isn't Vuzu AMP's The Vampire Diaries.

If you like more mature fantasy drama series you will like Emerald City, a sort of deconstructed and definitely post-modernist version of the classic story about Dorothy who gets whisked away by tornado to a mystical new land where she meets up with a hodge-potch group all looking for the Wizard of Oz.

The steampunk fantasy series has a lot of unfolding, surprising twists but the problem is that some viewers might not know of its existence on the Pretty Little Liars channel.

If only there were a bit of heart. If only there were a bit of bravery. If only there were a bit of brains.

Watching Emerald City on Vuzu AMP it feels as if M-Net wants viewers to watch content (and yes, Emerald City is good content) that people in the acquisitions and scheduling teams don't watch themselves. Or, if it is pre-watched, and still scheduled wrongly, then it borders on borderline incompetence.

If The Magicians (based on a book) and a series meant for mature audiences was shown on M-Net Edge - in which characters in a magical environment battle themselves, each other and adversaries to find answers and survive - why is Emerald City (based on a book) now a series meant for mature audiences placed on Vuzu AMP as a show in which characters in a magic environment battle themselves, each other and adversaries to find answers and survive?

Another issue: In America Emerald City is an NBC show. Strikingly the new TV season's biggest new hit drama series, This is Us, is nowhere to be seen anywhere in South Africa.

It begs the question: Why has This Is Us not been acquired by M-Net - or e.tv? A show in which American TV bosses have so much confidence that it was just renewed not just for a second but also for a third season?

And if This is Us (soo good!) is eventually seen in South Africa, how much of the entertainment value will be gone because viewers will already have been told, or have read somewhere about the emotional twists and fascinating plot twists that were all well guarded secrets in the first episode and subsequent hours of this terrific new series?

With both Emerald City and This is Us South African TV viewers are not being considered and served as paying TV customers as well as they should be.

If only viewers, like the Wizard of Oz, were able to quickly summon a witch (or a giant) to fix it, when something like this that's clearly a TV mistake, went wrong.

More issues for Planet Earth 2 series on BBC Worldwide's BBC Earth: Viewers call out BBC over 'fake' sounds, while a producer calls it 'a disaster for the world's wildlife'.

After the BBC admitted in late 2016 that it used what is actually a trained eagle in an episode of its new documentary series Planet Earth 2 starting soon on BBC Worldwide's BBC Earth (DStv 184), more issues have come to light to show that with this new documentary series everything isn't and isn't going to be "all things bring and beautiful" for its creatures great and small.

After Planet Earth 2, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, failed to tell viewers in an episode that some of the "amazing" eagle-eyed footage was actually done through using a captive and trained bird, there was also the issue of British viewers who got upset and slammed the BBC show as "cruel" for showing viewers a snow leopard rape scene that some viewers said became to much to bear.

It's not just some of the Planet Earth 2 visuals that viewers are upset with - cue the complaints about Planet Earth II producers inserting and dubbing in "fake" sounds during post-production as well.

And then there's the producer who said the BBC's Planet Earth 2 is "a disaster for the world's wildlife".

The BBC received complaints from viewers about the Planet Earth 2 "fake" sound effects, while the BBC explained that wildlife documentary filmmakers use sound engineers to create sounds that feel wild because the technology doesn't exist to accurately capture the sounds that many animals make.

"Viewers said things like "I love Planet Earth 2 but enough with the sound effects please.A lizard gliding through the air does not sound like a jet" and "Planet Earth II is gorgeous, but I absolute hate hate hate the fake sound effects every time something moves".

The BBC in March 2016 - commenting in general about wildlife documentary filmmaking and not specifically about Planet Earth 2 although the same holds true - that "range and ambient noise ensure quite a lot of wild sounds simply cannot be recorded in the field".

"As a result, wildlife filmmakers often turn to sound designers to recreate something that sounds like it would in the wild - a soundtrack that is true to nature".

Quite bizarrely, the BBC's Planet Earth 2 inserted creaking sounds that's not real while showing mushrooms growing, swivelling sounds for a draco lizard's eyes moving, a jaguar crunching a caiman's skull, even a millipede's footsteps, and many, many more.

It all damages the credibility of not just Planet Earth 2, but also the BBC's factual entertainment brands like BBC Earth.

A viewer said "The plot/sound effects are so fake that they might as well have had the animals speaking to camera".

Some viewers have also been complaining about Planet Earth 2's "deafening sound effects" and "squelching".

Then there is producer Martin Hughes-Games, saying Planet Earth II is "a disaster for the world's wildlife" and a significant contributor to planet-wide extinctions".

Attacking Planet Earth 2, Martin Hughes-Games said the series is "an escapist wildlife fantasy" that ignores the damage humans are doing to the planet and that something like Planet Earth 2 breeds complacency with viewers about the destruction of Earth taking place.

According to Martin Huges-Games, Richard Attenborough and others "are lulling the huge worldwide audience into a false sense of security. No hint of the continuing disaster is allowed to shatter the illusion".

He called the BBC's Planet Earth 2 in an opinion piece for The Guardian newspaper "pure entertainment, brilliantly executed but ultimately a significant contributor to the planet-wide extinction of wildlife we're presiding over".

The BBC was asked about this and declined to comment.

M-Net's MasterChef SA judges Peter Goffe-Wood and Benny Masekwameng jump to new 5th season of Justin Bonello's Ultimate Braaimaster on e.tv as judges.

M-Net's MasterChef South Africa judges Pete Goffe-Wood and Benny Masekwameng are jumping to rival free-to-air broadcaster e.tv and will now be judges on the new fifth season of Ultimate Braaimaster.

The new fifth season of the local braai series, of which previous seasons have also been broadcast on The Travel Channel (DStv 179), starts on e.tv on Sunday 5 February at 16:00 with the first episode taking place at Cape St Francis.

The two former well-known chefs' faces from M-Net's cooking reality show who will now popping up as judges in the e.tv outdoor cooking competition show alongside presenter and judge Justin Bonello.

Pete Goffe-Wood, the executive chef and CEO of Kitchen Cowboy, and Benny Masekwameng, Tsogo Sun's executive chef, will now bring their wit, sometimes acerbic remarks and death-stares that made them a viewer favourite on M-Net's MasterChef SA to Ultimate Braaimaster.

Ten teams of two will once again compete against each other across South Africa in various weekly braai challenges during a national braai road trip that saw the show traverse 7 000km.

"e.tv is proud to be broadcasting yet another exciting season of Ultimate Braai Master,"says Marlon Davids, the managing director of e.tv's channels division.

"The award winning show will give our viewers an introspective look into our unique cooking culture while exploring the magnificent landscape of South Africa."

While M-Net ended MasterChef South Africa in 2015 and dismantled the expensive and specially constructed Nederburg test kitchen after three seasons and a local celebrity edition, local food competition shows remain popular with pogrammes like the series Kom Ons Braai on Media24's Afrikaans lifestyle channel VIA (DStv 147), Chopped South Africa on the Food Network (DStv 175) and The Great South African Bake Off on BBC Lifestyle (DStv 174) that concluded its second season. 

In the new 5th season of Ultimate Braaimaster, produced by Cooked in Africa Films, teams travelled to tourist attractions like the Drakensberg Mountains, Gamtoos River in the Eastern Cape, Letsatsi Game Lodge in the Free-State and Wavecrest Hotel&Spa in the Wild Coast.

The teams will explore extraordinary methods of surviving and consuming food prepared entirely on the fire.

The Teams
Spice girls 
- Pretty and Precious Zondo from Durban.

Monante Cuisine - Two chefs from the Saxon Hotel, Surprise Mogano and Corvin Pietersen.
The Muttonheads - Durbanites, Tersian and Tarlan Baker.
The Explorers - Gugu Ngobese and Samkelisiwe Cele from Springs.
Ebony & Ivory - Brian Muller and Sfiso Nsele are both chefs residing around Kruger National Park.
Pretty Griddy - The team made up of a butchery manager and a housewife from Somerset West consists of Desiree IIngram and Peter.
Smoke n’ Hot Randhir Parbhunath and Surika Singh a sales manager and beautician from Stanger and Chatsworth in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Salty Flames - Chanel Marais from Milnerton Ridge in Cape-Town and Nick Perfect from Amanzimtoti.
Outlaws - Wouter Pretorius and Bertus de Vos, two brother-in-laws from Pretoria North and Randburg.
Empire - Belinka Forbes and Merle Rancke both from the Western Cape.

Fifth season of MTV Africa's Shuga sex drama filmed in South Africa will be set in a fictionalised Soweto called Zenzele; adds Nigerian artists.

The 5th season of MTV Africa's Shuga, filmed for the first time in South Africa, is bringing a South African flavour to the mix but is toning down its overt "South Africanness", adding Nigerian artists and setting it in a fictional township doubling as Soweto.

While MTV's Shuga is being filmed in South Africa for the first time, MTV Africa wants the pan-African edutainment sex drama to remain relatable to a broad African youth audience base that will be broadcast in several African nations.

Quizzical Pictures, producing the fifth season of Shuga entitled Shuga: Down South, for Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa), decided to create and set the new season in the clubs and schools of "Zenzele" - a fictionalised version of the sprawling South African township of Soweto, bordering Johannesburg's mining belt in the south.

Nigerian artists are part of the latest season to keep a pan-African feel to the gritty series that in its new 8-episodes will continue to tell cautionary tales around HIV/Aids and youth sex, drug use, teen motherhood and unplanned pregnancy, and other relational issues young African people are confronted with.

South African actors Given Stuurman (soccer player Reggie struggling with his sexual identity), Stephanie Sandows (mercenary teenager Tsholo), Ayandai Makayi (possessive boyfriend Sol) and Winnie Ntshaba (religious mother Neliswe) have been added to Shuga: Down South.

They join Vanessa Mdee (Storm), Clint Brink (Rakeem), Thuso Mbedu (pictured) (Ipeleng), Mohau Mokoatle Cele (Bongi), Jezriel Skei (Quinton), Lerato Walaza (teen mom Zamo) and Phila Mazibuko (DJ Coalstove).

Nigerian actors Emmaniel Ifeanyi Ikubese (Femi) and Adesua Etomi (Sheila), as well as Kenya's Nick Mutuma (Leo) will also appear. The Nigerian artist Seyi Shay and South African rapper Kwesta will make guest appearances in Shuga: Down South as themselves.

After open auditions, six more people were added to the cast: Samkelisiwe Makhoba as troubled teenager Kensai, Cebo Zikhali (Kitso), Sphelele Mzimela (Sis No'xolo), Herbert Sibanda (Fentse), Eve Rasimeni (nurse) and Thabiso Seboka (soccer player).

Production on Shuga: Down South started in December 2016 and will be broadcast  from 8 March on MTV Base (DStv 322). Shuga will also be shown BET (DStv 129) and on SABC1 later in 2017.

Monday, January 23, 2017

SABC's self-censorship continues as SABC News cuts the live feed and screens go black when EFF leader Julius Malema mentions 'no brains' Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

South African and African viewers on Monday saw how the SABC's alleged self-censorship continues in 2017 when the SABC's SABC News division abruptly cut the live feed and screens went black on its SABC News (DStv 404) channel and its You Tube stream when the EFF leader Julius Malema at a press conference unexpectedly mentioned the SABC's controversial boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

During the press conference of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on Monday in Johannesburg, leader Julius Malema decided to lay into the ANC political party through a proxy - the SABC's infamous incompetence icon, Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Shocked viewers of the SABC News channel carried on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service, saw their TV screens suddenly flash to black, then green, and then revert to the SABC canned in-house ads. The You Tube live feed also stopped.

eNCA (DStv 403) didn't break the transmission of the press conference.

Viewers murmured: Either SABC self-censorship kicked in, or incompetence is to blame.

Either way, it was another embarrassing public blotch on the SABC News division's less that credible news service and comes after a year in which the SABC and SABC News suffered massive brand and reputational damage for its decision to censor TV news visuals and the unfair firing of SABC news journalists who the broadcaster was eventually forced to reinstate in their jobs.

On Monday during the press conference it wasn't that the SABC lost the signal or had technical problems.

SABC News as a channel remained on the air, as is evident by the overlay of the words "Live" and "SABC News" that remained on the black screen - but SABC executives deliberately appeared to have hastily cut the press conference feed.

"If you want to see how the ANC leadership looks like then just look at Hlaudi and you will know the type of crème de la crème of the ANC," said Julius Malema.

"In KwaZulu-Natal they said he must be part of the National Executive Committee. They are looking for such things. If you have anything that looks like Hlaudi, just give it to the ANC to be led by such things. There are no brains, they are gone. If there are no brains - "

It was at this point that the SABC abruptly killed the news feed on SABC News with viewers wondering why the SABC switched off with viewers who wanted to know why the SABC is censoring the EFF press conference when Hlaudi Motsoeneng was mentioned.

So far there's been no explanation from the SABC as to what happened on SABC News and why - or who decided to cut the feed when the EFF mentioned Hlaudi Motsoeneng and why the feed stopped showing the press conference at the specific moment when Hlaudi Motsoeneng was started to be criticised.

New Mexican telenovela, The Son I Never Knew, is starting on Telemundo on DStv about a mom who realises that she doesn't know her children at all.

A new Mexican telenovela, The Son I Never Knew ("Vuelve temprano" in English really meaning "Don't Be Late" or "Come Back Early") is starting on Monday 23 January at 17:10 on Telemundo (DStv 118) about parents searching for the truth about the death of their son and finding out they knew their children not as well as they thought.

South African and African viewers are just a few months behind - The Son I Never Knew started in October 2016 and is filmed in Mexico.

In the telenovela, a TV news anchor, Clara Zavaleta (Gabriela de la Garza) discovers her son has been killed in a car accident after a night out with friends - Ignatio's (Daniel Barona) body is found at the bottom of a cliff.

Clara discovers that her son's death was no accident and is now obsessed with finding his killer. With her husband Santiago (Rubén Zamora), they find out that they didn't knew their son and two daughters - the pregnant Isabel (Cristina Rodlo) and rebellious teenager Florencia (Julia Urbini) - at all.

Santiago, a criminal attorney becomes the lawyer in the criminal case of his son's murder. He is assisted by officer Antonio Avelica (Mario Cimarro) who is considered a hero within the police force, but whose close relationship with the victim's family takes its toll, as they venture deeper into the case.

As usual with Spanish telenovelas, unexpected secrets emerge as the suspects of the murder quickly start to multiply.

This 2016 telenovela is actually based on, and a remake of, an earlier homonymous telenovela of 2014 that ran in Chile.