Wednesday, January 31, 2018

MultiChoice finally dumps controversial ANN7 channel from DStv; admits 'mistakes were made - but no corruption' as DStv is looking for a new black-owned TV news channel.

Naspers' MultiChoice pay-TV operator on Wednesday afternoon announced that it's finally dumping the controversial ANN7 (DStv 405) TV channel from its DStv bouquet and admitted that "mistakes were made" but that an internal investigation found no corruption.

MultiChoice SA CEO Calvo Mawela won't release the full report to the public.

At issue is whether Naspers' pay-TV division illegally influenced the South African government's policy on encryption of set-top boxes (STBs) for the stalled digital migration process from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT), by paying the SABC and ANN7 to carry their channels, and through them, get them to apply pressure on the government.

MultiChoice on Wednesday admitted that it "has not performed a due diligence test on any channel ownership," and that "given the experience with ANN7, the committee is of the view that in future such due diligence should be instituted and be made compulsory for all new start-up channels."

In November 2017 explosive, leaked meeting transcripts between MultiChoice and the South African public broadcaster the SABC, as well as #GuptaLeaks contracts between MultiChoice and the controversial ANN7 D(Stv 405) channel became public, showing massive payments from DStv to the Guptas, have raised multiple serious questions over corporate impropriety.

MultiChoice told the SABC it would pay the broadcaster R100 million for the SABC News channel but but only on the strict must-have contract clause condition that the SABC must support MultiChoice's stance on conditional access (CA) for digital television.

MultiChoice also dramatically upped its payments from R50 million per year to R100 million per year and then R141 million per year, as well as a questionable, additional R25 million payment to the Guptas for the low-rated, bad quality, mistake-filled and often criticised ANN7.

MultiChoice is paying ANN7 more despite its barely there low ratings than eNCA (DStv 403) that has more than 50% of the overall TV news audience share.

It's all created the perception that MultiChoice has paid kickbacks to both the SABC and ANN7 to use its influence to get set-top box (STB) encryption dropped from government-subsidised STBs in the switch to digital terrestrial television (DTT).

MultiChoice and Naspers have denied the kickbacks allegations and the MultiChoice board announced that MultiChoice is starting an internal investigation of itself.

On Wednesday MultiChoice at a news conference at its MultiChoice City headquarters in Randburg and in a press statement said "mistakes were made in handling ANN7 - but no corruption".

MultiChoice is now dumping ANN7 at the end of August when the current contract ends and said procedures will be "tightened and controversial issues to be escalated to the MultiChoice board faster" in the future when controversy arise around something like ANN7 where thousands of DStv subscribers started a petition for the channel to be removed.

MultiChoice said that a contract for a "new, black-owned news channel is being put out to tender" to replace ANN7 that critics have said was doing slanted, biased news that's sowing division in South Africa.

MultiChoice SA CEO Calvo Mawela admitted that MultiChoice's internal investigation found that the pay-TV operator it had failed to do due diligence on ANN7 and did not raise initial concerns it had over the channel to its board.

"While we are pleased that the investigation into the ANN7 contract did not discover any corruption or other illegal activity, the questions we have faced throughout this process have been sobering," said Calvo Mawela.

"Today we hold our hands up to our mistakes and set out a path to restoring public trust," said Calvo Mawela, who won't be releasing the actual report the the media and the public.

MultiChoice said that the millions of rand it paid and is paying to ANN7 as part of its carriage agreement "are within acceptable parameters associated with the establishment and cost of producing a news channel".

Calvo Mawela said "this has been a humbling experience for MultiChoice. While we entered into an agreement for the ANN7 channel at a time that the extent of State Capture was unknown, we fully understand the outrage of the public regarding endemic corruption in our country and accept we should have dealt with the concerns around ANN7 far more swiftly."

"There’s also no doubt that we managed our communication of this issue poorly."

A new channel to drive down the eNCA costs
After Wednesday press conference it looks even more clear that MultiChoice decided to start ANN7 in part as a tool to drive down costs in channel carriage negotiations and agreements with eMedia Investments over eNCA (DStv 403), the most watched TV news channel where costs soared.

The existence of ANN7 would mean that eNCA was no longer the only player and that MultiChoice could "threaten" to walk away and drop it in carriage negotiations.

"The negotiations with ANN7 began at a time when MultiChoice wanted to add local black voices to reflect more diverse local news coverage on the DStv platform," said MultiChoice in its statement on Wednesday.

"In addition, annual payments to had escalated substantially, heading towards R500 million per year. The commercial rationale was to assist in the development of the new ANN7 channel by contributing to their costs and allow it a reasonable term of three/five years to develop. Should it fail, MultiChoice would let the agreement lapse at the end of the period, as allowed for in the contract."

MultiChoice says "the payments made to ANN7 were not abnormal relative to other local news channels carried on the DStv platform".

"MultiChoice paid an amount to ANN7 for a start-up 24-hour local news channel that was substantially lower than that paid to The terms of the agreement were renegotiated and payments increased when it became apparent that ANN7 needed to improve quality on the channel."

"In addition, the R25 million upfront payment to ANN7 made on 15 September 2015 was neither abnormal nor unusual. Other channels have previously received upfront payments as part of the channel negotiations," said MultiChoice.

MultiChoice admits lobbying issues that need attention
About lobbying the government, MultiChoice also said there is room for improvement on MultiChoice's side.

"Given the fluid nature of lobbying, which is part of the broadcasting and telecoms industry globally, MultiChoice should study international best practise and formalise its lobbying process<' the company said.

"The new process should be adhered to by all involved to ensure that an acceptable line is not crossed in such activities."

MultiChoice admitted that when concerns were raised about the owners of ANN7, "MultiChoice management should have acted more swiftly to escalate issues to the MultiChoice board for formal consideration and decision".

Yet another new local SA TV news channel
MultiChoice says that it "continues to believe that the wide range of foreign and local news channels
(SABC News and eNCA) on our platform – representing widely divergent views, needs to be
supplemented with another local voice. In particular, a black-owned and run channel that represents the majority of people in this country."

"It must be owned, managed and run by a black South African company, free from any political or other interference. It must be able to provide independent, non-partisan and critical news coverage of
current affairs."

MultiChoice said the TV news channel "must take into account South Africa’s history, diversity of cultural backgrounds, language and socio-economic circumstances in the way it produces

Generations warns against 2018's first bogus casting call and audition scam: There is no Mfundi Vundla Academy.

The SABC weekday soap Generations – The Legacy is warning the public against yet another fraudulent scam trying to lure victims to fake auditions they have to pay for, purportedly done by The Mfundi Vundla Academy, with the TV production telling TVwithThinus that a “Mfundi Vundla Academy” doesn’t exist.

Fraudsters annually entice gullable South Africans to so-called “soap auditions” – mostly in Johannesburg – trying to cash in on the hugely popular genre’s appeal under ordinary South Africans who watch these shows and like the characters they see, dream of riches and fame. 

Soaps that have been most susceptible over the past few years have been the longrunning Generations and Muvhango on SABC2, as well as Scandal! and Rhythm City on due to these brands’ wide appeal under the viewing audience on free-to-air terrestrial TV channels.

Besides specialised talent agencies doing closed castings, open casting calls are done directly by TV shows themselves and it doesn’t happen very often. 

People should also never have to pay for any casting call for a potential TV role or “soap audition”. People should never pay a model scout or to be seen by any modeling agency – and should definitely never undress, send or do naked photos, pay for interviews or sign contracts.

After several bogus casting calls last year, 2018 has started off with the first fradulent “casting call” targeting SABC1’s Generations produced by Morula Pictures, asking people to come to a fake audition at the Market Thearte Lab in Johannesburg on 2 February, trying to cash in on the name of the show’s creator and executive producer Mfundi Vundla

Generations tells TVwithThinus this is fake.

“It has come to our attention that there are fake auditions being held at the Market Theatre Lab on 2 February. The perpetrators are using Mfundi Vundla’s name to lure unsuspecting victims. There is no such thing as a ‘Mfundi Vundla Academy’ and there are no real Generations auditions held at the Market theatre on 2 February 2018,” says the show.

“With the rise of human trafficking we fear this could be one of the tools used to lure young people so it’s imperative that word gets out. Mfundi Vunda does not have anything to do with the advertised audition.”

A new circle logo for Lifetime as A+E Networks UK once again updates the female-skewed channel's look to fit its American counterpart.

The Lifetime (DStv 131) channel supplied by A+E Networks UK, will again be changing its logo and its on-air look from Tuesday 6 February.

The Lifetime logo change for South Africa and Africa comes exactly a year after the change was introduced in America in February 2017 for the female-skewed channel.

During the past year public reaction to the new, more dull and plain circular logo and the word "LIFETIME" inside has been less than great; it remains to be seen what reaction DStv subscribers in South Africa and across the rest of the continent will have a reaction to it, if any.

With the new Lifetime logo also comes some new programming, and besides the logo, Lifetime's on-air look and feel will change, with new Lifetime channel idents.

"With busy schedules; juggling the demands of work, children and home, we know just how hectic life gets and that Lifetime viewers come to the channel to be entertained," says Naz Khan, A+E Networks Africa head of marketing.

"We are driven to ensure that the shows on Lifetime give our viewers that chance to unwind and to escape. It is important to us that viewers also see a reflection of themselves in the real life people portrayed on our channel and know that they are not going it alone."

The 4th season of The Rap Game will start on Wednesday 7 February in which rappers from all walks of life bust beats for the ultimate prize of a recording contract with the Grammy winner Jermaine Dupri.

The 4th season of Little Women Atlanta starts on Wednesday 14 February at 20:00.

Terra's Big House starts on Lifetime on 22 February at 20:00, following Terra and Joe from Little Women: LA as they embark on a new journey as parents.

Question of Love is a new show starting on Friday 23 February at 20:00 following 3 couples as they ask each other some of the toughest truths.

If you’ve ever wondered about the powerhouse behind fashion’s Gigi and Bella and their model brother Anwar, their mom Yolanda Hadid shares her secrets and sees if she can replicate that success for six aspiring models in Making a Model with Yolanda Hadid starting Thursday 1 March 20:50.

The former model guides models and their "momagers" though an intensive 8 week training program.

The 6th season of the American version of Married at First Sight will start on Lifetime on 30 Mach 20:50. Viewers will follow Boston singles paired up.

Lifetime will broadcast the Lifetime Original Movie that was just broadcast on Lifetime in America, Cocaine Godmother on 31 March at 20:00. Catherine Zeta-Jones stars in the true story of Griselda Blanco Restrepo, the most infamous woman in the drug world.  

It follows Griselda from the age of 17, when she made her way to America with a fake passport through to her ruthlessly running the cocaine trade in America until she was deported back to Colombia in 2012.

Lifetime will repeat the second season of UnReal from Monday 12 March at 20:00 and says it will show the 3rd season of UnReal "in coming months".

Lifetime’s new beauty competition Glam Masters will start in June and has Laverne Cox as presenter and Kim Kardashian West as executive producer. "I’m fascinated by how artists are able to transform someone’s look with makeup and couldn’t be more ecstatic for them to show what they can really do," says Laverne Cox.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

SABC officially appoints Chris Maroleng as new, permanent chief operating officer (COO) of the SABC from February.

Chris Maroleng has officially been appointed as the new, permanent chief operating officer (COO) at the SABC, starting 1 February 2018.

He replaces Bessie Tugwana who has been the SABC acting COO, following the controversial and contentious tenure of the famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng who lied about his qualifications and caused staff, operational, financial and morale chaos at the embattled South African public broadcaster during his tenure before he was eventually finally fired in June 2017.

The SABC has meanwhile quietly advertised in December 2017 for a new SABC CEO and new SABC chief financial officer (CFO), and announced on Tuesday that the deadline for applications has been extended to 14 February 2018.

Chris Maroleng's appointment as SABC COO was expected after SABC insiders and SABC board members in mid-January confirmed to TVwithThinus that the former eNCA (DStv 403 anchor has been the preferred candidate and that he will be appointed as the new second highest in charge executive at the SABC.

Chris Maroleng has a gargantuan task ahead of him at the SABC where the broadcaster - besides a financial crisis - faces systems, staffers, operational, editorial, content and broadcasting procedures that were torn down and needs to be rebuilt and repaired - alongside the worker morale, credibility and trust in the SABC and its damaged public brand image.

Chris Maroleng left the cellular company MTN at the end of December where he resigned as group head for corporate affairs to join the SABC. Before that he was eNCA Africa editor for 6 years as well as a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies.

Chris Maroleng has a BA (Hons) and MA degrees from the University of Cape Town and has received several post-graduate scholarships and awards.

"I look forward to playing a role as part of an executive team, in transforming the SABC into a world-class public broadcaster that is responsive to the needs of all South Africans," said Chris Maroleng in a statement on Tuesday.

The SABC in the same statement said "the chairperson of the SABC on behalf of the board of the public broadcaster is pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Maroleng as the chief operations officer of the SABC, with effect from 1 February 2018."

"Chris Maroleng has demonstrated considerable management and financial acumen and he is familiar with the cutting-edge Fourth Industrial Revolution issues that the SABC needs to embrace going forward".

In an altercation on live TV in April 2010 on the eNCA TV news channel, Chris Maroleng became a viral sensation after he was involved in the protection of an on-air guest, the political analyst Lebohang Pheko, during a heated discussion with the former AWB secretary general AndrĂ© Visagie, and his infamous retort to his aggressive guest, saying: "Don't touch me on my studio."

BREAKING. Former Glee actor, Mark Salling found dead after apparent suicide.

The former Glee star, Mark Salling, who who pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography and who was scheduled to be sentenced in March, has been found dead with his body found hanging from a tree. He was 35.

Mark Salling who portrayed the character of Noah "Puck" Puckerman on Glee, was found dead on Tuesday near the house where he lived in Los Angeles and died in an apparent suicide, just weeks before he was to be sentenced on 7 March to prison for possession of child pornography.

Mark Salling previously attempted suicide in his home in August 2017 by cutting both of his wrists.

"I can confirm that Mark Salling passed away early this morning," said his lawyer Michael Proctor in a statement.

"Mark was a gentle and loving person, a person of great creativity, who was doing his best to atone for some serious mistakes and errors of judgment."

"He is survived by his mother and father, and his brother. The Salling family appreciates the support they have been receiving and asks for their privacy to be respected."

Mark Salling was arrested in December 2015 at his home on a charge of possession of child pornography.

In May 2016 Mark Salling was charged with receiving and possessing child pornography on his laptop computer and a flash memory drive. He was to be sentenced in March to a prison sentence of between 4 to 7 years, and would have been forced to register as a sex offender.

Mark Salling is the second Glee start to die unexpectedly. In July 2013 Cory Monteith was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room in Canada after a drug overdose of alcohol and heroin. He was 31 at the time.

Kenya's TV channels censored and abruptly taken off the air before swearing in ceremony of opposition leader Raila Odinga.

International news wire services reported on Tuesday that several of Kenya's local TV channels were censored and abruptly taken off the air as part of a draconian government black-out ahead of the Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga getting sworn in as president on Tuesday.

Several of Kenya's TV channels were abruptly yanked off the air on Tuesday morning to prevent any broadcast of the ceremony to Kenyan viewers, that is set to take place in Nairobi's Uhuru Park.

Radio Africa's Bamba TV was blacked out on Tuesday morning just minutes after Kenya's private channels, Citizen and NTV, were also abruptly censored and shut down. Inooro TV was also shut down, along with several Kenyan radio stations.

Besides Bamba, pay-TV providers including MultiChoice Kenya's DStv Kenya, and Zuku TV lost the transmission of several channels, with DStv telling viewers "apologies for the interruption in your viewing. We are working on the problem".

"The Communications Authority of Kenya has switched off Citizen Television and Radio in most parts of the country over the coverage of the swearing-in plan," the Citizen said on its website.

Kenya's dictatorial Communications Authority (CA) told TV stations that live television coverage of the swearing in ceremony was banned.

Nation Media's free-to-air platforms are also shut down because of the shocking censorship in the East African country.

Kenya's government warned the country's media not to cover Tuesday's event.

Kenya is experiencing political upheaval after president Uhuru Kenyatta won a re-run of the country's national elections on 26 October 2017 - an election that Raila Odinga boycotted and calls "a sham".

Kenya's press is supposed to bring and show readers, listeners and viewers the news, whatever it is - whether its comfortable or uncomfortable to see.

SABC once again messes up and spoils its 7de Laan soap on SABC2 by broadcasting the upcoming week's episodes instead of repeats during the weekend omnibus.

In yet another jaw-dropping mistake with the soap, the SABC once again messed up and spoiled its 7de Laan Afrikaans weekday soap on SABC2 by broadcasting an entire set of new upcoming episodes on Sunday, instead of a repeat of the past week's episodes.

On Sunday the South African public broadcaster, instead of repeating the past week's episodes of 7de Laan on SABC2, caused chaos and confused viewers when it showed brand-new episodes that were only supposed to be screened this week on SABC2 - spoiling the story lines for viewers and even giving away a big plot twist.

The soap's producers, Danie Odendaal Productions, again blamed the SABC and SABC2 for the latest big mistake.

The soap's producers said episodes are delivered in the correctly marked order to the SABC and that it is SABC2's responsibility to broadcast both the weekly episodes as well as the weekend 7de Laan omnibus episodes in the correct order.

"Hopefully it will never happen again. Please accept our apology for the inconvenience," said Danie Odendaal Productions in a statement.

SABC2 in a statement says "SABC2 has noted the unfortunate error regarding the broadcast of the 7de Laan omnibus on Sunday 28 January from 13:30 to 16:00" and that SABC2 takes full responsibility for the blunder.

"The channel takes full responsibility for the blunder and apologises to all our viewers and stakeholders for broadcasting the incorrect episodes".

"Measures have been put in place to ensure that such mistakes do not happen in future. We would like to assure viewers that on Sunday 4 February 2018, SABC2 will air the omnibus of this week's episodes in the correct sequence."

"We thank our loyal viewers for their continued support and urge them to keep watching the soapie for more intriguing story lines."

In November 2016 the SABC's SABC2 also botched 7de Laan's playout order, showing viewers a wrong, future episode out of sequence that also saw viewers complaining about being confused and getting the story spoilt.

REVIEW. The River on 1Magic is a meshed jumble of Jacob's Cross 2.0 and Isidingo 2.0 with a black 'Cherel de Villiers Haines', and scenic aerial drone shots.

The new telenovela The River for M-Net's rebranded 1Magic (DStv 103) channel that started on Monday for DStv Premium subscribers is a patchwork of stories and styles you've likely seen or had a passing interest in before - a somewhat overwrought mesh, borrowing from where parts of some other TV soaps have gone before.

Way overacting, Sindi Dlathu, hyping up the histrionics in interior shots but completely flat in exterior shots filmed on location, is channeling a black Cherel de Villiers Haines mining boss character (who also killed - and hid a body in a mine shaft in Isidingo - and who also grew up poor and abused but rose to rule thanks to ruthless ambition).

Once again South African viewers are fed the stale TV trope that a successful business woman surely must be evil and surely couldn't have attained what she did on her own by simply being good and good-natured.

It's interesting that Hlomla Dandala formerly from Jacob's Cross on M-Net and Africa Magic, and Don Mlangeni Nawa formerly from Isidingo on SABC3, both show up in roles.

The River, produced by Tshedza Pictures, comes across as a mash-up of Jacob's Cross 2.0 and Isidingo 2.0 so the presence of both of these actors serve intentionally or unintentionally as visual reminders and touchstones of the soapy dramas and roles they've been seen in before.

Nothing in The River except for visual scene setting aerial drone shots (that are done well) feels new.

Yet again a mining drama. Yet again rich people who are bad. Yet again a rich family unaware of the evil actions of the boss parent and spouse. Yet again poor people part of a mining community who are naive and being exploited.

Keep in mind that The River (the opening title sequence looks like M-Net's Egoli 2.0) is made for DStv Premium subscribers - an audience that already has access to the avalanche of multiple weekday soaps and telenovelas across the SABC's channels, as well as's new generation of stylised local prime time telenovelas.

The question then becomes why this upscale audience would watch yet another poor vs rich, mining community framed drama (complete with some traces of Skeem Saam angst).

The River - and this review is based on having viewed the first broadcast episode only, and yes, stories often take longer than the establishing episode to set up plot points - doesn't seem to have any themes that haven't been explored in other local soaps before.

In the first 24 minutes a woman is buried alive, another woman shoots and (presumably) kills herself, and a man is hit with a brick on his head from behind and drowned.

 It's too much violence for an opening episode and literally hitting the viewer over the head with trying to show how "faux brutal" it can be. What (shock value) will be left for later?

The episode's set piece - the cold open of a massive mining front-end loader advancing on a woman and burying her under a load of dirt - is effective, but it also looks quite fake due to how it was filmed.

The suicide that follows a few minutes later comes across as emotionally hollow since the viewer feels nothing for the character - and can't: there's been no time to get to know the character and have an emotional response because you don't (yet) care.

Lunga Shabalala's acting stuck out as really bad. Maybe it's just the Lindani role and he might not be a bad actor per se, but he should possibly just stick to plain TV presenting roles.

In terms of screen time the first episode of The River is very Sindi Dlathu heavy, and yes, it is a soap, but the portrayal of Lindiwe as a Cherel-on-steroids type character is way too overly dramatic - from tears to chasing men out of a boardroom and a far too over the top "lets make sure this person is really dead" scene on a river's edge.

Too may fake things kept taking me out of the story, from a dad's wholly unrealistic conversation with his son, someone clearly sipping from an empty cup, a non-diamond looking rough diamond with the appearance of a Star Trek crystal, and a mine workers revolt filmed in close-up scenes to unsuccessfully try and hide that there are only 15 extras supposed to represent a whole mining company.

After a Miriam-hiding-Moses type flashback and other unfulfilled agreements it felt as if the generically entitled The River as a telenovela would have been better as Broken Hearts or Broken Promises maybe? Who knows.

With an glut and oversupply of similar shows for South African viewers, The River feels too generic. There's really nothing that makes it stand out as must-see, novel and compelling viewing - yet another new washing powder brand in a long aisle of TV laundry detergents promising more, but basically delivering the same as the existing ones, with the same ingredients.

It's good that it exists - at the very least it's work and experience for the local TV industry. But groundbreaking, refreshing and genre expanding The River is not.

■ M-Net didn't make The River on 1Magic available beforehand for review purposes and this review is based on watching the first episode only, and as a linear broadcast episode on Monday night.

editor's note: This review was updated on Wednesday 31 January 2018 by correcting a spelling mistake and changing the spelling of Sindi Dlathu's name to the correct "Sindi" from "Sindy".

Monday, January 29, 2018

Viewers will have to register to vote for Dancing with the Stars SA on M-Net - here is how the registration process and voting will work.

To vote in M-Net's new Dancing with the Stars South Africa starting on Sunday 4 February at 17:00, viewers will have to register to vote before the show starts, with only registered voters who will be allowed to cast votes for their favourite dancing couple during the Sunday evening episodes.

M-Net (DStv 101) says viewers can now start to register to vote at with registration that is only needed once. Registration will close on a Sunday at 16:30, but people who don't register, will get more chances to register after a specific week's results show has ended.

Only registered voters will be able to cast votes during the Sunday live shows that is produced by Rapid Blue. Voting will take place during the live show every Sunday, and open at 17:00 and close at 19:15.

M-Net says it decided on a registered voting system to make the process more secure and to enable a live results show later the same evening of which the voting tally is secure and above suspicion.

Registered voters will be able to cast votes - up to 100 - during the vote period, with voting for Dancing with the Stars SA that can be done through mobile devices and the web.

To register for Dancing with the Stars SA, people must visit and click on "register". People must enter their cellphone number in the international format, for instance +27731234567 and a preferred password.

A One Time Pin (OTP) will be sent through SMS that people must enter to verify the registration process. Voting will be free but data costs will apply.

Voting for the show happens on the same site, where people, after they've registered, can simply sign in and then select the couple(s) they want to vote for.

Voting on Dancing with the Stars SA will be a combination of the audience voting and the judges' score - a 50/50 split.

Viewers will be able to vote between 17:00 and 19:15 after which no more votes will be counted. The voting verification process will run between 19:15 and 19:50 with the results that will be announced during the live Dancing with the Stars SA results show on M-Net between 20:00 and 20:30 on Sunday nights.

M-Net's schedule from Sunday evening will look like this until the live finale at the end of April:

17:00 Dancing with the Stars SA live performance show
19:00 Carte Blanche
20:00 Dancing with the Stars SA live results show
20:30 Sunday night movie

Eliminations will start from the third episode of Dancing with the Stars SA on Sunday 18 February.

M-Net says once the elimination process starts, someone will definitely be going home and leave the show on a weekly basis. 

M-Net says that in case there is an electronic problem and the voting technology or internet fail during episodes, that the production does have a back-up plan ready but isn’t going to reveal how that will work unless something happens.

"We're encouraging viewers not to wait until the last minute to register," says Lani Lombard, M-Net's head of publicity.

"To make it easier for our viewers, pre-registration opened today and if you get onto the all-important Dancing With The Stars SA voting roll before the first episode on Sunday 4 February at 16:30, you stand a chance to win a fabulous VIP experience to the show’s finale. So, get those fingers tapping."

Sunday, January 28, 2018

New British miniseries, Guerilla, with Freida Pinto and Babou Ceesay and set during London's Black Power movement in the 1970's, starting on 1Magic on 31 January.

The new British miniseries, Guerilla, will start on 1 Magic (Dstv 103) on Wednesday 31 January at 21:30, telling the story of two young artists involved in London's Black Power movement in the 1970's.

Guerilla is a 6-episode drama series co-produced by Sky's Sky Atlantic channel and Showtime and was broadcast in April 2017.

Created by John Ridley, the Oscar-winning writer of 12 Years a Slave, Guerrilla is set against the evocative backdrop of 1970's London and follows two young activists involved in London's Black Power movement, whose relationship falls under intense pressure when they clash with racist elements within the police.

Sky says "Guerilla is a fictional exploration of a thought-provoking moment in history, which asks what might have happened if Black Power groups in the United Kingdom had turned to violence in their fight for equal rights".

Freida Pinto and Babou Ceesay play the central couple Jas and Marcus, with Rory Kinnear as Special Branch policeman Pence. Idris Elba who co-executive produced Guerilla, also appears.

In the first episode of Guerilla, Marcus and Jas go to a rally protesting the 1971 Immigration Act, with their friends Fallon and Julian. Jas encourages her former lover Kent Fue (Idris Elba) to come along – but he has a different plan for overcoming oppression.

During the rally, a tragedy spurs Marcus and Jas to liberate a political prisoner – Dhari Bishop - in order to form a radical underground cell.

John Ridley says Guerilla "is a story that is both timely and timeless. We started working on it long before the recent referendums and elections that took place in the United Kingdom and America".

"But I do think it says something when you can take a story that is set 40 years ago and it’s very easy for other people to draw conclusions from it about race, about immigration now. Clearly those are issues that have not only not gone away, but that have become more potent and more politicised in
the present".

Is M-Net's new 1Magic channel on DStv going to commit the cardinal sin of repeating old content that was on VUZU AMP - just because the rebranded channel has a new name?

It will be a serious error of judgement but what is the chance that M-Net's new 1Magic channel replacing VUZU AMP on 29 January is going to start rebroadcasting old content that was on VUZU AMP?

I'm desperately hoping that it won't be happening, although if it does, I won't actually be surprised.

MultiChoice has been working hard the past two years to start limiting the number of repeats and old content across its DStv satellite pay-TV service, but one thing that has seriously been irritating viewers, it hasn't put a moratorium on: the shameful recycling of old content that starts popping up yet again on a "new" channel, just because a TV channel gets a new logo and a new name.

BBC Worldwide did it with BBC Brit, Discovery Networks International did it with Discovery Family, AMC Networks International (AMCNI) did it with Sundance TV that replaced AMC, and I'm holding my breath to see whether M-Net's "new" channel 103 with a new name is going to dredge up the "old" channel 103 content.

If a TV channel has a new name, a new look and a new channel brand identity, it shouldn't trade in its yesteryear stock. 

It will be interesting to see if M-Net is going to put stuff like Being Bonang or Minnie Dlamini's wedding TV special, Minnie Dlamini: Becoming Mrs. Jones, that was on VUZU AMP, again on 1Magic. Keep in mind that 1Magic is supposed to be and presented as a DStv Premium channel.

If M-Net does end up doing that, 1Magic won't really be any different that BBC Brit, DStv Family and Sundance TV that were actually "cheating" pay-TV subscribers after their "relaunches" as new channels. 

And why go to all the effort of a new name and image and a new coat of paint on the factory door outside, if its still the same assembly line conveyor belt on the inside?

I dearly hope that 1Magic that is promising new shows like The River and Unmarried isn't going to load up on old content that DStv Premium subscribers have already seen in the past on VUZU AMP.

Ongoing series and shows that used to be on VUZU AMP like The Real Housewives are of course fine, because it's new episodes. But 1Magic will start to incur its first image dent if it dishes up VUZU AMP things people have seen before.

The one problem that 1Magic has is that it starts out with not a big, but actually a sizeable trust deficit - both with viewers as well as with the press covering television and the TV business.

Already I have had 5 different journalists ask me versions of: "So how long do you think 1Magic will last?"

That's not a good thing. 

Viewers, and I suspect several of the press, are not instantly going to "embrace" 1Magic. They are suspicious because they're been burnt now so many times before that they're no longer willing to just "invest" their heart and time and attention into a channel that might also just be outright cancelled and be done away with in another 3 years' time.

M-Net has made so many chops and changes to its channels over the past half a decade that it's almost a question of people not taking it "seriously" anymore when some M-Net channel is launched.

In the back of your mind there's now perpetually the nagging suspicion that it might be taken away just as easily as it was launched, after a year or two.

VUZU AMP lasted just over 3 years - a bit longer than M-Net Edge, so why should DStv subscribers have any trust or show affinity to embrace 1Magic? 

Like an orphaned child shunted from foster home to foster home one too many times, it is understandable why DStv subscribers might have trust issues with new TV channels that arrive, promising the world with new names, just to disappoint and then fold when you least expect it (yes Animal Planet, we're talking about you).

To a degree, M-Net already missed an opportunity this past week with 1Magic to properly explain the new channel, to try and allay fears that might exist, to put 1Magic into proper context, to try and influence attitudes, and to answer questions.

There was a media briefing for the launch of 1Magic at the Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg but M-Net did it only for Johannesburg media. Sadly the bulk of the type of Johannesburg media outlets who were invited and attended couldn't be bothered to report anything of substance about it.

Either the type of media invited are bad and lazy or incompetent, or M-Net didn't have interesting or relevant things to say - or perhaps both. Whatever the case might be, it's not good for 1Magic beginning as a new TV channel to have a media event and there not being actually a flurry of stories about what was said at the actual briefing.

The result is that ordinary viewers, as well as South Africa's TV industry, haven't been able to hear what M-Net has to say and wants to bring across and communicate about 1Magic.

Nkateko Mabaso, M-Net South Africa's general manager, was at the 1Magic media launch and press briefing and spoke, but there's not been a single article about anything he said from the media who were invited and attended.

Reneilwe Sema, M-Net director of local entertainment channels, was at the 1Magic media launch and spoke but likewise there's not been a single media place where you are able to find what exactly he said.

The award-winning scriptwriter Phathu Makwarela (Muvhango on SABC2's former head writer) responsible for The River as one of the executive producers and produced by Tshedza Pictures, was there as well and spoke, but you won't find any of his comments from this past week anywhere either.

To date there's not been a single review of The River that was actually previewed and shown at the media launch and press briefing to journalists (M-Net won't be showing it to TV critics outside of Johannesburg).

For 1Magic's start and to really bring it under the attention of people, M-Net should maybe have made a much bigger fuzz about 1Magic as a new channel launch, especially because there's the VUZU AMP existence that precedes it, and that it needs to get distance from.

Hopefully M-Net's 1Magic can in time (if it lasts long enough), overcome some of the built-in bias and skepticism that exist about yet another relaunch, and that it will be launching with on Monday.

If it can last on DStv for longer than 3 years and 3 months it will already be considered more of a success that what VUZU AMP ever was. 

With so many available TV channels now and the attention of viewers and the press so splintered, it's incredibly difficult to break through. Hopefully 1Magic will grow and be able to find traction.

Two new local films produced by the students of M-Net's Magic in Motion Academy - Umhlanga and Moratuwa - to be shown on Mzansi Magic on DStv during February.

Two further local South African films created by the interns of M-Net's Magic in Motion Academy for young filmmakers will be broadcast during February on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161).

M-Net's Magic in Motion Academy that was launched in 2014, annually provides interns with a year-long work-readiness programme to prepare them for the film and TV industry.

Two new movies created by current and former Academy interns will be broadcast in Mzansi Magic during February.

First up on 3 February at 19:30 is Umhlanga, one of four movies created by the Academy's class of 2017.

Set in rural KwaZulu/Natal, the movie tells the story of two sisters, Buhle and Ntombi, whose excitement over the upcoming Reed Dance first turns to disappointment when Ntombi decides that she won’t attend the traditional ceremony, a decision that upsets her Gogo. 

But events take a turn for the worse when word reaches the village that Buhle who traveled alone to attend the event has now disappeared. What follows is a web of betrayal and lies as a shattered family fight to be reunited. The Umhlanga cast includes Nomsa Xaba, Dawn Tandeka King, Lihle Dlomo and Busi Mtshali.

On 10 February Mzansi Magic will broadcast Moratuwa, a film created by alumni of the academy under the production company, A Tribe Called Story.

The team is made up of three former Magic in Motion Academy interns, Aluta Qupa, Mbalizethu Zulu and Thembalethu Mfebe and was funded by the MultiChoice Enterprise Development Fund.

In Moratuwa a young career woman Naledi fulfills her gravely ill grandmother’s wish to marry by "tying the knot" with Neo, a man she hires to be her Mr Right.

When her grandmother makes an unexpected recovery, doctors warn her "newlywed" granddaughter that any bad news will be very harmful to her fragile health. For Neo it’s a chance to spend time with a lady he has always liked but for Naledi, trapped in a comical lie, life is about to get interesting.

“M-Net invests in young TV talent because we understand that their growth is vital to our industry and to economic development of the country. And most importantly, it is because our audiences support local talent and stories so enthusiastically that enables us to continue delivering it,” says Nkateko MabasoM-Net South Africa general manager.

Broadcasting regulator Icasa confirms it will now investigate allegations of possible kickbacks and corruption over MultiChoice payments to ANN7 and the SABC and the possible influence on SA's digital terrestrial television encryption policy.

South Africa's broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), has confirmed that it will be launching a wide-ranging investigation into allegations of kickbacks and possible corruption into suspicious MultiChoice payments made to the SABC and to the controversial and until recently Gupta-owned ANN7 (DStv 405) channel.

Icasa has referred the complaint to its Compliance and Consumer Affairs division.

At issue is whether Naspers' pay-TV division illegally influenced the South African government's policy on encryption of set-top boxes (STBs) for the stalled digital migration process from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT), by paying the SABC and ANN7 to carry their channels, and through them, get them to apply pressure on the government.

Explosive, leaked meeting transcripts between MultiChoice and the South African public broadcaster the SABC, as well as #GuptaLeaks contracts between MultiChoice and the controversial ANN7 D(Stv 405) channel showing massive payments from DStv to the Guptas, have raised multiple serious questions over corporate impropriety.

MultiChoice told the SABC it would pay the broadcaster R100 million for the SABC News channel but but only on the strict must-have contract clause condition that the SABC must support MultiChoice's stance on conditional access (CA) for digital television.

MultiChoice also dramatically upped its payments from R50 million per year to R100 million per year and then R141 million per year, as well as a questionable, additional R25 million payment to the Guptas for the low-rated, bad quality, mistake-filled and often criticised ANN7.

MultiChoice is paying ANN7 more despite its barely there low ratings than eNCA (DStv 403) that has more than 50% of the overall TV news audience share.

It's all created the perception that MultiChoice has paid kickbacks to both the SABC and ANN7 to use its influence to get set-top box (STB) encryption dropped from government-subsidised STBs in the switch to digital terrestrial television (DTT).

MultiChoice and Naspers have denied the kickbacks allegations and the MultiChoice board announced that MultiChoice is starting an internal investigation of itself.

"Icasa has confirmed that it will be conducting an investigation into MultiChoice," says Phumzile Van Damme, the Democratic Alliance's shadow minister of communications and a member of parliament in a statement.

Phumzile Van Damme's statement comes after the political party publicly called out Icasa over its failure to start a wide-ranging investigation into the shocking MultiChoice allegations 8 weeks after the scandal broke. 

"The DA is pleased that Icasa has agreed that the payments require investigation. South Africa deserves to know whether the payments were indeed above board‚ as MultiChoice has maintained‚" says Phumzile Van Damme.

"While companies like MultiChoice should be allowed the space to do business and create much-needed employment‚ their conduct must at all times be within the bounds of the law‚ in line with business ethics and in an environment where competition was not stifled."

"There is no issue with companies lobbying for policy positions through debate‚ but a situation where policy is bought cannot be allowed. It is tantamount to policy capture."

Filming starts on new Afrikaans kykNET comedy, Mense, Mense, set for broadcast from April - but why add yet another lazy, reduplication show title?

Filming has started on a new Afrikaans comedy for kykNET (DStv 144), lazily-badly entitled Mense, Mense, and set for broadcast on M-Net's Afrikaans pay-TV channel from Monday 9 April at 20:30.

The comedy produced by Nouvanaand Films and set in Johannesburg, revolves around a group of friends who are sharing their professional and personal lives as they live, work and interact together within the same building.

The Mense, Mense "cast cast" includes the singer Bobby van Jaarsveld and actors Crystal-Donna Roberts, Solomon Cupido, as well as Sandra Prinsloo as the building's landlord; in addition to Lea Vivier as well as Reynardt Slabbert.

kykNET says "Mense, Mense exposes the see-saw journey of friendship, relationships and adulthood, but above all the unbreakable love between strangers who become family".

Pierre van Pletzen is the director.

With Mense, Mense it is interesting that kykNET continues not to appear willing to put in the work and time to develop apt, original Afrikaans show titles, and struggles to use the rich, existing Afrikaans lexicon to find words to not just properly define programmes, but to indicate to viewers what they are about.

The repetitive and generic Mense, Mense joins the kykNET schedule that already has, and suffers from, reduplication like Parlement, Parlement that doesn't tell viewers not familiar with shows what they are.

There's also a problematic and lazy "Op Die" ["On the"] title trend on kykNET with show titles called Oppi Kassie [On the Box] and Oppie Stoep [On the Stoep], and even Op Die Spel.

Ideally no TV channel should ever have, or allow, even two show titles that are remotely close to each other in name.

American TV channel executives told The Hollywood Reporter back in 2012 about the topic of picking and assigning TV show names, that "You've got to have something that makes people say, 'I want to check that out'. It has to be catchy, and it has to frame for the audience the context of the show".

An Australian showrunner in 2010 about the same subject, told The Sydney Morning Herald that "unless you're expressing yourself properly with the title, you're most unlikely to succeed".

If kykNET orders some Steri-Stumpies for whoever all are responsible, and make them brainstorm for half an hour, surely better titles idea can be dreamt up than Mense, Mense.

Just like the SABC in South Africa, broadcaster ITV in Britain now wants payment to be carried on satellite TV platforms as its ITV1 channel could go dark on Virgin over a £80 million re-transmission payment battle.

The free-to-air TV channel ITV in Britain could start to disappear from the channel line-up of satellite pay-TV operators like Virgin and Sky in the United Kingdom in a case akin to South Africa's public broadcaster that recently said it now wants money for its TV channels being carried on pay-TV operators' platforms.

The SABC's SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 channels, as well as's primary channel are currently carried for free on MultiChoice's DStv, StarSat, and eMedia Investment's OpenView HD under so-called "must-carry regulations".

Satellite TV operators are forced to carry these channels in order to promote access and accessibility of the content to the public, while the channels enjoy the bigger viewership across bigger viewing platforms it would not otherwise have - especially in large geographical areas where there's no coverage of the channels' signals.

The SABC in November 2017 said it now wants satellite TV operators to pay for its channels, with MultiChoice that responded and said the SABC's financial problems has nothing to do with MultiChoice, slammed the SABC as "opportunistic" and said that it's the SABC that will lose out if its channels are removed from platforms like DStv.

In the United Kingdom, ITV has now started to threaten to take its ITV1 channel away from Virgin's pay-TV offering unless Virgin pays it £80 million. Virgin already pays for other channels from ITV, like ITV2, in the way that MultiChoice pays the SABC for the additional SABC channels like SABC News and SABC Encore.

ITV is the same company that supplies the ITV Choice (DStv 123) pay-TV channel to MultiChoice's DStv platform in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa, with shows like Dancing on Ice, Victoria and The Voice UK.

ITV and Virgin have been locked in a stand-off for months now after ITV got the right to now charge for operators to carry ITV1, after a change to British legislation and the introduction of a new Digital Economy Act in April 2017.

Before the change in legislation, pay-TV operators got ITV1 for free.

Virgin in a statement says it won't be paying ITV for the ITV1 channel to be on its line-up and that it doesn't see why it should, saying if ITV should remove ITV1 it will be "mutual self-destruction".

"Our customers will not pay for a service that is available for free and we see no reason why they should," says David Bouchier, chief digital entertainment officer at Virgin Media.

"The position was very clear. How ITV is funded has been the same since it was created – and to come and pick us off individually is not an appropriate way to do it. The government has also been clear that there are benefits on both sides to re-transmission, so for ITV to do something like that, I cannot see the logic, it is counter-intuitive."

"We are the second-biggest TV platform in the United Kingdom and that makes us an important partner. What is important is positive engagement, rather than this position of mutual self-destruction. I’m confident logic will prevail."

ITV in a statement says "ITV, and other public service broadcasters, should be paid fairly by pay-TV platforms that make money from our multi-billion-pound investment in original UK content. A change in the law now allows us to negotiate with Virgin for payment for our main channel, and that is what we are attempting to do."

Holly Marie Combs slams Charmed reboot plans: 'Don't even think of capitalizing on our hard work. Charmed belongs to the 4 of us'.

Actress Holly Marie Combs is angry about the planned reboot of Charmed in America, the youth drama series about a group of sister-witches, saying the show belongs to her and the other original actresses and crew and not the new reboot.

 Charmed ran for 8 seasons and was broadcast on SABC3 in South Africa during the late 1990's and early 2000's, and is now being revived as a new series set in current times - 20 years after it started in 1998 as part of American TV's reboot craze of new versions of old, iconic shows.

Holly Marie Combs played the character of Piper Halliwell during all 8 seasons of Charmed , that started out with Alyssa Milano and Shannen Doherty, with Shannon that was fired after 3 seasons and and replaced with Rose McGowan from the 4th.

Now the CW channel in America is bringing back Charmed, executive produced by Ben Silverman, Jessica O'Toole and Amy Rardin.

On social media Holly Marie Combs slammed the Charmed remake, saying "Here’s the thing. Until you ask us to rewrite it like Brad Kern did weekly, don’t even think of capitalizing on our hard work. Charmed belongs to the 4 of us, our vast amount of writers, crews and predominantly the fans. FYI you will not fool them by owning a title/stamp. So bye".

"And another thing. Reboots or remakes, as we used to call them, usually have story lines so similar to the original that they are legally required to use the same title and buy the rights to that title. If it’s not similar than it’s just another show. A new show with a new title."

"While some may not get why I take issue with the network that didn’t want to renew Charmed 12 years ago ‘reimagining’ it now, let me just say I understand it perfectly. Also this kinda stuff given all that Rose and Alyssa have done no. Just No."

According to the CW in a statement about the new Charmed "this fierce, funny, feminist reboot of the original series centres on three sisters in a college town who discover they are witches. Between vanquishing supernatural demons, tearing down the patriarchy, and maintaining familial bonds, a witch’s work is never done".

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Six male BBC presenters forced to accept drastic pay cuts as BBC reduces their salaries instead of paying women more, as gender pay disparity investigations continue.

BBC News reports that 6 male, highly-paid BBC presenters and anchors have agreed to take drastic pay cuts after revelations of how much less the BBC is paying female staffers at the BBC.

Instead of the BBC and BBC News paying women more to lift their salaries to the men's level, the BBC and BBC News is lowering the men's salaries.

Meanwhile investigations into gender pay disparity at the BBC continues.

Huw Edwards, Nicky Campbell, John Humphrys, Jon Sopel, Nick Robinson and Jeremy Vine are now all having their pay reduced and agreed to being paid less after the BBC News told them that it wants to pay them less, instead of paying women more.

Recently the BBC's Carrie Gracie quit as the BBC's China editor and slammed the BBC for its "secretive and illegal pay culture", saying "the BBC is breaking equality law and resisting pressure for a fair and transparent pay structure."

In July last year, the BBC was forced to reveal the salaries of all employees earning more than £150,000 a year.

Carrie Gracie says she discovered that the BBC's two male international editors "earned "at least 50% more" than its two female counterparts.

The BBC's United States editor Jon Sopel earned £200 000 to £249 999, while the BBC's Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen earned £150 000 to £199 999. 

Carrie Gracie earned less than £150 000.

The BBC refused to comment or say how much each of the men's earnings were reduced by or how much they would earn now.

In a statement the BBC says "We are very grateful to Huw EdwardsNicky CampbellJohn HumphrysJon SopelNick Robinson and Jeremy Vine who have agreed that their pay will now be reduced".

The BBC isn't saying why it's not paying women more and why women's salaries were not rather adjusted upwards.

John Humphrys is taking a drastic pay cut and said he will be getting "hugely less" than the £600 000 he was paid until now.

There's been 3 gender pay-gap disparity investigations at the BBC so far and next week an independent audit into equal pay at the BBC will be published.

Next week Carrie Gracie will also appear before Britain's parliament and one of its select committees looking into the BBC's gender pay disparity problem.

SABC2 has some new local programming for February and March including new drama series Guilt; kids show Naruto returns.

The SABC's SABC2 announced some new shows for Johannesburg press at a media event on Thursday that the channel will broadcast in February and March.

A new drama series Guilt will start on Wednesday 28 February at 21:30 in which a group of neighbours find R1 million near an accident scene and agree to stay quiet and keep the money. SABC2 was asked for more information about the show but didn't respond to a media enquiry.

Botho - Act of Kindness is a new local reality show that will start on SABC2 on Friday 9 February at 20:30 in which South Africans do something for someone who had impacted their lives.

Mehlomadala, another new local reality show, will start on Saturday 31 March on SABC2 at 18:00. SABC2 describes it as "bring people together who under normal circumstances might not have come together but the need to reconnect have been etched on each other’s minds and hearts".

The latest season of The Big Debate that started in late-2017 will resume on Saturday 3 February at 19:00 on SABC2 with moderator Redi Tlhabi.

Red Cake - Not The Cooking Show, the variety show with Tumi Morake and Alan Committee will return to SABC2 from Friday 9 February at 19:00.

Relate returns for a second season to SABC2 on Monday 5 February at 22:00 trying to repair fractured relationships.

The 3rd season of Abomzala will start on SABC2 on Sunday 4 Feburary. The second season of the Afrikaans drama series Swartwater will resume on 13 March at 19:00.

The kids show Naruto will return from Monday 5 February with episodes from Mondays to Thursdays at 17:00. The second season of Disney's Doc McStuffins will be broadcast from 9 February on Fridays at 15:00 with Disney A.N.T. Farm on Fridays at 17:00, starting from 23 February.

Grand Masters starts on Thursday 8 February at 10:30 on SABC2 in which teachers from primary and high schools competing in tasks.

Raising Babies 101 starts on Friday 9 February on SABC2 as a weekly talk show for parents and caregivers about parenthood.

Former Disney star, Adam Hicks of Disney XD's Zeke and Luther arrested and charged after a string of armed robberies.

The former Disney star Adam Hicks who appeared in the comedy Zeke and Luther on Disney XD (DStv 304) has been arrested after a string of armed robberies.

USA Today reports that Adam Hicks (25) who appeared as Luther in Zeke and Luther and who plays Diesel Turner in the series Freakish was arrested on Wednesday in Burbank, California.

He was arrested together with a woman called Danni Tamburo (23) in connection with a series of 4 armed robberies.

TMZ reported that Adam Hicks and Danni Tamburo who is apparently his girlfriend, went up to several people and put a gun in their face, demanding money.

Scandal hits M-Net's Date My Family Zambia spin-off on DStv's Zambezi Magic channel as multiple participants are exposed as frauds; MultiChoice Zambia admits proper pre-checks were never done and says it will now ensure 'a stricter vetting process'.

M-Net's Zambian spin-off version of Date My Family Zambia, following after the hugely successful South African version on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161), has been hit by scandal following revelations over fake participants used in the show.

MultiChoice Africa and M-Net broadcast the Zambia version of Date My Family on M-Net's Zambezi Magic (DStv 160) channel in Southern Africa, excluding South Africa.

Looking to cash in on the immense popularity of the show's format in South Africa, M-Net greenlit a spin-off version for Zambezi Magic, but the fake spin-off version somehow failed to adhere to the strict production values and guidelines followed by the South African version.

The producers of Date My Family Zambia failed to properly vet the participants beforehand, resulting in a faked show as viewers discovered.

Date My Family Zambia is executive produced by Catherine Phiri, Mary Phiri and Natasha Phiri and produced by Media365.

The Date my Family Zambia scandal has compromising the integrity of the show, M-Net and Zambezi Magic where Mosibudi Pheeda is the channel head, after shocking revelations that several couples who have appeared on the show have cheated by having known each other already, and that in several cases they had already been in established romantic relationships before they "met" in episodes.

M-Net and Date My Family Zambia moved their burden to pre-check contestants, to viewers.

Viewers quickly started pointing out, using simply social media platforms that can be easily reached and used by anyone, that participants have known each other before and have already been in romantic relationships.

The embarrassing revelations damaged the reputation of Date My Family Zambia and M-Net and DStv's Zambezi Magic channel over putting an entertainment reality dating show on the air that isn't quite so true.

There's no way that DStv subscribers watching the show on Zambezi Magic can trust that what they're seeing in Date My Family Zambia is actually real and whether the so-called single people looking for love are really single or haven't already met and dated each other. 

Weirdly MultiChoice Zambia and M-Net are now trying to distance themselves from the mistakes with blame-shifting, saying the producers on Date My Family Zambia relies on the participants and the information they provide to the show.

Banks, hospitals, courts, schools and other institutions of course don't just rely on the information provided by people and actually carry out checks to verify the accuracy and authenticity.

"For this purpose, our show producers rely heavily on the honesty of the applicants and full disclosure thereof," says MultiChoice Zambia in a statement, not explaining why proper vetting of contestants on a M-Net reality show didn't take place before viewers started spotted the truth and called the show out publicly.

"However, due to misrepresentation by several participants of recent episodes, we have endeavoured to ensure a stricter vetting process so that our valued DStv customers can continue to enjoy an authentic entertainment experience with real honest conversations," says MultiChoice Zambia.

Like Cinderella, MultiChoice turns Sky News into a TV pumpkin in Africa at exactly the stroke of midnight, blocking the news with a litany of tacky DStv promos.

On Friday night, at exactly the stroke of midnight when Saturday arrived at 00:00, MultiChoice suddenly turned Sky News (DStv 402) into a TV pumpkin - showing DStv promo after DStv promo after DStv promo instead of Sky News' headlined news.

While the process of playout of on-air promos are automated (these promo bumper starting points and their duration are carefully cued according to the schedules provided by third-party channels and where in-house promos will be needed to replace advertising not to be shown in Africa), it is still in the end human error.  

Obviously MultiChoice is not supposed to blast out a string of DStv promos on Sky News during actual editorial and actual "story" and programmatic content and blocking that out, and definitely not at the start of a "show" or at the top of the hour.

Yet that is exactly what happened when MultiChoice played DStv promo after DStv promo instead of letting Sky News broadcast the news.

After the first second of the start of Sky News' News at 10 intro seen in South Africa and Africa at midnight, MultiChoice interrupted it with a DStv promo, and simply kept going and going and going.

First MultiChoice showed its DStv promo on Sky News, instead of the news, for high definition (HD) and HD content, followed by a promo for SuperSport for the 2018 Winter Olympics, followed by a promo for the DStv Eutelsat Awards, followed by a promo for DStv BoxOffice and the kids movies DStv subscribers can rent.

By the time this all ended, so much time had already lapsed that any DStv subscribers who wanted to watch the news on Sky News to get the breaking and headline making stories, missed it all - after about 7 minutes in.

MultiChoice likely also chased viewers away from Sky News who would have tuned away from Sky's news channel. 

Nobody is going to keep watching a TV channel where it seems as if nothing is going to come on at the top of the hour, where new programming is supposed to start, if all you get is just DStv promo after DStv promo.

If you can't trust (MultiChoice with, and to bring) the news, who can you trust?

Also the insanity of playing out a DStv promo for high definition (HD) on DStv channels that are not actually being broadcast in HD completely defeats the entire purpose. Why is this promo shown on non-HD DStv channels in the first place?

Is it a case of "it was made and produced, now lets plaster it as filled wherever because its too much effort to strategically place it on just channels like M-Net, BBC First and E!"?

It's like when TV manufacturers like Samsung and others run commercials for HD TV sets to show their "clarity" and "sharpness" on channels that are not actually shown in HD. It helps nothing.

Nonsense like this makes DStv in-house promos feel like, and exposes them, for what they mostly actually are: empty filler overlay to replace and pass linear scheduled commercial airtime. 

Promos are a bane of any satellite pay-TV operator's existence but at least when they're done "right", they feel less intrusive and less disruptive.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Boxing commentator, Bert Blewett (84) has died.

The South African boxing commentator, Bert Blewett has died. He was 84.

He started his boxing journalism and broadcasting career in 1978. Besides writing for numerous publications, he covered boxing for first the SABC and then moved to M-Net and SuperSport.

Based in Durban, he was nominated to the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1988.

He was the editor of the Knockout, Boxing Beat and Ringside magazines before serving as editor of South African Boxing World which later changed its name to Boxing World from September 1977 to August 2004.

Bert Blewett received numerous awards for his contribution to boxing and was also a presenter on the television programme Bert Blewett’s Boxing Update.

He also published a hardcover book The A-Z of Boxing in 1996, which was subsequently released in paperback in 1999.