Saturday, March 31, 2018

PICTORIAL. Shirtless! Laughing! Doing hair and make-up. The unguarded moments from behind the scenes of M-Net's glittering Dancing with the Stars SA - as you'll never seen them on TV.

All photos: Cathy Pinnock/M-Net

Shirtless! Laughing after sharing a joke! Wearing tekkies with an evening gown. Getting their hair and make-up done.

These are some of the unguarded, intimate moments from the stars behind the scenes at Dancing with the Stars South Africa on M-Net (DStv 101) as TVwithThinus got exclusive access to venture and peek behind the glitter show's glamour front - a place that viewers don't get to see.

With an exclusive all access pass, photographer Cathy Pinnock this past Sunday snapped away for TVwithThinus behind the scenes at the Dancing with the Stars SA's Dancing Dome atop the Hyde Park Corner shopping centre in Johannesburg.

It's here, in an area off limits to all except the stars and the production crew, among white walled corridors, where the remaining contestants, judges and professional dancers in their dressing rooms and a VIP contestants lounge, get ready and wait for their next showstopper performances in the dance floor format show that's produced by Rapid Blue and broadcast on M-Net at 17:00.

With only 4 weeks left to the Dancing with the Stars SA grand finale, on this Sunday evening viewers can look forward to a special live performance by MiCasa during the Live Results show with judge Jason Gilkison who will also be back.

Singer and songwriter Connell Cruise and his partner Marcella Solimeo have been at the top of the leader board for the past 2 weeks and will try to impress with a Samba.

Protea netball goal shooter, Vanes-Mari du Toit and her partner, Johannes Radebe will perform a Paso Doble, while actor and model Eden Classens and his partner Ash-Leigh Hunter will dance the Charleston.

Screen and stage actor Frank Opperman will dance the Foxtrot with Jeanné Swart, which will also be performed by radio presenter and former Miss SA Liesl Laurie and her partner Ryan Hammond.

TV actress Zola Nombona and her partner Tebogo Mashilo are back after Zola recovered from her ankle injury last week, and they plan to dazzle with a Rumba.

Over and above of the dance styles that the couples will perform this week, the remaining 6 pairs will also have to master the moves for a Lindy-Hop-a-Thon! All 6 couples will be on the floor at the same time showcasing their technique of the Lindy-Hop, which will count towards their final score.

Veteran Afrikaans TV news reader Riaan Cruywagen quietly exits kykNET as anchor of kykNET Verslag.

The veteran Afrikaans TV news anchor Riaan Cruywagen (72) made a quiet exit on Thursday night as news anchor on kykNET Verslag on kykNET (DStv 144) bringing the curtain to a final close on his illustrious TV news reading career after more than four decades on the air on South African television.

With no pre-announcement to the press by kykNET of his exit, Riaan Cruywagen stunned viewers on the eve of the Easter holiday at the end of Thursday night's episode of kykNET Verslag when he told viewers he's leaving.

After leaving the SABC at the end of November 2012 after 37 years with the South African public broadcaster as the longest serving TV news anchor in South African television history, the never changing Riaan Cruywagen made the transition to high definition and joined kykNET from February 2013.

At kykNET he first anchored the news on the morning show Dagbreek, before transitioning to the evenings on M-Net's Afrikaans TV channel on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform for the past three years, after Dagbreek was cancelled.

"I'm also finally saying goodbye tonight after more than five wonderful years - first at Dagbreek and after that at kykNET Verslag," said Riaan Cruywagen at the end of the third season and episode 140 of kykNET Verslag.

"I'm now swapping the world of hard news and actuality for other TV work and new challenges but not without saying thank you to kykNET for the opportunity to broaden my horizons on this exceptional channel."

"I've worked with tens of creative and inspiring people, as well as at kykNET and with the producers of our programme, IdeaCandy - and in my old days I've learnt a lot from them. If I can mention only a few names - because there's tens of them - I'm saying thank you very much to Karen Meiring (kykNET channel head) and Tim du Plessis (head of actuality) of kykNET and Wim Steyn (executive producer) and Wynette Theart (producer) van IdeaCandy and their personnel."

"The most unsung mainstays were our studio crew without which no programme can ever make it onto the air - my director Rudi Botha and his team and my editor Werner Swart and his able journalists."

"But finally, to you, our appreciated viewers, thank you for your dedicated support over the years. I wish you all of the best. Well, enjoy the long weekend and go well."

kykNET in response to a media enquiry as to why there was no announcement to the media, told TVwithThinus that the channel took Cruywagen's direction about how he wanted to communicate his exit and up until Thursday morning he didn't want to involve the media.

kykNET says Riaan Cruywagen will remain as the presenter of Met 'n Huppel in die Stap, kykNET's Afrikaans magazine show focusing on the challenges, joys and life advice for people after 50.

kykNET produced a short tribute goodbye video in which his family including his wife, daughter and grandson, as well as other Afrikaans TV news readers like Marietta Kruger and Suzaan Steyn, shared special messages.

Friday, March 30, 2018

The science fiction youth drama series, Beyond with Burkely Duffield cancelled after two seasons.

The science fiction youth drama series, Beyond with Burkely Duffield as the character of Holden Matthews has been cancelled after just two seasons.

Beyond was produced by Tim Kring's Imperative Entertainment and Automatik revolved around Holden who woke up from a coma after 12 years with supernatural abilities after having spent time in a dream-like reality.

Beyond lost 50% of its American viewership during the second season that just concluded on Disney's American TV channel, Freeform.

Tim Kring, Zak Kadison, Justin Levy and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones were the executive producers while executive producer Adam Nussdorf created and wrote the show.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Viacom Africa adds its first local South African animation acquisition for its preschool channel NickToons, Munki and Trunk from Sunrise Productions, to the schedule from 2 April.

Viacom Africa did its first local South African animation acquisition for the NickToons (DStv 309) preschool kids channel, with the animation show Munki and Trunk that will start on the preschool kids channel from 2 April at 17:15.

The monkey and elephant cartoon created by the local animation studio, Sunrise Productions, is aimed at kids between 4 and 7 with episodes that are dialogue-free and with edutainment stories revolving around themes of friendship.

"NickToons places a strong focus on educational and entertaining content with great stories and characters that empower kids to learn while they play," says Tasania Parsadh, Nickelodeon channel director.

"Munki and Trunk specifically brings in wholesome themes of friendship, laughter and humor, cultivating a love and awareness of nature and its environment together with problem solving, which is very in line with our programming for the channel."

Sunrise Productions is a local production company with a full service animation studio based in Cape Town, South Africa. Launched in 1998, Sunrise Productions launched the first-ever feature length stop-motion animation in Africa. Munki and Trunk is written and directed by Sam Wilson, with Tim Keller as producer for Sunrise Productions.

"Munki and Trunk is a beautifully crafted CGI series, with wonderful character designs and brilliantly funny story lines," says Tim Keller.

"At Sunrise there's an intense focus on quality, from the storytelling and the animation right down to the moss on the rocks in the background.  We are delighted that the show will premiere on NickToons, it's the perfect home for Munki and Trunk."

Monday, March 26, 2018

INTERVIEW. Actress Juanita de Villiers exits M-Net's Dancing with the Stars South Africa: 'I just saw how people loved me and that is beautiful'.

On Sunday night the actress Juanita de Villiers became the 6th celebrity contestant to be voted out of Dancing with the Stars SA on M-Net (DStv 101), saying it was an amazing experience "and I just saw how people loved me and that is beautiful".

TVwithThinus spoke with Juanita de Villiers, who danced with the professional dancer Johan Dippenaar, as she shares about learning to say "no", feeling sexy in a slimmer body, bonding and making real friends with the dancers - and what unnerved her a bit when she arrived on Saturdays at the ballroom dancing set.

Is there anything you think you could have done differently?
No, I think we worked really hard during the week to get the technique and the dancing as well as we can. And then it depends on whether people liked it.
I think from side I'm so happy and so thankful for what we've done and Johan was such an amazing teacher also. I couldn't ask for more.

How do you feel about being voted out?
I'm disappointed for sure but I also know how it works and I understand that it depends on voters and people who are engaged with you and love you, so it's right to also get voted out. My dance wasn't maybe good enough or they couldn't connect with me. It doesn't matter, you know, as long as I've done my best, and I really feel last night was my best performance in general, so I'm so, so happy.

What has the experience been like for you being part of this show?
I think the whole experience – I’ve learnt that I'm much stronger than what you think you are. You can handle a lot more stuff and your body is such an amazing thing to have and to push. 
I think the thing I've learnt the most about myself and my personality is how much further I can push myself. The whole experience was just amazing. I'm so unbelievable thankful for this platform, for my career, but also personally. It also brought people together, and my support system together and helping me and I just saw how people loved me and that is beautiful.

What do you think of the judges?
The judges are great to be there because they must help the people who don't know what the technique is supposed to be – that’s their job. 
And I'm glad that they're there and they've done what they've done. I was a bit confused last night with the comments but I think I understand what they tried to say is that if your technique is there but you don't "perform" it more, it's not good enough but I feel that I really performed. So, I understand that they must do what they must do and help the people realise – they must give a guideline for people. 

What was the hardest for you?
I think if I must be honest is on a Saturday when you get to the stage for the first time and they play the song for the first time and a live band – I think that was the hardest for me, listening to this track that you are rehearsing, and then on a Saturday morning you get there, and the music sounds totally different. That was the hardest for me, just to get your ear to go "don't worry, don't panic, you know what you're doing, you'll be fine".

How did your body change?
Ha ha ha. Wow, I feel like a million bucks! I've lost so much weight and I think that's a very big plus point for me. 
But ja, my body changed in a very great way. Ha ha, I'm loving this body so I'm really going to try and not eat too much and leave the chocolates alone now! Ja, I've lost centimetres and I'm toned and I think that's what dancing does to you - it develops muscles you've never had and you look pretty and sexy! Ha ha.

What did you not expect about this journey?
That, tjo. I think that I really just fell in love with all the contestants – and even the professional dancers. I didn't think that I would really get to know them, because you're only there the weekends but you're under such pressure and you really get to know the people. And I think that was such a lovely surprise for me also to really get to know people and to get to love them - they're amazing and talented and such gifted people. That was one unexpected thing for me. 

What did you learn about yourself?
I think the most important thing for me was so say what I feel. 
You know, I'm very easy-going and can handle anything and everything. But sometimes you need to say what you feel and believe in it and speak to that. That's the biggest thing I've learn in this journey – it’s okay sometimes to say "I'm not happy," or "I don't like this," and embrace that. You can sometimes say "No, I don't like it". 
And that was the nicest experience for me because I usually just let it go, and with this journey I had a chance to say "No, I don't like this," or "I don't want this," and that was great for me as a person.

REVIEW. 2018's 12th South African Film and TV Awards was again a badly done production, marred by a litany of the same embarrassing mistakes as in previous years and damaging the image of the industry it's supposed to showcase.

The 12th South African Film and TV Awards (Saftas) was once again a badly done and embarrassing sub standard production, with the award show broadcast on SABC2 that was marred by a litany of the same mistakes as in previous years and damaging the image of the very industry it's supposed to showcase.

With the live broadcast once again running far over time - only ending at 23:03 instead of 22:30 and one of the big indicators of when a live show is badly produced and not keeping to its supposedly minute-my-minute pre-mapped plan - viewers who might have set recordings would have missed the whole last part of the show once again boycotted by some of the biggest shows on South African television.

The first award in this year's televised Saftas, produced by the attv production company for the NFVF, was only handed out after 25 minutes in - the thing that viewers are actually tuning in for.

The National Film and Video Foundation's (NFVF) broadcast of the 12th Saftas - done for a second year from Sun City and with NFVF CEO Zama Mkosi getting an executive producer title - was again marred by on-air spelling mistakes, sound and visual problems and mistakes throughout.

The 12th Saftas again contained too many awkward presenter and script mistakes, wrong names called out, wrong pronunciation from a lack of practice and rehearsal, wrong footage roll, and names embarrassingly left out of the In Memoriam segment.

The amateur, uninspiring set construction with a wooden stage quickly showed up as dull from shoeprints that were never polished during ad breaks and with visible scrapes during panning shots, as even the reflective trim on the front steps started to fall off and hang.

Shaky camerawork at times spinning off into darkness with the director not switching to another live cam in time, panning shots over empty chairs without any seat-fillers, viewers hearing the floor manager directing the in-studio audience while the nominee roll plays, and a lack of representatives and executives from, M-Net and MultiChoice leaving it mostly a SABC majority, added to amateur production values of the ceremony that is supposed to show how good South Africa's film and TV production is.

Saturday's cringe-worthy Saftas looked like a badly organised school concert, one where it's more about the act of dressing up and going to show off clothes, coiffe and Jimmy Choo's, than actually honouring television and film work.

Like a kindergarden end-of-year pantomime, this year's Saftas once again created the impression that the parents (TV and film talent attending) looking on, are somehow in on an act and colluding with a set of unspoken rules - coming together to watch an on-stage spectacle without any expectation of quality, but looking to see if their child gets a moment to shine and if anyone's able to move at least halfway-right on cue and say at least some of the words right while looking pretty.

Like a school headmistress before the week's assembly guest or speaker arrives, as a housekeeping and production rule, Thando Thabethe on-air had to tell the audience they will be played off if they talk too long. It's something that nominees should be told off-air as part of their initial invitation pack and by the stage manager before the start of the live show.

Camera shots kept showing people walking around. At some point viewers heard the floor manager trying to tell the audience, "When a winner comes up, please ..."

Adding to the awkwardness and embarrassment was NFVF CEO Zama Mkosi who later popped up on stage (doesn't she belong in the final control box directing playout as executive producer?) who appeared earlier in a pre-recorded, taped message, alluding to the allegations of corruption mismanagement and mismanagement of funds, telling viewers how difficult it is to find funding for the Saftas due to the "ongoing bad press" in the media.

Embarrassed presenters literally called out mistakes. "That is a mistake," said co-host Phat Joe early on in the 12th Saftas broadcast, before he later also wrongly stumbled, then retreated from the stage while one category sub set was still ongoing, as visible problems and errors kept stacking up.

Several times during the Saftas presenters wondered out loud where the envelopes and Golden Horn statues were that they were supposed to read out and hand over.

"Obviously that is not Emmanuel Castis on screen," said Emmanuel Castis after wrong footage were shown. "I'm definitely not Lerato Kganyago," said Nomzamo Mbatha on stage who was introduced as Lerato.

Several times the mics of on-stage presenters were faulty, simply not turned on or not channeled through the sound desk correctly, leaving it to the side-stage mics to capture the sound, and for the hall audio to be relayed to viewers at home - resulting in the "boxy" voices.

Some of this ironically happened during the segment where the Noot vir Noot music show creator, Johan Stemmet was honoured with one of this year's Lifetime achievement awards.

The In Memoriam segment to honour TV and film people who've passed away in the past year again left out several names, meaning that very basic research isn't being done by the NFVF and Saftas or can't be done and that there is a lack of access to basic newspaper archives. With the focus on, and large shots of musicians, viewers at home struggled to actually see all the names the Saftas segment was supposed to be about.

There were many more mistakes and daft, inexplicable production decisions that resulted in terrible production values for what was yet-again a shoddy Saftas.

South Africa's TV and film industry deserves a better produced, better organised and a better broadcast Saftas, while South African viewers who have to sit through over three hours of television trash deserve a better done show.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

M-Net's weekly investigative magazine show, Carte Blanche, this Sunday at 7pm looks at South African girls stripping on sex cams, the growing corruption case against Jacob Zuma, how the VAT hike will impact the poor and the government's Esidimeni scandal.

M-Net's weekly investigative magazine show, Carte Blanche, this Sunday at 19:00 on M-Net (DStv 101) will be looking at the South African government's scandalous Esidimeni tragedy and what the impact is going to be of the government's hike to 15% of VAT on poor households.

Meanwhile the fraud and corruption case is building against former president Jacob Zuma, and Carte Blanche also looks at how South African girls are stripping online as part of sex streaming shows.

Life After Esidimeni
The families of the Esidimeni tragedy have been awarded R1.2-million each as compensation for the lives lost in the tragedy. 
Retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke made damning observations in his arbitration award about the sheer lack of accountability for the lives of patients, saying senior officials had lied, played victim and violated the constitution. Carte Blanche asks: while responsibility has been apportioned, will it improve the state of mental health care services?  
Producer: Anna-Maria van Niekerk and Marzanne van den Berg
Presenter: Devi Sankaree Govender

Value Added Tax (VAT) will be increased to 15% from 1 April 2018. Some say it's a necessary step to keep the economy on track but others blame it squarely on State capture and corruption. 
The big question is: with the majority of South Africans living below the poverty line, how will the poor compensate from their already empty pockets?
Producer: Sophia Phirippides
Presenter: Nhlanhla Sehume
Researcher: Siniketiwe Hlanze

The Case against Zuma
After years of delays and obfuscation, it seems Jacob Zuma’s past is finally catching up with him. Armed with a docket of multiple counts of fraud and corruption, the National Prosecuting Authority believes it has a strong case against the former president.  But could Zuma still have a few smart legal cards to play?
Producer: Este de Klerk
Presenter: Devi Sankaree Govender

Cam Girls
It’s a lucrative business and many South African women are cashing in. Using their bodies, a webcam and an internet connection, cam girls are combining old methods of stripping with modern technology to make money. Carte Blanche explores the real world of camming.
Producer: Tarryn Crossman
Presenter: Claire Mawisa

On Sunday there's a special "Making Of" episode of the Blue Planet II on BBC Earth showing how the BBC's natural history went about capturing the underwater content for the series.

This Sunday on BBC Earth (DStv 184) at 16:00 there's a special episode of the BBC's Blue Planet II, entitled "The Making Of" that's actually an episode showing and containing the extras that's available on the Blue Planet II DVD box set, that reveals the stories behind some of the memorable moments and how the footage was captured.

The Blue Planet II "Making Of" episode shows viewers the extremes the team from the BBC’s natural history unit went to and the ground-breaking filming technology used during their four years of filming to capture the cinematic underwater content from around the world.

The devastation that plastic wreaks on our environment and especially on our oceans is always a hot topic and the episode will show the impact plastic has on the worlds that co-exist with ours under the surface of our oceans.

Second night of the NFVF's once again badly organised and flawed 12th South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) to be broadcast on SABC2 after the first night's technical awards once again saw headscratcher trophies handed out.

The second awards night of the National Film and Video Foundation's (NFVF) once again badly organised and flawed 12th South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) will be taking place this evening at Sun City and broadcast on SABC2 as a live event starting at 20:00.

The Saftas' first awards night for "technical awards" - once again with mind-boggling winners in categories they don't belong in - took place on Thursday night at Sun City.

It wasn't shown on television nor live-streamed on social media, online or through any commercial video-on-demand (VOD) services available in South Africa, with talent working behind-the-scenes literally kept away from viewers and behind the scenes, and with absolutely no progression made by the NFVF to try and show this night's winners to people.

As in the past people not physically attending couldn't hear acceptance speeches, see people accepting awards, or hear what the South Africans actually making film and television had to say to their peers in the local industry.

The NFVF's communications coordinator Neo Moretlwe and its roped-in PR agency Mason Communications to handle the media for the Saftas didn't respond with answers to a media enquiry asking what production company is responsible for producing the 12th Saftas show this year, who designed and built and stage that viewers will see on Saturday night, why viewers should be tuning in to watch, or how many people the Saftas are preparing for to attend the awards show this year.

There's also been no quotable from Zama Mkosi, the NFVF chairperson in the pre-show press release. Choosing who get Golden Horn trophies are 262 judges under chairpersons Firdoze Bulbulia and Thembi Mtshali-Jones.

On Thursday the Saftas judges were once again responsible for bestowing several headscratcher trophies to category winners.

The Cheeky Media produced Wingin' It, broadcast on M-Net (DStv 101), for instance won as Best Reality show while its actually a travel magazine show.

"Enviroserv: Kicking Up a Stink" from Nguni TV was handed a Saftas trophy as Best Current Affairs Programme while it was actually an insert that aired in SABC2's 50/50 environmental affairs magazine show. As in the past there were several other weird Saftas winners.

Once again the NFVF and the Saftas are also completely ignoring large swathes of programming genres and categories like news, current affairs programming genres and magazine shows who are not able to enter.

The 12th Saftas are also again suffering from an ongoing boycott by South African production companies and shows damaging the award show's credibility with the winner of the Most Popular TV Soap that will once again be a hollow victory since the NFVF and Saftas locked out companies from all other categories over their refusal to enter.

The credibility of the 12th Saftas are once again tarnished as Generations on SABC1 produced by Morula Pictures and Muvhango on SABC2 produced by Word of Mouth Productions - two of the most watched shows on South African television - are both boycotting the Saftas over ongoing problems with the judging process, transparency and other grievances.

As in previous years, the winner of the Most Popular Soap category at the 12th Saftas - as voted for by viewers - will this year once again not be a true reflection of what the viewers' choice really might be since the NFVF and the Saftas blocked viewers who wanted to vote for Generations or Muvhango from being able to.

The co-hosts for the 12th South African Film and Television Awards will be Phat Joe and Thando Thabethe.

The 12th Saftas will be doing a red carpet pre-show broadcast at 19:30 on SABC2 with Kuli Roberts from SABC3's Trending SA show, with Rorisang Thandekiso.

Tebogo Leshope appointed as new COO at parastatal signal distributor, Sentech.

Tebogo Leshope has been appointed as the new chief operating officer (COO) at South Africa's parastatal signal distributor, Sentech.

Tebogo Leshope has been with the state-owned company for 19 years. Sentech does broadcasting signal distribution in South Africa for for instance the South African public broadcaster, the SABC, that owes Sentech hundreds of millions of rands in arrear payments.

In a statement announcing Tebogo Leshope's appointment, Sentech says he possesses telecommunications experience, with proven leadership capabilities on highly complex operations and telecommunications projects and that he has managed complex technology projects, developed technology operating models and led operations.

Tebogo Leshope is qualified in electrical engineering, with a Bachelor of Technology from University of Johannesburg, Project Management from Unisa and is a registered professional with the Engineering Council of South Africa, South African Institute of Electrical Engineers and the Institute of Directors Southern Africa.

"As Tebogo Leshope takes on the COO responsibilities, we are positive that he will provide Sentech with core operations leadership, driving operational excellence, business growth and migration of core platforms to digital," says Mlamli Booi, Sentech CEO.

SABC top management to now meet with unions after the Communication Workers Union (CWU) also sends a letter to execs demanding answers about allegations of SABC News corruption, Kenneth Makatees, and changes at SABC News and SAfm without consultation.

The SABC's top management will be meeting with trade unions to try and prevent legal action from trade unions who are unhappy over changes at the public broadcaster's SABC News division, including the revamping of the SABC News (DStv 404) channel on MultiChoice's platform and turning SAfm into a talk radio station.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has sent a letter to the SABC's top executives, similar to the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media  Allied Workers Union (Bemawu), also demanding that the SABC stops implementing sweeping changes in its newsroom without proper consultation, and demanding that the SABC release the report into a recent investigation into allegations of corruption in the SABC News editing division.

In the Bemawu petition, 116 SABC News staffers warn over ongoing allegations of victimisation at the SABC, political interference, Hlaudi Motsoeneng "enforcers" who are still active at the SABC, and sex for jobs at the public broadcaster.

In a letter the CWU demands that the SABC release the findings of a recent investigation into allegations of corruption at SABC news editing.

In the letter the CWU's Billy Matsitse says the trade union "note with concern the challenges at news division, and we request your office facilitate an urgent meeting to address the issues".

The CWU, like Bemawu, is also upset about the ongoing presence of the controversial SABC staffer Kenneth Makatees at the SABC's newsroom in Auckland Park, wanting to know why he is here and not back in Cape Town since his period of acting as head of news has lapsed.

"Rumour is that he is earmarked to take over as head of the 24-hour SABC News channel. Positions cannot be created for pals or individuals. We demand that Kenneth Maketees to immediately assume his position in Cape Town," says the CWU.

"We note with concern the ‘turnaround’ at news without consultation of which it has impact on our members. Talent is brought in from our competitors, and what we see is that they bring their own personnel (crew or their own producers). What will happen to our technical people who have been performing such functions?" says the CWU.

The CWU demands that the SABC explain "the rationale behind the SAfm changes" and want to know why the appointment process for the position of SABC political editor is not transparent.

"We know interviews happened, but Corporation decided otherwise and advertised externally. We want to know why is the SABC ignoring talent from within".

The CWU also wants the SABC's top executives to explain changes to news technical staffers' contracts, since contracts of staffers were not renewed during the Henley and news technical staff merger. "As CWU, we feel that we need to act with speed and resolve the matters raised."

The SABC now says it will be meeting with the unions, following an appearance of SABC top management in parliament this week before the portfolio committee on communications.

Friday, March 23, 2018

M-Net launching the M-Net Movies Marvel Studios pop-up channel from 13 April for DStv Premium subscribers showing 15 Marvel action hero films as well as documentaries and extras.

M-Net's M-Net Movies channel division is creating another pop-up channel, this time a M-Net Movies Marvel Studios pop-up channel that will run for 10 days in April for DStv Premium subscribers.

The M-Net Movies Marvel Studios pop-up channel will start on Friday 13 April on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform on DStv channel 109, and will run until Sunday 22 April, showing 15 Marvel action hero films and some other content, in the lead-up to Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War movie being released in cinemas.

The M-Net Movies Marvel Studios pop-up channel will run from 06:00 to midnight daily.

Each day of the week a film from the Marvel action hero franchise, which has overlapping storylines, will be shown in chronological order. 

Starting with 2008’s Iron Man, DStv subscribers can revisit the stories of the heroes all the way through to Spider-Man: Homecoming, which will close the channel on Sunday 22 April.

"This channel is a special treat for the legions of Marvel fans - both old and new - who have enjoyed the live-action exploits of favourite Marvel Superheroes in films that express the unique vision and creativity of their filmmakers, and deliver thrilling action and visual spectacles with relatable characters," says Lani Lombard, M-Net's head of publicity.

"The timing of our M-Net Movies Marvels Studios pop-up channel is also absolutely perfect with the franchise currently creating an incredible buzz worldwide."  

The release of the recent Black Panther became the biggest film of all time in East, West and South Africa, showing that Marvel Studios is at the forefront of the comic-book-turned-action-pop-culture phenomenon. 

While the M-Net Movies Marvel pop-up channel will give DStv viewers the opportunity to enjoy more gems of the franchise, which has been ten years in the making, it also serves as a lead-up to the new Avengers: Infinity War which hits South African cinemas on Friday 27 April 2018.

On top of the 15 feature films there will also be programming linked to the behind the scenes of the movies, such as: United We Stand, Divided We FallThe Making of Captain America: Civil War; Guide to The Galaxy with James Gunn and more. 
Additionally, avid fans of the blockbuster franchise will be treated to a range of documentaries offering incredible insight into the history of Marvel. 
These include: Marvel 75 Years From Pulp to PopFrom Asgard To Earth (Thor); Marvel's Captain America: 75 Heroic Years; Ultimate Iron Man: The Making of Iron Man 2 Rebuilding the Suit, and Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe.
The 15 Marvel Studios blockbusters on the M-Net Movies Marvel Studios pop-up channel are:

Iron Man (2008)
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Thor (2011)
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Marvel's The Avengers (2012)
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Ant-Man (2015)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Doctor Strange (2016)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Thursday, March 22, 2018

China merges its 3 state broadcaster propaganda services into one macro unit called Zhongguo Zhisheng, now overseen by Chinese government's Publicity Department.

The Chinese government announced that it's merging its state broadcasting units into one new macro unit called Zhongguo Zhisheng (中国之声) that will be overseen by the Chinese government's Publicity Department to more effectively control the country's propaganda information efforts from China's Communist Party.

China's state-owned propaganda television and radio stations are being fused into one overall broadcasting platform with China Central Television (CCTV), China Radio International (CRI), and China National Radio (CNR) that will form the new Zhongguo Zhisheng.

Zhongguo Zhisheng translates as "Voice of China", although an official English name of Zhongguo Zhisheng has not yet been announced. The former CCTV president Shen Haixiong was appointed to lead the organization.

China Central Television (CCTV), China Radio International (CRI), and China National Radio (CNR) will keep their individual names.

The announcement comes a day after the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) as part of a plan from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Several of the news and documentary channels from CCTV are available and seen in South Africa, as well as through the rest of Africa, on various pay-TV satellite services ranging from MultiChoice's DStv and StarSat, to China's StarTimes in other Southern, East and West African countries.

Besides the various CCTV named channels run by CCTV, CCTV is also responsible for its global 24-hour TV news channel CGTN.

CGTN has 6 different language versions. The English version of CGTN is carried by MultiChoice on DStv channel 409.

The French version of CGTN (CGTN French) is carried by StarTimes Media SA and On Digital Media (ODM) on StarSat and in the rest of Africa, along with some CCTV channels.

FOX Networks Group Africa loses its top boss as Gary Alfonso exits as its Africa general manager to pursue new opportunities.

FOX Africa's business in South Africa and across the rest of Africa is losing its top boss on the continent, with Gary Alfonso who is exiting as general manager for the FOX Networks Group Africa.

Gary Alfonso has been with FNG Africa as it's top executive for a year and 7 months.

The highly respected Gary Alfonso replaced two predecessors as the top FOX executive on the continent who lasted only 5 months and 4 months in the position respectively.

He has now resigned to pursue other business interests.

Gary Alfonso was appointed to head up FOX Networks Group's expansion into sub-Saharan Africa in mid-2016 and says his decision to resign is due to new opportunities.

"When I joined Fox Networks Group in Africa the immediate challenge was to ensure the company kept building its solid reputation as a global leader in entertainment, factual and sports content for pay TV audiences across the continent," says Gary Alfonso.

"I feel that was achieved successfully and it allowed the FNG team and I the opportunity to rapidly expand into the strategic business growth areas of live sports and content production."

"I'm proud to have been part of the teams that achieved the incredible launch and execution of the first-ever fully produced West Africa Cup of 16 Nations tournament in Ghana in September last year. We have also hosted live WBA-endorsed Africa Boxing tournaments in cities across Africa."

Adam Theiler, the executive vice president of FOX Networks Group Europe and Africa, says "Gary Alfonso is a veteran of the broadcasting industry with more than 30 years as a television and content professional. Previous experience includes CNBC Africa, Business Day TV, Media General in Ghana and the SABC. He’s not disclosed any immediate plans, but says he remains a champion and campaigner for better quality content for all audiences in Africa".

FNG Africa hasn't yet announced a replacement.

eNCA anchors Joanne Joseph and Ayanda Allie-Paine both resign in latest wave of high profile exits from the TV news channel. insiders told TVwithThinus that both the veteran anchor Joanne Joseph and Ayanda Allie-Paine are leaving eNCA (DStv 403) in the latest wave of high profile exits rocking the South African TV news channel, with eMedia Investments confirming that both have resigned.

Joanne Joseph and Ayanda Allie-Paine's resignations come hot on the heels of eNCA's former star crime and court reporter Kary Maughan who left last month, and the shock exit of Debbie Meyers, the head of current affairs at eNCA and

Meanwhile is also gutting its long running morning show Sunrise with plans to outsource its morning breakfast show that's been on the air since April 2008 to an outside production company, with shocked staffers who have been served retrenchment notices and are likely getting fired.

One insider described a situation where "morale is at an all time low and people are desperately searching for new jobs".

The highly respected Joanne Joseph has been anchoring the 16:00 to 18:00 timeslot on eNCA, and joined the Power FM radio station in February 2017. Her exit date from eNCA has not yet been finalized.

For Ayanda Allie-Paine its the second time she's leaving eNCA - this time after less than a year after she rejoined eNCA in May 2017 to anchor eNCA's new weekend morning programming strand, Weekend Wake Up on Saturdays and Sundays.

It's not clear who will replace her, or if Weekend Wake Up on eNCA is getting canned. Ayanda Allie-Paine's abrupt last appearance on eNCA will be over the coming Easter Weekend.

eNCA in response to a media enquiry says "eNCA can confirm that Joanne Joseph and Ayanda Allie-Paine have resigned to pursue new opportunities".

"Joanne has been with eNCA for almost nine years, anchoring various programmes during her tenure. As a consummate professional with over 20 years of experience, she has tirelessly helped lead the coverage of some of the most prominent news stories of the last decade," says eNCA.

"Joanne has made a valuable contribution to the channel," says Mapi Mhlangu, eNCA editor-in-chief. "She is a formidable journalist, who has used her skills to help our viewers navigate through the key stories during a particularly turbulent period in our democracy."

eNCA says Ayanda-Allie Paine who re-joined eNCA last year "energising the channel’s Saturday and Sunday morning line-up with the Weekend Wake Up. Her dynamic interviewing style and keen journalistic skills have led to a number of memorable moments on the channel". 

"Ayanda-Allie has an infectious passion for news and development, which will be missed by her colleagues and our viewers," says Mapi Mhlangu. "We wish Ayanda and Joanne all the best in their future endeavours." 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Before selling its treasured archives to MultiChoice, the SABC also sold it to ANN7 as Gupta executives laughed at 'stupid' SABC: 'The people at the SABC can be bought for a meal and a drink'.

Before the struggling South African public broadcaster sold its treasured archives to MultiChoice in a controversial channels deal, the SABC also apparently sold it to ANN7 (DStv 405) as Gupta executives laughed at the "stupid SABC" and said: "The people at the SABC can be bought for a meal and a drink; they are willing to give away their treasure trove of historical footage for peanuts".

The stunning claim is the latest of many to emerge from the buzzed about new book, Indentured: Behind the Scenes at Gupta TV, by author Rajesh Sundaram, a former ANN7 giving an insider's perspective on the horrific working conditions during the set-up and eventual disastrous launch of the "Gupta news" channel on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform in August 2013.

While much has already been reported about the SABC's controversial deal with MultiChoice selling its archives to Naspers' pay-TV unit, it's now coming to light that the SABC actually also allegedly sold its archives for a fraction of what it's worth to the Gupta family accused in a litany of widespread State Capture allegations.

In his book, Rajesh Sundaram writes that that Laxmi Goel, an executive roped in by the Guptas to help with the setting up and launch of ANN7, during a meeting revealed "an elaborate plan to buy archival footage from the SABC".

"He told me how the Guptas had got a nod from the state broadcaster to buy this valuable archive. The SABC had plans to set up a 24/7 news channel of their own, but they were willing to sell their archives for a sweet deal to the Guptas".

"They have all their archives on mini DV tapes. Their library is not automated or digitised, and it takes them ages to find any footage. We will bring these tapes to our studio and digitise them. So from day one we will have a tapeless library with systems that will make it possible for us to pull out footage within a few seconds."

"We know the people at the SABC, so we will get footage at a very low rate. You will have to make sure that all the footage of historical importance at the SABC is included in the 100-hour bulk deal we plan to do with them," Laxmi Goel apparently told Rajesh Sundaram.

"But the SABC eventually did not allow the footage to be taken away from their office. Rahul Singh, a senior video librarian from India, was sent with mini digital video format tapes and asked to bring back 100 hours of footage from the thousands of tapes at the SABC archives".

"He spent about a month going to the SABC every day and sitting at a video editing bay there and transferring all the valuable historical footage the SABC had in its tape library. By the time he resigned and went back to India, he had collected 60 hours of priceless footage from the SABC library," writes Rajesh Sundaram.

"We are paying them a lump sum to get this footage. We have got a very sweet deal with them. The people at the SABC can be bought for a meal or a drink; they are willing to give away their treasure trove of historical footage footage for peanuts."

"They have a clause in the contract that says that we will have to also pay them a "per second" fee for every time we air the footage we have taken from them. But they are so stupid, how will they be able to tell what is their footage? How can they audit our use? We will get all their footage forever at just this one-time cost," Nazeem Howa said when the footage transfer were discussed later, writes Rajesh Sundaram.

He writes that Rahul was instructed "to take anyone he interacts with at the SABC for a drink or mean any time they wanted to when he was at the SABC transferring footage. He was told by Nazeem that this cost would be reimbursed to him".

"Get all of Nelson Mandela's footage, get footage of the atrocities on the blacks during the apartheid years; we can use it to show the young people of today how the whites treated their grandparents and parents. This footage is priceless, and I want you to take as much of it as possible back with you. Even if you get more than 100 hours, get that, we will pay them under the table, Atul Gupta told Rahul during our discussion."

"The archival footage at the SABC was indeed of a very high quality and in my view worth millions of rands," writes Rajesh Sundaram. "Nazeem, Laxmi and Atul repeatedly told me that the contract with the SABC for this sale favoured ANN7, was drafted by Gupta lawyers and that the price of the footage was 'peanuts' compared to its real value."

"Rahul digitised all the footage he got the very same day and catalogued and classified it on the video library system. This meant transferring the footage from tapes to servers. After the footage was tagged and put on the server, ANN7 was able to retrieve and air it in a matter of seconds, something that would take the SABC team hours or even days to do."

"I have not been able to figure out why the SABC signed this contract and handed valuable footage shot over decades to a company that had far superior archiving technology and would be a rival to its own proposed 24-hour news channel".

The SABC was asked in a media enquiry on Monday if the public broadcaster possibly has any comment or statement regarding what Rajesh Sundaram writes in his book Indentured: Behind the Scenes at Gupta TV, about the SABC and the SABC's archive material that was given to ANN7.

The SABC didn't respond.

Indentured: Behind the Scenes at Gupta TV is published by Jacana Media and is available in bookstores at R185.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Pabi Moloi the presenter of the latest season of SABC3's Presenter Search on 3.

Pabi Moloi who is a panelist on SABC3's late night talk show Trending SA will be the presenter of the new season of the channel's Presenter Search on 3 talent scouting competition show.

Nationwide auditions of the new season of Presenter Search on 3 will kick off this coming weekend, with the show that will start broadcasting on SABC3 on Thursday 10 May at 19:30.

Presenter Search on 3 will look for new faces to join established SABC3 shows like Top Billing, Expresso and Afternoon Express and is produced for SABC3 by Cardova Productions.

"I am thrilled at the chance to witness dreams coming true," says Pabi Moloi. "It's amazing how many people desire the simple opportunity to step under the lights and shine bright. SABC3 is opening the industry and I'm honoured to be a part of this journey."

Anybody who wants to audition can show up at the nationwide auditions starting this weekend in Port Elizabeth and fill out an entry form at the registration desk. More information is also available at

25 March (Sunday): Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Stadium
7 April (Saturday), 8 April (Sunday): Cape Town, Newlands rugby stadium
14 April (Saturday), 15 April (Sunday): Durban, Durban Exhibition Centre
20 April (Friday), 21 April (Saturday), 22 April (Sunday): Johannesburg, Wanderers Cricket Stadium

SuperSport gears up with changes for its longrunning Formula One show, Absolute F1, ahead of the new racing season with a new on-air look and Kriya Gangiah as the new lead presenter.

SuperSport decided to make changes to its longrunning show, Absolute F1, covering Formula One racing to co-incide with the new season starting in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday, with a new on-air look and Kriya Gangiah as the show's new lead presenter.

Absolute F1 will broadcast on SuperSport on Wednesdays at 19:30 in the week preceding Grands Prix.

Kriya Gangiah, a former Ignition TV anchor and a DJ on Jacaranda FM, will now front Absolute F1, and will be joined in studio by Batshobonke "Tschops" Sipuka, Vic Maharaj and Gary Formato.

Batshobonke "Tschops" Sipuka competed in the Formula Volkswagen class in Germany, saloon car racing in Malaysia and Super Truck racing in South Africa. He was also South Africa's first black motorsport champion, twice winning the Volkswagen Polo Cup Series.

Vic Maharaj is a motorsport engineer and Gary Formato is a local driver.

ITV pulls Saturday Night Takeaway, seen on ITV Choice, off the air after troubled co-presenter Ant McPartlin is arrested on suspicion of driving drunk after a car crash and goes back to rehab.

The British broadcaster ITV has pulled Saturday Night Takeaway off the air and the broadcast of the remaining episodes of the show, also seen on ITV Choice (DStv 123) in South Africa and Africa, are uncertain after co-presenter Ant McPartlin was arrested on Sunday afternoon over suspicion of drinking and driving drunk in southwest London following a car crash.

The troubled Ant McPartlin (42) is heading back to rehab with his publicist saying he is taking time off "for the foreseeable future" after he failed a roadside breathalyser test.

A child passenger in one of the cars was taken to hospital for a check-up as a precaution, according to police who arrived following a collision between 3 cars that required several people to get treatment for minor injuries.

Ant McPartlin spent 2 months in rehabilitation in 2017 after admitting that he's addicted to painkillers and alcohol. In January 2018 he confirmed that he is getting divorced from his wife Lisa Armstrong after 11 years.

"Ant has decided to go back into treatment and step down from his current TV commitments. He has spoken with Dec and ITV today and asked for time off for the foreseeable future. As such, Saturday Night Takeaway will not be going ahead this Saturday," reads the statement.

There's still episodes of Saturday Night Takeaway left in the latest season, with the final episode that's supposed to be a live broadcast from the Universal Orlando Resort with 200 fans of the show flying out in a specially-chartered plane. Last year's final episode was done from Disneyworld in Florida.

ITV in its own statement says "ITV has taken a joint decision with Ant and Dec's team not to broadcast Saturday Night Takeaway this weekend".

'We will be reviewing options for the last two episodes of the series (31 March and 7 April) which would not feature Ant who is taking time off to seek treatment. We very much hope that he gets the help that he needs." says Jeremy Maggs is not leaving eNCA for an anchoring job at the SABC's SAfm radio station.

The veteran TV news anchor Jeremy Maggs is not leaving the South African TV news channel, eNCA (DStv 403). tells TVwithThinus that "there's no truth to the reports that Jeremy Maggs is leaving eNCA".

It comes after Sunday tabloid press splashed that SABC insiders at the public broadcaster's SAfm have been chattering excitedly that "veteran presenter Jeremy Maggs might be brought in to do the afternoon drive show called PMLive".

Jeremy Maggs that anchored NewsNight on eNCA, moved to anchor NewsDay in May 2017. NewsDay is eNCA's afternoon block between 13:00 and 16:00.

Meanwhile "PMLive" on SAfm is on between 16:00 and 18:00 on weekdays.

If you were the host of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? you can do basically anything, but not even Jeremy Maggs can't be in one place at the one moment and instantly in another place the next, meaning that if he were to do a SAfm show, he'd have to leave eNCA.

According to Jeremy Maggs is staying put.

eNCA that started out as the eNews Channel in June 2008 will be celebrating a decade on the air soon and is turning 10 years old in June 2018.

BREAKING. eNCA slaps back at EFF's Julius Malema after the political leader accuses the TV news channel of 'protecting white privilege'; eNCA says its journalists are now getting threatening messages.

eNCA (DStv 403) is slapping back at the caustic political leader of the Economic Feeedom Fighters, Julius Malema, who on Sunday accused eNCA of protecting white privilege as a channel that allegedly "perpetuate white supremacy", with eNCA's managing director and editor-in-chief, Mapi Mhlangu, saying that eNCA opposes racist domination and that eNCA journalists are now being threatened and targeted with threatening messages.

On Sunday, Julius Malema tweeted that "the changes at SABC are worrisome, someone is busy creating eNCA lite at the SABC. We have to find a way of stopping whiteness from taking over the only platform of black people before is [sic] too late. eNCA is the platform that perpetuate white supremacy and there's no doubt."

"I think EFF should really discuss in depth the role of eNCA in perpetuating and defending white privilege and see if we can't come to the same conclusion we did with the ANN7."

"On Sunday 18 March 2018, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Malema, accused eNCA of protecting white privilege and white supremacy on Twitter. This accusation is disturbing given the values at the core of eNCA's journalism over the last decade," says Mapi Mhlangu.

Mapi Mhlangu says Julius Malema's "tweets have consequences, not least because he is the leader of a political party with substantial representation and support across South Africa. The first of these consequences have been threats to individual journalists in the wake of his online messages".

"Despite our relative small size as a news organisation, we have consistently dedicated our limited resources to stories which have put justice, equality and human rights at the centre of our news, in line with our insistence that we offer news without fear or favour."

"Our staff have consistently told stories about what is broken in this country, how it can be fixed and how we can make each other accountable," says Mapi Mhlangu.

"Julius Malema's characterisation of eNCA is not supported by the factual record. The channel's majority stakeholder is a black empowerment company, Hoskins Consolidated Investments (HCI), and of that a significant share of eMedia Investments' is held by the South African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union (Sactwu). The ownership of eNCA through eMedia is therefore not as has often been alleged in public."

"Additionally, the staff members at eNCA are representative of the diversity of people who make up contemporary South Africa, who bring to their work divergent political views and social experiences, which inform our story-telling in ways which South Africans have appreciated to the extent of making us the most-watched channel among news viewers."

Mapi Mhlangu says that "at any other time in our country’s history" Julius Malema's tweets "would have required a response from the editorial team, not least because it is a question of ensuring the safety of journalists in a democratic society".

"In the year ahead of what may be South Africa’s most important general elections since the abolition of legislated apartheid, the role of the news media and the safety of those who work in this crucial sector, cannot be overstated. We must remind ourselves the role that South Africa’s journalists and media organisations played in holding executive power to account and their key role in protecting the democratic order, which eventually saw the reinstitution of corruption charges against a former head of state."

"Furthermore, eNCA operates in a highly regulated space governed by The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA). If political organisations or their leaders have concerns about news media organisations or their output, there are structures and processes in democratic South Africa available to them to pursue their complaints."

"The BCCSA is one avenue through which any person or organisation may pursue their complaint should direct engagement with that media organisation not be satisfactory. This is the democratic right assured all of us in democratic South Africa," says Mapi Mhlangu.

"Media freedom and the safety of journalists are under increasing threat around the world.  South Africans fought long and hard to guarantee this freedom as a pillar of the constitutional democracy.  Political parties, leaders and citizens have the freedom to criticise the media, but also have the responsibility to do so through the channels available to them in ways which contribute to strengthening democracy and accountability."

"eNCA is an organisation founded by people who opposed racist domination, and every day the hundreds of people who work incredibly hard to make eNCA the most watched news channel on satellite television in South Africa reaffirm that commitment to a democratic country in which we celebrate a plurality of views within the letter and spirit of constitutional democracy."

"We affirm that commitment to a democratic country in which we celebrate a plurality of views within the letter and spirit of constitutional democracy."