Sunday, March 31, 2019

Right2Know slams SABC over its alleged 'blackout' on coverage of horrific xenophobia attacks in KwaZulu-Natal; says 'people have a right to be informed'.

The Right2Know public pressure group (R2K) has slammed the South African public broadcaster over its alleged "blackout" of coverage of shocking xenophobia attacks in the country's KwaZulu-Natal province.

"We strongly condemn the recent destructive and violent attacks on foreign nationals in KwaZulu-Natal," says R2K in a statement.

"The situation has reached a stage where we call on government and leaders to refrain from making utterances that can fuel anger and hate which as we see are resulting in widespread violence."

"We call on political leaders to refrain from a narrative that seeks to propose foreign nationals as the problem in this country which we view as an unfortunate attempt to divert attention from the real frustrations and genuine challenges faced by communities," says R2K.

"We cannot allow a situation where foreign nationals are used as a proxy for political battle".

R2K says "Currently, there are violent riots, stone throwing, trucks looted and burnt, cars set alight – a situation far from under control with no confirmed arrests. The time is now for the government to publicly show their concern for the events as unfolded in KZN."

"There is a large scale destruction and looting of foreign-owned shops and locally owned assets.  These xenophobic attacks are clearly not only an attack on foreigners but on South Africans too."

"The SABC blackout on this news is creating a false sense of security," says R2K.

"The reality in KwaZulu-Natal is being published via social media platforms and local radio stations. People have the right to be informed of occurrences that impact their lives."

"The public is walking into an ambush by not being informed of these spates of violence. As a national broadcaster, the SABC is mandated to broadcast our realities."

CCMA orders SABC to backpay two senior staffers a 10-month salary's worth of what the public broadcaster paid a regional editor who got the job in an irregular appointment without a journalism qualification and after failing a vetting process.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has ordered the SABC to backpay two senior staffers at the South African public broadcaster who must each get a 10-month salary's worth of what the SABC paid a regional SABC editor in Limpopo after the CCMA found that the SABC irregularly awarded the job to someone without any journalism qualification and who also failed a vetting process.

The SABC appointed Jubie Matlou without the necessary qualifications, with Piet Shai, CCMA commissioner, who found that the SABC had committed unfair labour practice and that the SABC failed to finalise the grievance interview within 6 weeks.

The Sowetan in the past week first reported the ruling of the CCMA case. It comes after both Sello Sam Mochichila, a current affair producer at the SABC's Thobela FM radio station, and Rudzani Bologo an assignment editor at the SABC's Munghana Lonone FM radio station, both applied for the position in 2017 but got overlooked.

Both went to the CCMA.

Jubie Matlou explained to the CCMA that he had a degree in communication, but said that it included journalism. The SABC told the CCMA that there "was nothing that prevented it to appoint Matlou" and that the SABC was "of the view that it followed its own policy and procedure".

Piet Shai states in his ruling said "I order the SABC to pay compensation to the applicants of a sum equivalent to Matlou's 10 months wages calculated at the latter's rate at the time of his appointment. The above amount shall be paid on 30 April 2019".

Piet Shai found that "the way the SABC dealt with his appointment gives the impression that the position was reserved for him regardless".

On Sunday CityPress reported that after the position was advertised externally, the SABC news and current affairs HR manager Mannie Alho in October 2017 wrote to Kenneth Makatees, the SABC group executive for news at the time, about the reason for advertising externally after a delay in making the appointment.

Mannie Alho wrote that "complications had arisen due to both external and internal political interference and also the panel's view that the internal candidates lacked equal experience and skills for both TV and radio news production and broadcasting".

It's not clear who was behind the "external and internal political interference" at the SABC alluded to in the letter.

Vuyo Mthembu, SABC spokesperson told CityPress that the SABC is "currently perusing the award and a decision on the way forward will be taken within the prescribed time period. The SABC will not engage on the content of the matter while it is still considering its options".

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Quizzical Pictures cast Linda Sokhulu as new character Ziyanda in's weekday soap Rhythm City.

Quizzical Pictures has added actress Linda Sokhulu to its weekday soap Rhythm City produced for with the character of Ziyanda who will make her appearance on-screen from Tuesday 16 April.

Linda Sokhulu joins Rhythm City after an 8-year stint on SABC3's weekday soap, Isidingo as the character of Nikiwe Sibeko. in a statement about the cast addition says Linda Sokhulu "joins the cast as Ziyanda, a smart, savvy businessperson who has a booming laugh and a dirty sense of humour. She takes no nonsense but doesn't have to prove she's tough".

"She is both streetwise and worldly and knows how to use her beauty and brains to get what she wants."

"The character of Ziyanda comes into Suffo's life and lures him into a bigger world of business and power. She becomes his unlikely buddy."

"Ziyanda is a tough-talking broad who isn't afraid to speak her mind. She isn't intimidated by Suffo in the slightest and speaks to him in a way he wouldn't accept from another woman."

"Ziyanda unwittingly challenges Suffo (Mduduzi Mabaso) and Puleng's (Tebogo Khalo) compatibility and ultimately highlights their very different goals. Will Puleng perceive her as a rival?"

The new character will be a threat to both David Genaro (Jamie Bartlett) and Suffocate.

Linda Sokhulu says "I am looking forward to playing Ziyanda - it's a very challenging role. She is worldly and street smart, sexy and driven. She knows exactly what she wants and is not afraid to speak her mind. David and Suffo have no idea what they're in for".

Did a 'captive' and frail Wendy Williams drop hints to her BET talk show audience as she says 'what kind of man beats a woman?' and 'long week' before she goes off the air again for yet another week?

Did the struggling and frail Wendy Williams (54) drop hints to her BET (DStv 129) talk show audience this week as to what's really going on in her life, saying "what kind of man beats a woman?" and "long week" before she's off the air yet again for another week?

Fans are wondering and speculating as to what's really happening with Wendy Williams and why she's not addressing the biggest "hot topic" on her show - herself.

American media this past week reported more lurid details about her private life as Wendy Williams desperately struggles to regain control of her life and talk show as her personal life continues to spiral out of control - plagued by growing rumours about her failing health and crumbling marriage.

The Daily Mail last month reported that Wendy Williams is now living in a "sober living house" in New York with other people struggling with addiction problems, only leaving to go and do her weekday talk show.

The Daily Mail this week reported that Wendy Williams was hospitalised on Monday after she relapsed and was found drunk - but after being given intravenous fluids, she was still rushed to the set of her show to record Monday's episode.

Wendy Williams only revealed that she's living in a sober living facility in Queens after The Daily Mail made a media enquiry and was about to report it when she teary-eyed told her talk show audience that she's been getting help for addiction to alcohol and pills for weeks.

Wendy Williams started her latest struggle with addiction after her right shoulder injury in December when she said she fell, and took an extended break from her show.

The New York Post's Page Six reported this week that Wendy Williams relapsed and got drunk after Sharina Hudson, who is having an extra-marital affair with Wendy's husband Kevin Hunter, gave birth in Philadelphia on Sunday night.

Kevin is reported to allegedly be the father of his mistress' newborn, although there's no proof of that. He is also the one who put Wendy Williams in the sober living house and monitors her every move at the talk show where he is one of the producers as well as her business manager.

Fans now think a "captive" Wendy Williams is silently trying to signal the public and crying out for help.

Twenty minutes into Wednesday's episode of The Wendy Williams Show things suddenly became extremely awkward when Wendy Williams, after a "hot topics" discussion about how Dr Dre physically assaulted the journalist Dee Barnes some years ago, suddenly looked at her audience and asked: "What kind of man beats a woman?"

She then did a long stare in silence, then made a sideway-down glance to her right shoulder with a knowing smile, and then said: "And what kind of men stand around and see this happen and not break it up?"

Is Wendy Williams trying to signal that she is herself a victim of domestic abuse? That was followed by yet another long, awkward glance and Wendy saying "hmmm".

On Friday's show it looked as if Wendy Williams dropped another "clue" about her life, saying "sorry; long week" as she dropped a throat lozenge into her tea.

An on-set source told Page Six that Wendy Williams is "so frail and vulnerable. It's frightening just how completely under Kevin's control Wendy is. But she won't hear a word against him".

"Those close to her are terrified something awful is going to happen. She comes to the set looking terrible."

Now The Wendy Williams Show is once again going into reruns for next week with Wendy Williams that on Friday said in her show that "we are on vacation for 7 days. We will be back the following Monday. Sorry".

"The Wendy Williams Show is taking a previously scheduled spring break hiatus and airing repeat episodes during the week of 1 April. The show will return with original episodes on 8 April," the talk show said in a written statement.

The latest break comes after Wendy Williams returned on 4 March after 2 months away from the show during which American presenters stood in for her, followed by repeat episodes.

FINDING YOUR OWN SPOT. The brand-new animation series, 101 Dalmatian Street, starting on the Disney Channel on DStv from April.

The new original animation series, 101 Dalmatian Street will start on the Disney Channel (DStv 303) on Monday 1 April at 16:00 with multiple rebroadcasts per week.

101 Dalmatian Street, based on the British author Dodie Smith's 1956-novel and Walt Disney's 1961 film, 101 Dalmatians, was commissioned for 10 two-minute shorts, 40 11-minute episodes, and 5 22-minute specials.

101 Dalmatian Street features a wide range of voice talent from the United States and the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. 

101 Dalmatian Street is aimed at kids - both boys and girls aged 6 and older and is set in 21st century London,following the adventures of the eldest Dalmatian step-siblings Dolly and Dylan, their parents Delilah and Doug, and their big barking blended family of 97 younger brothers and sisters, whose names also all begin with the letter "D". 

With two working parents and no human owner, there's a lot of pressure on Dylan and Dolly to keep everything going, despite the fact that they're still just kids who want to do their own thing. Chaos and comedy are unleashed as they try to balance furry fun with family duty.

Disney says 101 Dalmatian Street explores sibling relationships and all the warm and messy complications of domestic life - multiplied by one hundred and one.

"The series is about finding your spot within a huge and complicated family. Do you sink or survive when you're swimming through a wiggling ocean of black and white puppies all barking for attention?"

The fast and furry comedy focuses on Dylan and Dolly's unusually large canine family, and the many unique and diverse personalities within it, but also introduces viewers to a vast array of other animal friends and foes living nearby and around the city.

101 Dalmatian Street is produced by Passion Animation Studios employing an international crew of more than 50 artists, with Atomic Cartoons in Vancouver providing animation services. 

The series is written by Maria O'Loughlin and directed by Miklos Weigert, with Cara Speller serving as executive producer.

"I feel like we've watched the Disney movie about 101 times during our research for the show," says director Miklos Weigert.

"There's a lot of dog-based fun in the series, which is very much connected to the original movie and the books of Dodie Smith."

"Of course, there are dogs at the heart of the story of 101 Dalmatian Street – but there's also a variety of birds, like pigeons and swans. There are also foxes, cats, horses, rats and squirrels. There are a variety of dogs, too. As well as the Dalmatians, you'll see Corgis, Pugs, Rottweilers, Pomeranians and much more."

"Keep your eyes peeled for lots of fun Easter eggs when you tune into the show. We've put a lot of secret references to the movie and the book in 101 Dalmatian Street," says Miklos Weigert.

"There are paintings on the wall that could give you a little background story to the characters. There are hats, glasses and hidden boxes that you should pay more attention to in the attic."

"There are also lots of visual clues that connect 101 Dalmatian Street to the original Disney movie. For example, there are certain poses, certain windows and certain doors that directly reference the animated movie."

NCIS: LOS ANGELES STEPPING INTO HARM's WAY: David James Elliott coming to NCIS: LA reprising his JAG role as Captain Harmon Rabb Jr. in a multi-episode guest-role.

David James Elliott will reprise his iconic JAG role as Captain Harmon Rabb Jr. when the actor makes an appearance on NCIS: Los Angeles in a multi-episode story-arc during its current 10th season.

NCIS: Los Angeles is currently on its 2nd season on, with its 7th season on Universal TV (DStv 117) at the moment, and M-Net (DStv 101) showing the 10th season.

It was JAG that ran for a decade that led to NCIS as a spin-off and that started further spin-off series like NCIS: LA.

Now David James Elliott will make his first appearance on an NCIS series, once again playing the character that made him famous and with viewers who will get a chance to catch up with what has happened to him since the end of JAG.

In the upcoming episode "The Guardian" Harmon Rabb Jr. will make his first appearance stretching over several episodes as the NCIS team uncovers ISIS sympathizers who are planning an attack on United States aircraft carriers.

The looming threat leads to Callen (Chris O’Donnell) and Sam (LL Cool J) working directly with Rabb (David James Elliott) who is now the executive officer (XO) and second-in-command on the USS Intrepid.

David James Elliott in his NCIS appearance is also reuniting with R. Scott Gemmill who is now the executive producer and showrunner of NCIS: Los Angeles who used to be a writer and producer on JAG.

"I was really excited to get a chance to work with David again," says R. Scott Gemmill in a statement. "I did the first 4 seasons of JAG with him so to be able to work together again in and of itself is great - but to do so with the same character on our show this many years later - that's pretty damn amazing."

"Bringing Harmon Rabb to work with NCIS: Los Angeles makes for a formidable coalition, and both entities are going to need all the help they can get when confronted with the greatest challenge of their careers."

Law & Order: SVU with Mariska Hargitay renewed for its 21st season to become America's longest-running drama series; Philip Winchester leaving.

The Dick Wolf produced drama series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit with Mariska Hargitay has been renewed for a record 21st season that will make it America's longest running-drama series, although the series regular Philip Winchester won't be returning to his role as assistant district attorney Peter Stone.

Law & Order: SVU stars Mariska Hargitay who is also one of the executive producers and who won an Emmy award for Best actress in a drama series and got another 8 nominations for her iconic role of Lt. Olivia Benson, and received two Golden Globe nominations for Lead actress in a drama series, winning the award in 2005.

Lt. Benson is now the longest-running female character in a primetime live-action series.

Law & Order: SVU sold to more than 250 territories around the world is a Wolf Entertainment production in association with Universal Television and is seen in South Africa and across Sub-Saharan Africa on SABC3 and with double episodes of the 20th season currently on Wednesdays at 20:00 on Universal TV (DStv 117).

The series revolves around a Special Victims Unit of the New York Police Department (NYPD) who, as an elite squad of detectives, investigates sexually based crimes, child abuse and domestic violence.

Law & Order Special Victims Unit also stars Ice T as Sgt. Odafin "Fin" Tutuola who has been with the show for the last 19 years, Kelli Giddish as detective Amanda Rollins, Peter Scanavino as detective Sonny Carisi and Philip Winchester as assistant district attorney Peter Stone.

"We tip our cap to Dick Wolf, Mariska Hargitay and the amazing cast and crew of SVU, who now all go into the record book," said Paul Telegdy and George Cheeks, co-chairmen of NBC Entertainment, in a statement.

"This incredible run is an example of what happens when producers, writers and actors all come together and create a show that, year after year speaks to its audience in a powerful way. We couldn't be more proud of this remarkable achievement."

Creator and executive producer Dick Wolf says "As SVU moves into its third decade, Mariska has become an iconic figure as a star, advocate and crusader for women".

"She is an enduring champion of the movement to end sexual violence, and dozens of episodes have dealt with the very same issues that have shifted into the spotlight in this country in the past two years. Mariska is a delight as number one on the call sheet and, to me, a true friend."

Mariska Hargitay says in the statement "I'm deeply proud to be a part of this groundbreaking show, and humbled to make television history today."

"The longevity and continued success of SVU is a testament not only to the show's powerful storytelling and ability to connect with viewers but to its necessity. We have told important stories for 20 years, and we will continue to tell them."

Mariska Hargitay tweeted "20 years ago, we started a conversation. We're not finished. I'm profoundly proud of how far we've come. Prouder still of how far we'll go. We’ve all broken this ground together."

Philip Winchester also tweeted his congratulations but announced that he won't be back for the 21st season, saying "Sadly for me, Peter Stone and his 'the facts don't care about you're feelings' attitude will not be returning".

"A huge tip of the hat to my amazing fans and not so big of fans. You all make me work harder. Thank you! See you on the next adventure".

Friday, March 29, 2019

M-Net's Carte Blanche and Claire Mawisa go to Beira in Mozambique to witness first-hand the devastation after Cyclone Idai and the danger of waterborne diseases.

M-Net's (DStv 101) weekly investigative and current affair programme Carte Blanche on Sunday at 19:00 travels to Beira with presenter Claire Mawisa to witness first-hand the large-scale and horrific devastation that was caused by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique and the looming danger of waterborne diseases.

With hundreds of people dead and the government of Mozambique grappling with the outbreak of diseases as they coordinate the delivery of food aid to displaced survivors, Cyclone Idai has been labelled an unprecedented natural disaster.

At least 1.85 million people across three countries have been affected by the devastating cyclone and subsequent rainfall that tore through southern Africa just over two weeks ago.

Carte Blanche, in an insert produced by Stenette Grosskopf, travels to the port city of Beira to witness first-hand the impact on Mozambique and meet aid workers who have worked non-stop to rescue and assist victims.

Other Carte Blanche stories this Sunday on M-Net include:

Sculptor King
From an imposing statue of Nelson Mandela to a life-size sculpture of Hugh Masekela, artist Lungelo Gumede produces a variety of wax figures from his small workshop. 
It's slow, daunting work, but inch by inch, Gumede sculpts every wrinkle on each face in as he prepares to open Africa's first wax museum at the BAT Centre in Durban. Carte Blanche visits this promising artist.  
Producer: Carol Albertyn Christie
Presenter: Masa Kekana

Fraud and Corruption Inside the Johannesburg Roads Agency
With major Johannesburg roads closed for rehabilitation, thousands of motorists are being redirected onto other highways and bridges. 
But some of these bridges are old and research conducted by the Johannesburg Roads Agency exposes that 94% are in a fair to extremely poor condition. Carte Blanche investigates how fraud and corruption may have led to the dilapidation and destruction of the city’s infrastructure and reveals undercover recordings showing how a top JRA official tried to negotiate kickbacks from engineering contractors.
Producer: Nicky Troll 
Presenter: Devi Sankaree Govender

Insects – the Sixth Great Extinction 
A review of scientific studies on the world's insect populations has shown that more than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered.
This rate of extinction is eight times greater than that of mammals, birds and reptiles and it's projected that without intervention, insects could vanish off the face of the earth within the next 100 years. The phenomenon threatens life as we know it on earth. Carte Blanche examines what consequences the collapse of nature’s ecosystems could spell for human civilization.
Producer: Julian Sun
Presenter: Derek Watts

JOIN THE NIGHT'S WATCH (LITERALLY) A FINAL TIME. How to be a part of M-Net's big screen cosplay celebration and its Nu Metro cinema showing of HBO's Game of Thrones season 8 premiere episode.

M-Net's competition to literally join The Night's Watch has opened today (Friday 29 March) for South African DStv subscribers who want the chance to join other fans of HBO's Game of Thrones to watch the 8th season premiere of the fantasy drama series together at 03:00 in the morning on Monday 15 April in a big-screen cinema.

DStv subscribers older than 18 are able to enter for the chance to win a ticket to watch the 8th season premiere of Game of Thrones simultaneously as viewers in America at the Nu Metro Canal Walk cinema in Cape Town, the Nu Metro Pavilion cinema in Durban, or the Nu Metro Hyde Park cinema in Johannesburg for what M-Net tells TVwithThinus is "an opportunity of a lifetime and an exclusive for avid fans".

Fans are welcome to dress up in their best King's Landing, Dorne, Winterfell or even North of the Wall costumes with M-Net that will hand out prizes at the different cinemas for the best-dressed cosplayers as it did before, as well as giveaways for all other guests as well.

Attendees to the M-Net's Game of Thrones cosplay premiere celebration will get VIP star treatment since the premiere screening will be an "M-Net 101 VIP Experience".

I'm told there will be a blue carpet, thematic decor, themed beverages, light bites to ear, cooldrinks and popcorn, giveaways and other surprises, while fans mingle and chat beforehand over which dragon is the best, who they think will die first this season, and of course who they think will ultimately get to sit on the Iron Throne (sorry, Cersei!).

People can now enter here at until 10 April for the chance to win a double ticket to one of the Nu Metro cinemas in Cape Town, Durban or Johannesburg with M-Net that will notify winners on 11 April to get ready to wake-up for a night's watch on 15 April.

Although there is no way to ensure to definitely get a ticket, M-Net says people are allowed to enter the Game of Thrones cinema screening competition as many times as they want - something that will improve the odds of being chosen.

M-Net has arranged for one of the entrances to the malls to be opened for the screening and this will be communicated in the invitation sent to all guests and parking inside will be complimentary.

Besides the 03:00 simulcast broadcast of Game of Thrones that M-Net (DStv 101) will do at the same time as episodes are shown in the United States, M-Net will reshow Game of Thrones on Mondays at 22:00.

After its linear broadcast on M-Net episodes of the 8th season will become available on MultiChoice's subscription video-on-demand service (SVOD) Showmax, as well as on its DStv Now Catch Up service for DStv subscribers. Showmax also carries a library carousel of the previous 7 seasons' episodes.

The last episode of Game of Thrones' final 8th season will be broadcast on 20 May with the first part of a 2-part documentary "making of" film, Game of Thrones: The Last Watch, that will start on M-Net on 27 May in the same timeslot, going behind-the-scenes of how the final season was produced.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Idols on Mzansi Magic once again shakes up the status quo for the exciting 15th season, as [SIC] Entertainment again makes some big changes.

TVwithThinus reporting on location: Idols on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) is once again shaking up the status quo with the long-running reality singing competition show that will once again upend expectations for the new 15th season.

Some very big changes are in store for the so-called and feared "Hell Week" or Theatre Week, where the the top selected contestants from across South Africa come together and meet as a big group for the first time, train and prepare, and must then sing for their lives before they're either cut or selected in brutal fashion for the final group that will start doing live Sunday performances.

Set for broadcast during the first half of August on Mzansi Magic, the Theatre Week episodes were recorded this week by [SIC] Entertainment, with the production once again changing things up.

At this point TVwithThinus can't reveal anything seen and experienced the last few days, suffice to say it will once again not be anything that viewers have seen in previous Idols seasons.

The producers are once again changing things with presenter and co-executive producer ProVerb once again ready with some big curveballs for the contestants from across South Africa who arrive and must prove their mettle before the judges Randall Abrahams, Somizi and Unathi Nkayi.

TVwithThinus spent hours this week on set, on location with Idols with the production that is once again working hard to ensure that there are multiple surprises in store for the contestants as well as for viewers during the eye-popping 15th season.

Of course the contestants also ensure planned and unplanned surprises.

With record ratings and record voting statistics that keep increasing, the 15th season of Idols on Mzansi Magic looks destined to once again improve on the performance of previous years.

TV CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK. Viacom Africa sent a so-called South African 'social media influencer' to the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2019 in Los Angeles. Days afterwards we're still waiting to see the coverage of what the 'influencer' actually did there.

Viacom Africa sent a so-called "social media influencer" from South Africa to the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2019 this past Saturday in Los Angeles instead of any actual real journalist and days afterwards, the clock is still ticking on when all the supposed coverage will appear to justify sending the person to attend the orange carpet awards ceremony.

With absolutely nothing on YouTube, just 4 selfies on Twitter, and one video and two photos on the Insta from the actual orange carpet after a quick perusal of the egotastic funtime content feeds of the wannabe Instagram model, the big question I have is where all the actual coverage is from this supposed social media influencer that Viacom Africa chose to send to actual "cover" the awards show?

What is a so-called "social media influencer" or Instagram model worth if a person that you've never even heard of, just attend something, or is at some event but doesn't actually do anything, or do little besides self-centered "selfies" and isn't even attuned to, aged in line with, or have a basic prior working knowledge of a brand?

Of course there isn't really any actual real or originally produced coverage of the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2019 in the South African press of this past weekend's awards show of Nickelodeon (DStv 305) because there weren't actual real media from South Africa there or included in the exercise of sending people from South Africa there.

And the social media influencer could apparently not be bothered, or doesn't know how or what is actually expected when selected to go represent and "cover" an awards show ceremony and its red (or in this case orange) event.

If Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) chose some half-decent actual entertainment journalist, there presumably would have been some kind of coverage at least in at least some publication or across some newspaper or print group's titles in terms of at least one or two stories even if just copy and pasting a press release, but there wasn't any as far as I had seen.

It's tragic, really, and yet another lost opportunity to really involve and build and support South Africa's entertainment reporting media and the press who actually tries, instead of pandering to "social media influencers" who don't and never will replace real journalism - even what passes for "entertainment reporting" these days.

Why are so-called social media influencers sent and given opportunities for trips to things where their output don't nearly seem to live up to expectations or presumably promises? Or do they go with no prior agreement to do anything? Who knows.

Earlier this month during a leisurely Sunday lunch in Cape Town I got talking to a veteran political journalist, now news and weekend editor, who briefly recently worked for a while within PR and marketing for a local hotel group.

The person bemoaned how terrible it was to suddenly deal with "social media influencers" and how it taught her a newfound respect for "real journalists".

The person spoke about how demanding and egotistical a rising breed of social media influencers are, how they "must" according to new media lore be incorporated into PR and marketing strategies and budgets, how much they want to be paid, are often paid upfront, and how some don't keep to their end of the bargain and contracts in terms of content posts.

The person revealed how some of the so-called social media influencers the person has had to deal with are offered and take free trips (which are paid for so that they can "review" or "cover" accommodation and activities) but then also on top of that, would then say that they want to be paid in addition to receiving what essentially amounts to a free holiday.

I just shook my head.

Who knows how TV channels, broadcasters and video streaming services from M-Net to Netflix South Africa, and the Africa divisions of BBC Studios, FOX, Disney, NBCUniversal, Discovery, Viacom and others are nowadays making their choices as to whom they choose to invite to cover events or fly overseas on expensive junkets and who and why they select people for media access to shows and press events.

How exactly are "social media influencers" upending or impacting that process when there's only one or limited sp(l)aces?

Should it go to proven press who will cover it and where you know what they'll do based on a history of work, or influencers who will likely cover it from a me-first selfie-perspective and not as in-depth and comprehensive as would be possible?

With so few opportunities that exist already to make what one person can experience but can possibly translate, share and report to many more, it seems crazy and misguided to choose social media influencers who don't seem to have the proper skill, know-how or deep-seated and real inclination of really "representing" those hundreds or thousands or millions or readers, listeners or viewers they are supposed to.

But perhaps that is what TV channels, shows, broadcasters and award shows want these days - fluff (and a little bit of it) instead of actual broad reporting and coverage.

While many so-called "entertainment journalists" and media covering television are bad and don't do what they're supposed to - or to the extent that they're supposed to - it seems that "influencers" trying to cover the wonderful world of TV land are even worse and even more just in it for themselves.

Is any real consideration given to making the money being spent and invested on giving access to people actually count?

Hopefully TV executives, PR companies, publicists and marketers in South Africa start to realise that fact sooner rather than later, and somehow start to better measure exactly what they are really getting from whom for what.

Andy Wang appointed as new StarTimes Kenya CEO and Aldrine Nsubuga as regional marketing director in East Africa as StarTimes again tries to secure broadcasting rights to Kenya's soccer.

Andy Wang is taking over as new StarTimes Kenya CEO with Aldrine Nsubuga who has been appointed as the StarTimes regional marketing director for East Africa, both based in Nairobi, as StarTimes is again trying to secure broadcasting rights to Kenya's soccer.

Together with the executive appointments StarTimes has reopened negotiations with Kenya's football organisations, looking to acquire the broadcasting rights for the both the Kenyan Premier League and Kenya's National Super League (NSL), and StarTimes is in talks with the Football Kenya Federation and Kenyan Premier League officials to try and get the broadcasting rights for the first and second tier football leagues in the East African country.

The Kenyan Premier League has been without a pay-TV partner since MultiChoice and SuperSport abruptly cancelled a 5-year sponsorship contract worth millions in 2017. StarTimes tried to make a deal but failed after months of negotiations.

As part of StarTimes' management changes in East Africa, Andy Wang now replaces David Zhang who moved over to become the new StarTimes Nigeria CEO in February 2019. And Wang was previously the StarTimes CEO in Uganda and held other starTimes management positions in Malawi.

Besides StarTimes Kenya CEO, Andy Wang will also be StarTimes regional director for  East Africa and oversee the Chinese pay-TV operator's activities in Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Zambia and Malawi besides Kenya.

StarTimes says Andy Wang's position as both CEO and regional director is an opportunity as part of a new management structure "to create synergy across StarTimes' operations in the region".

StarTimes appointed Aldrine Nsubuga as the StarTimes regional marketing director for East Africa who will oversee the marketing activities across the 8 countries.

Aldrine Nsubuga says he is "delighted with the new role, this being a new management structure for the brand presents unlimited possibilities and I am confident the StarTimes brand will progressively harness its operations, understand our subscribers better while presenting an increasingly enticing television viewing experience for the whole family".

On Wednesday evening StarTimes splurged on a gala dinner to dine and wine journalists at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, where Andy Wang touted StarTimes' focus on "innovation".

"It is a great pleasure to oversee the Kenyan operations and especially at this time when we are keen to strengthen our terrestrial and satellite television service while growing the over-the-top (OTT) business, our online video streaming service known as StarTimes ON," said Andy Wang.

China's StarTimes is aggressively competing for pay-TV subscribers across Sub-Saharan Africa with The MultiChoice Group's DStv and GOtv pay-TV services, and trying to acquire more local sports content in Kenya and across the African continent where it competes with brands like SuperSport.

"We know Kenyans are passionate and love their football so we are working with the people concerned to bring relevant content for our subscribers," says Aldrine Nsubuga.

"In Kenya, things are a bit complicated and the process can be lengthy but we are ready to go the full length. We have been in this before, encountered challenges but we are back again and we have the experience to go through this now."

Meanwhile China's Xinhua news agency that in very clear bias only reports about StarTimes as a pay-TV operator when it comes to Africa, and always positively, on Thursday reported that StarTimes Kenya, told journalists that it will "soon operationalise its regional production hub in Nairobi's suburb of Karen, in order to produce content that will appeal to local viewers".

"Our new focus is to broadcast entertaining and educational TV shows that spotlight the rich African cultural heritage so as enhance our viewership among Kenyans".

StarTimes Kenya also wants to launch a "local TV channel" to "enhance the experience of its customers".

"In this endeavor, we shall partner with local producers so that we create content that directly appeals to our subscribers," said StarTimes Kenya.

Other plans for StarTimes include producing Sino-Africa dramas that highlights the daily lives of the African community in China.

Is There Still Sex in the City? Candice Bushnell's new upcoming book optioned for a possible TV series by Paramount TV that will focus on 50-something women.

A follow-up series to the iconic Sex and the City is possibly coming to television that this time will focus on the (sex) lives of older women and look at the pressures faced by 50-something women in New York to try and maintain their youth and have it all.

The new book, Is There Still Sex in the City? from author Candace Bushnell is released by Grove Press on 6 August, and it has now been acquired by Paramount Television and Anonymous Content with plans to turn it into a TV series as well.

Candace Bushnell will be writing the pilot script for a possible series and serve as executive producer.

The original Sex and the City series ran from 1998 to 2004, followed by two films about the lives of Carrie Bradshaw and her friends - as well as a prequel series, The Carrie Diaries, about Carrie as a teenager in 2013.

Deadline reports that Is There Still Sex in the City? focuses on older women and is once again Candace Bushnell's further piercing, sly, and sometimes heartbreaking look at sex, dating, and friendship in New York City after 50.

The new exploration is set between the Upper East Side of Manhattan and a country enclave known as The Village, with the book that looks at love and life from all angles: marriage and children, divorce and bereavement, as well as the very real pressures on women to maintain their youth and have it all.

"It didn't used to be this way. At one time, fifty-something meant the beginning of retirement - working less, spending more time on your hobbies, with your friends, who like you were sliding into a more leisurely lifestyle," says Candace Bushnell.

"In short, retirement age folks weren't meant to do much of anything but get older and a bit heavier."

"They weren't expected to exercise, start new business ventures, move to a different state, have casual sex with strangers, and start all over again. But this is exactly what the lives of a lot of fifty- and sixty something women look like today and I'm thrilled to be reflecting the rich, complexity of their reality on the page and now on the screen."

Nicole Clemens, president of Paramount Television in a statement says "The original Sex and the City book and series served as a groundbreaking touchstone for an entire generation of women, myself included".

"We're thrilled to be able to continue that conversation from the underrepresented point of view of women in their 50s and answer the question with, ‘Yes! There is more sex in the city!"

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

MultiChoice to add PBS Kids channel as a new youth channel to all DStv packages 'soon'.

MultiChoice will add the PBS Kids channel as a new youth television channel to all DStv packages but hasn't responded to media enquiries about it and when it will happen.

In July 2018 MultiChoice added PBS Kids content to its DStv Now Catch Up service.

At the time MultiChoice told TVwithThinus that it is testing the content and would make it more broadly available if there's a demand for it.

Now MultiChoice will add PBS Kids as a new youth channel to all of its various DStv packages "soon".

TVwithThinus asked MultiChoice at what date the PBS Kids channel will be added to DStv and what MultiChoice learnt from making PBS Kids content available on a video streaming basis first. MultiChoice spokespeople Benedict Maaga and Ntabiseng Motsei didn't respond.

PBS Kids is the children's programming brand of America's Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) that is broadcast as a kids programming block on PBS in the United States, but it is also a digital video channel streaming kids content as part of a video app that PBS launched in January 2017.

HBO officially announces a 'making of' documentary, Game of Thrones: The Last Watch, that will be shown on M-Net from 27 May after conclusion of the 8th and final season's episodes.

The 8th and final season of Game of Thrones on M-Net (DStv 101) will conclude with a special, feature-length documentary, Game of Thrones: The Last Watch that M-Net will broadcast over 2 weeks in May after the end of the series.

HBO announced the scheduling and addition of Game of Thrones: The Last Watch late on Wednesday.

The documentary, produced by Glimmer Films, with D.B. Weiss and David Benioff as executive producers, filmed behind-the-scenes of the fantasy series while cameras were rolling on the closing chapter and the last 6 episodes of the series.

The British documentarian Jeanie Finlay played an embedded role during the final season, with Game of Thrones: The Last Watch that will follow the cast and crew as they deal with the unpredictable weather and other on-set and filming challenges.

The footage captured by Jeanie Finlay who was given "unprecedented access" to the show, "delves deep into the mud and blood to reveal the tears and triumphs involved in the challenge of bringing the fantasy world of Westeros to life in the very real studios, fields and car-parks of Northern Ireland," says HBO in a press release officially announcing the documentary.

"Much more than a 'making of' documentary, this is a funny, heartbreaking story, told with wit and intimacy, about the bittersweet pleasures of what it means to create a world – and then have to say goodbye to it."

HBO says Game of Thrones: The Last Watch will give "an up-close and personal report from the trenches of production, following the crew and the cast as they contend with extreme weather, punishing deadlines and an ever-excited fandom hungry for spoilers".

The 8th and final season of Game of Thrones will start on 15 April with M-Net that will do a simulcast showing at 03:00 on Monday mornings at the same time as episodes are shown in the United States.

M-Net will reshow Game of Thrones on Mondays at 22:00 with episodes of the 8th season that will become available after its linear broadcast on MultiChoice's subscription video-on-demand service (SVOD) Showmax, as well as on its DStv Now Catch Up service for DStv subscribers. Showmax also carries a library carousel of the previous 7 seasons' episodes.

The last episode of Game of Thrones will be broadcast on 20 May with the first part of Game of Thrones: The Last Watch that will start on M-Net on 27 May.

LOOKING FOR LEBO. BET Africa doing an open casting call looking for actress to play iconic 'Madonna of the Townships' singer in the 6-episode The Lebo Mathosa Story produced by Ochre Media.

Viacom Africa has commissioned a local TV series of 6 episodes, produced by Ochre Media, set for broadcast in September 2019, to tell the biographical story of the late kwaito singer Lebo Mathosa, nicknamed "Madonna of the Townships" whose meteoric rise to fame was cut short when she died aged 29 in a car crash in October 2006 when her vehicle hit a tree.

The bisexual bottle-blonde artist who tried acting in-between a personal life and career filled with alcohol, drugs, partying and scandalous tabloid gossip, made appearances in South African TV soaps in guest roles ranging from Muvhango and Generations to Backstage.

Now Viacom Africa's BET Africa (DStv 129) is doing an open casting call, looking for an actress to portray the life of the former "wild child" Lebo Mathosa in a biographical series that will tell the story of how "a young, shy and ambitious girl transformed herself into a powerhouse in the music industry at the height of the country's social transition".

Auditions for The Lebo Mathosa Story will take place only in Johannesburg, on Sunday 31 March at Sky Rink Studios at 132 Main Street, Marshalltown from 08:00.

The series is looking for a young "Lebo Mathosa" wannabe aged between 10 and 14 years, as well as someone between 20 and 30 to portray the older Lebo Mathosa leading up to the point of her untimely death.

The Lebo Mathosa Story is a collaboration between BET Africa and the Lebo Mathosa Foundation.

"Bringing Lebo Mathosa's biopic to the streets and screens of South Africa is an example of BET's commitment to celebrating black excellence and culture," says Monde Twala, vice president for Youth, Music and BET at Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa).

"Lebo was a pivotal voice of her generation and her legacy continues to inspire. It's about time we share her untold story with audiences across the continent."

The Lebo Mathosa Story will take viewers on a journey to the 1990s at the beginning of the South African kwaito revolution from the start of her fame as a member of the kwaito group, Boom Shaka, before pursuing a solo career.

TV CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK. A little peek inside what this journalist always takes on his travels when staying in hotels.

Last night, checking into yet another hotel, this TV critic and journalist thought: Instead of a story or report about television, why not share for once what I actually always pack and travel with.

A lot of people take stuff from hotels (Cushions? Really?) but I actually bring a lot of my own stuff.

Since I travel a lot, I try to make my environment as close as possible to home. I act the same, I do the same, and try to function the same - meaning I constantly work and try to get as much done as possible, and try to make my hotel room an office environment.

The things I pack and never travel without, are things I've learnt - one by one - the hard way to take with me.

It's just a few things and it doesn't make my bag heavier but make my work and travelling life and experience a lot easier, comfortable and functional.

I always pack an electric extension cord. Sometimes the chair at the desk and actual wall plug are too far apart, you can't sit and work with your laptop close to you.

Or I have to sit in an auditorium, TV set, or on a floor somewhere covering a show or a press conference - and where I need to or must sit is far/further away from where the closest plug in the wall is. Or sometimes I just want to sit on the actual hotel bed with my laptop on my lap.

I always pack about 2 packs of 2-minute noodles and a pack or two of instant oats. Because of the irregular hours and "weird" times that covering events and the world of television demands, I would go and cover a TV show, do a set visit or a TV show's red carpet and premiere event and get back to the hotel at 23:00 or midnight or even later.

Then there's no food. A 2-minutes noodles or instant oats, using the hotel room kettle to boil some water and noodles or oats in a cup is my dinner.

Also, I often have to leave very early in the morning - if I already have to fly at 07:00 or 08:00 - which I prefer so as to not lose a whole or half a working day flying, I have to be at the airport at 06:00, and have to drive there already at 05:00 or 06:00, meaning no chance to have the (free) breakfast at the hotel.

I also always pack my own face cloth. Not all hotels have them and there doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason. Some 4- or 5-star hotels don't provide them.

I don't use a hotel room's sugar or coffee - the few straws are never enough to make even 2 cups of coffee and the type of coffee vary too much in terms of taste and quality.

I pack my own sugar in a Tupperware container, and my own coffee in a Tupperware container, and always my own metal spoon - and have done this for years. I don't want to use the plastic or whatever spoons there might be in a hotel, or the plastic stirrers that are not really functional.

I also travel with eye drops since my eyes are definitely my hardest working body part after my brain. Besides having to read an awful lot and look at screens, they also dry out with a change in climate and weather when I land in cities I visit.

In my backpack on airplanes, I have L'Oreal Hydra Energetic recharging moisturiser turbo booster. The little thin tube is a miracle and like Gummi Berry Juice for my skin. Before I fly, or during a flight, I put some on to prevent my skin from drying out.

Also when I arrive in whatever city where the weather and climate is a bit different from where I live I can literally almost always feel my skin drying out and just feeling fatigued.

The orange moisturiser isn't sticky, doesn't leave a "plastered on" feeling and just makes my skin feel "normal", supple, refresh and alive, just like when I'm at home.

I didn't always use it and it was a try, try, and try different things until I found that it works best for me personally.

By now you would have realised that I don't use hotel room stuff like the lotions and things and behave a bit as if I'm an 85-year old cat lady on the inside.

It might shock you to hear that I also travel with my own shampoo in a little container. Why use wildly varying hotel room shampoo that is not of great quality but just something hotels give to guests and is bottled mass-market? I use my same shampoo at hotels that I use at home.

I also pack a little dust cloth and Windolene Crystal Clear. Again, having tried and tried and tried many things it cleans glass the best - no stains, residue, static and like the name says, really "crystal clear".

I clean my cellphone and tablet surfaces that gets sticky and gets smudges from all the constant swipes as well as the back lense take as best photos as possible, as well as my laptop screen and keyboard, and sometimes even some of the hotel room surfaces like desk surfaces and things.

I am a bit of an obsessive-compulsive cleaner and even at home I clean my screens at least once a week.

I also pack a little metal men's vanity case with stainless steel scissors, a nail file, nail clipper, tweezer - I need the scissors so often!

The Pick n Pay reusable produce bags that that supermarket recently started selling are great! It's cheap, light and extremely durable. Nope, I don't use it to go buy onions or apples. It's excellent as a little bag to carry or bundle loose items together in your luggage or backpack, for instance, power cords or power banks.

At home, I use it to tumble dry my underwear and socks. You can put your underwear and/or socks in the bag (that can be tumble dried), providing added protection to your clothes inside the tumble drier.

What I don't really travel and pack is ... a toothbrush and a razor.

A hotel secret ... you can dial housekeeping and ask for a toothbrush, comb and razor (and a few other amenities) that the hotel provides for free.

I always call once I've checked in and unpacked and ask for "a dental kit" and a "shaving kit" that are delivered to your door. The toothbrush comes with a little toothpaste (usually Colgate although it varies depending on the star-type of hotel) and the razor comes with shaving cream.

So, these are the things I travel with.

Each item's addition to my way of traveland packing was a journey - something I had to figure out and learn the hard way is not just needed when I'm away from home but makes a hotel stay better when I have to work away from home.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Apple takes on Netflix with its Apple TV+ video streaming service and help from stars like Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston and Steven Spielberg.

Apple is taking on Netflix in the video streaming wars with its new Apple TV+ streaming service that will launch later in 2019.

Apple TV+ will give users access to a bunch of new drama series, films and documentaries currently in development and in production, in partnership with marquee banner-names ranging from Oprah Winfrey and Jennifer Aniston to Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams and M. Night Shyamalan.

As was expected from Apple's "Show Time" media announcement it made Monday evening in its Steve Jobs Theatre at its Apple Park headquarters in Cupertino, California and streamed worldwide, Apple is entering the subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) market to compete against the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video with its own roster of high-quality original TV and film content.

Apple is upgrading its Apple TV app that will include Apple TV Channels and that will start in May 2019 in more than 130 countries, with Apple that will announce the pricing of its Apple TV+ pay-TV service later in the year.

Apple TV+ bosses Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg said that users will be able to stream watch shows or download them, entirely ad-free, with more content that will be added monthly.

Apple has already spent more than $1 billion to produce over 20 drama series and comedies, as well as films and documentaries to create its first-ever slate of Apple Originals, with more on its way.

"Our vision for the Apple TV app is to bring together your favourite shows, movies, sports and news and make them available on all of your devices," Tim Cook, Apple CEO, said.

Apple played both a black-and-white vignette of all the stars, producers, writers and directors talking about the creative process(above), as well as a short sizzle-reel teasing some of its upcoming content (below).

Steven Spielberg is the executive producer of a new reboot of his former science fiction anthology series for Apple, Amazing Stories.

Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell will star in The Morning Show, a backstage drama series following the behind-the-scenes conflict at an American breakfast show, with the show that has a two-season 20-episode order.

Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard have starring roles in the 10-episode See, a science fiction drama series set hundreds of years in the future where what's left of mankind lost the sense of sight and only a few people who still believe that mankind once had the ability to see with their eyes.

Kumail Nanjiani is doing an anthology series Little America about immigrants.

Oprah Winfrey took to the Apple stage at the end, announcing two documentary projects, as well as a plan for an Apple-Oprah book club, saying she decided to team up with Apple TV+ "because they're in a billion pockets y'all".

"The Apple platform allows me to do what I do in a whole new way – to take everything I've learned about connecting to people to the next level. Because they're in a billion pockets y'all," said Oprah.

"The whole world has them in their hands and that presents a major opportunity to make a major impact. I'm proud and honoured to be part of this platform. My intention is to illuminate consciousness and create greater awareness with leaders, artists and newsmakers."

Oprah's Book Club returns
Oprah Winfrey also plans to relaunch and return her Book Club made famous by her TV talk show.

"I want to convene a meeting of the mind connecting us through books. For me there is nothing more thrilling than being transported by a brilliant book."

"The only other thing more gratifying than an extraordinary read is being able to share that experience with others, and we're going to do just that by building the biggest, the most vibrant, the most stimulating Book Club on the planet!" Oprah Winfrey exclaimed.

"Imagine where Apple stores stream a conversation with the author and me, live across all devices, across all borders, uniting people to stories that remind us that no matter who you are, or where you are from, every man, woman and child looks up in awe at the same stuff."

"For as long as I remember, I had this dream for us all to someday realize that deep potential that we're all each born to, abides in every soul; I know this to be true."

"My deepest hope is that we all, humans, get to be the fullest version of ourselves as human being, to join in the mission and vision for our common good, to leave this world more enlightened, kinder and better than we found it, and to move together one billion-plus strong into a future of our own design, all connected through Apple!"

Crime catches Carte Blanche as the TV crew of M-Net's investigative magazine show, with guest presenter Masa Kekana in her first insert, gets held up and robbed at gunpoint.

Crime caught up with Carte Blanche as the crew of M-Net's (DStv 101) weekly investigative and current affairs show got held up and robbed at gunpoint - ironically while filming an insert at a "dead" corner where there are no cameras installed for a story about the proliferation of Vumatel's Vumacam surveillance cameras in Johannesburg.

A new surveillance camera system, Vumacam from Vumatel, is being rolled out in the Johannesburg central business district (CBD) and surrounding suburbs as a R500 million high-tech solution to South Africa's rising crime rates, but some people are objecting over privacy concerns.

The radio presenter Masa Kekana joined Carte Blanche to do her first insert as a guest presenter produced by Sophia Phirippides, but then endured a baptism of fire when Masa Kekana and the crew suddenly became a crime statistic after they were held up and robbed at gunpoint with no visual footage to show for it.

Masa Kekana interviewed spokesperson Murray Hunter of the civil rights organisation Right2Know (R2K) on a suburb streetcorner in Johannesburg with cameraman Thabo Maleswene, with the organisation that has serious misgiving about how the Vumacam surveillance system and cameras are being rolled out.

A Vumacam street pole was already erected on the street corner, but no cameras have been installed yet.

"Minutes later," said Masa Kekana, "our whole crew was robbed at gunpoint. All our equipment was stolen but thankfully no-one was harmed". The robbers - two men - were loitering nearby and scouting out the area and the Carte Blanche team until they decided to make their armed attack on the TV crew.

After the robbery and recovering from their harrowing ordeal, Carte Blanche returned to the same street corner to finish the R2k interview for the insert, but with security guards in a bakkie of the ADT security company parked nearby.

Sunday's episode of Carte Blanche with the Vumacam story is now available on DStv Now's Catch Up service.

Keabetswe Modimoeng appointed as acting Icasa chairperson at South Africa's broadcasting regulator.

Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng has been appointed as the acting Icasa chairperson at South Africa's broadcasting regulator from today to replace the fired Rubben Mohlaloga convicted of fraud.

Icasa says that the process to find and appoint a permanent chairperson for South Africa's broadcasting regulator will start soon.

Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng is a member of Icasa's executive board and has an MBA and PhD degrees in management sciences, and is also a Harvard senior executive fellow and has completed both an executive development programme from Wharton University and an Africa director programme from Stellenbosch University.

"We will continue to work closely with all key stakeholders, including government, to ensure that the authority's regulatory decisions advance transformation in the ICT sector, support economic growth and unlock opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the digital economy," says Keabetswe Modimoeng in an Icasa-issued press statement released on Monday afternoon.

BREAKING. SABC3 adds Survivor back to its schedule with the 32nd season, Survivor Kaôh Rōng, tentatively set to start on 13 May.

The cash-strapped SABC has added Survivor back to the struggling SABC3 schedule, with the 32nd season, Survivor Kaôh Rōng, that has been penciled in for a starting date of Monday, 13 May at 19:30.

It must be noted that South African viewers should treat it as a "tentative" starting date since SABC3 has abruptly dropped the promised start of the last couple of Survivor seasons.

Season premieres got pushed out with SABC3 that then also botched the season premiere episodes. That remains a possibility with Survivor Kaôh Rōng.

However, for now, SABC3 has Survivor back in its schedule and once again scheduled a season of the American Survivor to start just days before the next season of Survivor South Africa on M-Net (DStv 101) - this time the 7th season entitled Survivor SA: Island of Secrets set in Samoa that will kick off on Thursday 16 May at 19:00 following the conclusion of The Bachelor SA.

This is the second time that SABC3 has done this and did the same with the previous season, Survivor: Cambodia that it originally scheduled to start at the same time as Survivor SA: Philippines in mid-May 2018 but then abruptly postponed because of non-payment and non-delivery of tapes, that only saw it start in mid-August 2018.

Because of the SABC and SABC3 financial problems American TV shows like The Bold and the Beautiful, Survivor and to a lesser extent The Amazing Race have vanished from the programming schedule of the South African public broadcaster's only commercial TV channel.

The SABC's contract of The Bold and the Beautiful with BBL was cancelled with the broadcaster that has been silent when asked several times about the fate of the remaining Survivor and The Amazing Race - legacy series on SABC3 that, together with Bold, continued to pull in strong viewership and ratings for the channel.

In February until its cancellation, Bold was the second most-watched regular programme on SABC3 (587 080 viewers) with once-off sport broadcasts stripped out, while both Survivor and The Amazing Race perennially make the list of top 10 most-watched shows on SABC3 when broadcast.

In February 2018 SABC3 made the hollow promise and said that it will catch up and start to show seasons of Survivor on Mondays and The Amazing Race on Wednesdays sooner with smaller breaks between seasons to stop falling further and further behind America.

Instead, Survivor has been absent from SABC3 for months, with The Amazing Race that was moved back to Mondays and finished its 27th season in February with 401 547 viewers as the 9th highest rated regular programme on the channel (the 31st season is set to start in May in the United States).

Earlier this month, Madoda Mxakwe, SABC CEO, told South Africa's parliament that the situation at the out-of-cash broadcaster "is so bad that several major content providers of key programmes actually refuse to engage with us. Understandably, because we have not been able to pay them in the past couple of months".

Now Survivor has popped back up on the SABC3 schedule with Survivor: Kaôh Rōng that was broadcast in 2016 in the United States, that will see contestants get divided into three tribes according to "brains" (intelligence), "brawn" (physical power) and "beauty" (external attractiveness).

Filmed in Cambodia as well - similar to the previous season - this season will introduce the power to remove a member of the jury for the first time.

Broadcasting Complaints Commission finds Moja Love on DStv and its show, No Excuses: Pay Papgeld, breached the broadcasting code, damaged dignity and privacy, and failed to protect children involved.

The Moja Love (DStv 157) channel and its programme, No Excuses: Pay Papgeld, on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform breached the code of conduct by invading and damaging people's privacy and dignity and failed to protect the interest of the children involved, the Broadcasting Complaints of Commission (BCCSA) found.

The BCCSA found that the complainant's dignity and privacy were impaired and that the broadcaster breached several clauses of the subscription television broadcasting code, including a failure to uphold and protect the interest of the children involved who were identified by Moja Love and Pay Papgeld and then got taunted by others.

No Excuses: Pay Papgeld is produced for Moja Love by 3rd Strand Media.

The BCCSA initially dismissed the complaint against an episode of the show that does doorstop confrontation interviews with people allegedly not paying child maintenance and that was broadcast on 17 November 2018 on DStv and repeatedly broadcast several times after that. The complainant, with the help of a lawyer, appealed the decision with the appeal that was then upheld.

Thamsanqa Sibisi complained to the BCCSA after producers of No Excuses: Pay Papgeld showed up at his house and even before the episode was to be broadcast on Moja Love, pleading with the BCCSA to prevent Moja Love from broadcasting the episode after a promo was shown, saying "my name and the names of my wife and stepson are not hidden, that includes our faces and place of residence". 

He also said that "I have not defaulted in terms of the maintenance court order that was instituted. That can be proven".

He pleaded with the BCCSA to "please stop this from being shown on TV" and that "My family and I are due to be directly violated with malicious intent. Our characters will be violated too. I do not mean for you to be a censorship structure." 

He said "we are pleading with you to deter or stop this airing because it will violate our characters publicly. I would accept if I was in default of the maintenance court order."

The episode was however broadcast on Moja Love and repeated several times.

Thamsanqa Sibisi, a teacher, told the BCCSA that he just arrived at home from work when he saw people jumping over a recently dug-up foundation into his yard. "At this time there were many cameras and TV recording equipment in our yard and I was overwhelmed!"

"I tried to keep my cool and hear what they were here to say. But, in the background, not far from me, I could hear my ex-wife's voice. She was shouting profanities as the show's presenter was trying to ask me questions and engage me."

"I tried to answer by asking the presenter if they had done their homework before coming to me with their crew like they did. He clearly responded that they had not done so. No documents were seen from my ex-wife to prove that I was really not maintaining my children. We continued to argue."

"I then told them to leave our yard because they had not done their homework first. Mind you there are standing current court orders to that effect which state exactly how much must be paid for which children."

He told the BCCSA "Who are they that they come to our home and block the gate with their vehicle, the white H1 with no registration plates? I could have easily thought of them as hijackers on the day" and that "They never used the gate to enter our home, but jumped over a wall that was being built".

"There are standing court orders which we currently comply with. Hence the reason for me asking the presenter, Moss Makwati, if he had checked bank statements and verify them with or against her bank statements."

'Level of sensationalism by the broadcaster'
Moja Love told the BCCSA that Moja Love "made reasonable efforts to give the viewer an opportunity to state his positions" that it refers to multiple times erroneously as mister "Sibande". The channel argued that "What was difficult for the crew to handle was that all the violence and vitriol was aimed at the complainant, a single mother".

The BBCSA in its tribunal judgment said that the Pay Papgeld confrontation broadcast on Moja Love "was chaotic and was coupled with an altercation between the co-parent, the host of the show, the appellant's current wife and the appellant."

"Immediately from this clip, it was evident that there was a level of sensationalism by the broadcaster, prior to even getting into the merits of the alleged non-payment of child maintenance by the appellant."

The BCCSA in its judgment said that the Pay Papgeld presenter "stated that the appellant took advantage of the co-parent while she was at a tender age. This statement by the host was made as fact and was not presented in a way that suggested that it was just an allegation".

"The co-parent stated that the appellant, after abandoning her and their children, constantly resigned from work with the sole purpose of avoiding to pay child maintenance."

"The co-parent alleged further that the appellant would then claim his resignation packages and squander the funds with his current wife. The appellant's current wife was then portrayed by the co-parent as being an old traditional healer (isangoma) who snatched the co-parent's husband and threatened the co-parent's life."

"The host then alluded to this allegation and called on the department of justice to take action against fathers who repeatedly resign from work with the sole purpose of avoiding to pay child maintenance."

"Further allegations were made by the co-parent against the appellant regarding his sexual activities, alleging that the appellant's brother hinted to the co-parent that the appellant is not 'well'."

"In commentary, the host then stated 'You should be careful that you don't go picking up things from the street and bringing them home with you, it's clear that the ex-wife's life has no peace, I mean this can't be good for his health or his spirit."

"This, together with all the other allegations evidently had nothing to do with the maintenance of the children," the BCCSA found.

"There was only approximately 2 minutes spent by the co-parent talking about the pertinent issue of child maintenance, out of approximately 11 minutes (with commentary from the host) speaking on collateral issues. The majority of time was spent thoroughly portraying the appellant as a devious and irresponsible man," the BCCSA commissioner Nokubonga Fakude, said.

The BCCSA said "it is clear that the reputation and dignity of the appellant was greatly impaired. The reasonable viewer would conclude that the appellant is an irresponsible parent who abandoned his children. He is violent and is promiscuous."

"It is clear that the appellant's dignity was subjectively and objectively impaired. Actual prejudice was suffered by the Appellant as a result of the show. The broadcaster has thus contravened clause 28.4 of the Code," the BCCSA said.

The BCCSA said Moja Love's No Excuses: Pay Papgeld "left it to the appellant to disprove allegations that were made by the co-parent with the help of the host of the show. The co-parent's version was taken religiously and the broadcaster attempted to veil this by proclaiming that the appellant was given the right to reply".

"The broadcaster's submission that the appellant was given the right to reply is flawed," the BCCSA found, saying "The appellant's dignity was thoroughly impaired throughout the show".

Moja Love 'failed to uphold and protect the interest of the children involved'
"The appellant was subjected to a predicament he had no choice in being part of, but because he, after being ambushed at his home, reacted with emotion and refused to reply after the fact; he was then construed to be the author of his own misfortune. Under the circumstances, this reasoning is not justifiable,' the BCCSA found in its tribunal judgment.

"The opportunity to reply that Moja Love alleges was given to him was used to camouflage the damage that was already done. The broadcaster cannot be given credit for creating a conundrum for the appellant, and then placing the burden on him to rectify the situation in the guise of affording the right to reply."

"As such, the broadcaster has contravened clauses 28.3.1 and 28.3.2 of the code. The appellant showed to the members of the Tribunal that he is paying child maintenance and that there are court orders in this regard."

The BCCSA tribunal found that Moja Love and No Excuses: Pay Papgeld "failed to uphold and protect the interests of the children involved. Instead, the very same children the show sought to assist ended up being taunted by their peers after their names and identities were revealed on the show and their parents portrayed negatively".

"The premise of the episode was largely flawed and had very little to do with the protection of children. The best interest of the children in question was not observed," the BCCSA said in its judgment.