Monday, November 25, 2019

Unable to conclude a new Generations The Legacy contract after demanding production length cuts SABC abruptly puts SABC1's Morula Pictures soap into reruns for 2019 festive period.

Generations - The Legacy is abruptly gone from SABC1 from tonight in prime time and replaced with old reruns of the decades-old Generations after the South African public broadcaster failed to sign a new contract for a 6th season with Morula Pictures.

Generations - The Legacy is SABC1 and South African television's second-most watched TV show and pulled 9.23 million viewers (25.7 AR / 65.4 share) during October.

This makes the show "too big to fail" as one of the few remaining successful on-air properties for the struggling South African public broadcaster and means that the SABC and Morula, owned by producer Mfundi Vundla, will very likely conclude a new contract although the two sides are still currently at odds because of some changed terms that the SABC is allegedly demanding.

In a statement SABC1 says "starting from Monday 25 November the soapie will go down memory lane by screening selected iconic episodes of Mzansi's most-loved soapie, Generations, in celebration of its indomitable records, reminiscing on talent who went on to become households names and storytelling spanning 28 years".

SABC1 calls the Generations library episode reruns - for which no time period is specified - a "summer break", saying that "favourite villains, heroes and matriarchs from the past will be brought back to turn this year's festive break into a nostalgic, unforgettable television experience".

According to highly-placed SABC insiders, negotiations stalled and couldn't be concluded in time for a new, signed contract due to the SABC allegedly demanding some changes, including a reduction in the half-hour episode lengths.

The SABC wants this in order to give the broadcaster's commercial enterprises division that handles ad sales for Generations, more 30-second ad spots inventory to sell during the lucrative 20:00 weekday timeslot on SABC1.

The SABC currently charges around R200 000 per 30-second TV advert during Generations and with the cash-strapped broadcaster looking at increasing revenue where it can, wants to add more commercials in order to squeeze out more income from successful shows on its channels' schedules.

Morula Pictures as a production company will however make less money if the actually delivered story minutes per half-hour episode is reduced and which adds up to multiple hours less Generations - The Legacy on-screen over the course of a year.

Phillip Mabitsela, SABC1 publicist, didn't respond to a media enquiry on Friday. Morula Pictures was asked for comment which will be added if received.