Thursday, September 30, 2021

Producer and director Legend Manqele again accused of allegedly stealing a TV show, says 'I've never stolen a show in my life' as The Khuzani Bo! show with Khuzani Mpungose switches from MultiChoice to SABC1.

by Thinus Ferreira

The director and producer Legend Manqele has once again been accused of allegedly stealing a TV show and a TV show idea and on Thursday afternoon he once again denied the creative concept theft allegations, saying "I've never stolen a show in my life".

Legend Manqele responded after new allegations of TV show content theft. 

This time Khuzani Mpungose and Legend Manqele are embroiled in a dispute with a producer over the ownership of the Maskandi artist's upcoming reality show, The Khuzani Bo! show that suddenly switched from MultiChoice to SABC1.

Musa Buthelezi, a producer from KwaZulu-Natal, is accusing Legend Manqele and Khuzani Mpungose of allegedly stealing his show idea and taking it to the South African public broadcaster's SABC1 channel without his consent.

Musa Buthelezi told tabloid newspapers that Khuzani Mpungose signed a letter of intent to produce a reality show about himself with Musa Buthelezi's company PSG.

Musa Buthelezi says he approached MultiChoice for the show idea with the letter of intent that Khuzani Mpungose signed, with MultiChoice that invited him to make presentations. 

The letter of intent reads: "This letter grants producers permission to use the actor and the actor's name and licences in the pre-development of this project and on the final production from the date of the signing of this letter until post-production".

Musa Buthelezi was then shocked to discover that Legend Manqele's production company, BarLeader TV, that also produced Living the Dream with Somizi for Showmax, would be doing a reality show with Khuzani Mpungose for SABC1, with Legend Manqele attached as the producer.

Gugu Ntuli, SABC spokesperson, in a statement, says that "The Khuzani Bo! show has been licenced to SABC1 by the BarLeader TV productions. SABC1 is not aware of the allegations made by Musa Buthelezi regarding the ownership of the concept. Musa Buthelezi is welcome to take the matter up with The BarLeader TV productions".

In 2020 Hastings Moeng alleged that the concept for the show Dinner at Somizi's on M-Net's 1Magic (DStv 103) was stolen from him by Legend Manqele and BarLeader TV. 

MultiChoice and BarLeader TV were served with letters of demand after Hastings Moeng, Legend Manqele and MultiChoice failed to reach an agreement and plans for a second season of the show was then put on hold.

The case remains unresolved with no further statement that has been made by MultiChoice about Dinner at Somizi's.

Carte Blanche on M-Net is part of a global investigation 'of jaw-dropping scope' that it will reveal on Sunday night at 7pm.

by Thinus Ferreira

The week's programming note mailer from M-Net about Carte Blanche's upcoming Sunday night episode, that was issued on Thursday, is notable in that M-Net and Carte Blanche can't talk about one of the stories it will feature - a global investigation of "jaw-dropping scope".

On a weekly basis, Carte Blanche gives the media a run-down of its upcoming topics, the producers and its various presenters in the latest episode that will broadcast on M-Net (DStv 101) on Sundays at 19:00.

This week is extremely unusual since Carte Blanche says it can't talk about one of the stories that Sunday's episode will feature.

One of the Carte Blanche investigations sees the Combined Artistic Productions show joining a "global investigation", the nature and subject of which is embargoed.

M-Net and Carte Blanche on Thursday were only willing to say that the information on what this global investigation is about, is embargoed until Saturday 2 October 2021 until "12:30 Washington DC USA time".

The weekly investigative magazine show says that "more than 600 journalists from 117 countries collaborated on a global investigation of jaw-dropping scope. Carte Blanche previews what is set to be the largest journalistic collaboration in the world to date".

The producer of this Carte Blanche insert on Sunday is Latashia Naidoo and Macfarlane Moleli will be the presenter of the insert on Sunday night.

BBC Studios sells 'riveting yet uncomfortable' British prison drama series Time to M-Net and Showmax.

by Thinus Ferreira

BBC Studios has sold its new Time drama series, set inside a British prison, to MultiChoice's M-Net (DStv 101) as well as its video streaming service Showmax. 

A broadcasting date for Time, written by Jimmy McGovern, has not yet been announced with British viewers who described Time as "riveting yet uncomfortable".

Time was shown on BBC One in June this year following Mark Cobden (Sean Bean of Game of Thrones), who is newly imprisoned, consumed by guilt for his crime, and way out of his depth in the volatile world of prison life. 

He meets Eric McNally (Stephen McNally of Line of Duty), an excellent prison officer doing his best to protect those in his charge. 

However, when one of the most dangerous inmates identifies his weakness, Eric faces an impossible choice between his principles and his family.

The 3-episode series filmed the prison cell scenes at HM Prison Shrewsbury, a former prison that was decommissioned in 2013, with the majority of the filming of Time that took place in Liverpool in recreations of courtrooms, police stations and education buildings.

CORONAVIRUS. China's StarTimes behaves as if Covid-19 doesn't exist, throws Nigerian launch party in Lagos for new comedy series Okirika.

by Thinus Ferreira

China's StarTimes pay-TV service behaves as if the deadly Covid-19 pandemic is non-existent in Nigeria, with StarTimes Nigeria that held a shockingly bad in-person media launch event for the new Okirika comedy series with no Covid-19 safety protocols being observed and completely flouting safety measures like social distancing and the wearing of masks.

Around a fifth (20%) of all Nigerian workers have already lost their jobs because of the Covid-19 pandemic in the West African country, while new infections and new deaths because of Covid-19 continue to be reported in the country.

There were hugs, no masks and no social distancing as StarTimes Nigeria COO Tunde Aina, Okirika producer Muka Ray, StarTimes Nigeria CEO Alex Jian, and StarTimes content director Viki Liu got together at a media launch for the show on Wednesday night at the Marriott Hotel, Ikeja in Lagos.

Also hugging and partying it up at the Covid-unsafe and selfish event organised by StarTimes Nigeria were StarTimes Nigeria CEO Alex Jian, along with the Okirika cast including Iyabo Ojo, Mr. Macaroni, Zicsaloma, Muka Ray, Jide Kosoko, Olaiya Igwe, Yinka Quadri, Binta Ayo-Mogaji, Toyin Abraham, Toro Aramide, Yvonne Jegede, Jide "Jblaze" Oyegbile, and Kitan Bukola.

None of the cast nor StarTimes Nigeria executives think that they have Covid-19, could possibly spread Covid-19 or that having a large media event without masks or social distancing is a potential Covid-19 super-spreader event.

Okirika, named after the rowdy Nigerian markets for imported second-hand dresses, will be broadcast on the StarTimes Nollywood Plus, StarTimes Yoruba, PBO and Wakaati TV channels on StarTimes.

Production on Okirika will start during the second week of October, filming in a real Okirika market in Lagos, with the comedy series that has a tentative starting date for broadcast from the second week on December 2021.

Viki Lui, StarTimes Nigeria content director, said that "With Okirika, StarTimes is demonstrating its commitment to satisfying the growing demands of viewers for local content".

"I was attracted to the Okirika story the first time I read the pitch. People have every reason why they buy luxurious stuff but might have all kinds of reasons why they choose to buy Okirika. The story about Okirika is very interesting and it's what everyone should look out for".

Alex Jian, StarTimes Nigeria CEO, said "StarTimes is going to invest more in local content. Today, we are reuniting for our second project this year. We are still on the journey, welcoming new partnerships, investing in fresh ideas, providing a stage for young talents".

M-Net West Africa adds Dilemma and Venge as two new telenovelas to DStv's Africa Magic Showcase channel and Showmax from 4 October.

by Thinus Ferreira

M-Net West Africa is adding two new series from October - Dilemma and Venge - to its Africa Magic Showcase (DStv 151) channel on MultiChoice's DStv.

The telenovelas Riona and Enakhe are ending with the two new half-hour dramas replacing them from Monday 4 October.

Dilemma will broadcast at 20:00 on weeknights on Africa Magic Showcase and follows the lives of two estranged lovers as they find their way back to each other and deal with a history they would rather forget. 

The Dilemma cast includes Nigerian actors like Shan George, Bob-Manuel Udokwu and some new faces.

Venge will be shown on weekdays on Africa Magic Showcase at 20:30 as a "scandalous story of lies, secrets, betrayals, conspiracies, and a quest for justice and revenge". The Venge cast includes Michelle Dede, Uzoamaka Aniunoh, Obehi Aburime, Uche Mac-Auley, and Ian Wordi.

Busola Tejumola, MultiChoice Nigeria's executive head of content and West Africa channels, says that besides being on the Africa Magic Showcase channel, Dilemma and Venge will also be available on MultiChoice's video streaming service, Showmax.

MultiChoice to add ZEEL's Indian TV news channel WION to DStv in October.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice will add the Indian TV news channel WION from October to its DStv satellite pay-TV service for South African subscribers, and likely also subscribers elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa.

ZEE Entertainment Enterprise Ltd. (ZEEL), that is merging with Sony Pictures Network India, announced in a video that WION will be added to MultiChoice's DStv in October, although a specific date isn't given.

ZEEL already runs channels on MultiChoice's DStv in South Africa and across Africa, as well as on other pay-TV operators like Zee TV, Zee World, Zee Magic, Zee Cinema and Zee Alem.

WION is an Indian multinational English language TV news channel that is headquartered in New Delhi and that started broadcasting in August 2016, and is part of the Essel Group's Zee Media network of TV channels.

WION that stands for "World Is One News" says that it is focused on "bringing the latest and breaking news from South Asia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the rest of the world".
WION says that "We provide much more than the news of the day. Our aim to empower people to explore their world. With our Global headquarters in New Delhi, we bring you news on the hour, by the hour."

WION states that it "delivers information that is not biased. We are journalists who are neutral to the core and non-partisan when it comes to the politics of the world. People are tired of biased reportage and we stand for a globalised united world. So for us the world is truly one."

WION's addition to MultiChoice's DStv isn't the first time that WION will be available and seen in Africa. 

WION was added to the now-shuttered and disastrous Kwese TV of Econet Media in mid-2017 when Econet Media Joseph Hundah had a party in Johannesburg with ZEE TV Africa and the African ZEE team for the launch of the Indian TV news channel on its pay-TV service.

With every channel number slot from 400 on DStv's channel number grid filled by TV news channels like BBC World News, CNN International, Sky News and local TV news channels like eNCA, SABC News and Newzroom Africa, WION will probably be placed on DStv channel number 415 which is the first open slot.

Otherwise WION might be placed on DStv channel number 418 in order to not be pushed in-between euronews at DStv channel 414 and its sister channel africanews on DStv channel 417.

MultiChoice hasn't made any announcement about the addition of WION to DStv in any statement yet by the time of publication of this report.

Linda Oliphant, Zee Africa marketing manager told TVwithThinus on Thursday in response to a media query asking for more information about WION and on what date it will be launching, that Zee Africa is awaiting the confirmation date for the WION channel's launch on DStv.

WION's rolling TV news coverage is divided into various daypart slots, and it also does branded shows like Gravitas as its primetime programming block, and with Speed News, The Diplomacy Show, WION World Order, WION Fineprint, WION Tech Out, WION Edge and others.

While every TV news channel on DStv is directly competing with each other for every DStv subscriber as a viewer, WION is joining the DStv news line-up where India's NDTV (DStv 413) already exists for a number of years.

CORONAVIRUS. In 2021 Covid-19 destroyed 18 669 or 59% of all full-time jobs in South Africa's film and TV industry over the past year; Gauteng remains SA's film capital although KZN is fastest-growing.

by Thinus Ferreira

The Covid-19 pandemic has had an extremely destructive impact on South Africa's struggling film and TV industry, with the sector's contribution to the country's economy falling by a shocking 59% from 2019/2020 to 2020/2021, shedding a shocking 18 669 jobs in just a year due to the lack of government support for the battered industry.

Gauteng remains the film and TV capital of South Africa, although KwaZulu-Natal is the fastest growing province when it comes to luring new film and TV productions.

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) has released its third Economic Impact Assessment Study (EIAS) that measures the economic contribution of the South African film & TV industry to South since 2016/2017, with the study that found the sector lost 18 669 jobs over the past year.

According to the EIAS, jobs in South Africa's film and TV industry plunged by 18 669 full-time jobs sustained by the activities of the film industry from 31 444 in 2019/20, to just 12 775 in 2020/21. That's a decrease of 59.37%.

The direct, indirect, and induced economic impact of the film industry to the South African economy that stood at R7.2 billion in 2019/20, plunged to just R2.9 billion in 2020/21 due to the negative impact of Covid-19 and the South African government's lockdowns on the industry's operations.

According to the study, annualised income derived by employees as a direct, indirect, or induced impact of the film industry that still amounted to R218 million for South Africa in 2019/20, dropped to just R88 million in 2020/21.

While households benefited to the tune of R803 million in income in 2019/20 because of the activities of South Africa's film and TV industry, this dropped to R326 million in 2020/21.

The direct impact of the film industry at market prices was estimated at R522.33 million, the indirect impact at R157.01 million, and the induced impact at R408.41 million. 

The total estimated impact of the film industry on GDP at market prices if all the impacts are added is estimated to be R1 087.75 million. 

According to the study, Gauteng remains the film and television capital of South Africa, and there is no sign of this changing in the near future.

The Western Cape remains a service destination - for foreign productions specifically - while KwaZulu-Natal has shown noticeable growth in the film industry and is the fastest-growing film destination in South Africa with a significant increase in production in the province.

There continues to be no recognised film industry activity in the other secondary provinces mainly because there are no formal institutional structures in place to facilitate or support the industry.

A bright spot however is the Eastern Cape province where, through the support of the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) the province has seen an uptick in film and TV productions through the help of the ECDC facilitating and investing in the film industry in the province.

The North West and the Northern Cape provinces have the lowest level of film activity accounting for only 3% respectively.

Better support integration needed
The study found that there is a big need for a more streamlined approach between key authorities of the public sector, namely the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC), NFVF, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), National Empowerment Fund (NEF), DITC, KwaZulu-Natal Film Commisssion (KZNFC), (Gauteng Film Commission (GFC), SABC, and the Durban Film Office (DFO) that fund and support the film industry.

"South Africa has a vibrant film industry that is contributing meaningfully to the country's economy and is certainly brimming with potential to make an even greater contribution despite the negative impact of Covid-19 in the past year," says Botse Matlala, NFVF research & compliance manager. 

Makhosazana Khanyile, NFVF CEO, says "We remain committed to partnering with players in mitigating challenges that have an impact on the sustainable growth and development of the industry".

COMIC CON CAPE TOWN 2021: 2 October pop-up day's programme includes gaming and Table top gaming, cosplay, a Star Wars and LotR quiz, sketch battles, draw sessions and a pirate sunset cruise.

by Thinus Ferreira

Comic Con Cape Town 2021 that will be a one-day pop-up event in the Mother City on Saturday 2 October is encouraging fans who attend various activities to dress up as their favourite characters as they take to the streets.

Comic Con Cape Town 2021 will highlight the world of art, cosplay, film, anime and gaming.

People who attend are encouraged to dress up as their favourite character and take to the streets and stand the chance of winning the prize for being the best dressed at each activity.

On 2 October all artist activities will take place at Redemption Burgers at The Old Biscuit Mill throughout the day. 

From 10:00 fans will be able to delve into the creative world of local up-and-coming art and artists, with the Live Draw and Interview session hosted by Ray Witcher, South African comic writer and illustrator. 

Fans can also catch Shooting The Breeze Sketch Battles, which sees local established artists compete to win a R5000 prize, hosted by Breeze Yoko a multidisciplinary artist specialising in video/film and graffiti.

Closing the day at the Biscuit Mill will be Drink and Draw taking place from 17:00 until 21:00 where fans can buy a coaster and select their favourite artist to create a quick work of art on it.

Fans can find out if they’re the ultimate Jedi when they put their Star Wars knowledge to the test and battle it out to win incredible prizes at the Star Wars Quiz at Mojo Market in Sea Point, from 11:00 to 12:00.

Lord of the Rings and Cosplay competition
All Dwarves, Elves, Hobbits, Giants, Orcs and even men are invited to join the fellowship and drink mead as they fight to be the one that rules them all, in the Lord Of The Rings Fan Meet-up and Quiz at Beerhouse on Long, from 14:30 to 16:00.

The Cosplay Competition will be a live event taking place at the VEGA Campus at De Waterkant with the Cosplay Regional Masters that will be held between 13:30 and 14:30The winner will receive incredible prizes, the title as the first-ever regional champion and will advance to the national competition hosted at Comic Con Africa in 2022.

First-time cosplayer are encouraged to show off their costumes and characters as part of the Casual Cosplay competition between 12:00 and 13:00 and there will also be a Kids Cosplay competition.

Comic Con Cape Town 2021 will offer skilled and competitive gamers a chance to test their speed with F1 time trials, or battle in Tekken and stand a chance to compete against the SA Champ and win a prize fund to the value of R2000.

Comic Con Cape Town 2021 will also be hosting an online Comic Con Cape Town Warzone Community Cup.

Those interested in venturing into the gaming world from a career point of view, from content creation, esports and game development, can attend the Business of Gaming Connect: Cape Town as a Gaming Industry Hub, a 2-hour workshop from 12:00 to 14:00 at VEGA Campus Cape Town.

Table Top gamers will come together at Kind Regards at Dunkley square from 09:00 to 16:00.

Alongside the Gathering Pioneer event will be a Dungeons & Dragons session or two

There will also be a pirate dress-up sunset cruise on the Jolly Roger at the V&A Waterfront at 17:00.

Fans are encouraged to book their slots ahead of time on, with ticket prices for most activities at R20, with access to a limited-edition collectable commemorative pin. 

The Artist Activations are free of charge, but other items are priced individually. All information on venues, locations, and limited access can be found by visiting Comic Con Cape Town’s social media platforms or the Howler site on

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

TV CRITIC's NOTEBOOK. Just another white wedding: MultiChoice and M-Net do hollow lip-service and PSAs about Covid-safety - but show DStv subscribers a whole other reality where a coronavirus pandemic apparently doesn't exist.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice and M-Net claim that the South African pay-TV service is doing Covid-19 safe TV productions; broadcast Covid-19 education and vaccination public service announcements; and say that social distancing and mask-wearing are important ...

... yet MultiChoice is constantly undoing and undercutting those very messages by showing DStv subscribers morally wrong, so-called "aspirational" entertainment content in which South Africans are seen doing the exact opposite of what is being preached.

What does MultiChoice and M-Net channels like kykNET (DStv 144) and Mzansi Magic (DStv 166) think DStv subscribers are more likely to do? 

Social distance and mask-up like MultiChoice says should happen in its PSAs, or going to mingle during Covid-19, partying it up and having a great time in close proximity to each other like MultiChoice and M-Net show them that the rich and famous are doing?

It's really beyond shocking that MultiChoice can't even bother in the slightest to even pretend to do masks and social distancing at it's own media events in South Africa and in other African countries where MultiChoice Africa does press events.

On Tuesday' at MultiChoice's atrocious media launch event for its DStv Internet service, people posed for photos, drank, laughed and apparently had a good time during Covid in Soweto - without masks and without any evident social distancing from the invited social influencers and others. 

As shocking, is that this is what MultiChoice wants the public to see.

There's no Covid in Soweto, people, just DStv Internet!

There were no masks and absolutely no social distancing between Nyiko Shiburi, MultiChoice South Africa CEO, and actress Nomsa Buthelezi at the media launch event of DStv Internet as if they themselves and MultiChoice don't have any role to play in the public to help model Covid-19 safe behaviour.

On Sunday night M-Net's kykNET channel once again covered a lovely white wedding on its Afrikaans Top Billing-esque Bravo! show produced by Homebrew Films - this time with presenter Willem Botha attending the oh-so-lovely "second" wedding and vow renewal ceremony of Kwêla presenter Pieter Koen.

Looking at the prism through which MultiChoice, M-Net and kykNET presented this wedding, you'd think it took place in a Covid-free alternate reality instead of Sasolburg. Apparently none of these lovely people at the wedding has Covid, could get Covid-19, or could give it to anyone else. It's a lovely white wedding, after all.

Broadcast and television executives at MultiChoice, M-Net, kykNET and Mzansi Magic are not stupid.

They've smart, extremely experienced people, very well versed in media theory. They know that when you create and broadcast aspirational content like Top Billing-type shows, that viewers watch those for entertainment but that viewers also emulate the behaviour, styles and the zeitgeist on display that is being shown to them.

DStv subscribers not only see Pieter Koen's wedding - they remember it and it influences their behaviour. 

If the rich Afrikaans white people from Pretoria are wedding it up en masse without masks or social distancing on kykNET, it is not just signalling that masks and social distancing are apparently not important, it is signalling that when I have a party with my people or my family members that we don't need to take any of that stuff seriously either.

A wedding, and attending a wedding, now becomes a place to show that you're not wearing a mask and don't have to social distance because as a DStv subscriber you've seen that that is how the people on TV apparently does it whom you aspire to.

The DStv subscriber is being influenced to behave in the same highly irresponsible way - instead of being told that any wedding at this time in South Africa is a potential super-spreader event.

Unfortunately, MultiChoice doesn't seem to do more than lip-service about Covid-19 when it comes to what is actually shown on DStv screens or at its events. 

It looks like a case of "We want you to do what we say, but meanwhile we're going to actually show you something completely different on TV".

This is wrong. It's irresponsible.

There can't apparently be one set of rules for "people on TV" - those who get to live and conspicuously show off a carefree Covid-less existence - and the rest of the the TV watching consumers who should please wear masks, keep their distance and not get together in big numbers for gatherings and group photos. 

If you're wondering why Covid isn't ending - look no further than ourselves and media companies like MultiChoice. 

Nobody thinks they're the problem. Nobody thinks they contributing to the spread of Covid. Nobody thinks they need to change their behaviour, change what they're doing, or to be much more mindful about what is being shown on television if you run a TV channel, or how. 

Wear a mask! Keep your social distance from people who you are not living with. Please, PLEASE get a Covid vaccination. 

Yes, even if MultiChoice or M-Net or whatever TV channel shows you "inspirational" and "aspirational" entertainment content where you're not seeing people actually doing it or keeping to the rules.

Why on earth is MultiChoice doing media events where people are hanging on each other without masks and without social distancing as medical experts are warning about a looming fourth Covid-wave?

MultiChoice couldn't bother to tell a lot of media that it would be doing a DStv Internet media launch on Tuesday in Soweto, but those who were invited had so much fun posing for pictures with social media influencers, without masks and without any social distancing observed.

These images were then posted for public consumption for their adoring masses. How selfish, when DStv staff and executives have literally died from Covid over the past year and a half. It's misguided, bad and sends a very bad message.

As a powerful medium, South African television and MultiChoice can and should be way more mindful - not just about what it's communicating around Covid-19 safe messages, but also how it's actively actually sabotaging its own Covid-safety messaging.

Wrongly depicting a fantasy-like, post-Covid lifestyle in lifestyle magazine and reality shows when we're all definitely still very far from really living that, is the wrong television to make and show.

For Halloween, Paranormal Nightshift is coming to CBS Reality from 11 October telling tales from workers seeing things during 'the witching hour'.

by Thinus Ferreira

A new show, Paranormal Nightshift is coming to CBS Reality (DStv 132) from Monday 11 October until 27 October, on weekdays at 07:30 and repeating at 21:10, with each hourlong episode that will tell 3 stories of supernatural encounters, each one more terrifying than the last from those who loved through them.

Episodes of Paranormal Nightshift will repeat on weekends at 07:05, 20:20 and 00:35 from 16 to 27 October.

While a narrator keeps the plotline moving in Paranormal Nightshift episodes, the vast majority of the storytelling is done by the men and women who have lived through it.

These interviews are first hand intimate peeks into the spine-tingling world of those who work "the witching hour".

Also on CBS Reality in October will be the start of the third season of Borderforce USA: The Bridges on Saturday 16 October at 08:40, repeated at 19:30, bringing more stories from the world's busiest international boundary: the 2 000 border that separates ruthlessly efficient Mexican drug cartels from the USA state of Texas.

On the United States side, Customs and Border Protection officers have the job of keeping goods and people flowing in both directions while making sure that guns, drugs and other contraband don't make it across the border.

The challenge is daunting: on one side is the ruthlessly-efficient Mexican drug cartels; on the other, the
biggest and most lucrative drug market on earth.

Borderforce USA: The Bridges follows CBP officers stationed at 12 of the 28 international bridges that straddle the border and documents the immense challenges that the officers face on a daily basis

Seasons 6 to 10 of Random Breath Test will premiere on CBS Reality in October from 1 to 29 October with double episodes on weekdays at 11:10, 14:50 and 23:45, repeated on weekends, stacked, at 06:00 between 9 October to 21 November.

Random Breath Test follows the Australian police units for a unique, behind-the-scenes look at RBT patrols testing for alcohol and drug affected drivers.

In episode 1 of season 6 officers in Wollongong are diverted from their regular RBT duties by an emergency call over the radio. They join in the hunt for a runaway driver who fled from police when they tried to pull him up for a breath test.

He led police on a dangerous chase through the backstreets until he crashed his car into a dead end street and fled, climbing over back fences and running through yards. Police find the driver, Tyrone out of breath and worse for wear at a local Subway. He insists he was only getting a sandwich and denies he was the driver of the car police spotted him in. A breath test is just the start of Tyrone's problems.

CBS Justice (DStv 170) has season 1 of Injustice with Nancy Grace starting on Monday 11 October at 19:00, followed by the second season, back-to-back.

Killer Siblings is another new crime documentary show starting on CBS Justice on Monday 11 October at 20:00, with season 2 of How I Caught a Killer starting on Monday 11 October as well at 21:00.

All three shows will have new episodes on weeknights.

On Monday 25 October the second season of Licence to Kill will start on CBS Justice at 20:00 with the plastic surgeon Dr Terry Dubrow as the host in which he examines shocking cases of medical professionals who inflict harm on patients.

That is followed by season 1 of The Killer Within at 21:00, examining what turns someone into a murderer, with the help of forensic and criminal experts.

'DUM-DUM.' Law & Order revived for a 21st season almost 12 years after its cancellation, several familiar faces likely to return to the iconic crime procedural.

by Thinus Ferreira

"Dum-dum." The American crime procedural series Law & Order produced by creator Dick Wolf is being revived for a 21st season, 11 and a half years after it was abruptly cancelled in May 2010 after 456 episodes.

"There are very few things in life that are literally dreams come true. This is mine," Dick Wolf says in a statement about Law & Order returning to television. for a 21st season.

Susan Royner, chairman of entertainment content for NBCUniversal Television and streaming, says "Law & Order is quite simply one of the most iconic shows in television history, and the idea of continuing its legacy and partnering with Dick on an all-new season is nothing short of exhilarating. This is great news for NBC as well as TV fans everywhere".

Pearlena Igbokwe, chairperson of the Universal Studio Group, says "The return of the flagship Law & Order series for a pivotal 21st season is a proud moment for Dick and a proud moment for us, his studio partners".

The spinoff Law & Order: SVU is currently in its 23rd season in the United States with earlier seasons seen on Universal TV (DStv 117) across Africa; with the latest spinoff, Law & Order: Organized Crime with a returning Chris Meloni that just started its second season in America and with the first season on M-Net (DStv 101).

The returning Law & Order, produced by Universal Television and Wolf Entertainment, will undoubtedly feature some new cast members, but will very likely also bring back old, familiar faces although no cast announcements have been made yet.

Ric Eid will serve as showrunner, writer and executive producer and episodes will once again follow the classic format of following "the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders", together with Dick Wolf, Arthur Forney and Peter Jankowski as executive producers.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Apple claims its AppleTV+ streaming service has less than 20 million subscribers and tells Hollywood's IATSE union it therefore doesn't need to pay production crews more.

by Thinus Ferreira

Apple, trying to get away from  having to pay workers more, has told a Hollywood trade union that its Apple TV+ video streaming service is doing much worse than rivals like Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video and had less than 20 million subscribers by July this year in the United States and Canada.

Apple has never revealed any subscriber or user numbers for its Apple TV+ service that launched in late-2019 but Apple is trying to worm its way out of having to pay production crews more, claiming it has less than 20 million subscribers.

Apple told the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) union - a union that represents TV and film workers who work in jobs like operating cameras, production designers, set builders, makeup artists and costume designers - that it only has 20 million subscribers in the USA and Canada, which according to an existing agreement allows Apple to pay IATSE crew a smaller discount-rate.

According to an IATSE spokesperson, under its current contract with Apple for Apple TV+ shows like Foundation, The Morning Show and Ted Lasso, high-budget productions are done on lower paying rates because Apple TV+ has less than 20 million subscribers in the USA and Canada.

IATSE is currently in negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) over a new contract, of which Apple is a member, in which it wants to do away with the discount rate.

The alliance negotiates on behalf of all of its members, including Apple's Apple TV+.

"Workers on certain 'new media' streaming projects get paid less, even on productions with budgets that rival or exceed those of traditionally released blockbusters," IATSE says in a press release, noting that negotiations had stalled.

David S. Goyer, the showrunner of the newly-released Foundation series on Apple TV+, for instance mentioned in interviews that the first season of 10 episodes of the new series had a massive budget similar to that of 5 movies. 

Apple is spending $15 million per episode on The Morning Show that entered its second season on Apple TV+.

IATSE says that it is getting ready for a strike, with ballots that will be send out on 1 October to its 150 000 members to authorise possible strike action.

"It is incomprehensible that the AMPTP, an ensemble that includes media mega corporations collectively worth trillions of dollars, claims it cannot provide behind-the-scenes crews with basic human necessities like adequate sleep, meal breaks, and living wages," IATSE says.

IATSE also objects to "excessively unsafe and harmful working hours, unliveable wages for the lowest paid crafts and consistent failure to provide reasonable rest during meal breaks, between workdays and on weekends".

"These issues are real for the workers in our industry, and change is long overdue. However, the explosion of streaming combined with the pandemic has elevated and aggravated working conditions, bringing 60 000 behind-the-scenes workers covered by these contracts to a breaking point."

"We risked our health and safety all year, working through the pandemic to ensure that our business emerged intact. Now, we cannot and will not accept a deal that leaves us with an unsustainable outcome."

IATSE originally agreed on a contract with video streaming services like Apple TV+ in 2009 under which these services would pay a lower production rate while they had under 20 million subscribers.

Although Apple's Apple TV+ has less than 20 million subscribers in the USA and Canada, Apple TV+ is available in more than 100 countries worldwide, including South Africa, although Apple TV+ doesn't seem to regard countries like South Africa as any kind of priority.

This means that Apple TV+ actually has more than 20 million subscribers globally, although the exact number isn't made known publicly.

INTERVIEW. Anela 'Smash' Majozi on Survivor SA: 'I'm not R1 million richer but I feel very richer for having experienced this show.'

by Thinus Ferreira

Anela "Smash" Majozi smashed his way to second place in M-Net's Survivor South Africa: Immunity Island, making it to 39 days and just losing out to Nicole Wilmans.

You're a math educator and a rugby player. How would you say did you math skills help you in Survivor?
Smash: That's a good question, I think obviously when you are a math teacher you have a very a naturally, strategic, analytical way of viewing things and looking at a situation.
I think when it came to problem-solving on my feet, it really did come to the fore in that regard. 

In instances where I was faced with situations and looking at it from different points of views, I was naturally able to navigate it from different angles and what a better move forward might be.

I wish it came out a little bit more in the puzzles and stuff but from the homework I did do to prepare for the show I thought: Let me not put my hand up for puzzles. I never, ever wanted to put up my hand for puzzles while we were still in our tribes.

You're also a rugby coach, and a rugby player. As a team sport it's constantly drilled home that you need to be a team player, and we're all a team. How did you adjust between playing coach and playing an individual strategy?
Smash: Both are of big importance just at different stages of the game, particularly at the beginning when we were still in tribes that was the name of the game: be a team player, encourage the players. So the coaching was more there.
Obviously once we got to merge it became more an individual game – that’s when the player Smash came out. 

That's when it was, "okay, gloves are off, you're fighting for your life now". For me both of them played a big importance – it was just bringing them out at the correct times.

You're a big guy. Chappies. Some of the others. Some of the girls and others are physically smaller. When it's time to divide up the food it's the same quantity for everyone. You don't get more. 
Correct me if I'm wrong but you actually get weaker therefore quicker. If you're bigger like you, how do you navigate the situation of getting even less food than others?
Smash: You ask a brilliant question there, I mean, I've also wondered why. Chappies lost 12kg, I lost 13kg so it definitely takes a bigger toll on us sort of having to downsize all of the food. 

I probably got onto the show in arguably some of the worst condition I've been in in more recent years. 
My normal weight is about 83kg, 84kg and I've been 93kg, so in all honestly to adjust to eating less was challenging but as I got lighter than when the athleticism improved. I felt that as my weight got lighter I got quicker so I actually welcomed the "lack" if I can say.

You took a cowboy hat which I think was the best piece of clothing besides maybe a waterproof, thick jacket. Was that a deliberate decision?
Smash: It's obviously hot out there and I wanted something to protect myself from that but the significance with the cowboy hat in particular is – some of the contestants would know – I had written on the inside of that, in the lining of that hat – I've written messages to myself to just keep me going.
For instance, all glory goes to God; and small little phrases like "I will be the winner". So for me, I was always very intentional where I saw myself landing up, and when times were tough that really did bring myself back, and helped to calm be down.
During quarantine before the game started I had time to watch SuperSport's Chasing the Sun documentary and Makazole Mapimpi and the achievements in his life and where he's come from. 

I wrote in my hat just his name. 

And when times were tough I would think: There's nothing that says you can't be what you want to be in life. If you have the intention and you have that goal and vision, the only person stopping you, is you.

That small little hat literally gave me all of that, so I was very grateful for taking that. 

When you stepped off as the first of the three in the final immunity challenge, did you think now you're definitely out, or did you think that you still might have a chance going on as one of the final two?
Smash: Sjo, it's a very good question, I think at the time I was sort of there I think I felt that either way  these people – both of them view their chances in the final as being better with me being there.
So that's how I perceived things then. I could clearly see how Nicole could argue her game against mine and that she carried me there, plus we had that really solid relationship. 

So I thought if she wins, I'm going. On Chappies' end, again, we spent a lot of time together from Zamba 2.0 and I felt that if you just draw strength to strength comparisons, I thought he also fancies his chances winning against me. 
For me it was a personal victory to last that one hour 58 minutes. 

I was really on the sidelines for only 15 minutes or so. Now that I've seen it from the perspective of home and a fan, it's interesting to see that Chappies as he outlined in the finale that he might not have had a better chance with me in that final.

What did you learn about the experience?
Smash: There are so many amazing things I could take away from this experience. 

I feel that everything happens in the way it's supposed to happen and anything that happens that I miss on in life was obviously not meant for me and I have no regrets with how everything has happened.
This is going to change my life going forward and I've learnt a hell of a lot on the good side and the bad side of things. 

I didn't know how much of an influence I could have on someone else's decision making process. Obviously  as a coach and as an educator I'd be pretty bad at my job if I couldn't motivate someone's thinking. 
I was quite surprised at how effectively I was able to do that. The relationship building I've always knew I had. I'm a nice guy and I'm a flirty person and I get on with people. I knew that part of me was going to come out naturally. 

But then weaknesses that I was able to identify, having played the game of rugby, and being a coach now and always having this temperament of being resilient and that you are going to win – it was humbling to realise that you're not invincible.
If you know where your weaknesses are and you know where your boundaries are, then you can better then or say, I'm going to focus on highlighting the strengths. 

The most important thing is just being grateful for how everything played out in the end. Although I'm not a million rand richer, I feel very richer for having experienced this show. I made amazing friends that I'll probably have for life now and life lessons that are priceless.

It's an insane thing to do or want to take part in, like climbing Everest. What would be your advice for people for someone even remotely considering entering Survivor SA?
Smash: My key pieces of advice would be, if you're going to play, play to win. 
And I say it with the greatest respect to the cast because obviously it was fast and furious from the jump, but you can almost immediately identify the people that are here to play and have a strong chance of going all the way, and the others that are just happy to coast along kind of thing.
Secondly, the deeper you get into the game, you're probably going to be revealed more – the core of yourself. 

With that in mind, yes – there’s obviously a right time to highlight yourself or downplay yourself – but be as true as you can be as an individual because it's bound to come out anyway.
If I reflect on my game personally, I knew that I wanted to be this strategic player or physical but I knew even with that in the back of my mind that the thing that makes Smash, Smash is he is friends with everyone. That was my strength. So I naturally just played my own strength. 

I didn't shirk away from it but I knew that that was the thing that was going to get me there. You can see it when I spent 5 days with Zamba 1.0 and they still saved me over Dino and Qieän who've spent all their time and that was not for nothing besides that I genuinely got to know these people. 

How are you dealing with the fame aspect? You've become an iconic character associated with Survivor SA fandom. People will forever seek you out for advice and to tell stories of your time. How do you handle the fame of it now?
Smash: It's been surreal. For me personally I feel like when you do things well, or when things go well, you want to take the least amount of credit, and when go bad in life, that's when you put your hand up and own it.
For me, I like to stay in the shadows, I don't necessarily want the fame and stuff. 

I was genuinely just playing for the million. Having said that, it's been absolutely incredible and overwhelming just to see how much this show means to and how big Survivor is to so many people. 

If you're going to engage with it and you're going to engage with the fans and you're going to engage with the show, there will be good and bad that you'll see and that's welcome to. Everyone must have their opinion and everyone's opinion deserves to be heard. 
I've really enjoyed engaging with every single aspect of this game. It's crazy and it really hasn't sunken in. When people want to have a photo with me, I think but I'm just me. Ha ha. Why do you want a photo with me? But I'm really appreciative of it.
I try my level best to, if I'm ever speaking to someone – there’s an age old question that you get where someone asks, "How was it?". And you've probably been asked that a thousand times all of us as contestants. 
But I try to answer it to someone like it's my first time answering it because I know for them – either meeting me or engaging with me – even if I've been asked these questions a thousand times, this show means so much to someone, I  want them to experience Smash like it's the first time. 
If someone asks me for a photo I never say no. If someone want to have a quick chat the energy will always be up. I'm so grateful for that stuff – that again is not something you necessarily go looking for, but it's really appreciated.