Monday, October 31, 2022

TV and radio presenter Jeremy Mansfield dead at 59 after losing battle with liver cancer.

by Thinus Ferreira

The South African radio and TV presenter Jeremy Mansfield died early on Monday morning after he had lost his battle with liver cancer. He was 59.

In a statement his former colleague Samantha Cowen confirmed his death, saying that he had died peacefully at home surrounded by family and friends.

Jeremy Mansfield is survived by his wife Jacqui and daughter, Gabriella. His mother died on 15 August which was his 59th birthday.

"This morning a light went out in the world. Jeremy Mansfield passed away just before dawn. He died peacefully at home surrounded by family and friends and boundless love," Samantha Cowen said.

"Jeremy lived large, he didn't know how to do small. He loved hard, laughed loud and managed to combine mischief and mayhem with heart and soul. The city was brighter and lighter with him on the airwaves, he changed lives every day."

"When he wasn't raising millions for charity, he was raising fresh hell! Under a naughty exterior Jeremy had a huge soft heart. A lot of people got to see and hear that over the radio but he saved his vulnerability for a select few."

"He was determined that the world be a better and shinier and funnier place and he drove the road to that destination at 1000 miles an hour with no rearview mirror, all of the rest of us clinging on for dear life!

"We will miss him horribly. The family is devastated and is asking for privacy during this time. Right to the end we were reading him your messages and he was happy to hear them all, every single one. He knew he was loved and it mattered. He mattered. There will be a new star in the sky tonight. As he would have said, Good night Bunnies."

Mansfield is known for his years of work as a radio and TV presenter on SuperSport, Front Row, the host of A Word or 2 on SABC2, CNBC (DStv 410), voice-over and MC work, and is the author of humour and cookbooks. He was a presenter on 94.7's The Rude Awakening for 13 years between 1997 and 2010 and a few years ago started his own Mansfield2day YouTube channel.

Jeremy Mansfield battled and survived leukaemia 13 years ago.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Liam Hemsworth replaces Henry Cavill in Netflix's The Witcher for season 4.

by Thinus Ferreira

In an unexpected announcement late on Saturday Netflix said that Henry Cavill is leaving his role as Geralt of Rivia in The Witcher with Liam Hemsworth who is replacing him in a massive change for the fantasy drama series which Netflix also says has been renewed for a fourth season.

Following his surprise return as Superman in an end credits scene in the film Black Adam, Henry Cavill last week in an announcement on his Instagram account, said that he is "back as Superman" and will be reprising his film role as the DC superhero.

The third season of The Witcher with Henry Cavill is expected to debut on Netflix sometime in 2023 with a 4-episode prequel series, The Witcher: Blood Origin, which will be released on Netflix on 25 December, starring Laurence O'Fuarain, Sophia Brown and Michelle Yeoh.

The Witcher is based on the book series of Andrezej Sapkowski, following a monster-hunter travelling the Continent fighting various creatures, having formed a bond with a sorceress Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) and a Cintran princess Ciri (Freya Allan). 

Henry Cavill appeared as Geralt since December 2019 in the fantasy series set in a world of humans, elves, gnomes, monsters and witchers. 

"In season 4, Liam Hemsworth will step in as the titular monster-hunter Geralt of Rivia, the role Henry Cavill originated in the first three seasons," Netflix says.

"My journey as Geralt of Rivia has been filled with both monsters and adventures, and alas, I will be laying down my medallion and my swords for season 4," Henry Cavill says in a statement he released on his Instagram account.

"In my stead, the fantastic Liam Hemsworth will be taking up the mantle of the White Wolf. As with the greatest of literary characters, I pass the torch with reverence for the time spent embodying Geralt and enthusiasm to see Liam's take on this most fascinating and nuanced of men. Liam, good sir, this character has such a wonderful depth to him, enjoy diving in and seeing what you can find."

Liam Hemsworth in a statement on his Instagram account, says "As a Witcher fan I'm over the moon about the opportunity to play Geralt of Rivia".

"Henry Cavill has been an incredible Geralt and I'm honoured that he's handing me the reins and allowing me to take up the White Wolf's blades for the next chapter of his adventure. Henry, I've been a fan of yours for years and was inspired by what you brought to this beloved character. I may have some big boots to fill, but I'm truly excited to be stepping into The Witcher world."

Henry Cavill will next appear in Enola Holmes 2 alongside Millie Bobby Brown as Sherlock Holmes, which is releasing on Netflix next week and he is also reteaming with director Guy Ritchie on The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare before he will put on the Superman suit again for Warner Bros. Films which will restart his film journey as that DC superhero.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Mzansi Magic to do a live Saturday broadcast of Zulu king Misuzulu KwaZwelithini coronation, SABC1 to run recorded prime time highlights, TV news channels silent.

by Thinus Ferreira

M-Net will broadcast the coronation on Saturday of King Misuzulu KwaZwelithini live from the Moses Mabhida stadium on its Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) channel from 10:00, with SABC1 that will do a half-hour prime time highlights package on Saturday night, and with South Africa's three TV news channels silent on their plans.

Bayede: The Royal Zulu Coronation Live from Moses Mabhida stadium will be on Mzansi Magic on Saturday 29 October from 10:00 but Mzansi Magic hasn't specified any presenters who will be anchoring coverage of the pivotal moment in the history of the Zulu royal family in South Africa.

"We're honoured to be broadcasting this momentous occasion to DStv subscribers," says Shirley Adonisi, M-Net director of local entertainment channels, in a statement about the programming note.

"This is a historic event and we are proud that this will be aired on Mzansi Magic for millions of viewers to see. We look forward to what will be a momentous broadcast, and are excited to bring in Mzansi Magic viewers along to witness a ceremony steeped in rich history and tradition."

SABC1 will be showing the King Misuzulu KwaZwelithini Coronation at 19:30 on Saturday night as a half-hour TV special with highlights from the day's proceedings.

Neither eNCA (DStv 403), SABC News (DStv 404) nor Newzroom Afrika (DStv 405) as South Africa's three local TV news channels bothered to issue any media advisories with programming notes about their live coverage plans of Saturday's Zulu king coronation.

MultiChoice and M-Net adding Magic Showcase and CineMagic as lower-tier channels but will try to prevent more complaints about DStv repeats by locking the channels away to filtered-down bouquets, Novela Magic taken away in South Africa.

by Thinus Ferreira

In MultiChoice's plan as it shifts focus to acquiring and retaining more mid and lower-tiered DStv subscribers, the satellite pay-TV service and M-Net are adding Magic Showcase and Cine Magic as two new lower-tiered channels although MultiChoice will try to prevent more complaints about DStv repeats by locking the channels of these new repeat-filled channels away to just these filtered-down cheaper bouquets.

MultiChoice is also taking away the Novela Magic channel on 27 November from DStv subscribers in South Africa, although Novela Magic will remain available to DStv subscribers in the rest of Africa.

MultiChoice is adding the Magic Showcase and CineMagic TV channels, packaged by M-Net, specifically for DStv EasyView subscribers who pay R29 per month, although MultiChoice is also locking out higher-tiered DStv subscribers from accessing CineMagic as a film channel and Magic Showcase as a general entertainment channel, in order to minimise the ongoing barrage of complaints about DStv repeats.

MultiChoice doesn't want DStv subscribers above DStv EasyView to stumble onto the repackaged content of Magic Showcase or CineMagic and be confronted with content they've already seen, which leads to DStv subscriber complaints about rebroadcasts and repeats.

Like traditional pay-TV services elsewhere in the world, MultiChoice windows content, with series filtering down from more expensive DStv packages, over time, through to lower-tiered packages, although pay-TV subscribers who pay less, have to wait much longer before they also eventually see the bulk of the content.

To prop up its lower-tiered bouquets since it's becoming more important for MultiChoice to focus on and retain mid- and lower-tiered subscribers, MultiChoice is expanding downward access to both more third-party channels - for instance BET and Comedy Central - as well as M-Net packaged channels, to broaden the appeal of lower-tiered packages.

Magic Showcase will start on DStv on Monday 31 October and is an 18-hour TV channel repeating MultiChoice and M-Net's locally-produced content for lower-tiered DStv subscribers who haven't seen it before or had access to it before.

Content will be in various languages with hardcoded subtitles for content not in English, with old shows funnelled from across various higher-tiered M-Net channels like M-Net (DStv 101) and Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) to build the Magic Showcase schedule like Being Bonang, Our Perfect Wedding and Legacy.

CineMagic is a 12-hour movie channel that is starting on DStv on Monday 14 November and will be inaccessible to higher-tiered DStv subscribers above DStv EasyView bouquets.

CineMagic will show "the best in locally-made African films as well as international independent titles. CineMagic is a celebration of storytelling and the common narrative threads that bind us from all parts of the world," according to M-Net. 

CineMagic will be in various languages with hardcoded subtitles for films not in English. Of course all of the films will be "new" to DStv EasyView subscribers but old to DStv subscribers who have been paying more for higher-tiered packages.

Magic Showcase and CineMagic will be just for DStv EasyView subscribers in South Africa, and will reside on the DStv Access and DStv Lite bouquets in Southern Africa.

"As MultiChoice we are committed to giving our subscribers on varying packages the best content there is to offer," says Nomsa Philiso, MultiChoice CEO for general entertainment.

"We are proud to grow the EasyView content slate, allowing our subscribers on this package to enjoy award-winning and top-tier local shows and movies from across the continent. It's all about giving our audience the best value for their money, and we are committed to continuously increasing what each DStv package has on show."

Jan du Plessis, director of M-Net channels, says "The addition of two new M-Net channels to the EasyView package only further enhances the subscriber viewing experience".

"We've used the M-Net model in conceptualising and branding the channels – the look and feel are inspired by the 'mother brand', Novela Magic. We trust that viewers will be pleased with the channels and their offerings once they go live."

MultiChoice removes Paramount Africa's MTV Hits channel from DStv over 'decreased interest and interaction with the channel'.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice is taking the MTV Hits (DStv 323) TV channel away from DStv subscribers at the end of October after a year and four months after very few subscribers bothered to watch the channel playing just music videos.

In an on-screen notification MultiChoice is telling DStv subscribers to "Please note that MTV Hits is closing on 31 October 2022. Thank you for watching".

Paramount Africa supplies MTV Hits to DStv with the channel that played just music videos. 

Before it quietly changed into MTV Hits in June 2021 without any prior announcement, the tired channel was MTV Music 24 for two years, which was VH1 Classic until March 2019.

In mid-2021 Paramount Africa said that MTV Music 24 is changing to MTV Hits to offer "current and relevant content for our viewers and will continue to play just music videos which we are confident will resonate even more strongly with local audiences."

That sadly didn't happen as even fewer DStv subscribers bothered to tune to MTV Hits or saw it as a relevant must-have TV channel, leading to its demise just over a year later.

DNA Brand Architects that represents Paramount Africa, in response to a media query from TVwithThinus about the termination of MTV Hits on MultiChoice's platform, says "Paramount Africa bases its business decisions on the needs and requirements of its audiences. Given the decreased interest and interaction with the channel, MTV Hits will be removed from our offering".

MultiChoice didn't respond with any comment to a media query made in mid-October about the removal of MTV Hits from DStv.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

TV RATINGS September 2022: Idols on Mzansi Magic and Muvhango on SABC2 continue their viewership death spiral, as SABC1's Xhosa news become most-watched TV bulletin in South Africa and viewers are over The Real Housewives of Cape Town.

by Thinus Ferreira

During September the 18th season of Idols on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) and Muvhango on SABC2 continued their viewership death spirals as these shows continued their huge ongoing viewership and TV ratings losses, while SABC1's Xhosa news surpassed the Zulu bulletin to become the most-watch TV bulletin in the country, 435 673 people watched the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on SABC2 on 19 September, and viewers are apparently bored and over The Real Housewives of Cape Town.

As the shocking Muvhango and Idols viewership losses continue to mount, Idols, produced by SIC Entertainment, continued its ratings freefall, shedding another eye-watering 120 000 DStv subscribers during September to fall further to 542 049. 

The 120 000 fewer Idols viewers on Sunday evenings on Mzansi Magic are an even bigger chunk and comes on top of the 81 000 viewers the show lost in August, meaning that half of the audience and ratings that Idols used to get, is simply gone.

On SABC2 the Muvhango plunge is also continuing where the channel's most-watched show shed more viewers to fall from 1 585 498 viewers during August to 1 572 195. 

So bad is the Word of Mouth Productions viewership on SABC2 during prime time that the morning repeat of Muvhango on SABC1 at 8:30 now pulls a bigger audience and got 1.635 million viewers during the month.  

Eskom blackouts a ratings burn
Eskom's shocking electricity blackouts that ramped up to Stage 4 during September wiped millions of viewers overall from South Africa's TV meters during the month, causing viewership and TV ratings losses across the board for SABC1, SABC2, SABC3 and which all saw the bathtub viewership level of their ratings lowered.

On SABC1, South Africa's most-watched show Uzalo sagged from 6.56 million in August to 6.35million viewers in September, followed by Generations - The Legacy ebbing from 5.54 million to 5.052 million viewers - half a million viewers simply gone from what is now South Africa's third most-watched show.

Skeem Saam went from 4.3 million to 4.177 million viewers, while the Zulu TV news bulletin fell from 2.64 million to 2.45 million viewers in September. The Xhosa TV news bulletin improved from 2.615 million to 2.733 million viewers, passing the Zulu TV news to become the most-watched TV news bulletin in South Africa.

Selimathunzi remained flat at 2 million viewers, while the second season of uBettina Wethu fell from an already low 1.8 million to 1.744 million viewers. The Siswati/Ndebele TV news fell from 1.81 million to 1.58 million viewers.

SABC2 audience erosion continues
With Muvhango's depressing ratings slide sitting at the top of the troubled SABC2's ratings set for September, the Afrikaans soap 7de Laan lost audience as SABC2's second most-watched show during September going from 992 234 to 859 016 viewers.

It cannot be overstated in what bad form SABC2 and the channel's linear TV ratings are with just one show managing to get more than a million viewers during September and with the Afrikaans TV news falling from 704 272 to 631 325, the Setswana TV news falling from 668 961 to 521 677, and Black Tax falling from 526 024 to 462 520.

On 19 September 435 673 viewers tuned in to watch the public broadcast in South Africa of the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. Morning Live held steady during September with 475 519 viewers.

Weekends help S3
Interestingly, Saturdays and Sundays are the viewership that is propping up SABC3 - a full 14 out of the channel's top 20 shows were Saturday and Sunday programming in September, with Alvin and the Chipmunks movie topping the channel's ratings during the month with 602 198 viewers - down from 625 650 as August's ratings highwater mark for the channel.

The audience of the English TV news bulletin decreased from 566 757 to 536 529 as SABC3's second most-watched show of the month, with The Wonders of the Marsupials in third place, falling from 625 650 viewers to 502 908 in September.

The red carpet pre-show of the South African Film and Television Awards drew a lacklustre 494 260 viewers on 3 September, after a lot of viewers tuned out leaving 414 646 viewers who stayed to watched the SAFTAs awards ceremony which again had no in-studio audience this year. impacted by loadshedding
On Scandal! suffered from Eskom blackouts and declined from 5.542 million viewers in August to 5.277million viewers - still enough to be South Africa's second most-watched TV show overall.

House of Zwide also gave up some recent gains and sagged from 5.14 million to 4.635 million viewers - still South Africa's third most-watched TV show overall. Imbewu fell from 3.05 million to 2.679 million viewers in September, while the cancelled Durban Gen was down from 2.74 million to 2.56 million viewers. 

The Black Door gave up viewers as well, sliding from 2.7 million to 2.5 million and Is'phindiselo dropped from 1.98 million to 1.65 million viewers.'s 20:00 TV news bulletin held steady at 1.901 million viewers, the same as in August, while the South Africa Tonight news at 19:00 lured 1.312 million viewers during September. 

Viewers bored with Cape Town's housewives
On pay-TV Gomora on Mzansi Magic was the most-watched show during September on MultiChoice's DStv although with fewer viewers in August, sagging from 1.122 million to 1.014 million DStv subscribers who tuned in. 

Idols used to rule the roost here in-season but has now fallen from 1st place in years past to 10th place in September.

The tabloid cheater show Uyajola 9/9 on Moja Love (DStv 157) held onto its second spot but also with slightly fewer viewers, going from 985 124 to 876 201 viewers in September. The cancelled The Queen on Mzansi Magic kept sitting on the third-place throne although viewership also sagged some from 754 539 to 661 478 viewers.

Viewers have gotten bored with The Real Housewives of Cape Town on Mzansi Magic which plunged from 618 994 viewers in August to a lowly 396 719 in September.

Doctor Who’s TARDIS spins to Disney+ in South Africa as part of a new BBC-Disney TV deal.

by Thinus Ferreira

As part of the time-warp of the times the British science fiction series Doctor Who is the next TV shows jumping straight to streaming with the total travels of the TARDIS which will whirl from the BBC to Disney+ outside of Britain from 2023.

Following the switch from M-Net (DStv 101) of This is Us, Grey's Anatomy, Station 19 and other shows all moving from premium pay-TV and linear broadcast television to Disney+, the BBC and Disney announced that the complete library and new series of Doctor Who will be switching to Disney+ outside of the United Kingdom as well in 2023 as part of a new partnership contract.

David Tennant will play the 14th Doctor for three upcoming Doctor Who TV specials at the end of the year, before Ncuti Gatwa takes over the role as the 15th Doctor. 

In South Africa Doctor Who used to reside on BBC Studios' linear TV channels like BBC Entertainment and BBC Brit for a number of years, after which MultiChoice's video streaming service Showmax acquired a few seasons that were co-incidentally filmed in South Africa while Jodie Whittaker was the Doctor, but it lasted only a short while after which Showmax dropped the series from its catalogue. 

South African viewers have been left Doctor Who-less for a number of years with the series which didn't return to the BBC's linear pay-TV channels, but viewers will now be able to catch up and continue the show on Disney+ from next year.

The BBC and Disney Branded Television say they're bringing Doctor Who to Disney+ as they are working together to "transform Doctor Who into a global franchise for UK audiences and the rest of the world" as part of a new collaboration around the show which is produced in Wales by Bad Wolf with BBC Studios Production.

"I love this show, and this is the best of both worlds – with the vision and joy of the BBC and Disney+ together we can launch the TARDIS all around the planet, reaching a new generation of fans while keeping our traditional home firmly on the BBC in the UK," says Russell T. Davies who is returning to Doctor Who as showrunner in 2023 after he helmed the reboot of the series in 2005.

Charlotte Moore, BBC chief content officer, says "We are thrilled to announce this exciting global partnership with Disney who are the perfect partners to bring this very British show to the rest of the world".

"Russell T. Davies' vision for Doctor Who has always been out of this world and we are committed to ensuring that audiences across the globe get the opportunity to enjoy the Doctor's epic adventures with the scale and ambition that they deserve.

"Joining forces with Disney will elevate the show to even greater heights and reach new audiences so it's an extremely exciting time for fans in the UK and across the world."

Alisa Bowen, Disney+ president, in the statement says "We're excited by the opportunity to bring new seasons of this beloved franchise exclusively to Disney+ and introduce the show to the next generation of audiences in more than 150 markets around the world."

"The series is a perfect addition to our ever-growing catalogue of global content that continues to make Disney+ the home for exceptional storytelling."

Ayo Davis, Disney Branded Television president, says "Doctor Who has captivated the imaginations of families around the world for the past six decades. We are so excited about this collaboration with the BBC, and the opportunity to bring this iconic franchise – and Russell T. Davies' brilliant vision – to life for a huge new global audience".

Jane Trantor, Bad Wolf executive producer and co-founder, says "For Doctor Who to have the backing of two of the most innovative and respected media organisations in the world is a testament to the unique drive and vision at the heart of this show".

"Bad Wolf are beyond delighted to be once again working with the genius that is Russell T. Davies and, with the exciting new partnership between the BBC and Disney, we can together reach to even greater heights, producing from Wolf Studios Wales ambitious stories through time and space for audiences across the globe."

SABC investigates new claims of a TV execs 'programming cabal' running an extortion racket demanding kickbacks and bribes before commissioning low-class content from 'friends and family' producers.

by Thinus Ferreira

The South African public broadcaster has been forced to yet again start an internal investigation following programming pay-to-play bribery claims, with several producers who have told the SABC CEO Madoda Mxakwe that a TV division execs "cabal" are allegedly running an extortion racket demanding to be paid kickbacks for awarding production contracts to friends, families and associate producers who then made mediocre content.

Gugu Ntuli, SABC spokesperson, told TVwithThinus in response to a media query that "The SABC can confirm that the matter is being addressed in accordance with the SABC's internal whistleblower processes and relevant policies".

Numerous allegations of SABC execs demanding bribes and taking kickbacks in return for handing out programming commissions for content have surfaced in the past, with the latest allegation, implicating three specific SABC executives, coming from several producers who directly complained about this to the SABC CEO, as well as the SABC's forensic boss Thami Zikode and Mojaki Mosia, the broadcaster's head of human capital resources.

In one of the letters of complaint, a producer writes and says "I represent the plight of black producers who've been doing business with the SABC for many years".

"As leaders, are you aware of corruption taking place in the television department? There is a cabal that's destroying the SABC. The cabal gets kickbacks and bribes from the producers they select. Check their lifestyle. You'll be shocked at the houses they own and the cars they drive."

"That's why most black producers don't get work at the SABC. The mafia protects each other and they always push out black professionals and producers. All the content divisions at the SABC are run by them. Why?"

"How does the SABC allow a minority t decide on the content of our own people? What do they know about the real stories told in rural areas, hostels and townships? Yet, the same people are given positions to decide on the stories that we send to the SABC. Investigate this corruption taking place in the television department."

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Filming on season 2 of HBO's House of the Dragon to start in early 2023 as first season finale draws 9.3 million viewers in America.

by Thinus Ferreira

Warner Bros. Discovery announced that the first season finale on Sunday of its dragon fantasy series House of the Dragon on HBO and HBO Max reached 9.3 million viewers in the United States, making it HBO's most-watched series finale since the series finale of HBO's Game of Thrones.

Filming of the second season of House of the Dragon will start early next year.

The 9.3 million viewers for the first season finale is however lower than the 10.2 million viewers who watched the second episode of the first season in America - the first season's most-watched episode.

The viewership of the first season's second episode was slightly higher than the 9.99 million people who watched the season's debut episode in America.

The 9.3 million viewers of House of the Dragon's first season finale are the combined viewership tally of people who watched the linear broadcast on HBO, as well as three subsequent repeats, and also those who watched through streaming on its HBO Max streaming service. 

Ratings for the linear airing in South Africa of the finale on M-Net (DStv 101) on Monday where its shown at the same time as in America at 03:00 in the morning local time, and again during late prime-time, is not available yet and HBO Max has not launched and is not accessible in South Africa yet.

The series finale of HBO's Game of Thrones, also shown in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa on M-Net, netted 19.8 million viewers in America in 2019 for the conclusion of the 8th and final season.

Warner Bros. Discovery in its statement says that outside of America, House of the Dragon "has surpassed Game of Thrones season 8 making it the most-viewed HBO title ever in Europe, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan on an HBO streaming service".

House of the Dragon is based on George R.R. Martin's 2018 novel Fire & Blood and is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, telling the story of the fall of House Targaryen.

Filming of the second season of House of the Dragon will start in early 2023 with the war between different houses, known as "the Dance of the Dragons", which will play out over the rest of the series, starting with the second season.

"We're so thrilled to see House of the Dragon catch fire with Game of Thrones fans around the world, as well as new viewers who are discovering the world of Westeros for the first time," said Casey Bloys, chairman and CEO of HBO and HBO Max, in a statement following the conclusion of the first season of House of the Dragon.

"Congrats to George R.R. Martin, (co-showrunners) Ryan Condal, Miguel Sapochnik and the whole House of the Dragon team on an incredible first season."

Massive price hike of 47% for Apple TV+ in South Africa, Apple says first-ever jump to R125 per month is because streamer has more content available.

by Thinus Ferreira

Overnight Apple TV+ in South Africa has undergone a massive price hike of 47% in South Africa - its first-ever - immediately jumping from R84.99 per month to a whopping R124.99 per month, following a $2 price hike in America that was applied to South Africa as well without any warning.

Apple says Apple TV+ will now cost more since the video streaming service's content offering has grown and it has more content available for subscribers to watch.

A rep from DNA Brand Architects didn't immediately have a response from Apple about the soaring price increase in South Africa when asked about it in a media query late on Monday night.

This is the first-ever price hike for Apple TV+ in the United States, as well as in South Africa and elsewhere in the world.

Besides the shocking Apple TV+ price hike, Apple Music is also becoming much more expensive, surging from R59.99 to R69.99 per month - a sudden increase of 16.7%. The Apple Music Family plan jumped a whopping 22.2% overnight from R89.99 to R109.99 per month, while Apple One surged from R139.99 to R179.99 per month.

In the South African market, Apple TV+ is competing against Netflix SA, MultiChoice's Showmax, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, VIU, Britbox SA, eMedia's eVOD, Acorn TV, and others, who all want to sign up subscribers who have access to internet broadband, with more streamers like SABC+, Paramount+, NBCUniversal's Peacock, and Warner Bros. Discovery's combined HBO Max and discovery+ still to launch in the country.

In a statement Apple says "We introduced Apple TV+ at a very low price because we started with just a few shows and movies".

"Three years later, Apple TV+ is home to an extensive selection of award-winning and broadly acclaimed series, feature films, documentaries, and kids and family entertainment from the world's most creative storytellers."

About the Apple Music price hike, Apple says "The change to Apple Music is due to an increase in licensing costs, and in turn, artists and songwriters will earn more for the streaming of their music. We also continue to add innovative features that make Apple Music the world's best listening experience".

'I'm done': Toks van der Linde quits kykNET's Toks & Tjops talk show after 12 years, says trust broke down and he was 'stabbed in the back' by producer and is getting replaced by Rikus de Beer.

by Thinus Ferreira

Toks van der Linde has abruptly quit as one of the longtime co-presenters of the long-running Toks & Tjops Afrikaans variety sports talk show on Friday nights on kykNET (DStv 144), saying he was stabbed in the back by the show's producer in an ugly behind the scenes fight, with the comedian Rikus de Beer apparently replacing him.

See also the Friday update below.

kykNET told TVwithThinus it wishes Toks van der Linde all the best and success and is thankful for his years of service. 

It's unclear how the show's Toks & Tjops name will now change, or how co-presenters Janina Oberholzer and Breyten Paulse will be addressing his abrupt departure this Friday following his behind-the-scenes fight.

Toks & Tjops is produced by CSaw Media which is produced at Stark Studios in Johannesburg where the set shares space with other kykNET productions like Binnelanders and actuality programmes like kykNET Verslag and where its success over the past decade has been built on the rapport and friendly banter between the co-hosts and their Friday night guests which include sports stars and Afrikaans artists. 

On social media Toks van der Linde wrote in Afrikaans that "I've decided to call it a day. 12 years were awesome but the last while trust broke down between Liebie and me. kykNET was amazing to me - thank you, thank you, thank you. So I'm done with Toks & Tjops. This is how you get to know people. Thanks for everyone's support over 12 years. Love you all lots."

Toks van der Linde wrote: "Sjoe, so you learn people with me for 12 years and then he stabs you in the back. New presenter is Radio Raps. Enjoy him you guys." He has since deleted the post.

Liebie is a reference to Toks & Tjops producer Liebie Opperman, producer of Toks & Tjops. Radio Raps is the comedian and singer Rikus de Beer, known as Jonathan of Radio Raps who did two seasons of Die Radio Raps Show on VIA (DStv 147) and MultiChoice's streaming service Showmax.

kykNET was also stunned and surprised to hear that Toks van der Linde has abruptly quit Toks & Tjops and is wishing him well after his exit.

"Toks & Tjops is since the Rugby World Cup in 2011 a popular and dependable show on kykNET. kykNET and the production company have been in discussions for months, including with the presenters on how the show will look in 2023, another World Cup year," Suzaan Keyter, kykNET spokesperson told TVwithThinus.

"Since the beginning, Toks was part of our plans for this exciting new season. He also agreed to be involved. We were therefore surprised to see that he had announced his resignation on Sunday on social media by announcing that he will no longer be a presenter on the show."

"We are thankful for Toks' years of passionate service and wish him all the best and success." kykNET didn't say what it makes of the conflict behind the scenes of the show, or when Rikus de Beer will join as new co-presenter.

Toks van der Linde is also currently a participant in the latest season of the Afrikaans fatbusters reality show Slank on kykNET, together with the Toks & Tjops braai chef Vaatjie (Tommy Dickson).

UPDATE Friday 28 October 2022 20:15:
On Friday night Janina Oberholzer was awkwardly left as the sole host of the show with both Breyton Paulse absent and with Toks van der Linde gone, without any explanation to viewers.

Toks & Tjops still opened with "Toks" in the title although titular presenter has quit the show, and Janina Oberholzer made absolutely no mention during the show open that Toks van der Linde has quit the show and will no longer be seen on the Friday night kykNET talk show after 12 years.

In the closing moments of Friday night's episode, Janina Oberholzer finally addressed the massive elephant in the room and said that media reports are true that Toks van der Linde has quit and is gone from the talk show.

"As you've seen in the media this week, tonight we can confirm the reports that Toks van der Linde had resigned as presenter of Toks & Tjops. For us it was a big shock, for fans it was a very big shock and we just want to say to Tokka thanks a lot for the past 12 years you've been with the programme."

"From the team, the crew, sponsors, the channel - we all just want to say thank you very, very much for 12 years, Toks. Best for your future plans and the next chapter. And we're going to miss you a lot here."

Henry Cavill: 'I am back as Superman'.

by Thinus Ferreira

Henry Cavill (39) says he is "back as Superman" after the star who was forced to move on and found new success in The Witcher fantasy series on Netflix, made a surprise appearance in a scene in the middle of the end credits of Black Adam which is currently in theatres.

In a new message he released on his Instagram account, and to the delight of fans, Henry Cavill said he is officially back as the DC hero on the big screen after he made his first brief appearance as Superman for the first time since donning the cape in 2017's Justice League.

"I want to make it official. I am back as Superman," Henry Cavill says, noting that him being back in the Superman costume is "a very small taste of what's to come, my friends. The dawn of hope renewed". He thanked fans for their "patience, it will be rewarded".

Henry Cavill says "I wanted to wait until the weekend was over before posting this because I wanted to give you all a chance to watch Black Adam. But not that plenty of you have I want to make it official that I'm back as Superman".

"What you saw in Black Adam is just a very small taste of the things to come. Lots to be thankful for and I'll get to that in time but I want to thank you guys most of all. Thank you for your support and thank you for your patience. I promise it will be rewarded."

Henry Cavill first played Superman in Man of Steel (2013), followed by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016, Justice League in 2017 which got a Zack Snyder's Justice League director's cut in 2021, and popped up in the Black Adam surprise appearance.

Henry Cavill as Superman, and his Superman career, became collateral damage when Warner Bros. parted ways with Zack Snyder, with Cavill who then moved on to become The Witcher in Netflix's live-action adaptation of the fantasy hero based on the novel series and video games, as well as playing Sherlock Holmes opposite Millie Bobby Brown in Netflix's Enola Holmes films.

With Discovery's takeover of Warner Bros and the restructuring at Warner Bros. Discovery that includes management reorganisation at Warner's film division, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav and Warner Bros. Pictures co-CEOs Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy are now all very enthusiastic to welcome Henry Cavill back for a new chapter of him portraying Superman on screen.

Monday, October 24, 2022

E! News to return to E! from 14 November with Justin Sylvester and Adrienne Bailon-Houghton as presenters.

by Thinus Ferreira

E! is reviving its daily E! News show that was cancelled in mid-2020 after 29 years, with the "reimagined" E! News which will debut on Monday 14 November on E! (DStv 124) with two Adrienne Bailon-Houghton and Justin Sylvester as the two new presenters.

E! cancelled multiple of the NBCUniversal pay-TV channel's shows in 2020, with the schedule of the E! channel feed for Africa that has been padded by more and more content from the E! sister channel Bravo not available in sub-Saharan Africa. E! also recently cancelled The Daily Pop and The Nightly Pop shows.

E! News was synonymous with E! presenters and reporters like Giuliana Rancic, Ryan Seacrest, Jason Kennedy, Terrence Jenkins, Samantha Harris, Catt Sadler and a range of others, until the show's production moved from Los Angeles to New York for a short-lived period and was axed, with the E! News brand continuing as a web-only presence for the past two years.

"The reimagined E! News serves as the premiere late-night destination for movie, music, television and pop culture fans," says E! in a statement. 

"Justin Sylvester and Adrienne Bailon-Houghton will break down the hottest entertainment news of the day, conduct in-studio celebrity guest interviews and bring all the hottest trends and exclusive scoop from movie premieres, award shows and concerts, making sure viewers are kept current on all the day's top stories."

Tracie Wilson, executive vice president at NBCUniversal syndication studios and E! News, in the statement says "E! News has a long history of entertainment news excellence and we are excited to bring the show back and continue its legacy".

"John Redman and John Pascarella are strategic, respected executive producers with stellar reputations and Justin and Adrienne are charismatic, seasoned hosts with a genuine interest in pop culture. This is the perfect team to bring a fresh take to this franchise."

Veteran actor Eric Nobbs dead at 68.

by Thinus Ferreira

The veteran Afrikaans actor Eric Nobbs died on Sunday afternoon in Cape Town. He was 68 and the cause of his death isn't known.

Eric Nobbs was busy filming on the third season of the Afrikaans comedy series Lui maar op, Belinda! on kykNET (DStv 144) produced by Homebrew Films in Cape Town.

He leaves behind his wife of 41 years, Desré, with the couple who didn't have any children. On her Facebook page she wrote: "My soulmate is no more. The bottom fell out of my universe at 14:18. I picked these little roses and wanted to Whatsapp him, now it's too late."

Waldimar Pelser, M-Net director of kykNET channels, told TVwithThinus that "Eric was in Cape Town when he passed away and working on the third season of Lui Maar op, Belinda! at the time of his passing".

"His death is an enormous shock to everybody that knew and worked with him. Throughout his career he delivered remarkable performances and gave life to many characters on stage, in film and on television. Our thoughts are with his wife, family and colleagues."

Paul Venter, Homebrew Films producer, told TVwithThinus that "Eric, whose very recognisable deep voice is now silent, was an exceptional person and an incredible actor".

"He always greeted everyone with an endearing smile, which radiated a calmness. Last week, the Homebrew Films team again had the privilege of experiencing Eric's gentle nature and remarkable acting skills first-hand when filming began on Lui maar op, Belinda's third season."

"His sudden passing leaves a big void in our industry and we say a heavy farewell to him. Our deepest condolences to Eric's wife Desré and his loved ones at this difficult time."

Eric Nobbs is known for roles in multiple TV series, ranging from three seasons in the crime series Die Byl on kykNET and Showmax to two seasons of Lui maar op Belinda! and Geraldina die Tweede on kykNET, M-Net's Known Gods, and SABC2's Een Skoenlapper, Konings, and Gauteng-aleng

Other roles in TV and film include Kniediep in Warm Water and VloeksteenBoetie Gaan Border Toe, 1945, Sien Jy Nou, Ma-Plotters, Die Meester, Vlug an Egipte, Terug an Egipte, Hansie: A True Story, Thomas@, Black Velvet Band, the mini-series Rhodes, Kalahari Harry, Bopha!, the TV1-soap Glaskasteel, Die Prins van Pretoria, The Fourth Reich, Mooirivier, Windprints, Moordspeletjies, Die Losprys, Hoekie vir Eensames, Dirk Hoffman, Donderhoek, Kooperasiestories, Die Dood van Elmien Adler, As Ons Twee Eers Getroud Is, City Lovers, Die Kaktustuintjie and Moordenaarskaroo.

Eric Nobbs made his professional stage debut in the 1978 production of PACT's (Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal) Die Keiser of Bartho Smith, followed by Faan se Stasie, Pa Maak vir my 'n Vlieër Pa, The Road to Slagtersnek, A Streetcar named Desire and Huis op Horings.

Over the years Eric Nobbs also appeared on stage in Doppers and Filistyne which was his first one-man show, Donkerland, Die Skandaal, One Man's Life, Broekbrein, Tell Me the Truth, Sophia Mentz Beredder haar Boedel, as well as Leopards, Love Potions and Other Marico Tales.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

HBO 'aggressively monitoring' and trying to scrub House of the Dragon's first season finale from the internet after thousands torrent and download episode leak from EMEA region.

by Thinus Ferreira

The first season finale episode of HBO's House of the Dragon leaked on Friday and had been illegally downloaded and shared on torrent sites thousands of times by Saturday morning, three days before its linear broadcast is supposed to take place on M-Net (DStv 101) on Monday in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa.

HBO said that it was aware of the leak of the episode, is "aggressively monitoring", was trying to get it scrubbed from the internet, and that it appeared that the leaked episode came from the system of a distribution partner somewhere in Africa, the Middle East or Europe, known as the EMEA region.

"We are aware that the 10th episode of House of the Dragon has been posted on illegal torrent sites," HBO says in a statement.

"It appears to have originated from a distribution partner in the EMEA region. HBO is aggressively monitoring and pulling these copies from the internet."

"We're disappointed that this unlawful action has disrupted the viewing experience for loyal fans of the show, who will get to see a pristine version of the episode when it premieres Sunday on HBO and HBO Max, where it will stream exclusively in 4K."

In South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa HBO's House of the Dragon is shown on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service, with M-Net which has a long-running licensing deal with Warner Bros. Discovery's HBO. 

Viewers are however not getting access to the behind-the-scenes companion show, The House that Dragons Built, which is a documentary series on the HBO Max streaming service chronicling the making of each episode and which has also been uploaded to torrent sites.

It is the second leak for House of the Dragon which also saw its first episode leaked online in August days before it had its linear TV debut, when thousands of people worldwide swarmed to pirate-watch the start of the series online with a pristine, high-definition (HD) 1080p, full surround sound version of the first episode that was shared, complete with an HBO logo in the top-right corner and enabled subtitling in various languages.

What is happening with HBO's House of the Dragon is similar to what happened with George R.R. Martin's latter seasons of Game of Thrones which all saw episodes being pirated before broadcast, including almost all of the episodes of the widely-panned 8th and final season which leaked online.

Game of Thrones was the most-pirated TV show of the year globally, for several years.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

On the BBC's 100th anniversary today BBC Studios and eMedia's promised UKTV channel fails to launch on Openview in South Africa without prior warning or communication to viewers.

by Thinus Ferreira

The BBC in the United Kingdom and eMedia Investments in South Africa were both left with egg on the face on the BBC's 100th anniversary today when their touted UKTV channel failed to launch on Tuesday on eMedia's Openview satellite TV platform as a free-to-air channel, without any prior warning to media or viewers that UKTV would no longer start.

Neither BBC Studios nor eMedia informed viewers before Tuesday morning that the promised UKTV channel launch in South Africa was scuppered, with viewers only getting told on Tuesday that the UKTV roll-out was no longer happening after they asked where the promised new TV channel was.

A physical launch event for UKTV set for this week in Johannesburg was also quietly scrapped and BBC Studios Africa and eMedia are not giving any reasons why it announced that UKTV would be coming to South Africa and failed to start on 18 October - as part of the BBC's 100th anniversary - as promised.

In late-September BBC Studios and eMedia announced that the Openview free-to-air satellite service in South Africa would be adding BBC UKTV from 18 October as Openview and BBC Studio's first free-to-view channel in South Africa.

Arran Tindall, senior vice president, for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) key market region at BBC Studios said that the launch of UKTV in South Africa as a free-to-air TV channel would mean a wider audience reach for the BBC's content, while Pierre Cloete, BBC Studios Africa commercial director, said that he was excited for even more families in South Africa to get access to BBC Studios' "bold, British shows".

Marlon Davids, group executive for programming at eMedia said that Openview was adding UKTV because it's in line with the operator's strategy to add content that appeals to a broad audience.

Openview used to carry BBC World News but Openview dumped that very well-liked TV news channel after a while. BBC Studios Africa already has a well-established set of TV channels on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa, including BBC World News, BBC Brit, BBC Lifestyle, BBC Earth and CBeebies.

BBC Kids has been added for MTN customers in South Africa recently. In Australia and New Zealand the version of BBC UKTV is a pay-TV channel.

BBC Studios promised that BBC programming that DStv subscribers have been paying before to watch, would now be seen free-to-air on South Africa, ranging from The Great British Bake Off and Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook to Mary Berry Cooks and motoring shows such as Million Dollar Car Hunters and Top Gear, and series like Casualty, Doctors and My Family.

Elisa Peacham, BBC spokesperson, told TVwithThinus on Tuesday in response to a media query that "We are disappointed that the launch has not proceeded as planned, we are not in a position to comment further at this time".

She didn't respond to specific questions asking why the BBC and Openview failed to communicate that UKTV would no longer be starting today in South Africa anymore, why UKTV didn't launch, or when it might.

Bennum van Jaarsveld, eMedia spokesperson told TVwithThinus on Tuesday in response to questions in a media query that "We confirm that we planned to launch the BBC UKTV channel on Openview on 18 October".

"We are disappointed to announce that the much-anticipated launch had to be postponed. We are working on finalising details for the channel. As a broadcaster we are continually striving to bring our viewers the best in local and international content, and are looking forward to the addition of the British entertainment channel."

Monday, October 17, 2022

TV presenter and actress Franci Swanepoel dead at 50.

by Thinus Ferreira

The prolific Afrikaans TV presenter, news reader, producer, director and actress Franci Swanepoel died in her sleep on Sunday morning. She was 50.

The cause of her death is not yet known.

Franci Swanepoel who was born in Johannesburg and matriculated at Linden high school in 1989, graduated with a drama degree from the University of Stellenbosch. 

Franci Swanepoel was busy portraying a latest role in an upcoming new drama series on M-Net's Afrikaans kykNET channel on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service and is known for her years as a continuity presenter on SABC2, roles in the Afrikaans soaps Binnelanders and Getroud met Rugby on kykNET, and as the presenter-producer of the festival magazine show Fiësta also on kykNET.

In a statement kykNET boss Waldimar Pelser told TVwithThinus that "Franci was busy filming a drama series for kykNET. She was a valued colleague and a dear friend to many and we are incredibly shocked and saddened over the news of her death".

Franci Swanepoel was the entertainment industry daughter of news anchor Nic Swanepoel who had passed away in 1998 and mother Marida Swanepoel who is one of the creators and producers of kykNET, and is survived by her husband Max Baer, mother, older brother Jan Adriaan and older sister Elsje.

Franci Swanepoel who lived in Auckland Park was one of the new crop of SABC2 continuity presenters in the mid-1990s when the South African public broadcaster relaunched its three SABC TV channels and the then-TV1 changed to SABC2. 

In 2003 she created the Makiti production company with Marius de Wall and produced the festival magazine show Fiësta for kykNET that is still on-air and for which she was a full-time presenter for many years and still did occasional inserts on an ongoing basis including into 2022.

On TV, Franci Swanepoel who had also directed and starred in several television commercials, had roles in numerous Afrikaans TV series on SABC2 and kykNET over decades ranging from Woestynblom and Vierspel to Pottie Potgieter, Hartland, Arsenaal, Iemand om lief te He, Die Vierde Kabinet, Bloedbroers, Sterlopers, Donkerland and Elke Skewe Pot

She was also the presenter of the travel magazine show Swerftyd on kykNET.

She made her South African TV debut in 1980 in Ntinzini Spa, followed by a role in 1983's Kooperasiestories as Gesie, while her two longest-running drama appearances were for characters like Toeks Joubert in kykNET's Afrikaans soaps Binnelanders as well as Getroud met Rugby

After existing her on-screen character she was also a dialogue coach for many years at Getroud met Rugby where she also directed over 50 episodes.

Her last dramatic TV show appearances were in an episode of the kykNET mockumentary series Hotel and in the anthology series Spoorloos 3, both in 2021, and she appeared in the made-for-TV movie Boetie Ontmoet 'n Alien on kykNET in July. 

Franci Swanepoel produced shows like 10 uit 10 and Jan se Karretjie for kykNET and the documentaries Ko lat ons Fees, Hanna se Krismis and Krismis in die Klein Karoo, and did extensive dubbing work for television while also doing voice work for numerous radio TV dramas since the age of five in 1976. 

She also appeared as one of the narrators in kykNET's documentary series about the history of South African television, Oppi Kassie.

In theatre Franci Swanepoel appeared on stage in Car Cemetary, P.M. Slet se Kabaret, Sneeuwitjie en die Sewe Dwergies, Women Behind Bars, Liewe Heksie, Ipekonders, Die Renoster, Die Vampier, Lappies die Lappiesmous, Pinnochio, Junkiedrome, 2002's Siener in die Suburbs, Staal Burger, Aantrekkingskrag, Janneman and 2012's Boksballade, and was on stage opposite Sandra Prinsloo in Soebatsfontein at Innibosfees in 2018.

In film, Franci Swanepoel had supporting and leading roles in 2012's Lien se Lankstaanskoene, Pad na Jou Hart, Lya se Karoo, the kykNET shortfilm Stom, Abraham, and Stroomop

In made-for-TV films she had roles in Hartstog, Boesman my Seun, Aantrekkingskrag, 2019's Die Dag is Bros, Fladder and 2021's Apokalips.