Friday, March 31, 2023

C-suite changes at MultiChoice and SuperSport as Nyiko Shiburi moves to head up new tech division, Marc Jury is in as new MultiChoice SA CEO and Rendani Ramovha is groomed as new SuperSport CEO.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice South Africa CEO Nyiko Shiburi is relinquishing the role after three years to head up a newly-created technology division at the Randburg-based pay-TV company with SuperSport CEO Marc Jury becoming the new MultiChoice SA CEO.

Teix Texeira is stepping in as interim SuperSport CEO for a year, while Rendani Ramovha, the head of marketing and commercial for SuperSport, is being groomed for the SuperSport CEO position which he will take over from April 2024 as SuperSport CEO-designate.

In response to media query, MultiChoice told TVwithThinus on Friday afternoon that Nyiko Shiburi is exiting his position as MultiChoice SA CEO and becoming MultiChoice group chief technology officer.

For the past few weeks insiders have also told TVwithThinus about planned C-suite executive changes coming to various countries within the MultiChoice Africa fold - notably Kenya, Angola and MultiChoice's overall team of regional African executives, but MultiChoice didn't confirm any of these changes on Friday.

MultiChoice says that it is garden-walling its broadcast technology division, enterprise business systems, group digital, DStv streaming technology and project management office under one division, with Nyiko Shiburi moving over as MultiChoice chief technology officer.

"We are repositioning our technology area to lead our next growth phase and to deliver on our vision of becoming the technology platform of choice for African households. We have consolidated everything related to technology, engineering, and technical divisions into a technology hub," says Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice group CEO.

"Nyiko has extensive leadership experience in the technology space, having grown within the MultiChoice ranks from senior manager for broadcast engineering and group GM for the broadcast technology division."

"His technology background and experience together with his commercial experience from having ran SA and the Southern region places him in good stead to lead this new division and deliver the best technology to achieve our goals."

Nyiko Shiburi's seat is filled by SuperSport CEO Marc Jury as the new MultiChoice SA CEO.

"Marc has a track record of excellence in execution in SuperSport. He has extensive experience in leadership roles across the sports and entertainment sectors in Europe, Africa and the Middle East," says Calvo Mawela.

Prior to being SuperSport CEO, Marc Jury was responsible for the commercial aspects of SuperSport which included managing sports-related programming across the SuperSport channels and marketing the content of these channels.

SuperSport changes
Rendani Ramovha is now SuperSport CEO-designate and will take over a year from now in April 2024.

He is currently head of marketing and commercial, responsible for driving the commercial growth and building partnerships opportunities for SuperSport across the African continent.

Calvo Mawela says "Rendani has driven some of the most exciting innovations within SuperSport, including SuperSport Schools, SuperPicks (the BetKing and SuperSport partnership) and the SA20 Cricket League".

Teix Texeira who be the interim SuperSport CEO for the next 12 months.

Teix has been chief content officer for SuperSport over the past year, having recently re-joined SuperSport from Sky in New Zealand, where he occupied various leadership roles including CEO of Sky Sports. Within SuperSport he has previously held several roles, including head of productions and head of channels.

"We are excited about this new leadership team and believe they will play a key role in our journey to become a technology platform of choice," Calvo Mawela says.

BREAKING. MultiChoice says that after 'updated conversations' with Viacom18 SuperSport will now suddenly show the 16th Indian Premier League from today to DStv subscribers.

by Thinus Ferreira

Following a Mexican stand-off over sports rights in which someone finally blinked, MultiChoice says that after "updated conversations" with Viacom18, SuperSport will now suddenly show the latest 16th Indian Premier League (IPL) that starts today to DStv subscribers.

MultiChoice and SuperSport shocked and angered DStv subscribers late on Thursday afternoon, when, in a terse admission, it revealed that it would no longer be broadcasting the Indian Premier League for the first time since the world's biggest cricket tournament started in 2008.

Viacom18 acquired the IPL rights for Sub-Saharan Africa with MultiChoice and SuperSport that until Thursday failed to reach any agreement.

On Friday afternoon MultiChoice suddenly changed its tune after saying it won't have IPL coverage anymore, noting that it has suddenly signed a new commercial agreement to show the cricket tournament from today.

According to MultiChoice, all 74 matches will be on DStv and broadcast live.

"Following updated conversations with the rights holder, DStv can confirm that all Indian Premier League matches in 2023 will be broadcast on SuperSport," the Randburg-based pay-TV company says in a new statement, adding that it had "reached a commercial agreement with the rights holders to broadcast the IPL, starting today".

Marc Jury, SuperSport CEO, says that "We are very happy to have reached an agreement to continue our partnership with the IPL that extends back to the inaugural event in 2008".

The first IPL match is today between the Gujurat Titans and Chennai Super Kings which will be shown live on DStv channel 212 at 16:00.

Livid DStv subscribers slammed MultiChoice and SuperSport from late Thursday when the news became known that it was over and done for further IPL coverage on the pay-TV service - especially since MultiChoice is hiking fees again from April 2023.

From a content acquisition perspective, MultiChoice and SuperSport are trying to contain and reign in costs - especially of international sports content of which the global asking prices for premium events continue to rise faster than inflation.

The IPL would have been the next chunk of content that MultiChoice and SuperSport no longer had for DStv subscribers but on Friday it became clear that someone in the IPL sports rights Mexican stand-off between the two sides who played hardball with each other, finally blinked.

On Thursday MultiChoice still called the IPL negotiations "unsuccessful", only to update it a day later to suddenly having "reached a new commercial agreement".

On Thursday MultiChoice told DStv subscribers that "Sport lovers are in for a treat over the next three months with a feast of major sport from around the world, despite the Indian Premier League not being on the SuperSport schedule".

kykNET shocked that background check failed to find Boer Soek 'n Vrou farmer's criminal record for physical assault and starts investigation: 'Gender-based violence has no place in our society'.

by Thinus Ferreira

kykNET is reacting with shock and surprise that its system of background checks into reality show participants failed to find the criminal record of a Boer Soek 'n Vrou farmer for physical assault of a woman, with kykNET saying an investigation has now started into the serious flaw and that it strongly condemns gender-based violence.

The latest issue of Huisgenoot magazine on Friday reported that the Boer Soek 'n Vrou ostrich farmer in Oudtshoorn, Francois Fourie (51) has a criminal record on the police computer system for physical assault which he didn't reveal to the producers.

Wolflight which produces the Afrikaans Boer Soek 'n Vrou according to the Fremantle format, wasn't aware that Francois Fourie had physically attacked a woman.

Francois Fourie admitted guilt and paid a fine with police records showing he was involved in a case of physical assault in 2013 in which he used his hands to "strike, hit, beat" a woman. 

Fourie couldn't immediately be reached on Friday for comment but admitted to Huisgenoot in a sit-down interview that he was involved in a fight with an unnamed woman and that he "pushed and shoved a little here and there". He says he wasn't aware at the time that he was paying a fine as an admission of guilt of physical assault.  

The failure to pick up the criminal record is raising red flags for M-Net's system of background checks, as well as its so-called duty-of-care policy which sets out guidelines for content makers to keeping contestants and participants in reality shows safe and out of harm's way. 

kykNET on Friday told TVwithThinus that the M-Net channel as well as the production company conduct "thorough background checks on all the participants of each season of our reality-TV shows" and that contestants are also obliged to declare any criminal charges laid against them.

According to kykNET, the correctness of information supplied by all participants - including both the farmers and potential romantic matches - is verified by an independent assessment company which collects and compares information from various platforms, including the database of the South African Police Service (SAPS), the Company and Intellectual Property Commission, as well as the department of home affairs.

kykNET says that during the vetting process for Boer Soek ‘n Vrou in 2022 no criminal record or any payment of a fine that would constitute an admission of guilt was found for Francois Fourie and that the channel became aware of the R200 fine over the 2013 assault earlier this month.

The channel "immediately conducted an investigation into this matter".

kykNET tells TVwithThinus that the independent company which conducts background checks on its reality TV shows is in the process of conducting an investigation to determine why Francois Fourie's criminal record wasn't detected last year "to ensure that this does not happen again in the future".

"kykNET advocates for the safety of not only the public and our viewers but also our co-workers, which includes all the participants in our TV programmes. Gender-based violence has no place in our society and we condemn any acts of violence in the strongest terms," the channel says.

BBC News channel removes 'World' but will still cover it as the BBC plans to cut back 1000 hours of TV programming on 2023.

by Thinus Ferreira

On Monday the BBC's global BBC World News channel will change its name to just BBC News when it merges its domestic UK channel with its global TV news channel and combine the roster of anchors in a dramatic cost-cutting move, with the broadcaster also announcing that it plans to cut at least 1 000 hours of original programming this year across its channels to save money.

A year in the making, BBC World News will delete the word "World" on Monday and just become BBC News - also changing its logo from white and red to black and red, as part of a massive cost-cutting drive merging the two channels into one and resulting in retrenchment.

Matthew Amroliwala, Yalda Hakim, Christian Fraser, Lucy Hockings, Maryam Moshiri and Sumi Somaskanda are becoming the new main anchors on BBC News.

Naja Nielsen, BBC News digital director, says that "Our aim is to create the best live and breaking news on both TV and on digital platforms, where more and more audiences are getting their news. We need to modernise the way we deliver the news – while addressing the financial challenges we face."

"The channel will be a single operation with two different feeds, just as now, so viewers in the UK and internationally will sometimes see the same content, sometimes different."

Naja Nielsen says "First, people should not expect any kind of ‘big bang’ at the beginning of April – we’re bringing in the changes gradually, in a phased roll-out, so things will continue to alter over the coming months. We want to keep the best of what we do at the moment, while introducing better ways of reporting what matters. Viewers will notice some differences from the beginning of next week."

"There will be more updates and live reporting from journalists across the UK and around the world, using modern mobile equipment to give audiences the latest information about what’s happening, where it’s happening – as well as information from reporters in the BBC newsroom."

"We will be putting the spotlight on our journalism, from our chief presenters to the newest reporters. Viewers in North America and anyone watching overnight) will see a new look from Washington DC, and we will be also broadcasting live from Singapore outside core UK hours."

The BBC tells TVwithThinus that BBC News (DStv 400) will continue to cover news around the world and will "move around the world from Singapore to the United States to London over every 24-hour period".

A BBC spokesperson said in response to a media query that "From 3 April our international TV channel will be called BBC News".

"It will – as today – have some output targeted at both global and United Kingdom audiences, alongside bespoke programming for global audiences."

"The anchoring of BBC News will move around the world from Singapore to the United States to London over every 24-hour period. The channel will carry the best of the BBC's journalism from our expert teams across our unique global footprint."

"It will offer enhanced coverage of breaking news and big live events reflecting the way in which audiences across all markets are increasingly coming together and seeking out trustworthy reporting and coverage during big shared moments such as the invasion of Ukraine, the fall of the Boris Johnson government, the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the protests in Iran."

Hours cut
Meanwhile, in its latest annual corporate plan it released on Thursday, the BBC revealed that it will cut back at least 1 000 hours of TV programming this year as part of its cost-cutting drive, with half of the 1 000 hours coming from sport which the BBC will no longer be showing. 

The 1 000 hours programming cuts don't extend to news but the BBC notes that it is busy with "an annual reduction of 1 000 hours in content commissions across our portfolio". The BBC wants to try and focus more on producing "unique, high-impact content".

Tim Davie, BBC director-general, notes that the Coronation of King Charles and Eurovision 2023 are two of the global highlights that the BBC will be broadcasting this year.

MultiChoice says DStv sport subscribers are 'in for a treat' after admitting 16th Indian Premier League is the next sport rights SuperSport has lost and won't be showing.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice on Thursday afternoon admitted that the Indian Premier League (IPL) is the next TV sport rights that SuperSport have lost with the 16th Indian Premier League which won't be shown on DStv - but adding that DStv subscribers "are in for a treat over the next three months with a feat of major sport from around the world".

DStv subscribers and SuperSport viewers are furious after the Randburg-based pay-TV operator told them for the first time on late Thursday afternoon that it is wickets on DStv for the 2023 Indian Premier League - the most popular cricket league in the world that MultiChoice has shown to DStv subscribers since its first edition in 2008.

MultiChoice is hiking DStv subscription fees from April, with DStv subscribers asking why they're forced to pay more but have content taken away - especially for a sport tournament SuperSport has been showing to DStv subscribers since it started.

The IPL sport rights are the next chunk of content that MultiChoice and SuperSport no longer has for DStv as the company cuts cost and face increasing competition from global video streaming companies that are bidding for the same content and also not making their own studios' content available through international distribution.

On Thursday SuperSport didn't bother to issue a press statement email to the media about losing the Sub-Saharan TV rights to the Indian Premier League to Viacom18. Around 15 South African cricket players are taking part in the tournament.

MultiChoice told DStv subscribers in a late Thursday email that "SuperSport previously held broadcast rights to the Indian Premier League (IPL). Following unsuccessful commercial discussions with the rights holder, we will therefore not broadcast the IPL as of this year's edition".

MultiChoice told DStv subscribers that "Sport lovers are in for a treat over the next three months with a feast of major sport from around the world, despite the Indian Premier League not being on the SuperSport schedule. Your world of Champions still has loads of exciting live sports coming your way! Don’t miss out on any of the action!"

The first match of the 16th Indian Premier League and that DStv subscribers now won't see on DStv or anywhere on SuperSport, is on Friday between the Gujarat Titans and the Chennai Super Kings.

AKA and Sjava lead nominees list for 2023’s 17th Metro FM Awards on SABC1.

by Thinus Ferreira

The SABC has revealed the nominees for the 17th Metro FM Awards with the murdered rapper AKA who could bag up to 6 awards post-humously when the awards show returns after an absence of half a decade as a live broadcast on 6 May on SABC1.

The nominees for the 17th Metro FM Awards were chosen out of 900 entries with rap artists AKA (Kiernan Forbes) who could win in up to six categories after he clinched nominations in multiple categories for his Lemons song, ranging from Song of the year, Artist of the year, Best collaboration, Best hip hop artist, Best male artist, and Best music video.

The slain artist jointly leads the nominees list with rapper Sjava who also bagged six nominations for his songs Isoka and Isubuko.

Winners will be announced across 18 categories at 2023's 17th Metro FM Awards ceremony which is set for the Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga on 6 May, with the SABC saying it has been working hard to ensure proper "compliance".

The Metro FM Awards got tarnished with multiple serious allegations of corruption, vote rigging and "buying of awards" that, combined with the South African public broadcaster's precarious financial situation, led to its cancellation following the last time it took place in 2017 in Durban.

"We are excited to have reached the second stage of the road to the Metro FM Awards," says Kina Nhlengethwa, Metro FM business manager.

"We congratulate all the nominees, as this signifies that their hard work and impact in the industry does not go unnoticed”.

"The station went an extra mile to ensure that there are measures in place to screen properly all entries received, for compliance with the relevant rules of the awards. The rules, regulations and submission checklist were all published on Metro FM platforms. As the awards are based on the public voting for their favourite artists in the respective categories, we urge the nominees to go out hard and campaign to their fans!."

The 17th Metro FM Awards nominees are:

1. Song Of The Year
K.O for Sete
AKA for Lemons (Lemonade)
Konke & Musa Keys for Kancane
Aymos for Fatela
Big Nuz for Ngeke
Kabza De Small for Khusela
Betusile Mcinga for Ngena Noah
Gaba Cannal for Healer Ntliziyo Yam
Sjava for Isoka
Wanitwa Mos for Sofa Silahlane

2. Best Afrosoul-Pop
Sjava for Isibuko
Zuko SA for Andikalibali
Brenda Mtambo for Enza Kwenzeke
Inkabi Nation for Voicemail
Mlindo The Vocalist for Lindokuhle

3. Best Amapiano Song
Deep London for Hamba Wena
Gaba Cannal for Healer Ntliziyo Yam
Kabza De Small for Khusela
Daliwonga for Abo Mvelo
Wanitwa Mos for Sofa Silahlane

4. Artist Of The Year
K.O for Sete
Wanitwa Mos for Sofa Silahlane
AKA for Lemons (Lemonade)
Nomfundo Moh for Izibusiso
Sjava for Isoka

5. Best Jazz Album
Linda Sikhakhane for Isambulo
Nduduzo Makhathini for In The Spirits of Ntu
Spartz for Awake

6. Best New Age R&B Artist
Manana for Patiently
MOE for Me Ever After
ThandoNje for Our Story: Untold
Venom & Shishiliza for uThando
Zādok for Othanda Mina

7. Best Collaboration Song
AKA feat. NastyC for Lemons (Lemonade)
K.O feat. Young Stunna & Blxckie for Sete
Kususa, Argento Dust & Zakes Bantwini for Asanda
Aymos feat. Ami Faku for Fatela
Sjava feat. Q Twinz & Mzukulu for Isoka

8. Best Duo or Group
Mafikizolo for Kwanele
Big Nuz for Ngeke
Mellow & Sleazy for Wenza Kanjani
Kwesta and Kabza De Small for Mrholo Wayizolo
Inkabi Nation for Voice Mail

9. Best Female Artist
Nomfundo Moh for Izibusiso
Makhadzi African for Queen 2.0
Simmy for Hlelo
Brenda Mtambo for Enza Kwenzeke
HLE for You're The Worthy One

10. Best Gospel Album
Dumi Mkokstad for The Over Flow
Soweto Gospel Choir for Hope
Khaya Mthethwa for Art & Worship
Kingdmusic for Perfect Love
Pastor Lungi Ndala for Victorious Praise

11. Best Hip Hop Artist
AKA for Mass Country
K.O for SR3
Nasty Cfor  Ivyson Army Tour Mixtape
Blxckie for The4Mula
Maglera Doe Boy for Diaspora

12. Best House Song
Kususa, Argento Dust & Zakes Bantwini for Asanda
Mthandazo Gatya ft. Nhlonipho for Sizobambana
Karyendasoul ft. Ami Faku for Umthandazo
Caiiro ft. Pixie L for Lwandle
Skye Wanda for Amazwi

13. Best Kwaito/Gqom Song
Big Nuz for Ngeke
Dj Tira for Sikilidi
Kwesta and Kabza De Small for Mrholo Wayizolo
Spikiri for Tana La
Professor for Ezangakini

14. Best Male Artist
AKA for Lemons (Lemonade)
K.O for Sete
Kabza De Small for Khusela
Sjava for Isoka
Mthandazo Gatya for Sizobambana

15. New Artist
Oufadafada for I can't give up
CocoSA for I never thought
Group Chat for Mama
Mayten for Wait on Me
Tee Tee for Andizenzi

16. Styled Artist
Musa Keys
Sino Msolo

17. Best Music Video
K.O for Sete
AKA for Lemons (Lemonade)
Dj Tira for Sikilidi
Wanitwa Mos for Sofa Silahlane
Costa Titch for Big Flexa Remix

18. Best Viral Challenge
Deep London feat Boohle for Hamba Wena
DJ Maphorisa & Visca for Ba Straata
Felo Le Tee & Toss for Manca
Myztro feat Focalistic, Daliwonga, Shaunmusiq and Ftears for Tobetsa
K.O. feat Young Stunna and Blxckie for Sete

The 6 Real Housewives van die Wynlande socialites on kykNET range from beauty queens to a botox doc.

by Thinus Ferreira

The six women of Die Real Housewives van die Wynlanderanging from beauty queens to a botox doc, includes socialites Candice Bester, Amy Kleinhans-Curd, Anita Lloyd, Karen Schwendtke, Mariska Thorpe and Michelle van Zyl who will showcase their gossipping and grandiose lifestyles in the reality show from 20 April on kykNET.

Die Real Housewives van die Wynlande is the second Afrikaans version of the NBCUniversal Formats reality show following Die Real Housewives van Pretoria, the 5th South African version and the 9th African version. 

Besides Pretoria, South Africa already has localised English versions with different circles of women including The Real Housewives of JohannesburgThe Real Housewives of Cape TownThe Real Housewives of Durban currently in its third season, and The Real Housewives of Gqeberha currently in its first season.

The cast of Die Real Housewives van die Wynlande, filmed the past few months in and around Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, and Somerset West, with the series that is being produced by Red Pepper Productions.

The women include former beauty queens, entrepreneurs, a fitness model and an aesthetic doctor. kykNET has now released mini-biographies of the women:

Candice Bester (37)
She lives in the Aan de Weber Estate in Stellenbosch.
She is the mother of Emma and is married to Werner. Candice is an experienced professional singer, but she left the stage for the corporate world where she made her mark as marketing manager of Quench which was acquired by the TFG group. Candice, however, still dreams of a future as a songbird. 
She likes to play golf, has a big collection of whiskies, and facilitates a monthly quiz night. Candice and Werner are in the process of opening a restaurant.

Amy Kleinhans-Curd (54)
This former Miss South Africa is married to New Zealand businessman Leighton Curd.
Amy is a mother of four, lives in Franschhoek and is the director of various companies, including the homework hotline, Dial-A-Teacher, which was founded in 2000 in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Fund. 
Their farms in Franschhoek, Swellendam and in the Cradle of Humankind are but a few of the things that keep Amy very busy indeed. 
She will soon launch her own Cap Classique sparkling wine as well as a skincare range called Amelia (her birthname). She is a committed mom and organises a swimming festival, among other things, for the school her children attend.

Anita Lloyd (55)
She lives outside Paarl in a beautiful valley.
She and her husband, Boyce, are high school sweethearts, and she gave up her profession as teacher to support him in his career. 
For 10 years, they lived across the world for Boyce's work before finally returning to South Africa. Boyce has been the chief executive of KWV since 2016. Anita has a master's degree in linguistics, and she loves the study of languages. Besides her husband and her cats, Anita's biggest priorities are her house, art and travel.

Karen Schwendtke (48)
She lives in the Val de Vie Estate between Paarl and Franschhoek.
She is a successful businesswoman who holds a degree in BCom Accounting from UP, an MBL from Unisa and a degree in Visual Basic Programming from Harvard in America. 
Despite long working hours, she always makes time for charity projects. 
In times of national need, she helped with the supply of water and cattle feed. Children are dear to her heart, and she is involved with fundraising for CHOC (Childhood Cancer Foundation SA). She is the mother of two daughters, Saskia and Arabella.

Mariska Thorpe (39)
She has worked as wealth manager for several years and lives with her husband, Quintus, and their daughter, Ocean, in the same estate in Franschhoek as Amy and her family.
Mariska does not like to sit still and she and Quintus are stock traders, but she also runs a business that upcycles second-hand clothes. 
Mariska and her husband are avid trail runners, and she is a perfectionist in everything she does.

Michelle van Zyl (40)
She is a medical doctor.
She specialised in trauma and later had a successful general medical practice.
Nowadays, she is an aesthetic doctor who focuses on treatments like Botox. She and her husband, Dr André Olivier, live in the Boskloof Eco Estate in Somerset West. They are the parents of Hanno and Heidi. André also has two sons from a previous marriage who live in Namibia. 
Michelle enjoys hosting and dreams of having her own TV talk show.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Amazon Studios teaming up with Trevor Noah for LOL: Last One Laughing SA produced by Rapid Blue as the first Amazon South African Original series.

by Thinus Ferreira

Amazon Studios has roped in Trevor Noah for Amazon Prime Video's first South African Amazon Original series, with the comedian who will pit 10 comedians and entertainers against one another to see who wins R1 million for charity in LOL: Last One Laughing South Africa.

The first season of LOL: Last One Laughing SA will premiere on Amazon Prime Video in early 2024 with the video streaming service adapting its own LOL franchise for a South African version. 

Different versions already exist in more than 20 countries, including Nigeria which started production on the first season of LOL: Last One Laughing Nigeria last year with comedian Basketmouth as host.

LOL: Last One Laughing South Africa will be Amazon Studios' first South African Amazon Original series, greenlit as the streaming service continues to staff up its TV maker ranks in Cape Town with experienced executives who will eventually be responsible for commissioning an expanding slate of South African series and movies for a global audience.

Trevor Noah will record the six LOL: Last One Laughing episodes of 30 minutes each in South Africa, produced by South Africa's Rapid Blue which is well-versed in South African adaptations of format shows, in conjunction with his own Day Zero Productions.

The former host of The Daily Show on Paramount Global's Comedy Central has previously done stand-up specials for MultiChoice's Showmax streamer, as well as his Trevor Noah presents NationWild in 2018 for M-Net and Showmax in which he served as the host and showcased new upcoming South African comedians.

Trevor Noah has also done three comedy stand-up specials for Netflix so far: Son of Patricia, Afraid of the Dark and last year's I Wish I Would.

In LOL: Last One Laughing, Trevor Noah will pit 10 well-known South African comedians and entertainers against one another to see who can keep a straight face while simultaneously trying to make their opponents laugh. Anyone who laughs, loses. The grand prize is R1 million which will go to the first season winner's South African charity of choice.

"I'm excited to be back home to host Amazon Prime Video's first South African Original, LOL: Last One Laughing, and to have a chance to connect with my home audience," says Trevor Noah in a statement.

"I am equally delighted for the opportunity to be working alongside my fellow home-grown comedy stars on a show that not only entertains but gives back to the South African production and charity communities."

Ned Mitchell, Amazon Prime Video head of Africa and Middle East Originals, says "We are delighted to be announcing Trevor's momentous return home to South Africa as the host of Amazon Prime Video's first South African Original, LOL: Last One Laughing".

"Comedy, in all its forms, shines among South Africa's most valuable treasures. Together with an A-list roster of this country's incredible home-grown comedic talent competing for a great charitable cause, Trevor and Amazon Prime Video are demonstrating the depth of our shared ambition to invest and elevate the very best of South Africa for audiences locally and around the world."

Monday, March 27, 2023

M-Net: Carte Blanche to continue amidst retrenchments as DStv's longrunning current affairs show axes last of its internal producers.

by Thinus Ferreira 

M-Net's venerable Carte Blanche on Sunday nights will continue on DStv amidst retrenchments which are seeing the show do away with the last of the investigative magazine show's remaining internal producers, as well as a few other staff.

John Webb, Carte Blanche executive producer, in response to a media query from TVwithThinus, confirmed that Combined Artists, the production company responsible for the long-running Sunday night magazine show had taken "a very difficult decision to restructure".

TVwithThinus understands that Carte Blanche is doing away with its last three internal producers whose names are shown weekly on the end-credit roll, as well as cleaning staff and handling social media activities.

"As part of this process, it is considering making several roles redundant impacting the internal research/production and social media teams, as well as two positions among our support staff.  In total, six members of our team will be affected," John Webb says.

"This decision was not arrived at lightly nor without due consideration of alternatives.  Difficult as it is, we believe this process is both necessary and correct."

According to the show "Most of our inserts will continue to be produced by our external team of freelancers.  We are encouraging the three affected members of our internal research/production team to pivot into freelance roles – a process we intend facilitating."

Nadine Moonsamy, M-Net spokesperson, says Carte Blanche will continue in its Sunday night timeslot as usual. 

The iconic current affairs magazine show which made its debut in 1988 on M-Net will reach its 35th year on the air in September 2023.

Friday, March 24, 2023

INTERVIEW. Voetspore's Johan Badenhorst: A travel connoisseur on season 12's South America Cono Sur.

by Thinus Ferreira

Trouble and unexpected surprises are never far from the horizon when you're an intrepid adventurer - both of which cross the path of the explorer raconteur Johan Badenhorst off on his latest adventure, this time through the southern parts of South America, in the 12th season of the Afrikaans adventure travelogue series Voetspore on SABC2.

In the new 13-episode season, the expedition sets out to drive through Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile and Argentina - the southern cone or "cono sur" of the continent. But, as every seasoned traveller well knows and can expect, not everything goes according to plan.

This time the Voetspore team visits some of the survivors of the 1972 Andes plane crash, travels to the Iguazu Falls, the Chaco in Paraguay, The Atacama Desert, see the Pacific Ocean and cruises through the wine region of Mendoza.

There's a visit to the awe-inspiring Perito Moreno glacier, Torres del Paine, the southernmost city Ushuaia, visiting the Afrikaans-speaking community of Sarmiento, the whales of Puerto Madryn and even the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires in another eye-popping and unforgettable journey of dramatic landscapes, exquisite food and wine, exceptional landscapes and interesting communities.

TVwithThinus sat down with producer, director and traveller Johan Badenhorst to find out about the travels, troubles and surprises waiting in the 12th season.

Who's the team this time?
We're always a team of six people. With me this season is Nina Badenhorst my daughter looking after the logistics. 

In the second vehicle was photographer Gideon Swart and with him is new cameraman Adam Heyns. In the third vehicle are cameraman and editor Stefan Sonnekus and Norbert Coetzee also looking after logistics.

The last time we sat around a campfire and I asked, you said for the next season you're looking at either Russia or South America as the next overseas destination. But that was before Covid and then Russia's invasion and war with Ukraine.
We were on our way to Russia, everything was organised and we did the recce. 

Then the war happened. So we had to switch. Russia would have been one adventure and journey. This is going to be three different journeys, since South America is simply too big to complete and see in one go. 

On short notice, we decided to switch Russia for South America and this latest season is the first leg of three different journeys and travel adventures through that wonderful continent.

You arrive in South America from South Africa but immediately there are issues which viewers see play out across the first three episodes. You can't get your vehicles because of issues with customs. You're there but you can start your travels?
It took us 24 days before we could start travelling, simply due to bureaucratic red tape and requirements in South America which are totally different that the rest of the world. We discovered it there!

It made it much more difficult and cumbersome. Our vehicles stood in the harbour but we couldn't get them before the paperwork wasn't absolutely "perfect", and translated and - it was so complicated.

I say about South America, it's the easiest continent to drive in but the most difficult to get into. Once your there it's so easy - especially crossing borders. As South Africans you barely need a visa for most of the countries. But to just get going...

Episodes one and two deal partly with the frustration. On the other hand, we show you what we did with our time and used it while we had to wait. There's a lot to do and discover there.

How stressful was that because time is money in production and travelling and you're sitting in another country very far from home? To what degree did you think things might not work out or were you adamant that it must just happen since you're there now?
We were sure that it would work out but it becomes a frustration, especially after the second week.

The first week you accept it as what normal is. If I return now I'll take an extra week just to get your bearings. The second week we got more and more aware of the issues. By week three it wasn't a joy anymore. 

Luckily by week four we started seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Things started falling in place and on day 24, day 25 we finally started travelling through South America. 

There was never doubt but it was frustrating. you get a bit worn down from staying in one place the whole time and waiting for paperwork and couriers to arrive with documents, waiting for translations.

'Your jaw is on the floor.
 I've never seen or experienced
 anything like it ever in my life.'

How does this new season differ from those awe-inspiring seasons like going to India and what you experienced in South America? Is there also such a big cultural difference between South America and South Africa?
There are a lot more touchpoints in a certain sense between South Africa and South America but on the other hand the language is a much bigger issue. 

In Russia for instance I've seen more English roadsigns than in the whole of South America. There's simply nothing in English. And the further you venture outside of the cities, the less and less anyone is capable of speaking or understanding English.

We with our broken Spanish ... it was a little bit frustrating but lekker in a certain sense to make yourself understandable/ Of course things like Google translating helps. 

There are many touchpoints. The people like braaiing like us. We ate a lot of meat. We drank a lot of red wine which is amazing in South America. The people are incredibly warm and friendly and inviting and jovial. 

You know, a policeman will stop you at a roadblock and interrogate you and want to know where you're going. The same with customs searching your vehicle. But they do it in such an incredibly friendly way. Usually, you sigh when you reach a roadblock. Not here.

These people are friendly and welcoming. Compared with through Africa, what was different with South America - it's a continent of landscapes, as opposed to wild animals.

Their wild animals are more restricted than what we have but their landscapes are dramatic and beautiful - the Andes which we travelled through is absolutely spectacular.

You also visit the Afrikaans-speaking community of Sarmiento. What was that like?
I was pleasantly surprised. I thought there'd be four or five people still speaking Afrikaans. We discovered a lot more and viewers will see!

They are getting older but through the internet they do have more contact with South Africa. 

It was stunning to find people who have never been in South Africa, speaking Afrikaans. it's a different form of Afrikaans, more archaic in a sense - almost a bit Dutch. Remember, they left here 120 years ago and lived there in almost isolation. But it's absolutely one of our biggest highlights of this season's travel.

Surely there will be a lot of surprises again this season. What would you say is one surprise viewers need to watch this season for?
We were at the Perito Moreno glacier. We went to Torres del Paine. These are two very prominent landscapes. Your jaw is on the floor. I've never seen or experienced anything like it ever in my life and I've been in the Himalayas and a lot of other places in the world. This is astounding. 

The surprise is really the majestic beauty of the landscapes and nature. You think when you see photos of Patagonia, the southern part of South America, that some of the colours must surely be doctored and filtered - the blues are simply too blue and astounding.

That is until you arrive there and you're shocked to discover that that is really how it looks. That is really how it is. Nothing on the photos are altered. The colours are intense and vibrant and mesmerising. It's a great, great surprise. 

We hoped to see and experience certain things, and getting there it's even so much better than what we had hoped for!

'As a traveller you should always
 be prepared that you will be
 surprised by the situation.'

This season is called South America Cono Sur. You're a widely-travelled and experienced traveller. As a travel connoisseur, what did you learn about travel this time around journeying through Cono Sur?
The Cono Sur of course "southern cone" in Spanish, distinguishing it from the rest of South America.

I think as a traveller you should always be prepared that you will be surprised by the situation and circumstances. I thought we were 100% prepared to go to South America and experience it will all our paperwork in place - exactly as we had travelled through the rest of the world.

It wasn't the case. You must always be aware as a traveller there are surprises around the corner. Bring patience to adapt to unexpected travel surprises. You will be successful eventually, just don't ever give up.

I've learnt a great lesson from one of the people who is a survivor of the Andes flight disaster 50 years ago, Dr Roberto Canessa. He said in Spanish to me "Un paso a la vez" - one step at a time. You can't rush life or travel. It's one step at a time. 

It's 23 years we've been doing this and I've learnt anew that you've got to be patient and wait and eventually there will be success.

Finally, travelling with kids - as a dad, you journey through the world with your kids alongside you across the seasons. What does that mean to you?
For many years my son Streicher Badenhorst joined us; he's now in the corporate world - not that this isn't a real career. It still remains such an incredible privilege for me to travel with my children. It's something I can encourage anyone to do. 

When you open your eyes, life has passed. Consciously focus on making time to spend time with those who are close to you. 

When you travel with your kids you learn a lot. You think you're teaching and showing them things but in truth, you learn a lot from them. They see and experience the world through different eyes.

Voetspore Suid-Amerika Cono Sur is on Fridays on SABC2 at 19:00, starting 10 March 2023

BBC puts Top Gear on pause after Freddie Flintoff car crash, will make decision on future of car magazine show 'later this year'.

by Thinus Ferreira

The BBC has decided to pause production on the 34th season of Top Gear following presenter Freddie Flintoff's car accident in December 2022 and who is reportedly leaving the show, with the BBC saying it will only make a decision on the future of the car magazine show later this year.

In South Africa, Top Gear is shown on BBC Brit (DStv 120) with Paddy McGuinness, Chris Harris and Freddie Flintoff as the trio of presenters, with the BBC saying it is now doing a "health and safety review" of the show.

Freddie Flintoff (45) was injured at the Top Gear test track in Surrey in December and had to be airlifted to hospital with facial injuries and broken ribs, with the former cricketer and presenter who told friends, according to various British media reports, that he has decided to quit the show.

According to The Times, Freddie who joined Top Gear in 2019, told friends he is too traumatised to continue playing daredevil any longer, with the Daily Mail reporting that he told friends he's "lucky to be alive".

The BBC now in a statement says "We have sincerely apologised to Freddie and will continue to support him with his recovery. Under the circumstances, we feel it would be inappropriate to resume making season 34 of Top Gear at this time".

"We understand this will be disappointing for fans, but it is the right thing to do, and we'll make a judgement about how best to continue later this year. This has also impacted the production team, who we continue to support".

"Finally there will be a health and safety review of the show, in line with our procedures."

Thursday, March 23, 2023

kykNET to debut Die Real Housewives van die Wynlande in April.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice, M-Net and NBCUniversal Formats are continuing their reality TV expansion of The Real Housewives franchise with Die Real Housewives van die Wynlande set in Stellenbosch's upper-crust wine estate wives community which is becoming the 9th African version and the second Afrikaans offshoot.

Die Real Housewives van die Wynlande - the second Afrikaans version in South Africa of The Real Housewives franchise - will start on kykNET (DStv 144) on Thursday 20 April at 20:00, similar to Die Real Housewives of Pretoria which made its debut in 2022.

kykNET is not yet releasing the identities of the women who have been filming the past few months and will be appearing in the winelands version.

Die Real Housewives van die Wynlande follows after South African versions of The Real Housewives of Johannesburg, The Real Housewives of Cape Town, The Real Housewives of Durban currently in its third season, and The Real Housewives of Gqeberha currently in its first season.

MultiChoice Africa and M-Net also produced two Nigerian versions - The Real Housewives of Lagos, and The Real Housewives of Abuja currently in its first season - as well as The Real Housewives of Nairobi in Kenya also currently in its first season.

Die Real Housewives van die Wynlande will follow the champagne catfights and soirée-filled social circles of a new group of Afrikaans-speaking women, all living and gossiping in South Africa's famed Cape winelands region around Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek, known for its "old money" and its centuries-old, multi-million rand family-owned wine estates.

According to kykNET, the Cape winelands offer "wealth, vineyards and wine" but it is also here where the tongues are wagging in the high-society social circles over the latest and never-ending gossip in the region over the ins and outs of this conspicuously wealthy community.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Last week MultiChoice toppers Imtiaz Patel, Jim Volkwyn and Byron du Plessis cashed in R9.6 million in shares before the pay-TV company announced lower revenue expectations this week which saw it share price tanking.

by Thinus Ferreira

Three MultiChoice directors - chairman Imtiaz Patel, MultiChoice Africa director Byron du Plessis and non-executive director Jim Volkwyn - last week sold R9.6 million of their MultiChoice shares, luckily before the pay-TV company's share price tanked yesterday after it announced this week that its revenue expectations are now lower.

On 7 March MultiChoice announced that on 6 March Imtiaz Patel had sold R7.63 million of his MultiChoice shares, while Jim Volkwyn sold R725 000 in shares, and Byron du Plessis R1.28 million of MultiChoice shares - collectively R9.6 million of MultiChoice shares.

On Monday evening, in a voluntary trading update issued after the markets had closed, MultiChoice announced that its 2023 revenue expectations are now lower.

MultiChoice warned that its revenue is dragged lower because of the debilitating and increasing Eskom electricity blackout crisis, having a "significant impact" on its DStv subscriber base's activity levels.

MultiChoice also warned that contributing to the lower revenue forecast is that MultiChoice is having to spend more money in increased costs for its planned new Showmax streaming service relaunch after partnering with NBCUniversal, and that operating conditions in South Africa has worsened.

On Tuesday morning MultiChoice shares tanked - dropping almost 15% in the morning and wiping out close to R8 billion in shareholder value, before recovering somewhat during the course of Tuesday, and closing down around 14% lower.

In its trading update, MultiChoice said that "Sustained high levels of loadshedding are having a significant impact on the activity levels of the customer base." 

While not specifying it directly, investors and analysts are taking MultiChoice's trading warning to mean that its top-end DStv premium subscriber segment - its most valuable and biggest contributor to ARPU (average revenue per user) - is very likely falling again, as the number and overall percentage of DStv Premium and DStv Compact Plus subscribers are possibly continuing to decline.

MultiChoice warned in its trading statement that its trading margin has been lowered to between 23% to 28% instead of earlier market guidance of between 28% to 30% for its 2023 financial year.