Saturday, February 17, 2018

SABC takes SABC News anchor Peter Ndoro off air 'to rest' after second erroneous on-air death announcement within weeks, this time saying president Cyril Ramaphosa has passed away.

The SABC has taken the SABC News anchor Peter Ndoro off the air "to rest" for an unspecified period of time, after he made a second erroneous on-air death announcement on Thursday evening, this time saying newly-elected president Cyril Ramaphosa has passed away.

The SABC that struggles with a trust and credibility problem and is working hard to regain viewers' confidence and trust in its news output, said the news anchor is "fatigued" and that SABC management agreed with the news reader talent that it's better for him to step away from the anchor desk for the time being to rest.

During Thursday night's news bulletin on SABC3 and SABC News (DStv 404) Peter Ndoro erroneously used Cyril Ramaphosa's name while he was reading a story about Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai who died earlier this week.

The SABC has moved the TV news bulletin to 21:00 on SABC3 from the beginning of February - the sudden new much later timeslot of the public broadcaster's flagship English TV news bulletin from its erstwhile 18:00 timeslot.

It's Peter Ndoro's second similar mistake after he in January announced that Mangosuthu Buthelezi had died when he should have said former Bophuthatswana leader Lucas Mangope.

The SABC in a statement said that it noted Peter Ndoro's mistake "with concern".

"In as much as we acknowledge that this is a human error, we take this matter in a very serious light as it is not only embarrassing but could potentially affect those involved negatively."

"In the light of the event, news management has since engaged Peter Ndoro and he indicated that he is fatigued and needed some time to rest. Management has agreed to his request and he will be taking a break from the show. Peter Ndoro has apologised to the president's office and his apology has been accepted."

"The SABC would like to ensure all its audiences that it remains fully committed to delivering news that is fair, balanced and accurate".

New SABC reality TV low as SABC3 The Intern winner Kuena Moshoeshoe is dumped by David Tlale and her prizes given to the runner-up.

South African reality TV reached a new low point when the long over due prizes promised to the proper winner of The Intern, Kuena Moshoeshoe and who had already waited more than 3 months, have now suddenly been given to runner-up Keletso Moraba by fashion designer David Tlale and the SABC.

Three weeks ago the SABC in an official statement still promised that "the SABC will ensure that the delivery of prizes to the winner will be honoured".

It came after the controversial fashion designer and the reality show failed to give Kuena Moshoeshoe her prizes as promised by SABC3's The Intern that ended in October 2017.

The 13-episode show that has since been marred by multiple shocking revelations and damaged the SABC, SABC3, David Tlale as well as sponsors' brands, yielded further cautionary tales that South African reality TV glitter is far from gold. 

The fashion designer wannabe contestants who took part in the reality show previously spoke out about the allegedly horrific conditions during filming of The Intern, claiming that David Tlale failed to give them the R3 000 S&T they were meant to get while being a part of the show and saying "he didn’t give us a cent. We were suffering, we didn’t have food at the apartment and we had no toiletries”.

Contestants who said they felt betrayed, slammed David Tlale as "horrible" and "rude". Some of the interns who have been living in David Tlale's flat in Johannesburg have also been fired and evicted.

In yet another shock revelation never disclosed to SABC3 viewers, it also recently came to light that Kuena Moshoeshoe actually interned for David Tlale before the show, that they knew each other and that he asked her to enter. She worked for him for 4 months in 2015. David Tlale said he didn't see it as a conflict of interest.

The Intern on SABC3 that struggled with bad production values and a rushed production schedule promised the winner beforehand more than R1 million in prizes, including a new Mercedez Benz CLA, R200 000 in cash, studio equipment to the value of R250 000, and a chance to be an assistant designer for David Tlale for one year.

Kuena Moshoeshoe, originally from Lesotho, spoke up about not getting her prizes and over the excuse being given that she doesn't have a valid work permit, saying that she's always had a work permit and was "tired of being treated like shit" by David Tlale.

Now David Tlale has revoked Kuena Moshoeshoe's prizes and it's being given to runner-up Keletso Moraba of Burgersfort, Limpopo, who has been "crowned" as the new The Intern winner.

'Proceeding with the alternative process'
The SABC, after it promised the winner would get her prizes, responded on Friday when asked what is going in the matter and why a new person is suddenly being announced as the winner by the designer.

Zandile Nkonyeni, SABC TV head publicist, says SABC3 met with David Tlale and thereafter reached out to Kuena Moshoeshoe for her side of the story.

"The conclusion was that Kuena needed to sign the winner's contract that stipulate the terms and conditions of her one year employment with David Tlale in order for the prizes to be handed over to her."

"A part of the prize package is for her to work with David for a year. She also needed to apply for a working permit as she is based in Lesotho. Subsequent to the back and forth telephone and written communication between SABC3 and Kuena, she agreed that she will respond to us with her final decision to inform us whether she will sign the contract or nor. However she decided not to communicate further with us nor respond to our emails."

"The communication took place between the months of December 2017 and the end of January 2018. Since then, both David Tlale and SABC3 made numerous attempts to reach out to Kuena in an attempt to complete the prize contractual process and for her to submit the signed copy. Kuena did not reply nor contact David or SABC3's emails," says Zandile Nkonyeni.

"SABC3 took the decision to allow David Tlale to proceed with the alternative process as prescribed in The Intern's contract signed by all the contestants. The contract stipulated and legally allowed David to evoke the win and hand over the prizes to the runner-up of the competition should the winner not honour the contractual agreements."

TVwithThinus asked has The Intern damaged the SABC's image regarding reality shows and the trust that viewers can or should have in terms of entering, that they will get what is being promised as prizes. The SABC didn't want to answer the question.

Friday, February 16, 2018

eNCA's on its coverage plans of president Cyril Ramaphosa's inaugural State of the Nation Address 2018.

In response to a media enquiry, eNCA (DStv 403) has this information about its coverage plans for president Cyril Ramaphosa's inaugural State of the Nation Address 2018 taking place at parliament in Cape Town today.

"eNCA has already started its rolling coverage ahead of newly-elected president Cyril Ramaphosa’s inaugural State of the Nation address."

"The eNCA team will continue to broadcast live from our fully-operational temporary studio at parliament, with senior anchors interviewing ministers, opposition parties and commentators in the lead up to the president’s maiden address."

"We have a team of reporters placed in and around the parliamentary precinct, and at historically-relevant locations around the country, including president Cyril Ramaphosa’s childhood home in Chiawelo."

"In addition, the news team will get in-depth analysis from political analysts and commentators post the address. We will also interview ordinary South Africans to capture their thoughts and reactions in response to the address."

"The eNCA team will continue to follow the subsequent political transition closely through the weekend and into next week, unpacking the critical issues and developments, including any possible changes to the cabinet."

New eBella TV channel targeting women to be added to Platco Digital's OpenView HD and MultiChoice's Dstv from 5 March.

A new TV channel also targeting female viewers, eBella, is set to be added to OpenView HD (OVHD) and DStv from around 5 March.

eBella comes from Platco Digital that runs OpenView HD.

Besides packaging the channel for the OpenView HD free-to-air satellite platform, eBella will also be provided to DStv subscribers as part of the packaged channels deal that MultiChoice has for the set of additional e-branded channels.

The official announcement regarding eBella will be made soon with all the details about the programming that will be on the channel.

The launch of eBella is the first new channel being added to OpenView HD in a while that has scrapped a number of non-owned channels over the past few months.

eBella is also an channel meaning has direct and full control over the channel's content, as well as full responsibility for its performance ratings wise.

The addition of eBella comes shortly after the launch of Moja Love on DStv on Valentine's Day, targeting a black female audience with locally produced programming centred around love and relationships.

Forget SONA2018, the TV drama tonight will be Uzalo's celebrity funeral spectacle with Babes Wodumo and Hlengiwe Mhlaba.

Forget the State of the Nation 2018 broadcast on South African television on Friday evening - the TV drama will be in Uzalo tonight where the celebrity funeral spectacle to mourn MaNzuza and Smangele's after their double murder will be packed with stars, all snagging top seats from Babes Wodumo and gospel singer Hlengiwe Mhlaba, to Durban's current mayor all making appearances.

The weekday prime time telenovela on SABC1 will be a special hour long funeral episode tonight packed with histrionics and special guests.

The hour-long episode was filmed a month ago on 16 January as a razzmatazz TV funeral for the killed off characters of MaNzuza and Smangele who were both murdered after Leleti Khumalo quit the show for more money in's upcoming Imbewu also filmed in Durban and Sihle Ndaba got fired.

Viewers tonight are in for drama and emotional moments in scenes filmed on the Newlands sound stage in Durban where the Stained Glass TV production roped in guest stars like the current Durban mayor, Zandile Gumede who will make an appearance as a community representative.

The veteran gospel singer Hlengiwe Mhlaba will lead the congregants in some gospel melodies.

According to the producers the "the funeral service is a send-off that no-one expected will happen. People have to hold on to their faith, some on their weapons, to make sure that they stay alive and breathing".

Viewers will recognise familiar faces snapping up top seats at the TV celebrity funeral including Babes Wodumo - no visa required - and Mampintja, Tzozo, The Legacy, Selbeyonce, Zodwa Wabantu, Destruction Boyz, Dumi Mkostad and others.

Kid Sithole appears as Pastor Goba and Dudu Khoza is the master of ceremonies.

Uzalo characters from Mkhonto and Advocate Zulu to Mabuza, Sibahle, Mumsy, as well as Gundi and Jabulile go to church to mourn, plot and scheme in front of the caskets.

Tonight's special episode of Uzalo at 20:30 on SABC1 will also explore the theme of violence against women.

MultiChoice hiking DStv subscription fees again from April; Compact subscribers see biggest increase; DStv re-uses same 2017 line: 'We're committed to keep improving our offering so it gets better every year'.

MultiChoice is hiking DStv subscription fees again from 1 April with subscribers of the fastest-growing tiers, DStv Compact and DStv Compact Plus seeing the steepest increase.

DStv Compact Plus (the renamed DStv Extra) will pay 4.1% more from April with these DStv subscribers seeing their monthly payment going up from R489 to R509 per month.

DStv Compact subscribers will be paying 5.5% more as their monthly fees will increase from R365 to R385 per month.

DStv Family subscribers on the lower tier are hit the hardest with a 6% increase with their subscription climbing from R235 to R249 per month.

The top-tier and most expensive DStv package, DStv Premium, will cost 2.5% more from 1 April, rising from R789 to R809 per month.

The 2.5% increase is almost half of the 4% price hike for DStv Premium last year.

The percentage of MultiChoice's DStv Premium subscriptions as part of overall DStv subscribers have been steadily declining the past few years, an indication that subscribers no longer see it as offering as much, or enough value, to justify the price.

The bottom-rung DStv Access remains unchanged at R99 per month and DStv EasyView remains unchanged at R29 per month.

While subscribers on the legacy DStv Select package continue to lose channels that are not being replaced, they will see a price hike of 6% from R235 to R249 per month.

People with M-Net analogue decoders will see a price increase of 5.1% from April with their subscription fees rising from R389 to R409 per month. M-Net analogue subscribers are now paying more than for DStv Compact although that bouquet obviously doesn't include the sought-after M-Net (DStv 101) channel.

DStv's access fee for PVR users will increase by 5.9% from R85 to R90 per month.

Decoder insurance fees remain unchanged and DStv BoxOffice PVR rental fees at R35 per title also remains unchanged.

MultiChoice elsewhere in Africa lowered DStv fees the past few months in countries ranging from Kenya, Zambia, Uganda and Ghana, saying in a statement that "We recognise that our customers are living in tough economic times and want to reward them for their ongoing loyalty and support. We want to do our part by adjusting the price of our DStv packages through making them more affordable while adding more value at the same time."

While South Africa's rand has been performing better than most other African nation currencies and has even marginally strengthened, MultiChoice keeps hiking DStv prices in South Africa, where its largest subscriber base is located.

About the latest DStv price hike for South Africa MultiChoice repeats the exact phrase it used in 2017, saying "We're committed to keep improving our offering so it gets better every year".

Thursday, February 15, 2018

M-Net acquires and schedules several great science fiction series for March that are all well worth watching.

M-Net has acquired and scheduled (and rescheduled!) several great science fiction series for March that are all well worth watching.

M-Net (DStv 101) picked up the new science fiction thriller series, Counterpart, that started in America on 10 December. Counterpart will start on Tuesday 27 March at 22:00 on M-Net and revolves around a man who discovers that the mysterious agency he works for is guarding a secret parallel dimension.

Then M-Net also grabbed the first season of the anthology science fiction series, Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams (pictured above).

Like The Outer Limits, every episode has a self-contained science fiction story and will start on M-Net on Wednesday 14 March at 22:00.

Then there is the rescheduled Time After Time that was initially slotted for late-2017 and for M-Net, but was yanked from the schedule.

Time After Time has now also been moved to M-Net City (DStv 115). It will now premiere on this channel on Monday 5 March at 21:00. The show was sadly cancelled after its first season but the story is great. HG Wells uses his time machine to pursue the serial killer Jack the Ripper to modern-day New York.

Not science fiction but also looking good, is the new forensic crime drama series, Instinct, that M-Net has also acquired. Instinct, with Alan Cumming, will start on M-Net City (DStv 115) 3 days after the new show starts in America.

Instinct is a bit like The Mentalist, Elementary and How to Get Away with Murder, and revolves around the professor and former CIA agent Dr Dylan Reinhart who is lured back to his old life when the NYPD needs his help to stop a serial killer who is using his book to commit murders.

South Africa is far behind, but the first season of the quite good, totalitarian science fiction drama series, Colony, is finally starting on the Universal Channel (DStv 117) in March. Josh Holloway is a dad who lives in a segregated Los Angeles with his family where resources are scare after aliens arrived on Earth and divided cities worldwide with massive walls.

TV CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK: Sorry, SABC1, no coverage of your S'phethe Ezishisayo from me - and here's why the bulk of the rest of the 'champagne press' who've never cared, won't do any reporting either.

As a TV critic it's bad to say this but the SABC's lazy SABC1 won't be getting any coverage of its "S'phethe Ezishisayo" media event held last week from me - this reporter covering the medium of television is done churning out comprehensive articles out of nothing about channels like SABC1 who can't care less about actually properly engaging the media and stakeholders.

It took a week to get a PR person at the SABC (eventually not even SABC1) to respond to multiple media enquiries seeking more information about SABC1's media event where Clara Nzima, SABC1 channel head, spoke last week and new on-screen talent were unveiled while the entitled press drank and publicists hunched over their cellphones updating their Facebook feeds instead of engaging with media.

While SABC1 is the biggest TV channel in South Africa in terms of viewership, it's one of the channel's getting the least exposure for its programming in the press. The reason is its outdated, stoic, one-dimensional PR approach that hasn't evolved in 20 years.

While SABC1 flew in media from Cape Town and Durban to join the Johannesburg based press, a lot of media covering SABC1 were not. SABC1 couldn't even do bare basic PR and communication to say that a media event announcing new talent and scheduling changes would be happening - nor bothered to send out anything afterwards.

Truth be told, TVwithThinus (as usual) would be able to put together, out of nothing and with no help by just doing some digging, a perfectly fine and comprehensive news report about what Clara Nzima and SABC1 talent said at the event, and the channel's programming news and changes.

But this time I won't.

In a multi-channel universe where the inbox overflows with press releases and advisories from a multitude of TV channels, I'm tired of having to beg and beg and beg for basic answers and information from channels who don't care.

SABC1 can continue to life inside its own, increasingly irrelevant bubble-world, or it can update its PR strategy to one that's dynamic, responsive, interactive and where it at the very least signals that the press covering the channel matter.

After a week of asking several times for a transcript of what Clara Nzima said, of what the various on-screen talent said and what happened at the event, there's been nothing beside a press release run-down of SABC1 shows.

It's because SABC1 doesn't have it, doesn't think its important or necessary, doesn't know how to do it - and on top of all won't respond to say that it doesn't.

How SABC1 thinks or wants (if it even wants it) proper media coverage of its channel news, programming executives and shows when it does less than minimum and can't provide the media with what it needs, is really beyond me.

The other sad tragedy about the lack of coverage of SABC1's media event of last week (and there were several so-called "media" in attendance) is not fully SABC1's fault as it is the press.

A week later you will (still) struggle to find any article or report about SABC1's event or what was actually said and happened there. It's because the channel doesn't care about proper press but do hugs and air-kisses with nouveau media and the so-called "champagne press" who have Instagram accounts and Twitter followings but no intention of actually properly covering your TV event or media launch and doing the homework.

These so-called "entertainment" remoras who harbour thinly disguised desires to be famous and who are largely in it for the open bar and to come and grab goodie bags, can't care less about actually working or going back and doing something in terms of reporting.

If they did, there'd be multiple articles already about SABC1's event. But there's not.

These social butterflies under the guise of "media" flit from event to event to exploit for self-gain; literally attending for what there is to take at TV media events - then leave and don't do journalism besides a possible self-promoting selfie.

The same happened at SABC1's Uzalo set visit last month in Durban for Friday's funeral episode.

The same happened at M-Net's media event for the launch of its rebranded Vuzu AMP to 1Magic channel: a lot of booze, a lot of so-called "media", a lot of executives and producers showing up to talk, and in the end not a word in print or any articles about what was actually said there.

Why invite these lame-duck people over and over again if they constantly end up not being media messengers of what you're trying to communicate about your brand?

SABC1 has no clue, and can't bother to ask or improve, as to how "best in class" TV channels have been operating and have advanced in terms of how they communicate and do public relations with media, falling further and further behind.

If you were to tell SABC1 that certain TV channels actually do group internet video calls to journalists to brief them that they will be issuing a press release and what will be in it days before it's even issued; that some channels even have Whatsapp groups to tell journalists information has been emailed, that some channels calls and communicate even when there's nothing to say but are building and maintaining actual media relationships, there'd probably be vacant-looking, uncomprehensive stares.

While this journalist covering television constantly feels compelled to do the story anyway, to just dig more and find the information and relay it to readers anyway because it's important - irrespective of whether a TV channel or show even cares or made any effort - for once I'm not going to.

I'm tired of it and if SABC1 doesn't attach value or importance to getting its own message out, for once I'm no longer either.

SABC1 PR needs to wake up and start doing proper public relations. If your channel head talks and you can't provide a rushed transcript of what the person said, that is wrong and a failure.

If you have a media event and don't have any publicity images because you can't be bothered to have a photographer, you've failed. If your on-screen talent is unveiled and there's a Q&A and you can't disseminate that to the media not invited or not present, your not doing your job.

If you can't tell press that there would be a media event beforehand, or afterwards, how do you justify your job as a so-called communicator?

If you can't in a week and after being asked multiple times, respond to basic questions from a journalist - simply ignoring enquiries and hoping you'll tire out the press interested in your brand who will just give up and go away - why are you even in PR when you can't communicate properly?

SABC1 is the biggest TV channel in South Africa but the proper value it seems to attach to getting proper press is sadly very little.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Siyaya TV's new Moja Love channel on DStv hopes to lure female viewers with love and relationship programming.

The new Moja Love channel aimed at a black female viewership is starting today, on Valentine's Day at 17:30 with little fanfare on MultiChoice's DStv on channel 157, hoping to make inroads in a highly competitive TV landscape where competitors like Lifetime and Discovery Networks' TLC already exist.

With the obligatory local telenovela - every channel now starts one of these serialised staples - and a flurry of talk show and self help programmes loosely modeled on popular American daytime TV formats, Moja Love, produced and packaged by Siyaya TV, will predominantly focus on women's issues and relationships.

"Moja" meaning good or alright, is packaged for MultiChoice by Siyaya TV that got a pay-TV licence from the broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) but failed to start it's own service, just like eSat that ended up producing eNCA for DStv.

Siyaya TV's Moja Love is made available to DStv Premium, DStv Compact Plus, DStv Compact and DStv Family subscribers and will run 24-hours per day with repeat blocks and have 22 shows including several new local productions.

New programmes will be broadcast between 17:00 and 22:30 daily on Moja Love with the rest of the late night and daytime schedule then consisting of repeats.

"For us at MultiChoice, it's important to offer our customers a range of different entertainment options and to provide a platform for local stories to be heard," says Yolisa Phahle, CEO for general entertainment at MultiChoice.

"Moja is a slang word that means 'everything is good' and while love is a universal emotion, Moja Love shall explore love from the unique perspective of the modern South African woman using honest, reflective, hopeful and humorous storytelling," says Jacqui Setai, Moja Love channel head.

New programmes on Moja Love include a new local weekday talk show, similar to The Real in America as a panel discussion show with women talking about female issues. Show Me Love will have KG Moeketsi, Unathi Msengana, Abigail Visagie and Nontobeko Sibisi as part of the panel.

Show Me Love that has been commissioned for 260 episodes will be broadcast on Moja Love on weekdays at 17:30 with a repeat on weekday mornings at 08:00.

"These dynamic hosts meet daily to schwashwata on every topic that concerns women at one time or another. With no topic off limits, the show provides a safe place for women to air any issue, in the company of their sistas," says Moja Love.

The local telenovela Hope with 208 episodes stars Nimrod Nkosi, as Pastor Buthelezi, a well-meaning pastor of a small congregation who is about to go through challenges when a new church opens up across the street. Hope will show on weekdays at 19:00.

"It sets in motion a story of love, deceit and betrayal, which unravels in the exciting world of
churches. As brother is pit against father, church members hide dark secrets, and pastors compete
for the soul of the community, take comfort that there is always hope in a dark world," says Moja Love.

Papgeld on Saturdays at 18:30 is an investigative reality show about children and will track fathers, and in some cases mothers, who are not living up to their parental responsibilities,

A spin-off show Let’s Talk Papgeld, Saturdays at 19:00 will try to help viewers with tips and guidelines from a range of experts and service providers in the social services and child maintenance sector.

Judge Khambule on Saturdays at 18:00 is a sitcom set in a courtroom that features characters caught up in various legal issues. Judge Khambule is played by Thenjiwe Mosley.

Other shows on Moja Love include Highly Inappropriate with Phat Joe, a reality beauty makeover show Beat, the sex advice show Thrills with Dr T, presented by sexologist Dr Tlaleng on Wednesdays at 21:00, and Sofa Slahlane, with the presenter and veteran journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika on Thursdays at 17:00.

Moja Love will also broadcast Sisters in Law, Food Police, Nairobi Diaries, Direct Flight, Amagugu, Curvy Girls and Nomakanji.

Neither StarSat, Cell C black nor OpenView HD interested in taking over the ANN7 channel from MultiChoice's DStv.

Neither StarSat, Cell C black nor OpenView HD are interested in taking over the ANN7 channel from MultiChoice's DStv, with none of the three TV providers who carry TV news channels in a position - or willing - to pump the millions of rand into the so-called "Guptanews" channel that's required to keep such a channel afloat.

MultiChoice's has decided to dump ANN7, that's been a mistake-riddled embarrassment since the first day it launched on 21 August 2013, from its DStv satellite pay-TV platform at the end of July.

MultiChoice discarding ANN7 doesn't technically spell the shutdown of the channel since the floundering Mzwanele Manyi owned TV albatross could be taken over by another platform - although nobody else actually wants, or can afford, it.

StarSat CEO Debbie Wu tells TVwithThinus that "as you are aware StarSat just came out of business rescue, our current focus is to re-establish and stabilise the business. Currently we have not mandated any engagements in connection with ANN7.

Surie Ramasary, Cell C black chief executive says "We have a very strong suite of news channels and a news specific package on black with our current content offering and are not looking to include additional news channels at this time.  We will review our news content offering when appropriate."

eMedia Investments that run the free-to-air satellite TV platform, OpenView HD through its Platco Digital division, says "eMedia Investments will not be commenting on the issue you have raised below."

It's extremely unlikely that OpenView HD will take over ANN7 since the channel's operating costs are too expensive, OpenView HD can't pay that, and eMedia Investments already supply the rival TV news channel eNCA to MultiChoice's DStv.

ANN7 can't exist without a platform
ANN7, now owned by Afrotone Media Holdings, can't exist on its own and can't broadcast directly to viewers - it needs a platform through which to broadcast for two reasons.

Firstly ANN7 can't for instance just become a YouTube channel or be turned into a free-to-air digital terrestrial television (DTT) channel since it doesn't have such a license. ANN7 was commissioned by MultiChoice as specifically a satellite TV channel with the broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa).

Like M-Net's Mzansi Magic or ITV Choice or BBC Worldwide's BBC Earth, ANN7 is a channel that was created for and must sit in a TV decoder basket. Like a gold fish in a bowl, it can't exist independently outside of the environment that keeps it alive.

Icasa okay'ed ANN7 as a pay-TV channel for a satellite TV service. Therefore ANN7 can't suddenly broadcast to everyone like a SABC1 or

Even if it were to do so, ANN7 would first have to get a type of DTT or analogue television broadcasting frequency and license - something Icasa is not issuing now or anymore.

ANN7 will also then have to find a terrestrial signal distributor like Sentech, and pay millions of rand for its TV signal to be send through the airwaves so that TV antennas can receive it.

ANN7 as an expensive operation also needs millions to keep afloat, and the possible income generated from YouTube or other streaming services simply won't be enough.

Secondly ANN7 is very largely dependent on what is known in the biz as "carriage fees" - the money the platform it is on, pays the channel for its content.

This "carriage fee" is the millions of rand that MultiChoice has been paying ANN7 as part of the carriage agreement or contract. It is the controversially large amounts of money that MultiChoice has been pumping into ANN7 over the past four years although the channel kept damaging the MultiChoice and DStv brands.

It's also interesting to note that carriage agreements between TV platform operators and TV channel suppliers usually stipulate that if a channel's content quality isn't up to scratch that penalties kick in, often in the form of reduced carriage fee payments.

Just like in shops where last season's leftover fashion rejects are marked down in the "bargain bin" and the price of food items are decreased as they near their sell by date because their value are diminishing as a result of their quality going down, bad TV channels as a product are paid less than premium, "good" channels.

In MultiChoice's and ANN7's case however, when ANN7 performed extremely badly, MultiChoice didn't penalise ANN7 by paying it less, but decided to pay ANN7 even more.

ANN7 essentially since launch became a laughing stock for its bad audio and video quality, amateur anchors making mistakes and struggling to read, numerous technical mistakes and spelling mistakes.

MultiChoice decided to pump millions of rand more into ANN7 when the channel under-performed and suffered from bad quality, with MultiChoice saying in a statement it decided to pay ANN7 even more money because "the terms of the agreement were renegotiated and payments increased when it became apparent that ANN7 needed to improve quality on the channel".

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Special Investigating Unit (SIU) issues a summons against SABC's former controversial COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, liable to pay back a staggering R21 million to the public broadcaster.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has issued a summons against the former controversial and famously matricless SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng for more than R21 million that he owes the public broadcaster and has to pay back, says the Democratic Alliance (DA) political party's member of parliament, Phumzile Van Damme.

The R21 million includes the staggering R11.4 million bonus - called a "success fee" - the SABC paid Hlaudi Motsoeneng and is MultiChoice money that was paid to him through the SABC for the controversial SABC and DStv channels deal to provide SABC Encore and SABC News to MultiChoice's satellite pay-TV platform.

The R21 million also includes another R10.5 million payable to the SABC related to irregular SABC appointments, as well as the firing of staff.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng caused horrific damage at the SABC on all levels during his executive tenure, plunging the SABC into a financial crisis as credibility, staff morale, governance, pay control, commissioning and management on every level at the SABC over the past 3 years took a massive blow.

"It is to be welcomed that action against Hlaudi Motsoeneng continues," says Phumzile Van Damme.

"It cannot be that individuals like Hlaudi Motsoeneng loot public institutions, resign or are dismissed and there is no further action. All stolen money must be returned to the public purse. We therefore welcome the SIU’s action in this regard."

Phumzile Van Damme says that the SIU is investigating 8 contracts that were identified as "dodgy" during the SABC ad-hoc inquiry, including the "questionable R460 million contract with MultiChoice".

"Hlaudi Motsoeneng is however not the only person implicated in the SABC ad hoc inquiry report. Compromised individuals such as James Aguma [former SABC acting CEO] and especially former minister of communications, Faith Muthambi, must also be prosecuted for any wrongdoing".

The SIU will hand over the interim presidential report on its investigations into these dodgy SABC and MultiChoice contracts to the Office of the President on 31 May.

South African National Editors' Forum warns new ANC publicist Pule Mabe to stop threatening SABC News journalists from covering the #ZumaMustGo campaign: 'the SABC must be allowed to exercise its editorial independence to cover the stories it deems fit'.

The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) on Monday warned the ANC's incompetent looking new publicist Pule Mabe to stop threatening the SABC and SABC News reporters from how the SABC, SABC News and the public broadcaster's journalists should or shouldn't be reporting on the #ZumaMustGo campaign against South African president Jacob Zuma.

Sanef told Pule Mabe to stop "infringing on the SABC's right to cover stories it deems important".

Sam Mkokeli, Sanef media freedom sub-committee chairperson, says Pule Mabe has been "critical of the SABC coverage of a dissident group claiming to be ANC and SA Communist Party (SACP) members, calling themselves the #ZumaMustGo campaign".

"Pule Mabe has strongly taken issue with the SABC covering the press conference. He has argued that the people covered have no mandate to talk and are not in formal ANC structures," said Sam Mkokeli.

"Sanef believes that the SABC must be allowed to exercise its editorial independence to cover the stories it deems fit, including of dissident ANC and SACP members."

"The ANC has the right to contest the coverage of the SABC, but it should never infringe on the SABC’s right to cover the stories it deems important. Also, it should never intimidate or threaten SABC journalists."

Sanef says the role of the SABC as South Africa’s public broadcaster "is critical, particularly during these turbulent and uncertain political times".

"Frank, robust relations between the ruling party and the SABC are essential. However, what must be jealously guarded is the SABC’s right to choose the stories it wishes to broadcast and its right to report without fear or favour."

SABC News anchors Peter Ndoro and Francis Herd moved to 9pm on SABC3 as news bulletin is late-shifted; Chriselda Lewis and Aldrin Sampear now anchoring weekends.

With the SABC moving its flagship English language TV news bulletin from 18:00 to 21:00 on SABC3, it has forced the News @ 6 co-anchors Peter Ndoro and Francis Herd to move to the new later timeslot as well.

On weekends the accomplished and proven Chriselda Lewis (pictured) is now being paired with Aldrin Sampear and the two will now co-anchoring the news at 21:00 on SABC3 and SABC News (DStv 404).

It's the latest that the SABC has ever scheduled a full TV news bulletin on the public broadcaster, with ratings that will likely go down further as the late-night appetite from viewers for news shrinks this late during the day.

SABC3 is also starting a new current affairs show, Frankly Speaking on Sundays at 20:30 from 11 February as an interactive show using Skype and social media to hear from participants watching it.

Onkgopotse JJ Tabane is the presenter of Frankly Speaking and will look at news and current affairs issues.

Biased ANN7 on DStv slapped with highest fine of R80 000 by Broadcasting Complaints Commission for blatant political sabotage of ANC's Jackson Mthembu; 'one of the most serious contraventions,' BCCSA finds.

The controversial and biased "Guptanews" channel ANN7 (DStv 405) on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform has been slapped with the highest possible fine of R80 000 by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) for its shocking and slanderous coverage, and ordered to apologise to the ANC politician Jackson Mthembu.

The BCCSA slammed the now Mzwanele Manyi-owned ANN7 for blatant political sabotage after Jackson Mthembu, the chief whip of the ANC political party, lodged a complaint at ANN7 for staging a bogus "press conference" with 6 ANC members of parliament.

The sham "press conference" on 27 November 2017 where no questions were even asked, organised and attended by ANN7 only, was hatched between the 6 politicians and ANN7, with the BCCSA that found ANN7 guilty of blatantly intending "to sabotage the complainant's political career".

The shockingly trash ANN7 that MultiChoice is finally shutting down by the end of July didn't give Jackson Mthembu a chance to respond to the slanderous allegations made against him. The news report was repeated during the day and also during the next day, 28 November. The news report was also posted on YouTube by ANN7.

ANN7's Cecilia Russel, special projects editor, and ANN7 editor Abhinav Sahay told the BCCSA that "ANN7 regrets not affording the ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu a right of reply before airing the story of 6 ANC MPs opposing the parliamentary debate on State Capture".

Shockingly, ANN7 had the audacity to tell the BCCSA that "ANN7 was not lax in either urgency or intent to mitigate any possible harm which could have been caused to Jackson Mthembu's reputation immediately after the matter was brought to its notice on the morning of the 29th of November 2017. The station is of the view that the steps taken mitigated any possible harm caused".

Hilariously ANN7 told the BCCSA that "the fact that there were no other broadcasters or news media present at the news conference was not relevant". When the BCCSA asked ANN7 to produce the press invitation to the "press conference" ANN7 said it didn't have anything.

The BCCSA slammed ANN7, saying "it is unthinkable that the staff of ANN7 who produced, edited and broadcast this programme on their TV channel was ignorant of the right to reply and was not aware that their broadcast was in violation of this right and in contravention of the Code of Conduct".

"The fact that they repeated this pre-recorded programme the next day aggravates this contravention. The same can be said of the fact that they posted this programme on You Tube. It seems as if they were intent on causing maximum damage to the Complainant."

"It was only when the Complainant posted a comment on this broadcast on his Facebook and Twitter accounts on 29 November that the broadcasts were discontinued."

The BCCSA also slammed ANN7 for its sham "press conference" argument, finding that "by no stretch of the imagination could this then be regarded as a news conference. The corollary of this conclusion is that we are not dealing here with a bona fide press conference, but rather with a private meeting set up between the six MP’s and ANN7".

The BCCSA slammed ANN7 in its judgment, saying ANN7 clearly intended to defame Jackson Mthembu.

"Despite the Broadcaster’s denial that there was any intention to defame the complainant with the so-called news conference and the broadcasting thereof, we find, on a balance of probabilities, that the broadcaster and the six MP’s colluded in setting up a meeting and staging a press conference, the outcome of which was broadcast in the guise of a news broadcast."

"The purpose of this broadcast was clearly to defame the complainant and to jeopardise his political career. We can therefore not accept that ANN7's failure to grant a right to reply to the complainant was an oversight or a mere mistake. This was clearly all part of ANN7's intention to defame the complainant."

"In this instance we are dealing with a news programme in which not only pure news is broadcast, but where a long tirade is broadcast as part of a broadcast of a so-called news conference. In the tirade, quite a few minutes of broadcasting time is spent on defaming the complainant."

The BCCSA found that ANN7 deliberately misled DStv subscribers.

"ANN7 was broadcasting something out of context, thus misleading the viewing public. It was also not done in a fair manner because we have found that the so-called press conference was actually a meeting set up between the Broadcaster and the six MP’s and it was unfair to pretend that it was a bona fide press conference."

The BCCSA slammed ANN7 for committing "one of the most serious contraventions" of the Broadcasting Code.

"We agreed that this was one of the most serious contraventions that we have had to decide on. The fact that this pre-recorded news broadcast was repeated during the day of 27th November and the following day, aggravates this contravention."

"ANN7 was not forthcoming when dealing with the serious allegations against it. Although it admitted a contravention by not granting the complainant a right of reply, it persisted in its denial of a sham with the so-called press conference."

"The fact that the “press conference” and the broadcasting thereof was done in bad faith, are aggravating circumstances, justifying a maximum fine of R80 000."

"We have also decided that the contraventions of the Code warrant an order for the broadcasting of an apology to the complainant."

Crew at community TV station Cape Town TV held at gunpoint by violent robbers who break equipment and steal 3 cameras.

Crew at the community TV channel Cape Town TV (CTV) became the victims of crime last week when four armed men on Thursday entered the TV channel's studio in Observatory Industrial Park in Lower Scott Road and robbed people at gunpoint.

The four robbers entered CTV in 2 stolen vehicles and held 20 CTV crew members at gunpoint for almost half an hour 20 minutes, according to CTV station manager Karen Thorne.

"They got very violent and broke a few cameras before locking the crew inside".

The robbers fled with 3 cameras that were recently donated to Cape Town TV by MultiChoice. No arrest have yet been made.

Discovery suddenly pushes Thando Thabethe's new TLC talk show, Thando Bares All, out to May on the schedule although all episodes have been filmed.

Discovery Networks International has suddenly postponed the debut of Thando Thabethe's new South African talk show, Thando Bares All, that was supposed to start this month on TLC (DStv 135) by 3 months to May without saying why.

Thando Bares All with Thando Thabethe and Carissa Cupido was supposed to start on Saturday 24 February at 20:55 on TLC but Discovery Networks CEEMEA has yanked the show, produced by Oxyg3n Media, from the schedule and moved it to May.

Discovery isn't willing to give any specific reason for the sudden move of the show 2 weeks before it was supposed to debut with the "slightly risque" 8-episode Thando Bares All that would be about with people about "body positivity" and "things that society might be afraid or embarrassed to speak about".

Topics in the 8 episodes of Thando Bares All will discuss polygamy, "naked attraction", outrageous style and body issues with themes borrowed and synchronising with other well-known TLC programming.

One strong possibility for the sudden postponement is that Discovery wants to prevent Thando Bares All - geared towards trying to capture a local female audience - from getting lost in the initial high audience sampling before ratings level off when a new TV channel launches.

Moja Love (DStv 157) from Siyaya TV starts on 14 February on DStv as a new TV channel and is a new direct competitor to TLC and A+E Networks Africa's Lifetime (DStv 131).

With a swarm of new locally produced female-driven talk shows on Moja Love that DStv subscribers will take for a TV test ride, Discovery likely thought to protect Thando Bares All from the cacophony of voices like Show Me Love starting on Moja Love that is based on the American talker The Real with KG Moeketsi, Unathi Msengana, Abigail Visagie and Nontobeko Sibisi

Dilek Doyran, vice president of commercial development and country manager of Africa at Discovery Networks Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA), in late-2017 said "Thando Bares All is about bringing people together and tackling topics we know our viewers will have strong opinions on."

A potential problem with the delay is that episodes will be seen more than half a year after they were filmed in late-2017. In the 6 month gap some of the content might have become somewhat stale or irrelevant, with guests and what they have to say that might likely no longer be as current as when the in-studio sit-downs were taped.

Discovery doesn't yet have a new starting date for Thando Bares All. Discovery was asked whether the postponement was a production issue - for instance episodes not being finished in time, or a scheduling issue, or a combination of both.

Discovery told TVwithThinus the episodes of Thando Bares All have been delivered by Oxyg3n Media and that the postponement is purely a scheduling decision.

Monday, February 12, 2018

BREAKING. SABC appoints Phathiswa Magopeni as the South African public broadcaster's new boss of news and current affairs.

The SABC has appointed Phathiswa Magopeni, currently the business and economics editor and head of terrestrial news services at eNCA (DStv 403), as the South African public broadcaster's new boss of news and current affairs.

Phathiswa Magopeni will start at the SABC on 1 March. eNCA's Mapi Mhlangu, managing director and editor-in-chief at eNCA was also approached by the SABC for the same position at the public broadcaster.

Phathiswa Magopeni replaces the disgraced Simon Tebele who was a belligerent Hlaudi Motsoeneng sycophant and who was found liable for the legal costs for the wrongful firing of the so-called "SABC 8" journalists together with the controversial and famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Phathiswa Magopeni has an impressive CV and boasts an MBA, a honours degree, an MPhil in education, an Integrated Marketing Communications diploma and is currently working on a doctoral proposal for a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree with the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GBIS).

Phathiswa Magopeni was previously at the SABC as a desk producer.

Phathiswa Magopeni's career in journalism began in 1998 when she joined the SABC in in Cape Town. She then jumped to's eNews in 2001 and returned to the SABC in 2005. In 2008 she rejoined eNews when the eNews Channel was launched (now called eNCA) in 2008.

She worked as a senior desk producer, output editor, eNews Prime Time editor and then became head of terrestrial news services. In 2013 she conceptualised and coordinated the launch of's Zulu news offering that has since been moved to Platco Digital's OpenView HD free-to-air satellite service..

 “South Africa’s public broadcaster has always played an indispensable role in the democratic order of the country, but it has also always had a special place in my own life," says Phathiswa Magopeni in a statement about her appointment.

"My first job in broadcasting was with the SABC. I learnt a lot there, and have learnt much in the industry since. Hopefully all that can be of use because this is for me a welcome return to where it all began. I am humbled by the trust shown in me, and look forward to being part of an institution which is crucial to providing independent news and information to South Africa’s citizenry".

The SABC in a statement says "This appointment is in line with the corporation’s continuous commitment to ensure that all group executive vacancies are filled in order to achieve sound governance in all the SABC’s business units. It also affirms our commitment to attract and retain the best skills to address the evolving broadcasting environment enabled by technology."

Chris Maroleng, the SABC's chief operations officer (COO), says "As a public broadcaster we recognise the pivotal role played by news and information in human, social and economic growth and development".

"We therefore saw it fit to appoint Phathiswa Magopeni as she has the expertise in the broadcasting industry and we believe that her appointment will further strengthen our position as a credible and reliable news and information provider in the country as we approach the national general elections in 2019."

"We welcome Phathiswa Magopeni back to the SABC where she first cut her teeth in the broadcasting arena. We urge all staff members to welcome and support her in her role as the new group executive for news and current affairs division."

Dancing with the Stars SA on M-Net sparkles with a live TV surprise engagement as dance champion Ryan Hammond asks fellow dancer Angelique Allison to marry him.

Sunday's second episode of Dancing with the Stars SA broadcast on M-Net (DStv 101) at 17:00 delivered a live TV surprise engagement on the ballroom dance floor when the professional dancer Ryan Hammond surprised his fellow professional dancer Angelique Allison with a marriage proposal, saying "I want to dance the rest of our lives away".

At the end of Sunday's second episode of the Rapid Blue produced glitter floor format show, a made-for-TV moment happened with Angelique Allison, who was completely in the dark as to what was about to happen to her.

Of course choreographer Jason Gilkison, Dancing with the Stars SA head judge and the show's creative director, was secretly in on the plan and helped to carefully orchestrate the surprise romantic moment.

Following a carefully, and beautifully choreographed group dance number by the professional dancers in Dancing with the Stars SA - all dressed in black capes and hats and white gowns during a big band swing number from Frank Sinatra - Ryan Hammond and Angelique Allison ended up in front seemingly by co-incidence. 

The dance number was choreographed so as to end with Ryan Hammond, already on one knee and with Angelique Allison sitting on his right leg. The couple have been together for 3 years.

Hilariously, at the end of the dance number, co-presenter Chris Jafta was immediately up-close, glitter mic in hand as Ryan just started talking.

"Ladies and gentlemen," Ryan Hammond said - as Angelique got that "look" on her face and made silent eye contact with some of the dancers behind her - "a couple of years ago Angelique told me if I ever propose to her, she'd be wearing a nice dress, and there should be someone taking pictures".

Angelique's hand went to her mouth in shock as Ryan said "I thought it couldn't get bigger than this!" as he took out a small black box and opened it up to reveal a ring inside.

"Baby I love you very much. Will you marry me?" Ryan Hammond asked as Angelique said yes. Then they kissed and the ballroom dome's audience erupted in applause and cheers.

"Listen buddy, you've set the benchmark so high for guys, I think it's unfair what you did because now every single guy has to live up to your expectations," said Chris Jafta.

"It's Valentine's Day, we share the same dreams, and I want to dance the rest of our lives away," said Ryan.

This coming Sunday will be the first opportunity for viewers who have registered at to vote for the favourite dancers.

Viewers' votes will be combined with the judges' scores to determine which two couples with the lowest scored will have to dance for their survival once more in the Dance-Off.

M-Net will announce the results of each episode on the same night in a special Dancing with the Stars SA live results show at 20:00 every Sunday night after Carte Blanche with the Sunday night blockbuster film starting at 20:30.

Catfight in the City: Kim Cattrall slams 'cruel hypocrite' Sarah Jessica Parker: 'You are not my friend'.

There's sadness in the city: Kim Cattrall is openly slamming her former Sex and the City co-star Sarah Jessica Parker, telling her "You are not my friend".

Kim Cattrall who's had a simmering conflict with Sarah Jessica Parker the past few years, lashed out at her former friend on social media on Saturday, saying "I don’t need your love and support at this tragic time".

It comes days after Kim Cattrall's 55-year old brother Chris had been found dead after he went missing in Canada.

After the news of the death of Kim's brother, Sarah Jessica Parker on social media wrote "Dearest Kim, my love and condolences to you and yours and Godspeed to your beloved brother. Xx.".

In her post on Instagram, Kim Catrall lashed out at Sarah, saying "My Mom asked me today “When will that Sarah Jessica Parker, that hypocrite, leave you alone?” Your continuous reaching out is a painful reminder of how cruel you really were then and now. Let me make this VERY clear. (If I haven’t already) You are not my family. You are not my friend. So I’m writing to tell you one last time to stop exploiting our tragedy in order to restore your ‘nice girl’ persona."

The past few months cracks became publicly visible in the relationship between Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker who at first subtly, and then openly, started to vent in interviews about each other.

It started after plans for a 3rd Sex and the City movie were scrapped. According to insider sources Kim Cattrall had made big demands - something that she denied, while Sarah Jessica Parker alluded that it's Kim's fault that a planned new film got derailed.

BREAKING. SABC1 fined R20 000 by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission for again broadcasting profane language in #FillUptheDome concert DVD that the SABC admits it failed to pre-check.

The SABC's SABC1 channel has been fined R20 000 by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) after yet again broadcasting bad language while children are watching, without prior warning, and before the so-called "watershed" time period.

After several prior complaints from viewers in similar cases, several prior warnings from the BCCSA, and after previously telling the BBCSA it will improve its screening and on-screen advisories, the SABC1 once again failed to upheld the Broadcasting Code when it broadcast Casper Nyovest's #FillUpTheDome concert on 18 November 2017 at 20:00, filled with profane language.

The SABC once again admitted that it erred and agreed "that the audience should have been warned about the contentof the broadcast in question". 

The SABC messed up in several ways. The SABC1's programme acceptance department didn't properly watch the DVD themselves beforehand to know the actual content, the scheduling department didn't slot it for 21:00 or later, and the control room and playout department didn't add any parental guidance advisories.

The SABC's excuse for the systemic lapse in the case at the BCCSA was that "Our producers were so passionate about showing the success of this young musician to an extent that some regulatory mandates were bypassed".

SABC1 once again told the BCCSA that it will tighten its internal controls according to when what kind of content can be broadcast, as well as age restriction and parental guidance advisories that must be shown by the South African public broadcaster.

"The SABC would like to assure the Commission that internal processes of disciplining the concerned staff members are underway. We sincerely apologise to the complainant for any inconvenience caused and we are doing that we can to make sure that we minimise these kinds of incidents in our platforms."

The SABC admitted that SABC1 didn't follow procedure with the #FillUpTheDome DVD. "The programme was delivered late and we were racing for time to prepare it for broadcast hence the language certification issue slipped through the cracks."

SABC1 begged for leniency from the BCCSA, despite prior similar transgressions like with the 16th Metro FM Music Awards in 2017, saying the SABC has "proven that we have learnt from past mistakes and continue to comply".

The BCCSA said that it's very bad that the SABC's SABC1 channel committed the same mistake barely 8 months after the previous very similar incident.

"The Tribunal finds it difficult to ignore that within the 8 months of the receipt of such an adverse adjudication, SABC1 broadcasted #FillUpTheDome outside the watershed period and still omitted to give the viewers cautionary warning as expected by the Broadcasting Code".

The BCCSA slammed SABC1 for its apparently lackadaisical approach to adhering to the Broadcasting Code of Conduct, saying "there is nothing in its presentation which evidences their awareness of their obligation as entrenched in the broadcasting code" to protect children, not to use grossly offensive language before the watershed period, and to properly warn viewers beforehand.

SABC1 was fined R20 000 and must pay it before 28 February 2018.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

M-Net reveals the Asia Pacific archipelago of the Philippines as the exotic setting for 6th season of Survivor South Africa; will start on 3 May as longest season yet, lasting 39 days.

The 6th season of Survivor South Africa starting on 3 May on M-Net (DStv 101) will be set in the Asia Pacific paradise of the Philippines archipelago and will be known as Survivor SA: Philippines as tribes of ordinary South Africans from all walks of life battle it out to outwit, outplay and outlast each other in the azure blue seas of this exotic locale in the longest season yet.

Filming started in January on Survivor South Africa: Philippines, with the latest season of the popular format reality show, this time produced by Afrokaans, that will be making its debut on M-Net from Thursday 3 May at 19:00.

Once the show starts, TVwithThinus that had the chance to be on location and visit behind the scenes during the filming of the show's new season, will bring readers more of not just the daunting challenges that faces the contestants, but also the production - with an amazing array of twists and turns awaiting viewers in the new season.

American, French and Israeli versions of Survivor have already been filmed in and around islands of the Philippines before with the beautiful and far-flung archipelago that boats some of the world's top-ranking beaches and is known for being a tropical paradise - home to exotic creepy crawlies living in its dense forests, as well as incredible marine life inhabiting its azure oceans.

The South African Survivor SA castaways will be exposed to the beauty of thousands of islands connected by Pacific waters, each one home to these distinct forests and bays which are teeming with indigenous wildlife, both beautiful and dangerous.

"The location of every Survivor series is a crucial part of the show," says Lani Lombard, M-Net’s head of publicity. 

"It stands alongside the castaways as a silent character in its own right – providing the stunning and punishing backdrop against which all of the triumphs and betrayals of this strategically gruelling game play out."

TVwithThinus can exclusively reveal that filming on Survivor SA started at the beginning of January and will finish towards the end of February with contestants who once again had to secretly slip out of South Africa - not knowing how long they might stay in the game and for how long they will be away for.

TVwithThinus can reveal that all of the sound equipment were brought in from America, all of the camera gear was air-freighted in from South Africa to the Philippines in December 2017 and that the show's art department who build all of the challenges and the tribal council area have been in the Philippines since November 2017, preparing all of the builds required for the show.

TVwithThinus can also reveal that Survivor SA: Phillipines will be the longest season yet - stretching a full 39 days.

"The show is longer in duration than any previous Survivor SA season," says Afrokaans. 

"This time filming is taking place over 39 days as opposed to the 27 from the previous seasons. We have crew members who have worked on all 6 seasons of Survivor SA as well as crew members - South African and Philippino - who have worked on numerous seasons of the American Survivor series."

"We have assembled some of the best in the industry to create this show to the highest production value."

Thursday, February 8, 2018

eNCA star reporter Karyn Maughan, who gave viewers a courtside insider's view on court and crime news, resigns.

eNCA's star reporter Karyn Maughan is leaving South Africa's most watched 24-hour TV news channel TVwithThinus can reveal.

Karyn Maughan's exit from eNCA comes as a big blow to the channel, once again losing an extremely experienced reporter exiting its Hyde Park studio doors from where she gave viewers an unvarnished ringside seat to the country's court, crime and corruption dramas playing out in the news.

Sources revealed to me that eNCA's court coverer has had enough and is leaving the channel soon. No word yet from the few newserati who knew - and who are in shock - as to the precise reasons why.

Also not yet known: where exactly Karen Maughan is jumping to next.

TVwithThinus asked and eNCA who confirms that Karyn Maughan is leaving the news channel and says in a statement eNCA is sad to see her go.

"eNCA is sad to lose Karyn Maughan as a full time staff member," says eNCA in a statement in response to a media enquiry.

"Karyn has been a dedicated, astute and professional journalist covering some of the biggest news stories for eNCA over the past 8 years, including the Oscar Pistorius trial. However we are pleased to say that our relationship with Karyn will continue, with her appearing on-air in various capacities".

Karyn Maughan joined eNCA in 2010 and established herself as tenacious member of the elite front guard of South Africa's "must follow" reporters who are willing to take on and decimate the trash pack of feeble publicists, moron ministers and blocking spokespeople who stand in the way of the public getting answers.

Karyn Maughan's indefatigable courtside coverage bringing viewers all the lurid details both inside and outside of the Oscar Pistorius court trial cemented her place as a household name as far South Africa's small crop of famous TV news reporters go.

Since then the take-no-prisoners TV dragon slayer found, and successfully slayed, a new crop of trash TV characters who dared to sidestep and try and evade her piercing questions, for instance the department of social development's belligerent and clueless publicist Lumka Oliphant

Karyn Maughan hasn't been scared to sit as close as possible to the front at press briefings - often seen taking her seat in the front row to clobber whoever is designated to face the press, with her piercing questions.

Besides reporting, Karyn Maughan has also appeared more on eNCA on weekdays as well as weekends from early morning to prime time as a commentator the last 2 years, roped in to weigh in and to unpack and give more insight on high profile court and crime cases as well as government corruption stories.

Monday, February 5, 2018

REVIEW. A rejuvenated Dancing with the Stars SA on M-Net is true 'Disney-glitter television', a dance-off menagerie filled with colour, strobe lights and beautiful bodies.

"This show should come with a glitter warning," said co-presenter Tracey Lange on Sunday evening - and she was absolutely right - in the revived, rejuvenated and improved Dancing with the Stars SA that took a giant leap forward in techni-colour projection and high definition in the jump of this ballroom dancing series from the SABC to M-Net (DStv 101).

Strictly Come Dancing SA, the title under which the glitter floor format show was known as over the course of 8 seasons on SABC2 and SABC3 was never a bad show. The Rapid Blue produced song-and-dance fest is now just even better as the BBC Worldwide format show transitioned to M-Net under the retitled Dancing with the Stars SA name.

It's now in high definition (HD), the revamped voting process is much improved, and everything has had the "M-Net glitter machine once-over", elevating the show's production values to pay-TV levels for a pay-TV audience, specifically for MultiChoice's highest-tiered DStv Premium subscribers.

With a (first-ever) rooftop ballroom, a live band and lead vocals, projectors casting full-colour images on the dance floor and walls to envelope the dancers and ballroom spectators in dancing diaramas and with a large video wall ensconced under circular arches, Dancing with the Stars SA is finally a South African version sporting pedigree specs similar to its UK and American counterparts.

Dancing with the Stars SA, produced by extremely skilled and veteran producers, clearly must have a bigger budget and it shows in a refinement of basically everything with the result that the M-Net viewer and DStv Premium subscriber get a TV show that's gone from fine as it was economy, to more attentive, better furnished business class.

While eagle-eyed observers would spy some first episode production jitters, brief glimpses of stage-fright and some technical problems that will surely be ironed out as the season rolls along, the show, done live from the top of the Hyde Park Corner shopping centre, shined bright in its first episode on M-Net.

Impacted by some sound problems especially towards the end, Dancing with the Stars SA was a colour and dance Sunday evening TV samba as celebrity and professional dancers entertained in what for the bulk of it felt like a wonderful 2-hour live Grease musical with a waltz and tango thrown in.

The co-presenters Tracey Lange and Chris Jafta are in tandem television jewels. Quite simply they make magical television together.

Not since eNCA's NewsNight with Jeremy Maggs and Iman Rappetti has South African TV had a couple being such a perfect fit in natural charm, backing each other up, imbuing the autocue with just enough of their own personality, and striking the perfect tone in both humour and unaffected delivery.

Whoever found Tracey Lange and Chris Jafta and thought of putting specifically these two together, deserve a mirror ball trophy of their own.

Together the twosome, who have individual experience of presenting TV magazine shows, are not just extremely natural and comfortable on-screen, but become a bigger, even better, and more powerful compound than their individual elements on TV's periodic table.

The four judges are all very likeable but the funny and effervescent judge and choreographer Jason Gilkison is clearly the high EQ head boy in this dance-off menagerie filled with colour, strobe lights and beautiful bodies.

Judge Tebogo Kgobokoe, back from Strictly Come Dancing SA, is clearly going to be the "strict one" and will provide added drama as the scoring reveals of the four judges and the numbers on their scoring paddles already turned into a little mini-drama of its own.

In variety and comedy television, timing is everything. In the first outing of Dancing with the Stars SA the pacing was fine, interrupted by somewhat halfhearted in-show audience applause at certain places but deftly smoothed over by Chris Jafta who at some points were a bit quick in transitioning from judge to judge in eliciting comments but will still adapt to their speaking patterns.

The costumes and set design are top notch, the professional dancers extremely talented, agile and skilled, and the band masterful in the rendition of instantly recognisable hits to accompany the dance acts.

Some camera angles felt oddly missing, as if the majority of cut to's were done from only one or a limited range of direction. Still, it is true "Disney-glitter television" - an immersive, highly entertaining variety TV experience that draws you in and manages to keep you spellbound.

The opening group dance number was explosive and so expansive in scope and filled with so many little details not seen on television, that some viewers would probably wish there were camera drones to capture even more different angles.

Dancing with the Stars SA is perfect TV viewing for Sunday evenings and definitely the most colourful programme in a very literal sense on all of South African television right now.

It's cute like a dog show filled with the same dramatic irony that the beautiful and beautifully dressed things have no idea what they're really in for, is filled with vibey music, and brims with more colours than Crayola.

In a world of Donald Trump, Cape Town running out of water and a lot of other troubling issues, the crystal TV palace of Dancing with the Stars SA on M-Net is a wonderful hidden hideaway, devoid of all life's problems for two hours on Sunday evenings.