kykNET has ordered the guys to ditch the shirts and is ordering a lot more male shirtless scenes for its weekday soaps as M-Net's Afrikaans channels division is also dramatically ramping up its drama and comedy content output.
Besides more Afrikaans male soap stars pushed to bare their six packs, kykNET is doubling its amount of drama content and tripling the amount of comedy produced for its channels on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform in the upcoming months.
In Suidooster on kykNET & Kie (DStv 145) it took actor Eden Classens who just joined the Cape Town set soap just two scenes to bare his body.
"New actors have been ordered to take off their shirts and to go shirtless as often as possible to give kykNET good ratings," said Nicola van Niekerk, kykNET's head of production.
Making the remark about more male shirtlessness in kykNET soaps in jest, she spoke to the media about some of kykNET's upcoming content slate and its increased Afrikaans content plans over the next year.
And while the men might be losing the shirts off their backs, with kykNET - as far as content is concerned - the channel says things have never been better.
"In the next 12 months, kykNET will bring DStv subscribers double the amount of drama content and triple the amount of comedy than before," said Nicola van Niekerk. "Content wise, things have never gone as well with kykNET as now."
Coming up is a second season of the Afrikaans drama series Boekklub in July and in October is anther new series entitled Waterfront.
"We struggled between channels about whose going to produce this show. The story is unbelievable and kykNET won and is doing it in Afrikaans. Filming will start around July and August to be ready by October."
"Comedy wise we have Phil 101 starting in April. Phil 101, is set at a fictional university's philosophy department with Frank Opperman and Pierre van Pletzen who viewers for the first time in a long time will see as a character other than 7de Laan's Oubaas, and he is a hero, together will all the new talent"," said Nicola van Niekerk.
Sara se Geheim is starting on 11 April at 20:00, a new Afrikaans drama series with 26 episodes in which the past comes back to haunt the Cloete, Kiewiet and Vermeulen families and starring June van Merch, David Minnaar, Lee-Ann van Rooi, Brendon Daniels. Marlo Minnaar and Nicola Hanekom.
"Then in July on kykNET we have Elke Skewe Pot that we're currently busy filming. It's about four old spinsters struggling to find love and then they start a dating website."
"Soaps wise, I'm a big fan. In Binnelanders a lot of drama is waiting for a pregnant Pippa. She's been through rabies - everything - what else can possibly still happen with her? I hear ghosts are waiting to haunt her. Is doctor Tertius going to finally find love - whether in a nurse's embrace or another doctor?" said Nicola van Niekerk.
"In Getroud met Rugby Sasha is being confronted with an identity crisis. I love soaps because they provide us with characters that every viewer can relate to."
"You come home in the evening and watch your soaps and can relate to the people. It's in our soaps what's happening with South Africa's people and what the Afrikaans community experiences daily".
"But we're not just telling these stories. We also have actuality programming through which we try to give unbiased context to the news to help viewers form their own opinions about the world."
"Then there's our cornerstone programming like Kwêla and Bravo who boasts some of the most beautiful presenters on television. Kwêla in its 17th year covers stories and people that are incredibly special. You can't underestimate the value of a programme like Kwêla"," said Nicola van Niekerk.
The first season of the surprise hit, Varsity Sing, the a capella university choir competition series, will be repeated on kykNET & Kie (DStv 145) in April.
Exciting varsity experiment coming to kykNET NOU!
About kykNET NOU! (DStv 146), kykNET's channel that focuses on music shows and programming, Karen Meiring, the M-Net director for Afrikaans channels, said that the viewership on kykNET NOU! is surprisingly not just young people.
"kykNET NOU! has a large number of older viewers watching it. We also focus on a lot of lifestyle and entertainment shows on kykNET NOU! We're also very excited- we're doing an experiment with kykNET NOU! with universities, that we will be talking more about soon, but it's hugely exciting."
"Our core business is to tell stories, and through our stories we want to make an impact on the wide Afrikaans community that we serve," said Karen Meiring.