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Thursday, August 27, 2015

BREAKING. The Shores returns for a 2nd season! Clifton Shores - retitled - is back with a new cast and this time you can watch it online from 16 September.


You're reading it here first.

I can exclusively reveal that The Shores, now retitled from Clifton Shores, is back, with a second season of the Quinton van der Burgh reality show set in sun-drenched Cape Town, set to start on 16 September - but now rolling out online with an episode per week.

Viewers can get ready for more bikini babes, mansions, bling and fights as the reality cameras follow the socialites, models, friends and business people converging around mining magnate and billionaire Quinton van der Burgh.

The second season follows three years the debut of Clifton Shores which was picked up by M-Net's VUZU in the latter part of 2012 and following the cat fights, conflict and love lives of a gaggle of American girls working in Cape Town and across South Africa for the mogul's Quintessential events company.

The Shores will start on 16 September with 13 episodes which will be released online on the reality show's website at theshores.tv and although it won't be initially, might even make it to local video-on-demand (VOD) services like the Times Media Group's VIDI and Naspers' new ShowMax.

One episode of The Shores per week will become available on the site as well as on The Shores' website channel at TheShoresTV, I'm told.

The second season of The Shores is flush with expensive champagne, glamorous parties and sun-soaked yachts as the well-heeled shows that they are, after all, human too.

A constant stream of drama follows Quinton van der Burgh and the collection of characters around him in the fast-paced, success-driven environment as the A-list parties at swanky events and top clubs while having to complete work events and assignments riddled with unexpected challenges and drama.

According to insiders, this time around there's more South African personalities featuring in The Shores, with just one American.

"Also this time around Quinton and his guy friends become more of the focus of the new season, compared to the American girls of the first season," says a source.

"This show was shot with the intention of reaching a global audience and we're planning to air the show online to expand it's presence internationally, rather than only airing it in South Africa," says Quinton.

"We promise to deliver more drama, entertainment and gripping reality TV than ever before."

The new cast of characters include the opinionated full-time model and blogger, Jade; the Capetonian surfer, and male model Jamie; Courtney Cousins who is a Cape Town based fashion designer; Ryan, the "sexy bad boy" and Muay Thai fighter who usually gets what he wants; and Michaela, a business woman from Las Vegas who works as Quinton's personal assistant but has her fair share of relationship drama.

The blonde Kerry from Cape Town is also a model; Justin is Quinton's trainer and best friend; and Christina is a part-time model and socialite (and registered private pilot) in for a lot of heartbreak during this season.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

National Intelligence Agency (NIA) is spying on SABC staff, says SABC trade union Bemawu, demands that SABC CEO Frans Matlala explains why.


South Africa's National Intelligence Angecy (NIA) is spying on SABC staff and the public broadcaster says the SABC trade union Bemawu who wrote to the SABC's new CEO Frans Matlala asking what is going on.

Hannes du Buisson, president of the Broadcast Electronic Media and Allied Workers' Union (Bemawu) wrote to Frans Matlala on Tuesday saying the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has "instructed SABC employees to leave their offices while operators spent between 2 and 3 hours per office for a purpose unknown to the employees".

This allegedly happened and is happening at the SABC's offices in Durban.

"We have furthermore been informed that employees were instructed to keep quiet about this and were threatened with action should they tell anybody."

Fearful SABC staff are "not sure whether secret surveillance equipment was installed in their offices, and if so, why is this happening and necessary?"

"We do not see any reason for the National Intelligence Agency to lock employees out of their offices, remaining inside alone."

"The SABC is a workplace, not a law enforcement agency or some secret organisation where NIA agents have free rein," Hannes dui Buisson wrote to Frans Matlala.

"For a state agency to act in this manner at a public broadcaster is of serious concern… such action seriously compromises what is left of the SABC's integrity."

Bemawu demands that Frans Matlala as the SABC CEO explains what is going on at the public broadcaster.

"We request your urgent intervention, assistance and explanation. We request that this secret operation be stopped and the purpose and intent be communicated to staff."

"We also want an explanation as to why the National Intelligence Agency finds it necessary to put employees out of their offices, invading their privacy and work space, where they spent the majority of the day and a substantial time of their lives."

BREAKING. Mishka Patel quietly dumped as co-presenter from Private Property, Plascon, Nedbank an LG's Win a Home on SABC3.


Miskha Patel who was "overwhelmed" to be the new co-presenter of the second season of Plascon, Private Property, Nedbank, LG and Mercedes-Benz' advertiser-funded production (AFP) Win a Home has been dumped shortly before the first episode aired this past Friday.

That's after Miskha Patel was already talking about how she was "excited for the journey ahead".

TVSA has the story of the shocking way in which Mishka Patel was unceremoniously cut from Win a Home after Expresso and SABC3 told viewers she is one of the presenters, and after Miskha Patel on social media gushed about the show and her presenting gig.

While Mishka Patel was previously announced, she was suddenly, embarrassingly, no longer a part of Win a Home's second season, with no word from SABC3, Tswelopele Productions producing Win a Home or any of the sponsors on why she was suddenly missing in action.

While imaging with Khanya Siyengo together with Mishka Patel and SABC3 branding appeared beforehand as well as other pictures of them together, and them being interviewed together on Expresso, Khanya Siygeno was suddenly the sole presenter.

Mishka Patel is gone.

"A revision of the show's format, aligned to the reality format, informs the programme's current look and feel," says Win a Home.

"Final testing with the client" apparently led to the axing of Mishka Patel for reasons unknown.

"It sucks and reveals just how hectic and ruthless the TV industry can be," writes TVSA editor Tashi Tagg.

"What's so especially shocking is about this particular situation is how it was so publicly confirmed by so many of those involved with the series. The Win a Home Twitter account retweeted Expresso's tweet about the two of them hosting together," TVSA reports.

"The situation also highlights what a huge problem it is when shows are at the mercy of sponsors in advertiser-funded shows."

The irony for many is how television and programming about beautiful things and about the creation and showcasing of beautiful things externally, often has a mostly hidden, ugly underbelly.

It's not clear why a show like Win a Home and SABC3 would trot out someone like Mishka Patel, have her talk on public television about being a co-presenter, then cut her in conjunction with a client or clients of the advertiser-funded production - and then not explain her sudden absence.

It leaves so many questions about the ugly brand damage inflicted on sponsors, a broadcaster and the business of creating beauty.

BREAKING. She's the One and Edgars dump SABC3 as the reality show jumps to e.tv for its second season promising 'clashes and conflicts'.


The advertiser-funded production (AFP) She's the One and Edgars have dumped SABC3 with the second season of the locally produced reality show by Cheeky Media suddenly jumping to rival e.tv from 15 September at 20:30.

The show which suffered low ratings in the recent first season on SABC3 abruptly switched channels and will now be on e.tv with presenter Thapelo Mokoena and judges Belinda Driemeyer, Kojo Baffoe and Tumi Morake.

Edgars which suffered its own recent mark-up sales scandal will use the show to push the retailer's brand with the inclusion of Sandy Rogers, an Edgars executive into the show to market Edgars' clothing.

E.tv promises that the second season will be better than the first one and deliver more "fierce, fabulous and real" viewing as 13 contestants, living under one roof, compete to become the next "it girl" like in America's Next Top Model currently on SABC3.

e.tv is now playing up the conflict for She's the One, saying the show takes "reality TV to the next level, with constant personality clashes and conflicts" as every episode "pitches the girls against each other". The winner will represent Edgars.

"She's the One is the first of its kind on our channel, and it will captivate our viewers as weekly drama unfolds," says Monde Twala, e.tv MD.

"Cheeky Media and Edgars are proud to announce that the second season of She's the One will be broadcast on e.tv in September," says Yusuf Stevens, executive producer.

About leaving SABC3 for e.tv he says the show is incredibly happy to be on the new channel.

"We are incredibly happy to have our new e.tv family on board for the much anticipated return of She's the One."

Ultimate Braai Master with Justin Bonello similarly started on SABC3 and left for e.tv and SA's Got Talent which started on SABC2 also left the public broadcaster for e.tv.

INTERVIEW. Joel Churcher on the BBC channels changing in Africa: 'Making them future-proof, sharp, consumer-facing, and playing to our strengths'.



The BBC's channels from BBC Worldwide are changing in South Africa and across the African continent, with the introduction of BBC First, BBC Brit and BBC Earth, sitting alongside the existing BBC Lifestyle, kids channel CBeebies and BBC World News.

In a wide-ranging interview about the BBC channels changing, I spoke to Joel Churcher, the vice president and general manager for Africa.

Joel Churcher spoke about the decision, the work that went into it, provides insights about the content aspects and considerations - and he reveals what's most exciting for him about the looming BBC channels change.


Why the decision the change and launch all of the new BBC channels from BBC Worldwide at the same time instead of changing just one like BBC Knowledge first to BBC Earth and using a phased approach?
Joel Churcher: It makes sense for us to do all at once as one big bang from a marketing perspective. 

But this is also a global roll-out and if you look at what happened in other markets, not all of those markets took all the channels for their own reasons.

The affiliate partner already maybe had a drama channel or already had a natural history channel, whereas with MultiChoice they’re a big fan of the BBC channels, so it's a discussion we had with MultiChoice and they said ‘great, we want all of it’. 

So it makes sense for us to launch it all at the same time. So South Africa as you know is the first country to get all three global brands as well as keeping CBeebies, BBC Lifestyle and BBC World News. So South Africa gets the full 6 BBC channel portfolios.


Why the decision to turn BBC Knowledge which becomes BBC Earth into an HD channel, and how does that make that channel better?
Joel Churcher: Firstly as a premium broadcaster all of our stuff is shot in HD. 

And again its up to the affiliate partner to decide if they’ve got enough capacity to broadcast this from their satellite to the consumer in HD or SD. 

Obviously we can deliver all of our new stuff in HD and in fact some of our natural history stuff is being shot in 4K.

So it makes sense if we’re filming natural history in HD which is probably how its best being enjoyed, to play it out in HD, but not all our affiliate partners around the world have that capacity. MultiChoice has limited spectrum on their ssatellite in order to play it out, so of the channels they want in HD, they chose the natural history one to be played out in HD.


For DStv subscribers who might not have access to BBC First when that starts, would some of that content eventually become available on BBC Brit as well?
Joel Churcher: Under the filters of the channels, they’ve been very much curated to play to BBC strengths. 

In research about two years ago when we looked at our global offering, it was decided that we’ve got three pillars that we’re really good at: premium drama, factual entertainment and the third one is natural history.

So those three global brands were born out of those research strengths. BBC Brit is obviously factual entertainment, using the spirit of Top Gear and that sense of humour. BBC First is a pure drama channel and on that you will only get the best of British or the BBC’s drama offering.

Natural history fits on BBC Earth, but I should say that Earth isn’t just a natural history channel, there’s a lot more to it – documentaries on questions about how did we get to be here, what it is to be human.

The BBC is platform agnostic. We make a billion pounds a year in selling our TV shows to some of the biggest broadcasters on the planet. Drama will sit on BBC First if that channel is in that market, but drama certainly as a TV sales business certainly goes all over the world.

Certainly my vision in Africa is to offer our content wider than the MultiChoice family.

So of course the MultiChoice subscriber will always get first run brand new stuff because that’s what they’re paying for. 

But as you know, we’ve done deals with VIDI [Times Media Group], we’ve done deals with M-Net, with [Naspers’] new SVOD player ShowMax, so it goes to say that over the next five years as Africa gets its mojo as over-the-top (OTT) players, there will be other opportunities to watch BBC drama outside of BBC First.


How much work went into this – I don’t know what the word would be – realignment or alignment to eventually roll out the new BBC brands in Africa? Because it was first Australia for BBC First and now then some BBC channels across Europe and now Africa. It’s actually very quick that these new brands are coming to this continent as well. How much work did it entail?
Joel Churcher: We’re methodical and we have to be. 

There are so many stakeholders involved here from a corporate communications, from a corporate brand perspective, from a content perspective in terms of what we’re buying and what we’re making, our partnerships with our indies – there’s over 200 that we support in the UK, and obviously looking at our affiliate partners as well. So, an awful lot.

Research was done about what our three strengths were and try to build and curate and embody those strengths and not just be pure about it but also have some stretch as well - so there’s flexibility in local markets.

In Poland they launched BBC Brit and BBC Earth. There isn’t a BBC First. In Australia there’s a pure drama channel; and there is in Benelux. 

And I believe the Benelux BBC First is a lot darker as a drama offering; they enjoy quiet drama a lot more than other markets. So there’s a lot of flexibility for us to make sure that we tailor the offering to our consumers wherever they are in the world.

Research was carried out by international agencies in New York in terms of the brand identity and the messaging that these brands will roll out globally.

The beauty and brains in London they worked effortlessly to work to get these brands so they could not just deliver and house content but also so they became more consumer-facing so that we future-proof ourselves and business for the next 5 to 10 years, so that if pay-TV in other parts of the world takes a nose dive, then these brands can live outside of a linear TV space.

So BBC Earth is a live event and a cinema experience in Japan. So an awful lot of work, discussion and partnerships have gone in to make sure that these brands are future-proof, that they look sharp, that they’re consumer facing and that they play to our strengths.


BBC Worldwide has made great inroads to bring a lot of the content quicker to BBC Entertainment for instance over the past few years. Will that still be a part of the value offering for BBC First? How important is it for viewers in Africa to get content quicker,or is it not yet such a priority for them?
Joel Churcher: It’s always important for us to make sure that content arrives to the audience as soon as we can.
It’s very much our ambition to make sure that they get it as close to the UK TX as possible.

However, under the TV business model, a lot of the content we provide on our channel isn’t ours. We have to go buy it; making sure that that channel offering reflect what the audience likes. The best example is Downton Abbey. Not ours. It means we have to buy it. We have to enter negotiations with NBC. 

Top Gear for example is ours. So the fact that we can do a simulcast day and date is a great example of how we can do that.

But a lot of stuff we do, and Lifestyle is a great example – a lot of that is content we buy specifically for Lifestyle for South African viewers. 

But that involves under the TV model us going out and negotiating with content producers and other distributors and making sure that we’re getting that content. But that can take time. 

So something can play out on ITV on Monday night. We have to sit and negotiate for the next three months to get it on our channel in South Africa and that is why viewers might experience some lag time between the UK TX and South Africa.


What makes you the most excited about the coming change and what are you personally looking forward to the most? Not perhaps in terms of programming but of this next new BBC chapter?
Joel Churcher: I can give you my best example which is managing to get our content down into DStv Compact. So BBC Brit is now a Compact channel. So DStv channel 120 is now DStv Compact. And that can sit next to BBC Lifestyle.

So BBC Brit, although its enjoyed by young adults and women, it’s very much curated and put together as a “male” channel; that will then offset BBC Lifestyle as a female channel. And there you’ve got two brilliant Compact channels from the BBC. So that opens up a massive more viewership for us.

The other exciting thing for me is CBeebies. CBeebies has always been stuck up in the rafters as a DStv Premium channel, and that’s now going down into Compact as well, so we can wow our fans – our preschoolers – and it obviously means that our content can be seen by a lot more South Africans that we have over the last 7 years.

We've got two up in DStv Premium – BBC First and BBC Earth, and two down in Compact – BBC Brit and BBC Lifestyle, along with CBeebies and BBC World News which goes across the continent. That’s the most exciting thing.  

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

BREAKING. MultiChoice opening The Disney Channel from 8 September to DStv Extra, DStv Compact subscribers for Descendants movie.


MultiChoice is opening The Disney Channel (DStv 303) to all lower-tiered DStv Extra and DStv Compact subscribers for 20 days from 8 September to co-incide with the broadcast of the new made-for-TV movie Descendants.

The Disney Channel will be unblocked on DStv from 8 to 28 September for Descendants that will be broadcast on Friday 18 September at 17:00.

The new musical telefilm revolves around the teenage offspring of fantasy Disney villains who are all living on the Isle of the Lost.

The high schoolers attending Auradon Prep must decide whether they're going to be "bad" like their infamous parents who include Cruella de Vil, Maleficent, Jafar and the Evil Queen or whether there's "good" in them.

Besides Descendants The Disney Channel is also rolling out the new third season of the telenovela Violetta from 21 September at 16:10, followed by the I Love Violetta companion show from Friday 25 September at 17:00 which is The Walt Disney Company Africa's first local South African production on the channel.

Other new Disney Channel content new premiere episodes of Jessie, Liv & Maddie, I Didn’t Do It and The Next Step as well as classic Disney movies like The Incredibles, Enchanted and The Princess Diaries.

Platco Digital's OpenView HD reaches 200 000 customers; will enhance offering with further new TV channels added soon.


OpenView HD will reach its 200 000 installation and activation within days since the free-to-air satellite TV service launched in South Africa in October 2013.

OpenView HD is operated by Platco Digital with its head office in Johannesburg and is backed by e.tv's parent company Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI).

In 2014 Ellies, the JSE-listed electronics distributor said that OpenView HD "has been slow to take off" and that there's been a poor uptake of the service but OpenView HD.

E.tv started OpenView HD as a counter and interim measure to due to government's long-delayed switch-on of commercial digital terrestrial television (DTT) in South Africa and things are now looking better for OpenView HD.

OpenView HD tells TV with Thinus that a target of 170 000 box sales was set for this financial year and OpenView HD has already sold 100 000 boxes.

OpenView HD sold an average of 3 500 boxes per month last year and is now averaging sales of 26 000 boxes per month.

"The growth of OpenView HD is better than expected," says Maxwell Nonge, the managing director of Platco Digital.

"In its 1st year OpenView HD was accepted into 50 000 households. To date there has been a 300% increase in the uptake which will get OpenView HD to 200 000 active decoders."

Maxwell Nonge says "viewers can look forward to an even more enhanced offering from the platform, as new channels will be added to the bouquet soon".

"Content that will be added is guided by focused consumer research to ensure that the channels are in line with the target audience's viewing patters."

OpenView HD has 19 entertainment channels, including the SABC's SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3, and carries 5 radio stations.

OpenView HD decoders retails for R399 which excludes the dish and installation. It uses the same dish alignment as MultiChoice's DStv which means that OpenView HD viewers don't need to buy a second satellite dish and only the decoder.

Monday, August 24, 2015

BREAKING. New zombie drama, Fear The Walking Dead, a massive hit for AMC Networks International's AMC on DStv and StarSat.


New zombie drama and The Walking Dead spin-off, Fear the Walking Dead is a massive hit right out of the box for AMC (DStv 140 / StarSat 115) which now has instant must-watch, appointment television on Monday nights.

Fear the Walking Dead which made its monster debut on Sunday night in America on AMC and was shown on Monday morning at 03:10 on AMC in South Africa on MultiChoice's DStv and On Digital Media's StarSat and again in its regular primetime timeslot of 20:00, logged an astounding 10.1 million viewers in the United States.

The viewership - 6.3 million of them in the desired 18-49 adult demographic - instantly propelled Fear the Walking Dead to the number one drama series premiere in pay-TV history in America which is a new ratings record.

Fear the Walking Dead produced by AMC Studios now holds the record as the most watched series premiere of any TV drama in pay-TV in the United States.

It's also history-making and highly significant for South Africa's TV and pay-TV industry, and here's why.

Although Fear the Walking Dead received barely any marketing and publicity push before its debut in South Africa today, it means that South African viewers are getting a premium brand-new TV drama, which is instantly a primetime hit, virtually simultaneous with the United States, but accessible on several lower-tiered, non-premium satellite pay-TV bouquets.

StarSat subscribers get AMC - and therefore Fear the Walking Dead - included on the StarSat Smart package for R149 per month. DStv subscribers on all packages get access to AMC - down to the cheapest DStv EasyView for R39 per month.

It means that DStv, StarSat and AMC can market and promote the hit zombie drama to virtually the  entire existing pay-TV subscriber base in South Africa.

For AMC, run by AMC Networks International Zone (AMCI Zone), Fear the Walking Dead represents a massive upgrade and and opportunity in South Africa and Africa to elevate the channel's brand and awareness of it.

The channel changed and rebranded from the stale, library title filled MGM channel to AMC only from December 2014 and can now suddenly boast the year's latest biggest TV hit, eclipsing M-Net's Game of Thrones and FOX's Empire.

Fear the Walking Dead gives AMC not just buzzy appointment television in primetime over the next few weeks but dramatically elevates the channel proposition and the AMC brand.

With the new new premium drama hour AMCI Zone which will get the chance to showcase and perhaps expose new viewers to the channel for the first time who might not have channel hopped to AMC before.

Now having a premium, first-run drama express from the United States and the year's biggest pay-TV hit is somewhat ironic for AMC, given that MultiChoice, when it was added as the MGM channel just over a year and a half ago in November 2013, initially didn't want to give the channel to its top-tiered DStv Premium subscribers but soon relented following a public backlash.

MultiChoice said at the time that the repeat filled MGM wasn't intended for DStv Premium subscribers but realised that "Premium customers would like to have the full range of channels available on their package".

Imagine the outcry now if higher-tiered pay-TV subscribers like DStv Premium customers were blocked from seeing and following the start of the latest zombie apocalypse.

"Thank you and congratulations to Robert Kirkman, Dave Erickson, the brilliant executive producers and the entire cast and crew of Fear the Walking Dead," says Charlie Collier, president of AMC in a statement.

"Fear the Walking Dead delivered record-breaking numbers that are all the more special in this era of time-shifted viewing and audience fragmentation."

"To have a companion series to the number one show on television driving communal, urgent viewing, social activity and pop cultural relevance of this magnitude is truly differentiating. Of course none of it is possible without the fans, whose passion leads to these remarkable results," says Charlie Collier.

"It is extremely exciting that we are broadcasting such fresh and interesting shows," says Ian Woodrow, the head of content at StarSat in a statement about Fear the Walking Dead.  "We have a whole new line-up of content with Fear the Walking Dead leading the way."

Fear the Walking Dead is a spin-off prequel set in Los Angeles and will follow the start of the zombie outbreak with a first season of 6 episodes starring Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Frank Dillane and Ruben Blades.

It will be followed by the 6th season of The Walking Dead starting on 11 October in America and shown very soon after on FOX International Channel's FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131).

SABC adds audio description as a trial project from September to SABC1's Zulu drama Sticks & Stones for visually impaired viewers.


As a trial project, the SABC will introduce audio description from 1 September on the repeat broadcast of the SABC1 Zulu language local drama Sticks & Stones.

It's not yet clear how ordinary terrestrial SABC1 viewers or those watching SABC1 on MultiChoice's DStv, On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat or Platco Digital's OpenView HD will be able to access and enable the option to hear the audio description on Sticks & Stones, or whether it will be a compulsory soundtrack as part of the test.

Audio description, also known as video description or visual description, is done for two reasons: firstly to enable visually impaired viewers to get an audio "reading" of what is happening or screen and written on screen, secondly being able to follow a show and therefore what is being said in another language as a translation service.

Visually impaired viewers will now be able to hear what they can't see on Sticks & Stones like production credits and descriptions of what is being shown when there are no characters or only actions or scene-setting shots.

The audio description trial won't come with other language audio tracks however and will just be in Zulu, the same as the show.

The trial project forms part of the SABC trying to gear up to provide audio description options on some programming once the government's long-delayed digital terrestrial television (DTT) finally starts in South Africa with a commercial service.

Viewers will then be able to toggle and choose the additional audio description or sound track on selected SABC programming.

Depending on funding, cost and capacity, its theoretically possible that SABC viewers in future might be able to listen to a show like Sticks & Stones in one of the other 10 official languages like Venda for instance as a service provided by the public broadcaster.

SuperSport already runs multiple commentary audio tracks in different languages for some major sport events on DStv; and TV channels like Glow TV (DStv 167 / OVHD 108) gives DStv and OpenView HD users a choice to toggle between an English or Hindi sound track. Its however different language options and not actual audio description.

Renee Williams, series commissioning editor at the SABC says the public broadcaster has empowered a blind company with this production which in turn helps with the training and development of blind audio describers through the production of Sticks & Stones.

"SABC TV is proud of the achievements of Audio Describe, not only in the training of audio description but in the successful production of this show and hopes that together with the support of stakeholders, it can broaden its development of blind viewers in the creative industry," says Renee Williams.

SABC2's Hectic Nine-9 from Okuhle Media reaches its 2000th episode on Tuesday; will feature Freshlyground and fans to help celebrate.


When the cameras roll tomorrow, Tuesday 25 August, the youth focused afternoon programming block Hectic Nine-9 on SABC2 will reach its 2000th episode

Since 2007 Hectic Nine-9, also abbreviated as Hn9, has seen a revolving door of teen presenters come and go as the show grew not just its timeslot ratings but also its timeslot duration to an hour from the beginning of 2012.

As the production changed studios a few times over the past 8 years, incorporated social media and tackled current youth issues, it also incorporated the highly successful and well-liked teen drama mini-series Signal High.

Former Hectic Nine-9 presenter Danilo Acquisto who moved behind the scenes as producer, transitioned earlier this year to SABC3's weekday afternoon variety and talk show Afternoon Express.

The Hectic Nine-9 studio hosted not only local bands and celebrities but saw soccer teams, dance crews, horses, a cheetah and even a 45 member choir visit.

Hectic Nine-9, currently broadcasting Mondays to Fridays at 16:00 on SABC2, is produced by Okuhle Media in Cape Town and is currently being done live daily from MagnaTude Studios in Observatory, sourcing content from all of South Africa's provinces.

"I am incredibly proud of the growth of the show," says executive producer Louise McClelland. "Hectic Nine-9 touches lives every day, in a way we never expected.”

"2000 episodes is a milestone most TV shows only dream of reaching," says Wilna van Schalkwyk, series producer. "What a proud moment to see this incredible show grow into one of the biggest and most successful youth shows produced in South Africa."

"Eight years of Hectic Nine-9 means that a person who started watching the show when they were 12 is now 20 – a significant leap – and our interaction with this viewer shows us a fun, creative, determined and independent thinker who has his or her future firmly in their hands," says Mpumi Ngidi, SABC commissioning editor of the show.

Tuesday's 2000th episode will celebrate the milestone in style on-air with band Freshlyground making an appearance and performing. Hectic Nine-9 will also have fans in the studio.

At the moment Hectic Nine-9 producers are working on a technological treasure hunt celebrating South Africa's diversity. From there the show goes into planning episodes for the upcoming festive season at the end of the year and then brainstorming the new season.

Adrian Pilkington appointed as senior vice president for distribution and strategy at A+E Networks UK from September.

A+E Networks has appointed Adrian Pilkington (right) at Sky as senior vice president, distribution and strategy at A+E Networks UK.

A+E Networks UK is a joint venture between A+E Networks and Sky and provide channels like History, Crime+Investigation Network, Lifetime to MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform in South Africa and throughout Africa.

A+E Networks UK now has an office in Johannesburg as well, besides the ones in London, Copenhagen and Warsaw.

Adrian Pilkington is joining A+E Networks UK in this newly created role from 1 September and will oversee branded channel and digital distribution across the United Kingdom as well as the Middle East and Africa (the CEEMEA region).

"We are continuing to build a first class management team at A+E Networks UK to drive the growth of our brands and business," says Dean Possenniskie, the managing director for the EMEA region for A+E Networks.

"Distribution and strategy is a key element to our future success and growth plans, and I am delighted to bring an executive of Adrian Pilkington's calibre and experience to lead this area of our business."

Burton Jablin appointed as COO of Scripps Networks Interactive; Kathleen Finch appointed chief of programming and content officer.

In the United States Scripps Networks Interactive has promoted Burton Jablin (left) to chief operating officer (COO), while Kathleen Finch has been appointed chief programming, content and brand officer.

Scripps Networks Interactive runs channels like The Travel Channel and The Food Network which are available through Scripps Networks International on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform, and Fine Living Network (FLN) on On Digital Media (ODM) and StarTimes Media SA's StarSat satellite pay-TV platform.

Burton Jablin who will report to Scripps Networks Interactive CEO Kenneth Lowe, will be overseeing sales, distribution, programming, digital and strategic planning for the company.

Burton Jablin will have to look at greater coordination and cooperation between Scripps Networks' programming in the United States and its international programming as seen for instance in South Africa and elsewhere around the world as the group continues to expand internationally.

Kathleen Finch will now be responsible for content in the United States - a lot of which filters through and is seen internationally on the international versions of these channels like The Travel Channel and The Food Network.

"As Scripps Networks Interactive continues to grow, both in the United States and internationally, it's important that we take a more coordinated approach to how we operate our business and create content," says Kenneth Lowe.

e.tv's embarrassing no-show at Coke Studio launch where Cassper Nyovest is nowhere to be seen; Zahara pulls a disappearing act on SABC1.


Cassper Nyovest ended up being a no-show at e.tv's embarrassing Coke Studio media launch - and then there's dear Zahara who left panicked SABC1 producers likewise in the lurch on the live Sport @ 10. Allegedly.

First to the blatant rip-off of SABC2's Jam Sandwich, e.tv's latest advertiser-funded production (AFP) from Coca-Cola, Coke Studio starting tonight on e.tv at 20:30.

The lame launch was hilarious (and I don't mean that in a funny or good way) when Cassper Nyovest was nowhere to be seen or heard in Sandton.

Why was this Coca-Cola mess embarrassing?

Well, how about I tell you that J'Something appears with Cassper Nyovest in tonight's first episode on e.tv.

No problem yet.

Well, how about I tell you that e.tv and Coca-Cola specifically focused and chose to show how Cassper Nyovest show up late for the studio recording and then complain that the song's new arrangement isn't working for him.

Then add J'Something singing the new colab at the shindig ... uhm, with no Cassper Nyovest. Alone.

Gotta ask: Why sing when the very raison d'etre isn't there or possible? Who does this? Who organises this? Who has no clue and never heard of the words "reputation management" when it comes to brand damage?

So unprofessional from, and for, e.tv, Coca-Cola, J'Something and Cassper Nyovest. And awkward, to say the least.

It's as embarrassingly bad as last year's shocking no-show when Diamond Platnumz was supposed to perform live at MultiChoice's DStv content showcase in Mauritius.

After MultiChoice spent lotsa moneys to film a colab music video with African artists for its shortlived "Africa Rising" campaign, the stage was literally set for a "big reveal" and first live performance to wow the press.

But the Diamond missed his flight and wasn't on stage with the other artists for the opening night of the DStv content showcase on the island. Cue the eye rolls and pass the bread rolls.

Moving on, there's also dear ol' Zahara.

Poor thing was set to show (allegedly!) at Sport @ 10 on SABC1. Only, said butterfly (real name: Bulelwa Mkutukana) was allegedly a no-show.

Cue panicked SABC1 producers, according to Sunday Sun, and the SABC of course, mostly clueless.

Producers scrambled to find a replacement for the live show with rappa "JR" who came to the producers' rescue.

Sunday Sun reported dear Zee told them she had a "family crisis". They didn't believe her. Meanwhile Zahara's manager Sanele Dlamini knew of no SABC1 appearance.

A source told the Sunday tabloid that the Zeezee was "either scared of the fact that the show is love, or she was double-booked".

Why can't we all just watch Gospel Classics, show up, and get along, people?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Joey Jones done with Sky News after 16 years; British news channel's deputy political editor leaving Sky News and journalism for PR job.

Joey Jones, the deputy political editor at Sky News (DStv 402) is done with the British 24-hour TV news channel and journalism - at least the reporting side of it.

Joey Jones was promoted to deputy political editor at Sky News in 2010.

Joey Jones joined Sky News as a freelancer from BBC radio in 1999. He got a permanent appointment in 2002 at Sky News and joined Sky News' political team in 2007.

Now after 16 years at Sky News and almost a decade of covering Westminster, Joey Jones is leaving Sky News for a public relations job in the technology industry.

"After 18 years in journalism, 16 at Sky + near a decade at Westminster I’m soon leaving all three. V grateful to the many who've helped me," Joey Jones told his followers on Twitter.

"Will soon be comms advisor in tech industry. Big change! Feels like the right time…"

Friday, August 21, 2015

Win a Home back on SABC3 for a second season and a 'design' edition with 14 aspiring designers; Khanya Siyengo added as new presenter.


The advertiser-funded reality competition show Win a Home is back on SABC3 from tonight at 19:30 for a second season which will be a "design edition" and presented by Khanya Siyengo.

The real estate competition and design show from Tswelopele Productions returns for a second season in which 14 aspiring interior designers will compete against each other in difficult design challenges that will push them, and their imaginations, to the limit for the chance to win R100 000.

A viewer will once again get the chance to win a multi-million rand home.

With Maps Maponyane who previously presented now doing I Am South African on ANN7 (DStv 405), Khanya Siyengo is stepping as the new presenter who rose to prominence in the recent Presenter Search on 3 TV talent search competition.

SABC3 and Tswelopele Productions have now found success with nifty style and glamour TV that's resonating with viewers, cleverly exploiting the Friday evening timeslot where viewers now flock to and the end of a busy week to watch beautiful television combined with a competition and prize element.

In the second season of Win a Home which will be a "design edition" the 14 hopefuls will battle on a construction site as they pick their interior design themes before rolling up their sleeves to transform three living units into homes with cutting edge design aesthetics - together with mind-boggling deadlines.

The 14 will compete in individual and team challenges and those making it through will get another week on Win a Home.

The 14 contestants in the second season are Lesego Shika (an interior decorator who loves landscaping), Glorinah Mabaso (a freelance interior designer), Lance Surgeson (design-company owner and surfer), fashionista Kefiloe Sebati, Siyanda Mazibuko (carpenter), Jacoline Sema (interior designer) and Wanga Ngwane (a furniture and shoe designer).

The others are Renate Stuurman (the actress with a passion for design), Travis Hyde (an event management consultant), Sifiso Shange (a street art loving Durbanite), eco-conscious Rochelle le Roux, Bridgette Ramakhapele (digital fabric printing owner), Zimkhita Sidumo (an accountant turned interior decorator), and Larochelle van Rensburg (interior decorating student).

Every episode of Win a Home will visit a different top South African designer - ranging from product designers responsible for products like lamps to interior decorators - who will give insight into the creative process and join the judges, Anne Roselt and Simon Bray in deciding who stays and who goes.