Friday, October 2, 2015

Samsung launches South Africa's first news-on-demand, purpose-built eNCA app with video news on Samsung Smart TV's; first of its kind in Africa.

Samsung Smart TV's news-on-demand, purpose-built eNCA (DStv 403) app with video news for Smart TV's is a first of its kind in Africa.

Currently neither MultiChoice's DStv Explora nor MultiChoice's DStv Catch Up service provide any daily updated video-on-demand (VOD) TV news in its on demand content offering, and neither does streaming VOD services like the recently launched ShowMax or ONTAPtv for people who quickly want to get a sense of the day's news.

People with connected Samsung Smart TV sets are now however able to get some type of video news through using the app.

"We are excited to launch South Africa's first video-rich TV news app," says Matthew Thackrah, the deputy managing director and head of consumer electronics at Samsung Electronics South Africa.

"With progressively more connected technologies available in the market, consumers can access content across a variety of mediums. Our partnership with eNCA gives Samsung Smart TV owners a new way to consume news. The app means they can actively select the stories they want to learn more about, at their convenience," says Matthew Thackrah.

Samsung's eNCA app for South Africa has been designed with its Smart TV platform.

The eNCA news inserts on the app complement those featured on the eNCA website.

The eNCA app's emphasis is on video stories supported by minimal text for a visual experience, says Samsung. Users can access the text and images featured on the eNCA website through the Smart TV app if they want to supplement the stories with more depth.

Samsung says the existing eNCA Smart TV app is the second most popular app among Samsung Smart TV users in South Africa.

Samsung approached eNCA with the intention of collaborating with the 24-hour TV news channel from Sabido to offer viewers a value-added service.

The eNCA app also allows viewers to toggle a news ticker, that provides news headlines at the bottom of the TV screen that viewers can see scrolling wile they watch something else.

"Samsung Smart TV consumers are now able to watch the news on their terms – as and when they want to. They can also keep up to date with the latest headlines while watching TV."

"We are proud to deliver South Africa's first video-rich TV news app in partnership with Samsung," says Timothy Spira, general manager of eNCA's online division.

"When Samsung approached us to partner in developing and promoting a purpose-built eNCA app, we embraced the opportunity to be present on the leading Smart TV platform in South Africa."

Tech Report returning to eNCA for limited number of 13 episodes after the Homebrew Films produced gadget and technology show managed to get FNB as a sponsor.

Tech Report is returning to eNCA (DStv 403) for a limited number of episodes after the long running local weekly gadget and technology show which was abruptly cancelled in June managed to find a sponsor.

Tech Report which used to run continuously since November 2011 suddenly got the chop in June this year as part of eNCA's dramatic cut back on current affairs programming forming part of the bigger budget scaledown which saw the shuttering of eNCA's Africa division and the closure of its news bureaux across the continent and in Beijing, the exit of several anchors and correspondents and the end of several other shows like Africa 360.

When Tech Report ended in June, eNCA in response to a media enquiry denied that the episode order of its other local current affairs show Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola has been cut and said that it will return shortly with the same amount of episodes as previous seasons. Instead, that show got cancelled last month as well before a new season started.

Together with SABC3's Top Billing, Tech Report was the only other locally made TV show included on South African Airways' Airscape in-flight entertainment system, watched by millions of passengers the past few years.

Tech Report will now return for 13 half hour episodes from Wednesday 7 October at 21:30 as an advertiser-funded production (AFP) after First National Bank came aboard as sponsor, essentially saving the show and making the new short season possible.

Homebrew Films will continue to produce the highly regarded Tech Report and managed to retain most of the previous presenters.

Tapfuma Makina will host Tech Report again but there will be a slight tweak to the on-screen graphics and the show will now be done from the new and eNCA Cape Town studios in Roeland Street and broadcast from there.

"We're proud to be working with the Tech Report team again and of the support we have received from FNB," says Patrick Conroy, eNCA managing director.

Praising FNB he says "they understand that technology has increasingly become part of our daily existence and that consumers are constantly seeking new ways to improve their lives through technology. We believe this enhanced offering of Tech Report will engage and entertain our viewers."

The other previous presenters who are back include Seth Rotherham with his quirky, off-the-wall type inserts, Juliet McGuire and Grant Hinds doing game reviews and who also appeared on SABC3's Expresso.

In the first new episode of Tech Report Seth Rotherham will review the Apple Watch and Grant Hinds tries to make sense of the new Film and Publication Board regulations and how it will affect all South Africans.

BBC creating a young adult Doctor Who spinoff entitled Class written by young adult author Patrick Ness; will film in Wales for broadcast in 2016.

The BBC has commissioned a young adult spin-off of the science fiction show Doctor Who, entitled Class set in contemporary London.

In South Africa and across Africa the iconic British series has been seen on BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) on MultiChoice's DStv and will be seen on BBC First (DStv 119) when that channel launches on 18 October.

BBC Worldwide's so-called "global" Doctor Who tour last year infamously shunned Africa and went to every big inhabited continent except for Africa when neither Johannesburg, Lagos, Cape Town or Nairobi were good, safe or important enough for Peter CapaldiJenna Coleman and executive producer Steven Moffatt.

Now Doctor Who is getting a spin-off with Class which is produced by BBC Cymru Wales in association with BBC Worldwide, written by young adult author Patrick Ness.

Class will start filming around Wales and is set for broadcast in 2016 with a first season of eight 45-minute episodes.

Class is the 4th Doctor Who spin-off, following Torchwood which ran for four seasons before getting cancelled, the animated series K-9, and The Sarah Jane Chronicles of five seasons.

"No one has documented the dark and exhilarating world of the teenager like Patrick Ness, and now we're bringing his brilliant story-telling into Doctor Who," says Steven Moffat in a statement. "This is growing up in modern Britain - but with monsters!"

"I'm astounded and thrilled to be entering the Doctor Who universe, which is as vast as time and space itself," says Patrick Ness.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

October is Africa on CNN International as the channel dedicates the month to African programming with the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards.

To co-incide with the 20th CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards that will be held on 10 October in Nairobi, Kenya, CNN International (DStv 401) is dedicating October to what it calls Africa Now" programming.

CNN International viewers have been seeing the "October is Africa" on-air promo running since September on the news channel.

The Business View (broadcast daily at 12:00 ) during October will include a new segment weekly entitled "Africa Now" that will focus on an element of African business, from innovation to workforce trends and that has an impact on the continent.

On the Road Ethiopia is a half-hour programme that will cover Ethiopia's Feast of Meskel festival.

On the Road Tanzania is a half-hour programme that will cover Tanzania's art scene and biodiversity.

Leading Women will have CNN International anchor Robyn Kriel interview the Oscar winning Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o.on Wednesday 28 October at 10:30 and 17:30.

Meanwhile the weekly One Square Meter in Connect the World (daily at 17:00) will focus entirely on Africa during October. Reports will include a look at the One Airport Square in Accra, Ghana as well as the Contemporary Art Museum in Cape Town, South Africa and two more stories from Ethiopia and Nigeria.

Then there's the regular programming strands Inside Africa, African Voices, CNN Marketplace Africa, Africa View and African Start-Up that will continue to cover the African continent during October.

African Voices is on CNN International every Friday at 10:30 and Saturdays at 16:30 (or watch it online at

CNN Marketplace Africa is on CNN International every Friday and Saturday at 17:15.

During October CNN Digital will also publish a range of multi-media and social content to complement the news channel's Africa programming.

"CNN has a long-standing commitment through our five dedicated Africa programming strands - more than any other international network - to uncover vibrant stories and trends from across the continent," says Ellana Lee, the senior vice president and managing editor at CNN International.

"We are pleased to showcase the very best that Africa has to offer during a celebratory occasion of the 20th CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards."

Today's interesting TV stories to read from TV with Thinus - 1 October 2015

Tim Gunn trashes Anna Wintour.
You simply MUST watch what Tim Gunn reveals about Anna Wintour and the Vogue editor to Meredith Vieira of The Meredith Vieira Show on SABC3.

Why allow a con-artist to bleed the SABC dry?
More reaction to the SABC's matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng and his massive salary of R3.78 million.
Hlaudi Motsoeneng "has a knack for saying the dumbest things" and "each time his bloodshot eyes glare at us from newspaper pages or television screens, he is taunting us".
Hlaudi Motsoeneng's massive SABC salary "is bizarre," says the Public Protector.
"The SABC needs to fire Hlaudi Motsoeneng".
Meanwhile the SABC's SABC News tries to "dispel confusion" over Hlaudi Motsoeneng's salary in a news story insert that is real news and not satire and not fake and not a joke.
Hlaudi Motsoeneng claims: "I saved 800 jobs at the SABC and created another 250" and that he has been approached by international broadcasting organisations to join them.

The SABC is facing R1 billion in claims from individuals and government entities - at least 20 claims over millions of rand.

Namibian DStv subscribers are furious at SuperSport over "stupid remarks".
Disgusted with SuperSport presenter Tony Ndoro's insulting remarks who was "temporarily removed". SuperSport said it "apologises to Namibian subscribers for remarks" and that Tony Ndoro will no longer comment on Namibian matches.
Meanwhile angry viewers forced SuperSport to commit to an apology this coming Sunday live on the air during Master Plan over the remarks broadcast over SuperSport airwaves about Namibia.

Why Discovery Networks can't win over investors.
People remain lukewarm and sceptical that Discovery Networks, that runs channels like the Discovery Channel (DStv 121), is ready for the streaming media revolution.
Promises that Discovery will grown in America despite turbulence, promises that Discovery will reach 3 billion subscribers worldwide by the end of this yearpromises 3 years of profit growth for Discovery.
Discovery's CEO David Zaslav calls video-on-demand (VOD) services "dumb" and that the economics are inferior.
At Discovery's first Investor Day media day in New York he says VOD services work in markets where many people speak English and like American entertainment.
Oprah Winfrey's new spiritual discovery series Belief will start on OWN, one of Discovery Networks' channels, and will air around the world from October.
Oprah's OWN is now "a cash flow machine" for Discovery after 5 years after it struggled initially.
Discovery Networks International plans to show the trophy hunting documentary Blood Lions in South Africa and worldwide about the trophy hunting industry in South Africa (no announcement in South Africa yet).
Racing Extinction will start as a worldwide event from Discovery on 2 December in 220 countries and will presumably be on Discovery Channel (DStv 121) and Discovery Science (StarSat 222) in South Africa.

Tony Danza was "disappointed; Alyssa Milano left "a lovely message"
After Who's the Boss?'s gay Danny Pintauro revealed to Oprah Winfrey that he is HIV positive. "The stigma of HIV/Aids is the reason it's continuing to be there," he tells E!.

More embarrassment for MSNBC?
With the disgraced Brian Williams now anchoring on MSNBC, Michael Wolff notes that Today, Nightly News, Meet the Press, Dateline, CNBC (DStv 410) and MSNBC (StarSat 263) are all troubled brands.

HBO's new Westworld remake forces extras to be okay with nudity and sex touching.
Unions concerned after contracts for background extras require consent for naked bareback riding on all fours, hand-to-genital touching, while some might get their "genitals painted". Also genital-to-genital touching on the show "about the future of sin" set at a futuristic theme park where robots go haywire.
Anyone for "contorting to form a table-like shape while being fully nude" on television? The more than 50 extras got paid $600 for the simulated sex scenes on the HBO set because of the "unprecedented amount if simulated sex" they have to perform.
HBO now denies that the trashy nudity and sex document for the controversial simulated sex lot came from them and that it "contains situations that we do not require of any actor".
Hollywood's actors unions and guilds upset and scolds HBO for the trashy contract.

MultiChoice is dumping ONE Gospel (DStv ccc) in the rest of Africa from DStv.
The Christian gospel channel produced by Urban Brew Studios is a gonner on DStv outside of South Africa from 30 September.
DStv subscribers are furious over the removal of ONE Gospel and accuses MultiChoice of a breach of contract while DStv gave no real reason for cutting the channel.
At least there is the SABC Crown Gospel Awards happening on 15 November in Durban "a phenomenon that is currently international".

Absolutely brilliant!
John Oliver brings back a Days of Our Lives character.
The host of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on M-Net (DStv 101) resurrects the dead EJ DiMera (James Scott) for a migrant Syrian teenager "for one night only" who is in love with the American soap.
The whole 18 minutes is a brilliant and beautiful explainer - using television for the best of what it can be.
I wanted to cry when Noujain Mustaffa explained how she learned English by watching Days of Our Lives. And the Days of Our Lives bit starting at 15:50 after you've watched the whole explainer with Sami and EJ ... utterly perfect.

(Meanwhile Fortune looks at the impact John Oliver has had in a very short time and why his influence is no joke.)

MultiChoice explains how it compiles TV channels on DStv.
DStv channels constantly monitored, and the "DStv audience is a challenging one to cater for".

Why reality TV has been voted off the island this new TV season.
People still want reality but are tired of the same stuff and viewers are "ready for something different". Meanwhile reality TV producers say reality shows are not dead - at least not for legacy shows.

The secret of Empire's success.
The hit drama series on FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131) shows that culturally relevant programming can have mass appeal and that ... content is king.
And FOX is already thinking of planting a character in Empire to then create a spinoff. Just like Dynasty in the 80s if I remember correctly (and I do).

The Simpsons will likely end with its 30th season.
Longest running primetime animation TV series just started its 27th season. And why did the show wait so long for Smithers to come out as gay?

New reality show coming to SABC3. Apparently.
The Paw Paw Films production which also wants identical twins, will be looking at the workings of the human mind to demonstrate how phobias and hypnosis works.

Where have all the young men gone?
A massive 22% less young men - TV's most coveted demographic is gone since the start of the just started new TV season.

Rob Lowe speaks out about the objectification of men on television.
"I unbutton my shirt and then he looks at me and I realize what he wants to see is nipple," says the star of the new drama The Grinder.

Quantico copies from Shonda Rhimes' dramas.
The great new drama that just started on Vuzu Amp (DStv 114) and which is not from Shonda Rhimes copy and paste what Shonda did with Grey's Anatomy and her other dramas.
By the way, Quantico is one of those shows that's indicative of how the international TV market and what they want and require is impacting and changing the TV made in America.

Stephen Colbert simply won't stand evasive answers and non-responses.
Neither do I. On his new late night talk show Stephen Colbert refuses to back down and just need those who are supposed to talk, to co-operate, when Kerry Washington gives the moronic "watch this space" answer.

CSI out-CSI-ed itself for the finale.
A completely fitting farewell you want to see. And the finale scene of CSI was thought up 16 years ago already says creator Anthony Zuiker.

Blindspot creator has a 3 season plan.
Remember how Prison Break fizzled and eventually had no place to go? Creator of Blindspot coming to M-Net (DStv 101) says there is "a real concrete plan for the first three seasons".

American TV critics complain about not getting a 2nd episode for review.
American TV critics are fed-up with only getting a pilot episode of a new show to review and not more episodes as TV series become more serialised. Meanwhile South African TV critics mostly get nothing and maybe one episode and only sometimes shown something if there's a press launch for a TV show and you're so very "privileged" to be invited.

The Lonely brilliance of MacGuyver.
One of the quintessential TV series of the 80s - one which even even boosted SABC3's midday ratings in 2012 as I reported three years ago is exactly 30 years old.

Traffic! returns to for a 2nd season
On 6 October at 21:05. Of course ga-zero information to TV critics and the press, but's website says it will revolve around a serial killer muthi murderer who steals fetuses.

Once people get kids - even millennials - they ...
get or go back to getting pay-TV says The New York Times. Exclusive video-on-demand streaming lasts only until millennials start familes.

Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / StarSat 257) in America won't recognise its union.
Digital employees at Al Jazeera America complain about pay discrepancies, lack of communication between labor and management, and uncertainty.

The boring, boring, boring Homeland on M-Net (DStv 101) ...
... is a typical example of how shows overstay and become stale and irrelevant while it suffers the tyranny of being unable to do anything or kill of the core cast.

The SABC-MultiChoice deal challenged at the Competition Commission Tribunal.
Caxton, SOS Coalition and Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) challenging the massive R533 million deal MultiChoice signed with the SABC which it argues constitutes a merger between DStv and the South African public broadcaster.
Does MultiChoice control the SABC's assets and policy? asks Moneyweb, reporting that MultiChoice's contract with the SABC for SABC News (DStv 404) and SABC Encore (DStv 156) is characterised as "extraordinary" and "deeply unusual".

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Travel Channel on DStv announces 3 brand-new series and renews Hotel Impossible, Xtreme Waterparks, Bizarre Foods spinoff and Bert the Conqueror.

The Travel Channel (DStv 179), supplied to MultiChoice's DStv by Scripps Networks International has commissioned 3 new travel entertainment series and is renewing four existing shows.

Production has been greenlit in new series Could I Live There?, I Adventure (working title) and Meter's Running (working title) with Andrew Zimmern.

Travel Channel is also renewing the four shows for further seasons: Bert the Conqueror, Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations, Hotel Impossible and Xtreme Waterparks.

I Adventure will provide an intimate glimpse into the true enthusiasm for a special destination with actors Terry Crews exploring Detroit, Jon Cryer looking at space exploration and Eric Stonestreet intrigued with World War II espionage.

I Adventure will have these three one-hour episodes produced by Herzog & Company.

Meter's Running with chef, food writer and culinary explorer Andrew Zimmern is a drive-along in various places with a local that knows the best-kept secrets in a city - the taxi driver.

Whether it's a shikara driver in Kashmir, a gondolier in Venice or a taxi driver in the Deep South, Andrew Zimmern discovers the uniqueness of every location, exploring the food and culture from a whole new perspective. There will be 8 one-hour episodes produced by Intuitive Content.

Could I Live There? will follow real people faced with a life-changing decision - should I pick up the family and move to a new foreign city?

The family hop on a plane and take three days to experience the sights and sounds of their prospective new home city. The first season will have 13 half hour episodes produced by Karga 7 Pictures.

After an absence of four years, Travel Channel is bringing back Bert the Conqueror for a third season with the reluctant daredevil Bert Kreischer. It will have 6 half-hour episodes and 7 one-hour episodes and is produced by Sharp Entertainment.

In the new season Bert Kreischer will explore the fun and ingenious side of America as he takes on the most exciting rides and challenges.

Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations, also presented by Andrew Zimmern will sample more mouth-watering foods in a third season.

Destinations explored in the new season will include Bogota, Charleston, Honolulu, the Philippines, Providence, Seattle, Singapore and Tel Aviv. The new third season of Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations will have 7 half-hour episodes and 6 one-hour episodes produced by Tremendous! Entertainment.

Hotel Impossible will return for a 7th season with presenter and hotel fixer Anthony Melchiorri, transforming struggling hotels. The new season will have 13 one-hour episodes produced by Atlas Media Corp.

Xtreme Waterparks will be back for a 5th season as it explores some of the world's most extreme waterslides.

The new 5th season of Xtreme Waterparks produced by High Noon Entertainment will take viewers to the world's tallest and fastest body slide in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; the largest funnel slide on the planet in Yongin, South Korea and a homemade slide that turns you into a human slingshot in Quebec, Canada. 

"Travel Channel's shows explore the world's most beautiful and fascinating locales and connect with our audience by informing, inspiring and perhaps most importantly - entertaining," says Ross Babbit, the senior vice president for programming and development at the Travel Channel.

"What makes these series so much fun to watch are the surprises that our viewers discover along the way. We head out on remarkable and well-planned adventures that somehow turn into the unexpected."

EXCLUSIVE. Studio Universal movie channel on MultiChoice's DStv changes its logo and on-screen look in a global refresh of the brand starting in Africa.

Movie channel Studio Universal (DStv 112) will change its on-screen look from tomorrow on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform and this is how it will look.

The channel from NBCUniversal International Networks (NBCUIN) - part of NBCUniversal - is rolling out the brand refresh for Studio Universal in South Africa and Africa first, before the global refresh moves to other territories and countries like Latin America, Brazil and Italy over the coming months.

Red Bee, part of the Ericsson group, was responsible for the refreshed look, logo and on-screen imaging of the new Studio Universal from 1 October, and worked with NBCUIN's in-house creative and marketing team. The Studio Universal website will also be refreshed on Thursday.

The iconic world of film served as the inspiration of Studio Universal's new look. Studio Universal's look is now "a confident black and white marque with a cinematic feel", celebrating every aspect of movies.

Eight new idents were also created by Red Bee bringing to life Studio Universal and the "We Are Movies" tagline.

Each of the idents draws viewers in to carefully choreographed scenes, providing a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the people whose skill and dedication bring stories to life and reflecting the audience's emotional connection to the movies.

Each ident - shot on location at Universal Studios in Hollywood - has an opposite version, either light or dark in tone, which uses the same set,key actors and props unveiling a very different scene and emphasising the magic of cinema.

"Since its launch four years ago, Studio Universal has gone from strength to strength in Africa and is now one of the leading entertainment channels in the market," says Colin McLeod, the managing director for emerging markets at NBCUniversal International Networks.

"The channel's unique proposition, based around themed movie nights, continues to resonate with DStv subscribers and we believe that the brand refresh will further enhance their viewing experience."

"In refreshing Studio Universal we wanted to challenge typical movie-channel conventions, taking inspiration from the craft and dedication of movie-makers for our positioning, packaging,logo and tagline," says Marco Giusti, the senior vice president of the creative division at NBCUniversal International.

"We've firmly placed our love and passion for the movies at the heart of the Studio Universal brand with the aim of bringing viewers even closer to the full movie experience."

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

MultiChoice combines DStv Indian add-on packages as DStv South Indian package is phased out; price goes up as 3 additional channels are added.

After years of separate DStv North Indian and DStv South Indian packages MultiChoice is immediately dumping its DStv North Indian package and phasing out its South Indian package, combining it into a single DStv Indian package that will cost more and come with three additional entertainment channels.

MultiChoice says Indian subscribers remain very important to the satellite pay-TV operator.

The DStv North Indian and DStv South Indian package will now combine to form one DStv Indian package that will cost R319 per month, or R205 if it's bolted on to an existing other DStv package subscription.

Existing DStv subscribers of the DStv North Indian package, or subscribers who had both the DStv North Indian and DStv South Indian package will automatically be migrated to the single DStv Indian package on 15 October.

Similar to the DStv Select packages, DStv is phasing out the DStv South Indian package.

DStv subscribers who have the DStv South Indian package only, will be able to keep it but will not be able to return to it if they upgrade or change to the DStv Indian package, or if they disconnect from DStv for longer than 90 days.

MultiChoice is adding the Colors, Star Vijay and Star Plus channels to the DStv Indian package.

Colors is a general entertainment Hindi channel with English subtitles offering content like The Anupam Kher Show, Krishna Malram and Meri Aashiqui Tum se Hi.

Star Vijay and Star Plus will only start on 1 December as part of the DStv Indian package. Until then the Star Tamill and Star Hindi channels will be shown between 15 October and the end of November.

"The Indian community is very important to us - this is why we've reviewed our offering based on their feedback and created the new DStv Indian package," says Mark Rayner, chief operating officer (COO) for MultiChoice.

"We thank our Indian customers for their loyal support over the years and trust you will enjoy the three additional entertainment channels."

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The 12 contestants of The Great South African Bake Off range from students and a vet to a professional dancer, actuary, painter and a property manager.

The 12 contestants of The Great South African Bake Off come from a range of backgrounds for the reality competition show starting on Tuesday 6 October on BBC Lifestyle (DStv 174) at 20:00 and will kick off in the first episode with a cake challenge.

The show, produced by Rapid Blue and shot near Maropeng, is based on the Love Productions format.

The Great South African Bake Off will fill the void in cooking reality shows on South African television in the absence M-Net's MasterChef South Africa and kykNET's (DStv 144) Kokkedoor which are not currently on air, and the 2nd season of the baking spin-off Koekedoor which will only start showing in April 2016 on kykNET.

The Great South African Bake Off has local chef Tjaart Walraven and food stylist Shirley Guy who runs her own cooking school in the judging roles filled by Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry in the British version.

Anne Hirch and Donovan Goliath are The Great South African Bake Off presenters.

The Great South African Bake Off takes place inside a white marquee tent just like the British version, with teal coloured work stations.

The contestants range from a psychology student and a vet to an actuary and professional dancer to a property manager, client care rep, a painter and a design manager.

Viewers will see Johan Botes (44) an attorney, Johannesburg;

Dot Dicks (55) admin manager, Johannesburg;

Andrew Dore (25) an actuary, Johannesburg;

Shawn Govender (39) a design and production manager, Benoni;

Gavin Ronald Huxley Boyd (52) a transition lead, Johannesburg;

Shainaaz Kariem (42) client care representative, Cape Town;

Raeesa Manjoo (23) Wits university student, Johannesburg;

Lauren Morrison (42), a veterinarian, Johannesburg;

Mmala Motsepe (20), psychology student, Pretoria;

Alice Toich (24) a painter and creative consultant, Cape Town;

Michaela Tsuen (22) a professional dancer, Cape Town;

Teddy Zaki (42) property manager, Johannesburg.

FIRST SNEAK PEAK. M-Net introducing a brand-new on-air look Monday; will be warmer with the iconic blue ribbon device also making a comeback.

On Monday morning 28 September at 06:00 M-Net (DStv 101) will debut a brand-new on-air look.

The new look with new colours and imaging will be a marked departure from the falling and swirling glass petals look that the pay-TV broadcaster used since June 2011.

The promo board above gives a sneak peak at M-Net's new on-screen look - a small bit of the much larger and expansive make-over in the look and feel of the premium channel which occupies literally the number one position on MultiChoice's DStv channel line-up.

M-Net says the channel's new look, created by Monarchy, will be warmer. M-Net iconic blue ribbon device is also making a fantastic comeback.

Last month at M-Net's content showcase and upfront for advertisers and press, the channel first announced that the new look is coming from October and teased with a small preview.

I will report more in-depth on M-Net's new look after it's been unveiled and come into use on Monday, but for now M-Net has been willing to say this to TV with Thinus without letting the cat out of the bag completely.

M-Net is teasing something happening on 28 September. What is happening?
M-Net (DStv 101) will refresh its on-air look on Monday, 28 September and the new imaging kicks in at 06:00 in the morning. This co-incides with two of the biggest shows returning to the channel on Monday night - Grey's Anatomy at 19:30 (12th season) and The Fixer at 20:30 (5th season).

Why the decision to change the on-air look now?
Our brands are ever-evolving and we felt it was time to upgrade our image to something that complements the proposition of the channel. The end of September, beginning of October is the ideal time to hit the refresh button. Spring is here and with it there are many new and returning shows starting on the channel from Monday onwards.

How much of a departure will the new look be?
The new imaging will be much warmer, in line with the content on the channel,and will make it easier to communicate important information to our viewers. There's also a hint of nostalgia with the M-Net ribbon from many years ago making an appearance again.

How is the colour palette changing? What will be the main colours?
There is no specific dominant colour, but we're using bright, vibrant and modern colours that will be interchangeable depending on the content.

How much time did it take to create?
It has taken approximately seven months to create and develop the new imaging and Monarchy is the creative agency behind this exciting new look.

Isha Sesay and John Vause to co-anchor new CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles from Monday at 06:00 on CNN International.

Isha Sesay and John Vause will co-anchor a new show CNN Newsroom, also called CNN Newsroom Live from Los Angeles, starting on Monday morning, 28 September at 06:00 (South African time) on CNN International (DStv 401).

Isha Sesay has been the presenter of CNN NewsCenter on CNN International at night time.

"I'm the China guy. I'm the Middle East guy," says John Vause in a CNN promo. "I'm drawn to stories from the developing world, and women and minorities," says Isha Sesay in the promo.

"Between the two of us, we're gonna have the world pretty much covered," says John Vause. "So that you get a sense of the stories that are important to me, and important to John and why we think you should care about them too," says Isha Sesay.

The two hour CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles (there's more CNN Newsroom from 08:00 10:30 but not done from Los Angeles) will run on weekdays on CNN International.

It's not clear who will be taking over the anchoring of CNN NewsCenter from Atlanta permanently now that Isha Sesay has moved from Atlanta to Los Angeles and it appears that CNN NewsCenter which used to be at 20:30 has been dropped from the schedule.

Christina Aguilera can't perform at ANN7's South African of the Year Awards on October because she's a judge on the 10th season next year and now already filming that.

Although initially announced as the headline act but then suddenly withdrawing, the American popstar Christina Aguilera can't perform at the upcoming South African of the Year Awards 2015 because although she's not a judge for the new season she is one on the next 10th season for next year which is already filming some parts for 2016.

The South African of the Year Awards 2015 is set for 17 October at the Ticketpro Dome in Randburg, Johannesburg.

The South African of the Year Awards 2015 will now continue to be a private event like the inaugural event first held last year by Infinity Media which runs ANN7.

"Christina Aguilera has had to withdrawn due to a change in scheduling of the top-rated show The Voice on which she is one of the judges," says ANN7 in a statement issued on 18 September.

"The schedule change requires her to be in the United States on the day of the South African of the Year Awards show."

The 9th season of The Voice just started and Christina Aguilera is not a judge. The judges were announced in July with Gwen Stefani replacing Christina Aguilera for Gwen Stefani's second season on the show.

The American TV channel NBC also didn't announce any schedule changes to the latest 9th season of The Voice which just started.

TV with Thinus asked ANN7 several times what it means, why ANN7 is saying Christina Aguilera is a judge on The Voice if she isn't one on the new season and why ANN7 said the TV show has had a schedule change when the episodes as listed it didn't.

ANN7 representatives Carlene Brown de Jongh and Haranath Gosh didn't responded with answers to the media enquiries seeking clarification.

Meanwhile Oakbay Investments did reach out to me. Oakbay Investments asked that I contact agent Robert Norman at the Hollywood talent agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and Marc Robbins at Azoff Music Management in Los Angeles.

Robert Norman at CAA didn't respond to an email media enquiry, but Marc Robbins very kindly did and explained that Christina Aguilera is not a judge on the 9th season but of The Voice but is on the 10th season for next year and that early sections are now being filmed for that season already:

"Christina is on the next season of The Voice. The Voice has an exclusivity agreement with all the judges. The Voice changed the schedule on shooting the "blind auditions", "coach post blind interviews" and "promo" from the beginning of October to 10 October through 20 October. The only days without a The Voice commitment was 13, 14 and 15 October".

Friday, September 25, 2015

Today's interesting TV stories to read from TV with Thinus - 25 September 2015

9 ways to tell if a new TV show is going to be worth watching.
Really the day's must read article you should take time to read with 9 really absolutely true points.

Show me that smile again!
It's exactly 30 years ago that sitcom Growing Pains started. The cast then and now, and sing along with the theme song.

You won't believe this ... but it's true.
Morena Baccarin of Gotham on M-Net (DStv 101) is with child. And the baby daddy is her co-star Benjamin McKenzie. And Morena is still getting divorced.
And fans of The O.C. are going insane that Seth and Ryan are becoming dads at the same time! "The only way this could be better would be if they were having babies with each other."

The new Tropika TV commercial on SABC3...
...makes viewers feel like cancelling their SABC TV licences. Tropika's "irritating" TV ad with Gloria "has got to be the worst advertisement" ever.

TV pilot error: TV critics about reviewing shows in the binge-watching era.
Does it matter if the first episode is bad if a season represents the chapters of an overall novel?

Remake of The A-Team is in the works.
80's drama series the latest heydey TV show getting a possible reboot.

MultiChoice in Africa adding channels to lower DStv bouquet...
...before the 1 October price hike kicks in. MTV (DStv 130), Comedy Central (DStv 122) and TCM (DStv 137) opened to lower-tiered package together with BBC's channels as subscription increase for a 2nd time this year.

A strong premiere doesn't mean that a new TV show will survive.
Broadcasting&Cable reports that a new show that starts out with low ratings will definitely not survive beyond a first season - but often shows that start strong also flames out.

Heroes Reborn feels "pointless" in the glut of superhero shows.
Heroes Reborn is starting on Vuzu AMP (DStv 114) close on the heels of America.

Premiere of 2nd season of Empire is strong.
The second season debut of Empire on FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131) has the show's second best viewership yet. The first episode of the new season outperformed everything else on TV in America.

Michelle Obama is going to appear on Doc McStuffins.
Will be animated for this hit pre-school show on Disney Junior (DStv 309).

Scandal's Olivia Pope "drinks way too much wine"
The character in The Fixer on M-Net (DStv 101) according to university study that analysed the addiction portrayal in the drama series.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Today's interesting TV stories to read from TV with Thinus - 24 September 2015

Scream Queens on FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131) also a flop.
The second new FOX drama is also a loser and follows Minority Report as a ratings failure.

Meanwhile the new procedural thriller Limitless is solid and it will be available on your DStv Explora from Thursday instantly and later on M-Net (DStv 101) so you can watch it - the show won't go away or be cancelled.

Donald Trump slams FOX News (StarSat 261).
"FOX News has been treating me unfairly," says the Republican Party candidate in America; says he won't be doing any interviews with any FOX News shows in the future.
FOX News hits back and says Donald Trump's attacks are "stale and tiresome".

Egypt's president pardons Al Jazeera journalists.
After months in prison Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed of Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / StarSat 257) are freed from jail. Peter Greste says the fight is not over despite Al Jazeera colleagues' release from prison.

New MultiChoice headquarters in Johannesburg is green.
The new MultiChoice City complex in Randburg - complete with an artificial lawn and 15 real trees in the atrium - is turning heads and showing how corporations can create greener, healthier spaces for employees in South Africa.

The HBO Now account the Emmy's gave out has been deactivated.
Emmy host Andy Samberg told millions of viewers worldwide on TV to log in to the HBO Now streaming service. It has now been deactivated.

Trevor Noah: "There's been an epidemic of blackness on The Daily Show since I took over".
The new South African host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central (DStv 122) tells The New York Times that there was a "racial blindspot" with Jon Stewart at The Daily Show. "Since I've joined, blackness has tremendously increased on the show".

BBC to turn 3 J.K. Rowling novels into a new TV series.
Will adapt The Cuckoo's Calling, The Silkworm and the upcoming thriller Career of Evil into a new crime series called The Cormoran Strike Mysteries.

Netflix knows exactly what episode of what show can trigger binge-viewing.
The global streaming video-on-demand service knows precisely what shows and what episodes of a show will likely trigger binge-watching - and its not necessarily the pilot episode.
Netflix is now offering audio description - which proves that journalism (covering television) can still change the world.

TV's reality craze is over 15 years after Survivor started it.
Viewers are fatigued and tired of reality TV shows of the American kind. The reality genre has become stale and there's been too much reliance on "gimmicks". Of course totally faking things like South Africa's Oulap se Rooi on kykNET (DStv 144) helps to erode and break viewers' trust in the fake TV trash programming.

After that Robert Downey Jr. junket went wrong, yet another press junket interview blows up with Robert De Niro.
Another massive film publicity press junket makes headlines for all the wrong reasons as the difficult and condescending Robert De Niro walks out.

In Cuba there's barely internet - but they watch everything.
Fascinating insight in this article about how Cubans watch all the American TV shows and movies and read The New York Times through a vast underground system of distributing TV shows and publications through the entire country for their "subscribers".

THE SABC SALARY THAT IS SHOCKING A NATION: Hlaudi Motsoeneng R3.78 million salary ... while the SABC made a loss of a massive R401 million.

It's the astronomical R3.78 million pay of the SABC's famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng that's completely shocking South Africa:

Keep in mind that the SABC's controversial chief operating officer (COO):

■ doesn't have a degree. Any degree.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng doesn't have matric.

■ even a judge of South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeals said last week that after reading hundreds of pages he doesn't even know what grade of school Hlaudi Motsoeneng successfully completed.

■ admitted in a recorded interview to South Africa's Public Protector that he lied. Hlaudi Motsoeneng admitted he lied about having matric; he admitted he faked symbols for a certificate he knew he couldn't produce.

This person was paid in excess of R3.78 million by the South African public broadcaster, which is a public broadcaster, funded by your SABC TV licence, which the SABC wants you to pay.

The SABC made a massive loss of R401 million for the last financial year - yet Hlaudi Motsoeneng's salary shockingly went up almost R1 million - a whopping 31% in just one year to R3.78 million.

(Remember back in April when The Sunday Times reported that the SABC is facing a loss of around R500 million? Hlaudi Motsoeneng then slammed The Sunday Times and South Africa's journalists for "bad stories" - which turns out to be very accurate months later.)

In Hlaudi Motsoeneng's world a massive loss of hundreds of millions is "progress".

Hlaudi Motsoeneng's R3.78 million means that he now earns more money than South African president Jacob Zuma who gets R2.75 million annually.

"We're not shy to spend to spend money on the things we believe in," SABC CEO Frans Matlala tells the press at a media briefing on Wednesday afternoon at the SABC's Auckland Park headquarters.

The almost R1 million increase to R3.78 million per year for Hlaudi Motsoeneng is freaking the South African nation out Rand Daily Mail reports.

"Hlaudi's R3.78 million jackpot" says The Star, noting that the SABC boss who only has Grade 9 could be facing yet another probe by the Public Protector. "SABC boss pay shock" reports The Mercury about Hlaudi Motsoeneng's millions.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng's "brazen R1 million salary increase causes outrage" reports The Media, with "South Africans taken aback at the news of Motsoeneng's salary increase".

"The South African public's failure to pay their SABC TV licences" is being blamed as the main reason for the massive loss, says SABC CEO Frans Matlala.

Ironically less people will pay their SABC TV licences reports The Herald, saying there's "fury at the mind-boggling SABC pay hike" and that "no wonder so many people are not paying their SABC TV licence fees".

An an old granny says the "SABC can whistle for my SABC TV licence money" - she's not paying anymore due to the waste of money going on at the public broadcaster.

The R401 million loss of the SABC is a 201% below budget. Cash reserves also dropped R400 million to R1 billion. Hlaudi Motsoeneng's massive pay hike comes as the SABC faces an ongoing cash crisis and tough conditions.

The SABC's annual report reveals a massive problem: SABC salaries went up R400 million as expenses balloon.

And Hlaudi Motsoeneng says: "We are not like Telkom or any other state enterprise. What we care about is to give people what they want which is quality programming and good local content".

Hlaudi Motsoeneng says "it is not a sin for a black man to earn a decent salary - people should be rewarded at the SABC, even if they're cleaners. according to News24.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng also said "if someone performs well and comes up with a R1 billion revenue, why should we not reward them?" according to the Independent group.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng also said "other broadcasters are talking about retrenching people, but we are not" according to The Citizen.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng says he has no plans to go back to school to get his matric, but that he "reads". He tells the YB20 Gauteng Youth Assembly that he had been to several "tertiary institutions" where he did various courses - although he never got any degrees or diplomas.

-The Democratic Alliance (DA) political party wants the Public Protector to investigate the shocking salary of Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
-The FF Plus political party calls it an attempt of fast self enrichment.
-The COPE political party condemns Hlaudi Motsoeneng's abuse of the SABC.
-The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) "notes with great concern" his ridiculous salary increase and demands that the SABC sets "a correct example".
-The ANC political party says Hlaudi Motsoeneng's skyricketing salary "sets a dangerous precedence".

The Communication Workers' Union (CWU) says Hlaudi Motsoeneng's massive increase is unreasonable. The CWU says it will decide at the end of September to decide what action CWU members will take over this.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng is "suffering from delusions of grandeur" and the silence of Faith Muthambi, the minister of communications, is deafening with calls for her to be fired immediately.

The SABC's financial situation is now once again under scrutiny after Hlaudi Motsoeneng lied to parliament earlier this year about the projected loss of R401 million.

The public broadcasting pressure group SOS Coalition is astonished at the massive salary and wants to know who authorised the latest pay hike for Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The Sowetan reports Hlaudi Motsoeneng is earning more than president Jacob Zuma who is already the 4th best paid president in the world.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng was paid a bonus of R279 000 by the SABC and R916 000 for "other allowances" - while the struggling public broadcaster remains riddled with acute financial, personnel and management troubles according to BusinessDay and of course a gutted and unstable SABC board.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng's expensive homes: A R2.8 million home he bought in 2011 in Ruimsig Country Estate in Krugersdorp (now worth R3.3 million); a R1.6 million home in Langenhovenpark in Bloemfontein (now worth R2 million); and a R190 000 home in Pellissier in Bloemfontein bought in 1999 (now worth R1.2 million).

SABC chairperson Mbulaheni Maguvhe on Thursday tells 702 that "it is within the SABC benchmark" to pay Hlaudi Motsoeneng a million more from one year to the next. "I don't see any crisis there at SABC," says Mbulaheni Maguvhe.

"For us this is a good story," says SABC CEO Frans Matlala in the good spin and one-sided 2 minute, 28 second story reported on SABC3 and SABC News (DStv 404) on Wednesday evening that you can watch here. See if you can see what the SABC deliberately omitted to tell viewers.

Listen to Hlaudi Motsoeneng say - as the SABC recorded a loss of R401 million: "SABC is doing very well. People because they don't want to give credit where it is due, they try to put their own agenda within the organisation".