Thursday, January 19, 2017

The SABC's latest schedule shuffle from 6 February: SABC2's 7de Laan to 18:00, Sesotho news to 20:00, a new Afrikaans timeslot at 19:00; SABC1's Uzalo goes 5 days.

Timeslot-fatigued SABC viewers are in for yet another new round of programme shuffling from February - most notably on SABC2 - that will see Afrikaans soap 7de Laan shunted to 18:00, the Sotho news to 20:00, and the introduction of a new stripped, , hour long, 4-day a week Afrikaans timeslot at 19:00 in an attempt to try and lure back viewers.

The South African public broadcaster will announce yet another dramatic round of show changes to its channels like SABC1 and SABC2 soon.

The new changes will follow the latest temporary disruption of it channels' programming line-ups due to AFCON 2017 soccer tournament coverage,what the SABC calls its "transversal strategy".

The new SABC TV line-up will mark the SABC's 3rd big TV schedules change in a year, not counting the temporary AFCON 2017 schedule disruption.

The SABC's ongoing scheduling changes continue to worry the South African TV and advertising industry, concerned about the erratic nature and ongoing scheduling instability at the public broadcaster that impacts its viewership and ratings, and ultimately its ad income - a big source of the broadcaster's revenue.

After every SABC schedule change viewers struggle to find where shows have moved to. In the past year several shows on SABC2 and SABC3 have showed ongoing monthly viewership drop-offs after certain programmes were moved to timeslot where it struggles to maintain audiences as viewers fled.

The SABC announced dramatic schedule changes to SABC1, SABC2 and SABC2 in February, only to announce schedule changes again just four months later in June. AFCON 2017 is currently upending the SABC's schedules with the broadcaster that is set to announce yet another round of schedule changes that will come into effect from 6 February.

After moving the timeslot of the stalwart Afrikaans soap 7de Laan on SABC2 for the first time ever in its 15 year history in July 2016 from 18:30 to 19:00, the SABC is set to move 7de Laan again after just 7 months to 18:00 from Monday 6 February after the conclusion of AFCON 2017.

An even tougher time finding viewers?
The ratings-battered weekday soap will likely have an ever tougher time finding viewers on SABC2 in the early prime time slot when a lot of its audience - commuting working-class viewers are not home yet.

The fictional Hillside set 7de Laan will now be competing with the Cape Town based Afrikaans soap Suidooster on kykNET (DStv 144) and kykNET&kie (DStv 145).

The Danie Odendaal Productions that also publicly announced the 18:00 timeslot move from February to viewers says the change is "unfortunately outside of our control. The SABC is making these changes".

The SABC will also move its daily Setswana/Sesotho TV news bulletin from 6 February from 18:00 to 20:00 daily.

The Sesotho news on SABC2 will now compete directly with Generations on SABC1 at 20:00, programmes that fight for part of the same audience on the public broadcaster and with many viewers who would like to watch both.

The Sesotho news bulletin that was moved, suffered a viewership drop since its move to the 18:00 timeslot the past few months and completely dropped out of SABC2's top 20 most watched shows since November 2016 - the very timeslot 7de Laan is now going to be moved to.

New Afrikaans timeslot block
In addition to the 7de Laan and Sesotho news changes, a new stripped, hour long Afrikaans timeslot is set to be introduced on SABC2 from Monday 6 February at 19:00.

This new timeslot block will run from Monday to Thursday as SABC2 tries to court and lure back Afrikaans viewers.

Trying to create better ongoing scheduling flow and to get viewers to stay tuned in for longer instead of flipping the channel's hotch-potch "language mosaic programming", SABC2 channel head Gerhard Pretorius and scheduling executive Thulisile Nhlapo is essentially creating a 2-hour Afrikaans TV block from 6 February that will effectively stretch from 18:00 to 20:00.

SABC2's latest February schedule from 6 February will start with 7de Laan at 18:00, Afrikaans news at 18:30, and then shows at 19:00 like Vetkoekpaleis and Kliphard (Monday), Fees van die Ongenooides (Tuesday), Geure van die Vallei and Authentiek (Wednesday), and Beter Assie Bure (Thursday).

The Afrikaans entertainment magazine show Pasella will start again on 22 February, now on a Wednesday at 19:30.

Zandile Nkonyeni, SABC TV head publicist, didn't respond to a media enquiry on Thursday morning seeking comment about the changes and was asked why SABC2 decided to move 7de Laan, the Sesotho news and introduce the Afrikaans block at 19:00.

She was asked if SABC2 doesn't consider the 7de Laan timeslot to be too early and why the Sesotho TV news bulletin is made to compete against Generations on SABC1 for an audience, but didn't respond at the time of publication.

As previously reported in December 2016 already, the SABC will also extend the SABC1 prime time soap Uzalo's run from the week starting 6 February from 4 to 5 days per week, adding a Friday episode of the soap in the same timeslot of 20:30 from the start of its third season.

SABC1 publicist Philip Mabitsela didn't respond to a media enquiry on Thursday morning seeking comment about the KwaMashu set soap from Stained Glass Productions being extended to 5 days a week.

SABC News anchor Vabakshnee Chetty-Miller leaving the SABC after 15 years; moving to America; will say goodbye to viewers on Friday.

The well-liked SABC TV News anchor Vabakshnee Chetty-Miller is leaving the South African public broadcaster and will do her final sign-off and say goodbye to viewers on-air in her final broadcast on Friday evening on SABC News (DStv 404) and SABC3's TV news bulletin at 18:30.

There's been no statement from the SABC about her impending departure and replacement.

Vabakshnee Chetty-Miller, who recently returned from maternity leave after the birth of her first child to her chair behind the TV news anchor desk in Studio 9, is relocating to America with her husband.

She will likely be replaced by Francis Herd on the SABC's flagship nightly TV news bulletin who also sat in beside co-anchor Peter Ndoro during her colleague's maternity leave.

Vabakshnee Chetty-Miller, her American businessman husband Geoffrey Miller and the couple's 5-month old daughter daughter Ella Amalia Anne will move to Chicago in March but she will be doing her last TV news bulletin on Friday after 15 years as a journalist working for the SABC's radio and TV divisions.

As a broadcaster Vabakshnee Chetty-Miller, who've only ever worked at the SABC, had her wedding in late 2014 broadcast on SABC3's Top Billing.

As a professional news reader, she's endeared herself to viewers and listeners over the past decade and is beloved by SABC colleagues.

She kept her cool and remained professional - especially over the past three years - bringing viewers the news on television in the public broadcaster's flagship English TV news bulletin as it kept changing timeslots, suffered rating declines and while the SABC got battered and suffered a public backlash over Hlaudi Motsoeneng's SABC TV news censorship decisions.

"I'm a bit anxious, but I'm also looking forward to the move," Vabakshnee Chetty-Miller told the Lotus FM radio station.

She described her career at the SABC "as a fun one" ever since she started off as an intern in 2002 reading the news on Lotus FM and reporting, and then moving to Johannesburg.

Vabakshnee Chetty-Miller says she will "miss the warmth and the friendliness" of South Africans.

Due to the sudden move necessitated by her husband's changing job requirements, she hasn't been able yet to find a new job in America. "I have been thinking about it, but I haven't really made any plans. I'm going to give myself a few months to adjust."

"Chicago is extremely cold. It's cold for eight months of the year, and I've also just had a baby. So a lot of adjustment needs to take place and then I'll make the call after that".

Days of Our Lives facing cancellation in America; 51-year old American soap on the chopping block as it awaits its renewal fate.

The 51-year old American weekday soap Days of Our Lives is facing cancellation in America with only a 60-40 chance of returning for a 52nd season, but executives are saying they're "hopeful" that the soap will survive for another year.

In South Africa Days of Our Lives is now broadcast on SABC3 at midnight after the public broadcaster's controversial former boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng in July ordered the bulk of international content off the channel with his unilateral 80% local content decree.

Days of Our Lives has been a big ratings grabber for SABC3 and its removal at 17:00 as the anchor lead-in to early prime time has seen SABC3's entire ratings picture steadily worsen monthly for the past 6 months.

With rumours swirling that Days of Our Lives on American television is likely getting cancelled to make way during daytime for the promised new one hour block for the former FOX News anchor Megyn Kelly who was just hired by NBC, NBC on Wednesday told TV critics that the future of Days has not been decided yet.

Robert Greenblatt, NBC entertainment president told the Television Critics Association's press tour in Los Angeles that "we don't make a decision for another couple of months" and that "I don't think it's over yet". According to him, "we haven't made any decisions, but we like that show".

He said that if Days does get cancelled, that it will try to give the producers a heads up as far as possible in advance to wrap-up storylines and to do proper tributes and back flashes, saying "we would try to be respectful".

According to insiders the chances for Days' renewal is only 60-40, with the show that has been struggling creatively and financially the past few years.

Jennifer Salke, NBC entertainment president, told Soap Hub that she would be "devastated" if Days gets cancelled, reiterating that no decision has been made and saying "but we are optimistic".

The sad news is that even if Days is renewed, its 52nd season might very well be its last as viewership of American soaps keep dwindling year after year, despite its ongoing popularity elsewhere in the world like Africa.

Days is produced by Sony Television.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

RATINGS DECEMBER 2016: How the SABC scored with The Virgin Vegan on SABC1; while SABC3 continues to slide and Date My Family delights on DStv.

Despite the lack of any marketing or publicity from the SABC, an amazing thing happened in December when three local short films about young black women by young black female filmmakers, scheduled and broadcast on SABC1, managed to make a huge splash in the month's South African TV ratings race.

Without any promotion to the press and audiences by the SABC, The Virgin Vegan, The Groom's Price and Guns and Petals not only lured viewers - it lured massive audiences and kept them transfixed.

Despite a barrage of unending bad news about the South African public broadcaster, the films - part of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and Blingola's Female Filmmaker Project - represented a sliver of hope of what a good public broadcaster like the SABC can and should be: showcasing new local content, from emerging talent that's supported, and that's also watched in large numbers by viewers.

The three films each drew millions of viewers and took top spots on SABC1's most watched programming list for the month of December 2016.

Elsewhere SABC2 and SABC3 continue to face ratings problems, while e.tv remains stable. Meanwhile Mzansi Magic's Date My Family, Our Perfect Wedding and Isibaya continue to delight DStv audiences.

Here's the noteworthy other TV ratings news for South Africa's broadcasters for December 2016:

Uzalo with 8.4 million viewers (24.7 AR, 66.5 share) that remained the most watched show on SABC1 and in South Africa in December, continued to pull further away from 2nd place Generations and its 8.3 million viewers (24.5 AR, 68.5 share), adding 286 502 viewers from November.

Uzalo will switch from three to five episodes per week from February.

In December Skeem Saam retained its 3rd rated place on the SABC1 schedule but dropped slightly from 6.2 million viewers (18.2 AR) to 5.9 million (17.5 AR).

The Xhosa news fell from 3.8 million viewers (11.1 AR) to 3.5 million (10.3 AR), while the Zulu TV news bulletin showed marginal growth from 3.75 million (11 AR) to 3.94 million viewers (11.6 AR).

Viewership drop-offs - not unusual for December - were experienced by Tempy Pushas (down to 4.29 million, 12.6 AR), Zaziwa (3.12 million, 9.2 AR), Live AMP (3.04 million, 8.9 AR) and Selimathunzi (3.22 million, 9.4 AR), while local sitcom Him, Her and the Guys showed strong audience growth from 3.09 million (9.1 AR) to 3.37 million viewers (9.9 AR) in December compared to the previous month.

Something fascinating happened in December: SABC1 acquired, scheduled and showed new local films by young black female filmmakers - about young black women - and got rewarded by stellar audiences.

The short film The Virgin Vegan by Reabetswe Moeti clocked an astounding 5.11 million viewers (15 AR) in December despite zero publicity by SABC1, making it the 4th most watched programme on SABC1, and the 5th most watched programme on all of SA television for the month.

The same happened with The Groom's Price: An astounding 4.67 million viewers (13.7 AR) watched Mmabatho Montsho's film about a woman trying to pay lobola for her man. It gave the film the 5th most watched position on SABC1 for December, and made it the 8th most watched piece of television in all of South Africa for the month.

The local short film Guns and Petals from Mbali Kgosidintsi - like The Virgin Vegan and The Groom's Price part of the NFVF/Blingola Female Filmmaker Project - drew an impressive 4.11 million viewers (12.1 AR): the 10th spot on SABC1 for the month and 13th most watched on all of SA TV.

A Fidel Castro documentary on SABC1 in December lured 2.82 million viewers - more than anything shown on SABC3 and only 4 programmes on SABC2 getting more viewers.

In December Muvhango remained the top draw on SABC2 with 6.25 million viewers (18.3 AR). When the Venda soap is on, two out of every three TV sets in South Africa that's on, was tuned to this show.

While the Afrikaans soap 7de Laan continued to struggle in the ratings in December due to a bad timeslot change earlier in 2016 (its highest episode for the month clocked only 1.65 million viewers, 4.8 AR - far off from its erstwhile ratings glory), there was one bit of sunshine.

A 3-minute 7de Laan: Behind the Scenes special on 20 December drew an astounding 3.75 million viewers (11 AR), the 3rd most watched thing on SABC2 for the month.

Consumer magazine show Speak Out continues to perform well with 3.14 million viewers (9.2 AR), up from November, while SABC2's local new telenovela Keeping Score ticked up slightly to 2.49 million viewers (7.3 AR).

The SABC's Afrikaans TV news bulletin at 19:30 also continues to struggle after it was moved to a bad timeslot. Having fallen out of favour, it remained flat in December with a paltry 1.31 million viewers (3.9 AR).

Also moved, the SABC's Sotho/Setswana news bulletin struggles even more. For the second month in a row in December it didn't even make SABC2's list of top 20 most watched shows.

The unmitigated disaster that's SABC3 and the channel's downward ratings spiral continues unabated with December that once again, showed further viewership erosion.

Every month, since the disastrous introduction of a unilateral 80% local content decree by SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng in July 2016, has seen the dam level of SABC3's viewership drop and December continued the trend as more of the few viewers left, continue to flee.

American soap The Bold and the Beautiful, the high-water mark of SABC3's schedule as its most watched show, once again fell lower in December. The canary on the TV coal mine slumped to just 889 585 viewers (2.6 AR) - down from 2.8 AR, 2.9 AR, 3.4 AR and 3.8 AR in the previous months.

The tragic ratings slump is mirrored by the struggling Endemol Shine Africa locally produced soap Isidingo. In December it once again fell further to 855 378 viewers (2.5 AR) for its most watched episode in the month, further down from previous months' 3 AR, 2.9 AR and 3.3 AR.

High Rollers that the SABC abruptly decided to cancel although Rous House Productions had a contract for a longer third season ironically showed an uptick in December from 431 963 (1.3 AR) to 469 998 (1.4 AR) viewers.

The SABC's flagship TV news bulletin, the English news at 18:30 showed a small uptick after shedding 222 417 viewers in November alone. It recovered slightly from 699 735 to 672 348 viewers (flat on an unchanged 2 AR) in December.

Despite the SABC's attempts to foist bad local content onto audiences, viewers only tuned in to the channel for the South Africa vs Sri Lanka cricket and Christmas movies. Cricket matches and 11 American Christmas films took 15 out of the top 20 most watched spots on SABC's December line-up.

While the bottom-end of e.tv's programming sags, there's no problem right at the top. Hit-soap Scandal! climbed from 4.35 million (12.7 AR) to 4.86 million viewers (14.2 AR) in December, while 2nd runner Rhythm City was down slightly from 3.15 million to 3.1 million viewers.

As a stable terrestrial broadcaster, e.tv's most-watched list of shows in December had a nice spread of local films like Yesterday (2.4 million viewers, 7.1 AR) and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2.1 million viewers, 6.2 AR) luring viewers, as well as its local drama Heist (1.86 million viewers, 5.5 AR).

While the SABC's commercial relationships with international content distributors continue to falter and atrophy, the strengthened relationships between the eMedia Investments' channel and Hollywood's biggest studios and distributors are yielding more and more dividends.

From Disney sitcom Blackish (1.6 million viewers, 4.9 AR) to Warner Bros.' Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (1.7 million viewers, 5 AR) rounded out e.tv's top 20 list in December.

Together with WWE wrestling, the two new Jump Street films and some Christmas movies, e.tv continues to have the most well-rounded and balanced broadcasting schedule of all of South Africa's free-to-air channels when it comes to local and international content.

The most watched show on MultiChoice's pay-TV platform in December remained Mzansi Magic's (DStv 161) soap Isibaya, up from November's 1.12 million to 1.15 million viewers for its most watched episode in the month.

Our Perfect Wedding, also on Mzansi Magic, retained its 2nd spot at 1.01 million viewers (3 AR) for its most watched episode, with each of the four Sundays in the month meaning appointment viewing for the show and cracking DStv's list of top 30 most watched programmes in December.

The can't-look-away Date My Family, also on Mzansi Magic, came in third in December with 682 382 viewers (2 AR).

TV critic's synopsis in The Sunday Herald of Donald Trump's upcoming presidential inauguration draws attention.

A TV critic's creative synopsis in the TV listings of an upcoming TV programme - the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump in America on Friday afternoon - is drawing global attention after he likened it to The Twilight Zone and a science fiction show set in "an ongoing alternative present".

TV critic Damien Love's TV listing in Scotland's Sunday Herald is now drawing attention around the world after he described the upcoming Trump inauguration and the next four years of his presidency, broadcast as a TV show, as "one of the most ambitious, expensive and controversial productions in broadcast history".

President Trump: The Inauguration
After a long absence, The Twilight Zone returns with one of the most ambitious, expensive and controversial productions in broadcast history. Sci-fi writers have dabbled often with alternative history stories - among the most common is the "What If The Nazis Had Won The Second World War" setting - but this huge interactive virtual reality project, which will unfold on TV, in the press, and on Twitter over the next four years, sets out to build an ongoing alternative present.
The story begins in a nightmarish version of 2017 in which huge sections of the US electorate have somehow been duped into voting to make Donald Trump president. It sounds far-fetched, and it is, but as it goes on it becomes more and more chillingly plausible. Today's feature-length opener concentrates on the gaudy inauguration of President Trump, and the stirrings of protest and despair surrounding the ceremony, while pundits speculate gravely on what lies ahead. It's a flawed piece, but a disturbing glimpse of the horrors we could stumble into, if we're not careful.

In 2017 viewers can watch brilliant shows with people trapped in alternative realities - ranging from The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime Video to Emerald City on Vuzu AMP (DStv 103), Travelers and Parallels on Netflix, 12 MonkeysTimeless, Beyond and the upcoming Time After Time.

Yet it's the real world with Donald Trump as an American president and things like a looming Brexit, that millions of people worldwide find hard to believe and difficult to understand and adapt to.

Damien Love's TV listing went viral when George Takei, famous for his role as Sulu in Star Trek, tweeted: "The Sunday Herald TV section wins today".

Where to watch Donald Trump's inauguration
South African viewers can tune in for President Trump: The Inauguration in Washington, D.C. that will be broadcast on BBC World News (DStv 400 / StarSat 256) on Friday from 17:00 to 21:00, anchored by Huw Edwards and Sophie Raworth.

CNN International (DStv 401) didn't release any details or programming times regarding the inauguration and the channel's EPG on MultiChoice's DStv shows no special coverage but CNN will likely also carry it live from sometime on Friday.

Sky News (DStv 402) will switch to inauguration coverage from 17:00 on Friday.

FOX News (StarSat 261) will switch to live Inauguration 2017 coverage from 18:00 anchored by Shepard Smith.

CNBC Africa (DStv 410) will broadcast The Inauguration of Donald Trump on Friday from 18:00 to 22:00 switching to the American CNBC feed with coverage anchored by Carl Quintanilla, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera and Kelly Evans.

MSNBC (StarSat 263) will start its inauguration coverage on Friday at 17:00 anchored by Rachel Maddow, Brian Williams and Chris Matthews in New York and NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt in Washington, D.C.

Bloomberg Television (DStv 411 / StarSat 264) under its Bloomberg Politics banner will also broadcast the inauguration on Friday from 17:00 to 20:00, as will India's NDTV (DStv 413 / StarSat 567) from 18:00 to 20:00.

Local TV news channels eNCA (DStv 403), SABC News (DStv 404) and ANN7 (DStv 405) didn't release schedules, programming notes or any coverage plans but are likely to dip into the live inauguration feed late on Friday afternoon as well.

eNCA says it will live stream the inauguration event online at enca.com from 19:00 on Friday.

Monday, January 16, 2017

After its first news channel failure, the SABC wanted to turn SABC3 into its new TV news channel not knowing it couldn't, reveals former chairperson dr Ben Ngubane.

After the expensive flop and abrupt shuttering of its struggling first TV news channel, SABC News International, the SABC set its sights on SABC3, wanting to turn its struggling and smallest terrestrial TV channel into its new news channel - unaware that it's not allowed to do so because SABC3 has a commercial TV licence.

The former SABC board chairperson, dr Ben Ngubane, now the chairperson of Eskom, revealed to parliament on Friday in the ongoing inquiry into the beleaguered state of affairs at the South African public broadcaster, that after the failure of SABC News International, the SABC wanted to turn SABC3 into its new news channel.

Instead of turning SABC3 into its new news channel, the SABC eventually signed the now controversial MultiChoice deal to supply a new stand-alone TV news channel to DStv, SABC News (DStv 404).

Together with the old rerun channel SABC Encore (DStv 156), the pay-TV operator paid the SABC hundreds of millions of rand for the two SABC packaged channels to be carried on DStv, with exclusive access to the old library titles from the SABC archives shows on SABC Encore.

SABC News International was started in 2007 by the SABC's former head of news, dr Snuki Zikalala at a cost of more than R85 million but abruptly shut down three years later at the end of March 2010.

The massive cash drain of SABC News International - to the tune of over R80 million per year - on the SABC's already precarious operating budget was one of the big crippling factors that brought the SABC to the brink of financial collapse in 2009.

But the SABC was absolutely adamant to have a TV news channel and next looked to transform one of its existing three TV channels in its second attempt to create one: SABC3.

SABC3 is however the SABC's only commercial TV channel, with SABC1 and SABC2 licensed as its public broadcast service (PBS) channels.

'We couldn't use SABC3'
In parliament's special ad hoc committee investigating the SABC, dr Ben Ngubane revealed that the SABC's previous head of news who was also acting SABC CEO, Phil Molefe "went to India to look for partners to start the 24-hour TV news channel".

"Things get started. Phil Molefe wanted the 24-hour news channel, but to use SABC3 as the 24-hour news channel. When he came back, after a long process, we found that in fact we couldn't use SABC3 because it's a commercial TV station in terms of its licence".

Dr Ben Ngubane said "I did not bring the Guptas to SABC".

"I was aware that Phil Molefe had gone to India to meet a broadcasting company. He came back and sought a mission to convert SABC3 into 24-hour news. And we declined that."

Dr Ben Ngubane said Phil Molefe "also went to London on the same quest to turn SABC3 into 24-hour news".

SABC News (DStv 404) was eventually launched in August 2013 on DStv promising "multilingual programming" delivered "to audiences in all 11 South African official languages". In April 2015 the SABC removed all bulletins in other languages and made SABC News an English TV news channel.

The SABC's 2017 AFCON schedule disruption for soccer means millions of viewers will lose access to the shows they want to watch from today.

With the 2017 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) soccer tournament kicking off, the South African public broadcaster is from today kicking its biggest scripted entertainment shows to smaller SABC channels that can't be received or seen by millions of viewers.

The SABC's latest big schedule disruption will likely again cost the broadcaster not just viewers and TV ratings but also much-needed advertising income.

From today millions of South African viewers will lose access to the shows they want to watch on the SABC as the public broadcaster once again disrupts its TV channels' schedules for the 2017 AFCON tournament in Gabon with matches that's broadcast live and delayed on SABC1.

The SABC similarly disrupted its prime time schedules across SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 in previous years to broadcast the African Cup of Nations but is going further this year with even more bizarre cross-channel programming swops.

The move will put its most-watched shows out of reach of millions of viewers, unable to access shows like Generations, Uzalo and others even if they want to view it.

Although each SABC channel supposedly has its own brand, on-air image and caters to different viewer demographics, the SABC with programming disruptions like for AFCON, treats its channels as if they're the same and interchangeable.

Programmes specifically commissioned for a specific SABC channel and tailored to a specific viewer demo are moved to other channels where the audience demographic - although there is some overlap - is completely different; a move the SABC infamously refers to as its "transversal strategy".

In reach however, the SABC's three terrestrial TV channels are not the same.

SABC1 has the biggest footprint of the SABC's channels - meaning its broadcasting signal can be physically received by the most TV households in South Africa. SABC2 is accessible to millions fewer households, while SABC3 has the smallest reach of all three of its channels.

From today the SABC is moving its two biggest shows overall in terms of ratings, Generations and Uzalo to SABC3 and SABC2.

Another big ratings grabber, Skeem Saam, is also moved from SABC1 to SABC2 (similar to what the SABC did previously).

During previous AFCON tournaments Generations was moved to SABC2. Now it will be moved from the biggest to the smallest channel for an extended period of time. It will mean the loss of millions of viewers for the SABC for this show, for weeks, until 5 February.

A ratings drop-off is also expected for Uzalo and other moved shows.

As a local prime time soap Generations also replaces High Rollers on SABC3 which is another SABC local soap and a local TV production, for an extended period of time.

■ 2017 AFCON matches and coverage from 17:30 daily, until midnight.

■ Skeem Saam (Mondays to Fridays) and Uzalo (Mondays to Wednesdays) move from SABC1 to SABC2 but retain their timeslots on the new channel of 18:30 and 20:30

■ NCIS on Mondays at 20:00 and Afrikaans drama on Tuesdays at 20:00 have been dumped and will only return in February in new timeslots.

■ The Tswana/Sotho TV news bulletin (Mondays to Fridays) that used to be at 18:30, moves to 18:00.

■ High Rollers has been dumped and is replaced by Generations (Mondays to Fridays), now in the timeslot of 19:30 (its timeslot was 20:00 on SABC1).

Former Big Brother Nigeria housemate, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, to be the host of second season of M-Net's Big Brother Naija on DStv.

Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, a former housemate in the first season of Big Brother Nigeria in 2006, will be the host of the new second season of the renamed show Big Brother Naija starting on Sunday 22 January on M-Net channels on DStv and GOtv in Nigeria.

Since his screen time in Big Brother Nigeria, the young lawyer presented several TV shows on public Nigerian television over the past decade, including Friend or Foe, Greatness TV and others, as well as on pay-TV channels like Rubbin' Minds on EbonyLife TV on DStv and is a co-presenter on The Spot and Men's Corner.

Ebuka Obi-Uchendu survived a near-fatal car crash in December 2015.

"We are particularly excited to have Ebuka as host of Big Brother Naija," says John Ugbe, the managing director of MultiChoice Nigeria in a statement.

"This was the platform that unearthed his potentials and propelled him to stardom. He has over the years grown to become a prominent face on the Nigerian pop culture and entertainment scene while also lending his voice to youth empowerment initiatives".

Big Brother Naija will run for 78 days with 12 housemates.

With increasing TV censorship in Nigeria where conservative subscribers of MultiChoice's DStv in the West African country have become more vocal the past two years about what they don't want anybody to see, the second season of the show won't have any "shower hour" visuals.

Veteran actress Marga van Rooy dead at 75 after battle with cancer.

The veteran TV, film and stage actress Marga van Rooy died on Sunday afternoon at 14:20 after a battle with cancer. The Afrikaans actress was 75.

While appearing in film and on stage, Marga van Rooy reached fame through South African television in multi-year roles the previous two decades on shows like Egoli on M-Net, Vetkoekpaleis on SABC2 and later Molly & Wors on kykNET (DStv 144).

Besides television she appeared in Afrikaans comedy films like Nommer Asseblief, Lipstiek Dipstiek, Panic Mechanic, Die Windpomp and recently 'n Paw-Paw Vir My Darling.

Marga van Rooy died after a battle with cancer the past two months after she underwent surgery in December 2016. In November 2016 she was still appeared on stage in the play Daa Gaat die Bruid.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Andile Ncube to present E! Entertainment's The Search: E! Host South Africa, Terry Pheto judging; while Urban Brew alums show up in the Urban Brew produced show.

Andile Ncube is the presenter of E! Entertainment's new presenter search, The Search: E! Host South Africa that will start in February looking for a South African presenter for the channel while actress Terry Pheto will be the main judge.

Meanwhile several faces who are already known TV presenters and who worked for the production company before - the same production company now doing the show for E! - form part of the 8 contestant group.

Ordinary South Africans were not allowed to enter for the show seeking "up-and-coming talent from across the country".

The Search: E! Host South Africa, produced by Urban Brew for the African channel feed of the NBCUniversal International Networks channel on MultiChoice's DStv pay-TV platform, will start on 1 February at 20:55.

Similar to SABC3's Top Billing Presenter Search and Presenter Search on 3 and Discovery Networks International's TLC's Next Great Presenter, the 8 contestants live together in a mansion and are whittled down through weekly TV tasks to test their television presenting skills.

Raising eyebrows from a production perspective is that several contestants chosen for The Search: E! Host South Africa has previous TV experience with Urban Brew Studios across various of its productions - the company now doing the presenter search show for E! Entertainment (DStv 124).

Included in the 8 contestant group for The Search: E! Host South Africa are ANN7 news reader Abigail Visagie, Hotel Rwanda actress Mosa Kaiser, former SABC1 YO.TV and Mzansi Insider presenter Katleho Sinivasan, Sian Moss, HashtagRadio presenter Juan-Martin Jordt and former SABC1 YO.TV presenter Jessica Tims.

Also included are the TV presenters Danine Naidoo and Ayanda Nhlapo who both presented shows on the [ED] channel on DStv.

The [ED] channel was also produced and packaged until the end of November 2016 by Urban Brew Studios - the same production company now producing The Search: E! Host South Africa that raises interesting conflict of interest and credibility issues.

Besides [ED], YO.TV where Katleho Sinivasan and Jessica Tims had gigs is an Urban Brew produced show; as was SABC1's One Day Leader where Jessica Tims is a presenter.

E! didn't immediately respond to a media enquiry on Friday seeking comment about why people who have been involved with Urban Brew as TV presenters before have been included in this presenter search show done by the same company.

It's likely that The Search: E! Host South Africa in 2017 will probably add fuel to the fiery existing and ongoing #OpenUpTheIndustry debate about why there's a perceived lack of brand-new TV presenter faces in shows on South African screens, with existing presenters constantly being used and re-used again and again.

In late 2016 Colin McLeod, the managing director for UK and emerging markets at NBCUniversal International Networks said The Search: E! Host South Africa will be "a once-in-a-lifetime chance for up-and-coming talent from across the country to pursue this unique opportunity" to represent E! in Africa.

There were no public auditions for South Africans to become contestants in the show, with the 8 who were pre-selected through a casting process according to criteria that according to E! included "presenting experience, pop culture knowledge, and a passion for the E! brand".

Guest judges who will appear in The Search: E! Host South Africa to help choose the best TV presenter include fashion designers like David Tlale and Gert-Johan Coetzee, as well as Mzansi Magic's Idols presenter and co-producer ProVerb and TV and radio presenter Bonang Matheba who will be the first guest judge.

Similar to the other presenter search shows - this being E!'s first South African reality series - cameras will capture the tension and drama among the The Search: E! Host South Africa contestants in the Johannesburg based mansion.

The camera mansion includes a "glam-room" where contestants have their own make-up artists and stylists as they compete against each other to become E!'s presenter face in South Africa.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Greta van Susteren joins MSNBC from FOX News; will start on Monday 9 January with new hour long show, For the Record with Greta.

Greta van Susteren who abruptly left FOX News in September 2016 amidst the swirling sexual harassment scandal that engulfed then FOX News boss Roger Ailes, is joining MSNBC (StarSat 263).

Exactly as was reported earlier this week, Greta van Susteren is joining MSNBC from this coming Monday, with the official announcement late on Thursday coming a day after news that Megyn Kelly is dumping FOX News and joining MSNBC.

Greta van Susteren will start on Monday 9 January with her new weekday, hour long show, For the Record with Greta. At FOX News Greta van Susteren - who South African viewers also saw before on CNN International before jumping to FOX News - presented On the Record with Greta.

For the Record with Greta at MSNBC replaces the Bloomberg Television show With All Due Respect that was cancelled in early December and that was simulcast on MSNBC.

MSNBC in a statement says For the Record with Greta is part of MSNBC's makeover and its "strategic shift to a break news focus during the day".

Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC, says in the statement "Greta is a true pro with a proven record of tough journalism. Her broad range of experience and sharp news judgment will be of great value to MSNBC as we build on our momentum going into a new year and a new administration".

Greta van Susteren in the statement says "I'm thrilled to start my next chapter at MSNBC. The network is the right destination for the smart news and analysis I hope to deliver every day, and I look forward to joining the talented journalists and analysts I respect there".

Obi-Wan Kenobi coming to Star Wars Rebels on Disney XD in a final duel with Darth Maul on Tatooine.

Obi-Wan Kenobi will make an appearance on Star Wars Rebels on Disney XD (DStv 304) when the third season continues after the midseason break, in a (final?) epic light saber duel against Darth Maul.

What makes it newsworthy is that Obi-Wan Kenobi will appear as his older, Alec Guinness version. The younger character as portrayed by Ewan McGregor previously appeared in Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars The Clone Wars.

Maul has relentlessly been seeking Obi-Wan Kenobi and got his answer in the last episode by again using and exploiting the Character of Ezra Bridger: "a desert planet with two suns" - a reference of course to Tatooine.

We don't know when in the remaining set of episodes Obi-Wan Kenobi will appear, or when he and Darth Maul will fight in their "rematch" of sorts - but it will be a big pay-off.

Maul was first re-introduced back into the Star Wars narrative in Star Wars The Clone Wars since The Phantom Menace, and since then questions abound about his "new" final fate.

Of course Obi-Wan Kenobi was only really "discovered" by Luke Skywalker in A New Hope, meaning that sooner or later, if Maul does find Obi-Wan (and now we know he does), he surely can't remain alive to tell anyone about it.

The Star Wars Rebels third season midseason trailer is filled with all kinds of must-seen amazingness:

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah on Comedy Central on DStv moves to a new later timeslot of 9:55pm from 2017.

Comedy Central (DStv 122) is moving The Daily Show with Trevor Noah to a later timeslot of 21:55 from 2017 for South African and African viewers.

It is the first timeslot change for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah since the version of the show with Trevor Noah as its host started in September 2015.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah returned on 4 January 2017 to Comedy Central in America and on MultiChoice's DStv and is no longer broadcast at 21:00 but 21:55.

South African and African viewers are still being shown the latest episode of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah broadcast on Comedy Central in America, within 24 hours on Comedy Central Africa.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah is broadcast Tuesday to Fridays.

Comedy Central Africa and Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) didn't want to give a reason for the latest timeslot shift, but it very likely has to do with the mercurial nature of The Daily Show that often stops and takes production breaks, making it very difficult to guarantee stability in the form of 4-day a week new content during the 21:00 prime time timeslot.

With The Daily Show moved an hour later, VIMN Africa's Comedy Central Africa bosses can plan better and strip more "regular" 5-day a week, weekday "new" content during the hour that creates more stable ratings.

Girl Meets World on The Disney Channel cancelled after just 3 seasons; 'complete sadness' that 'show is over'.

Girls Meets World on The Disney Channel (DStv 303) has been cancelled after just three seasons.

The Boy Meets World spin-off that finished filming its third season won't be back for a fourth season.

The show finally confirming end of December rumours and tweeted that "it is with incredible pride in our work and complete sadness that things end, that I report to this wonderful audience that our show is over".

In a statement about Girl Meets World's cancellation after just over 70 episodes, The Disney Channel says "we are proud that for over 70 episodes Michael Jacobs, April Kelly and the talented creative team, cast and crew entertained viewers with an authentic and heartfelt look at navigating adolescence".

The series' finale will be broadcast in America on 20 January, and later in the year in South Africa in The Disney Channel on DStv.

The third season's final episode of Girl Meets World will serve as a reunion of sorts, with the Boy Meets World cast that will show up.

Eric (Will Friedle), Shawn (Rider Strong), Mr. Feeny (William Daniels), Mr. Turner (Anthony Tyler Quinn), Cory's parents (William Russ and Betsy Randle), Minkus (Lee Norris), and the Morgans (Lindsay Ridgeway and Lily Nicksay) will all appear in the last episode.

CNN forced to apologise after threatened with defamation lawsuit after Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is called a paedophile on New Day.

CNN has been forced to apologise after it was threatened with a defamation lawsuit after Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was called "a paedophile who lives in the Ecuadorian embassy in London" on CNN's Ameritrash morning show New Day seen globally on CNN International (DStv 401).

The Americentric New Day, like The Lead with Jake Tapper, Erin Burnett OutfrontState of America with Kate Bolduan and others, is one of several bad "news-lite" shows that's been taking over the CNN International schedule in an ongoing and misguided CNN Domestic programming creep that's all steadily worsening CNN International's programming offering.

More and more filling the CNN International schedule with trash-talking and opinionated "infotainment" blabber-programming of often dubious news value, shows like New Day doesn't really serve African or other international viewers watching on platforms like MultiChoice's DStv across the African continent.

At its most damaging these shows are negatively impacting CNN International's news credibility with its bad mistakes, and at its least damaging a lot of its mindless content is simply wasting time and is irrelevant for specifically African and other international audiences.

The CNN New Day apology came after Wikileaks, on Twitter, threatened to take legal action against CNN for alleged defamation over Julian Assange being called a paedophile, unless CNN, within 48 hours, broadcast "a one-hour show to "expose of the plot".

CNN then apologised for New Day, where the former CIA counter-terrorism official Philip Mudd made the comments, saying "an analyst on our air earlier today asserted that Julian Assange was a pedophile, and regrets saying it".

"In fact, CNN has no evidence to support that assertion. Assange is currently wanted for extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegation there, and no evidence suggests that the women involved were minors. We regret the error".

CNN also deleted a tweet that included a video clip from its New Day show.

In late-2016 CNN used the on-air chyron "Alt-right founder questions if Jews are people" on The Lead with Jake Tapper, that was also broadcast on CNN International, for which CNN was heavily criticised.