Monday, October 5, 2015

BREAKING. South Africa shines as M-Net's MasterChef South Africa, StarSat's Puppet Nation ZA and Miners Shot Down doc are nominated for International Emmy Awards.

South Africa is shining with a massive 3 nominations for the 2015 International Emmy Awards with M-Net's (DStv 101) MasterChef South Africa, StarSat's Puppet Nation ZA and the local documentary Miners Shot Down that's all been nominated for this year's awards.

South Africa with 3 nominations forms part of only 19 countries that cracked the nod this year in the 10 categories and the various nominees announced today by the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Besides South Africa, Angola is the only other country in Africa to get a nomination for its Jikulumessu in the telenovela category.

The winners will be announced in New York on 23 November at the Hilton New York hotel.

M-Net's MasterChef South Africa cracked a nomination in the reality, or so called "non-scripted" category and is produced by Quizzical Pictures and Lucky Bean Media. It's the second time that MasterChef SA gets an international Emmy nomination after it also snagged a nomination in 2013.

There's been no immediate statement from M-Net.

Puppet Nation ZA (previously called ZA News), produced by Both Worlds and shown on On Digital Media (ODM) and StarTimes Media South Africa's StarSat on the StarTimes One (StarSat 120) channel, was nominated in the comedy category.

After getting 11 nominations, Puppet Nation ZA earlier this year won 7 Golden Horn trophies at the South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) in May.

There's been no immediate statement from StarSat.

The harrowing documentary Miners Shot Down - the Uhuru Productions documentary about the Marikana Massacre produced by filmmaker Rehad Desai - scored a nomination in the documentary category.

The SABC and have so far refused to broadcast Miners Shot Down but it has been shown on the community TV station Cape Town TV in July and Al Jazeera ((DStv 406 / StarSat 257) both channels of which are carried on MultiChoice's DStv platform.

In August Rehad Desai urged for Miners Shot Down to be broadcast on and the SABC saying that the film "has become an ever-present symbol of the average South African's struggle to survive in this country".

"Every year, the international television community competes to be recognized for excellence on the International Emmy's global stage," says Bruce L. Paisner, the president and CEO of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Another Africa related nomination includes Africa’s Wild West: Stallions of the Namib Desert from Austria.

Earlier this year Debora Patta was nominated for a news Emmy for her work as the Africa correspondent for the American TV network CBS on their show, CBS Evening News.

Trevor Noah's Daily Show debut last week is a new ratings record for Viacom's Comedy Central channel on MultiChoice's DStv.

The start of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah on Comedy Central (DStv 122) last week pulled 352 855 DStv viewers, making the 2.6 rating the highest viewership ever achieved by Comedy Central in South Africa since the channel launched in Africa on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform in December 2011.

The record rating for Trevor Noah's debut comes with a caveat: MultiChoice opened the channel from Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) usually reserved for DStv Premium subscribers for a week, from 28 September, to the lower-tiered DStv Compact subscriber base as well making the channel and the start of the show accessible to a lot more viewers.

Interestingly, the start of The Daily Show and Trevor Noah's debut surpassed Comedy Central's previous viewership record which also had Trevor Noah: The Comedy Central Roast of Steve Hofmeyr which had Trevor Noah as the Roast master in 2012 and scored a 2.0 rating.

What the viewership of Trevor Noah's debut as new host of The Daily Show means, is that almost 10% of all viewers watching DStv, watched Trevor Noah and Comedy Central last Tuesday night, 29 September.

In America the start of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah on Comedy Central grabbed 7.5 million viewers where Viacom broadcast the show not just on Comedy Central but across all of its channels like MTV, BET, VH1 and other channels to give potential audience sampling of the new show the biggest possible reach.

Viacom says that on the multi-platform front Trevor Noah's full episode premiere has been streamed over 750 000 times and that clips from the episode have recorded nearly 4 million viewers across platforms.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah is broadcast Tuesdays to Fridays in Africa on Comedy Central at 21:00. grabs Empire and Tumisho Masha; renews telenovela Ashes to Ashes, adds music game show MVP Jam and also brings back Umlilo, Z'bondiwe.

The free-to-air commercial broadcaster which has found mass appeal for its programming strategy of creating compelling and original local black drama series for primetime has renewed the highly popular funeral parlour set telenovela Ashes to Ashes and handed out further season orders to Umlilo and Z'bondiwe. has also scooped up the free-to-air broadcasting rights to the hit American drama Empire which just started its second season on FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131) with the first and second season which will be seen on

While the SABC continues to makes damaging headlines for outrageous executive salaries, court cases, and behind-the-scenes turmoil at the public broadcaster, is making rating inroads by quickly securing popular overseas programming like Empire and keeping the press attention focused on its programming, on-screen talent and schedule properties. recently grabbed the new big hit Lip Sync Battle, as well as the reality competition show Bullseye on Saturdays at 18:05 and announced that its hit soap Scandal! has added soap actor Tumisho Masha to the cast as a brand-new villain

TV with Thinus was first to reveal back in May that's biggest latest viewership hit, Ashes to Ashes, will very likely be back for a new season after it suddenly changed the billing from "series finale to "season finale".

The channel is ready to roll out a brand-new game show, MVP Jam with Dineo Ranaka and DJ Mulo from 4 November at 18:00 targeting a black urban audience similar to what SABC2's Noot vir Noot has been doing for Afrikaans viewers.

After its already taken over SA's Got Talent, The Ultimate Braai Master and She's The One which used to be SABC2 and SABC3 shows, has now also commissioned a new local black drama which will be set and filmed in KwaZulu-Natal and which will rival SABC1's Uzalo which was filmed in KwaMashu. is also bringing back its popular eKasi series for a 6th season with various stories filmed in Soweto, Malelane and Newcastle, starting on 9 November at 21:00, while the second season of the local police drama Traffic! debuts on 6 October at 21:05, this time following a muti serial killer.

Kasi-licious will be back for a 3rd season on eKasi+ (OVHD 105) from 14 October at 18:00 with Tol A$$ Mo cooking with local celebrities.

A 5th season of Nicky Greenwall's profile interview show The Close Up will start on on 19 November at 18:00 featuring local personalities like Maps Maponyane, rapper iFani, DJ Sbu, Katlego Maboe and Kelly Khumalo.

"We have secured the first and second season of Empire. We currently have Gold Diggers which will be followed, officially, by Ashes to Ashes, the second season. We're in production and Ashes to Ashes will be back on screen on from 14 March at 20:00," Monde Twala, director of channels announced at's summer press preview on Saturday.

"At we're quite focused on making sure that we remain relevant, that we remain local, we inspire imagination and that we're the window to the world and the window for progressive South Africans to really engage and mirror the culture and who we are and moving the country forward," said Monde Twala.

Umlilo's new season will start in March 2016 on at 21:00, Z'bondiwe will return for a new season in May 2016 at 21:30. Empire's first season will start on on 3 February 2016 at 21:30.

Below some images from's summer press preview day on Saturday held outside Krugersdorp:

Today's interesting TV stories to read from TV with Thinus - 5 October 2015

■ SABC's matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng tells Sunday Times the journalist is asking the wrong question.
SABC suddenly dumped planned cricket commentary for the first T20 international cricket match between South Africa and India on Friday, but it will now return after Diane Reimer, SABC head of sport told SABC staff that "we will not cover the India tour" because there is apparently "no return on investment".

■ The SABC "concerned" and regrets comments made by Leanne Manas
after SABC2's Morning Live anchor spoke about the alleged arrival of Microsoft founder Bill Gates in South Africa. SABC management "views this matter in a serious light and is in the process of engaging Leanne Manas and will communicate accordingly once all the internal processes have been finalized".

■ The Commission for Gender Equality clears the SABC's matricless boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng
after he was allegedly given a wife as a present by rural leaders in Limpopo in 2014. "We always said as the SABC that we believe that was a symbolic gesture," says SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.

■ Dr. Phil crisis behind the scenes.
The new 14th season of Dr. Phil seen in South Africa on SABC2 is mired in chaos behind the scenes, with brutal firings, staff unrest, PR head fired, and there's "about to be a mutiny".

■ Better executives could help improve the struggling SABC.
Suddenly removing SABC board members for political reasons has made the SABC board dysfunctional says the Centre for Corporate Governance.

■ The ANC political party is worried about negative things at the SABC.
And the hate from the South African media for president Jacob Zuma. ANC says the crisis at the SABC reflects badly on the ANC-led government.

■ Meanwhile the South African Communist Party (SACP) blasts the ANC over matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng saying its"a stark example of what happens when we leave the media in the hands of those only interested in personal self-accumulation, including obscene increases in salaries for incompetent and unqualified individuals".
- Also says the SABC is an example of "growing shame and embarrassment":
It has indisputably been hijacked by a tiny cabal of self-promoting individuals, abusing political access to materially advance themselves, at the expense of the SABC itself, and of the millions of people it should serve".

■ Lifetime's (DStv 131) new "Unauthorized Story of" movies explained.
The biographical movies about the life behind popular 90s TV shows, from Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place and Full House are because those teen viewers are now the grown target market as nostalgia hits a resurgence together with the remake of TV shows.
And the biggest revelations from The Unauthorized Beverly Hills, 90210 Story.

■ Why American broadcasters are waiting longer to cancel low-rated shows.
Executives wait longer to see how shows add viewers in repeated viewing and later,time-shifted viewing on PVR.

■ H . A . M . S . T. E. R. S.
The opening title sequence of FRIENDS - done by hamsters.

■ Lame, boring Homeland remains
The new 5th season of Homeland on M-Net Edge (DStv 102) was supposed to mark a fresh start. But the tired drama is now a frustrating failure.

■ Laurence Fishburne will play Nelson Mandela in BET (DStv 129) miniseries.
Will play the hero in the 6-part miniseries with Nelson Mandela's grandson Kweku Mandela as the executive producer.

■ David Boreanaz: Bones should end after the 11th season.
Says forensic drama series has gone on long enough.

■ MultiChoice says its investing $3 million in East Africa.
Pay-TV platform is growing an East African content hub to churn out films and shows from Kenya.

■  New Quantico, Minority Report draw most diverse viewers.
Quantico on Vuzu AMP (DStv 114) and Minority Report on FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131) are the new TV dramas drawing the most diverse audiences in America - in part thanks to the diverse casting choices.

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.