Thursday, March 26, 2015

Bonang Matheba dumps Sun International and M-Net's Miss South Africa 2015 as judge to attend Viacom's Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2015.

After having been announced as a judge for the Miss South Africa 2015 pageant presenter Bonang Matheba dumped Sun International to rather attend Viacom's Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards 2015 taking place in Saturday in Los Angeles.

The Miss South Africa 2015 pageant will be broadcast live this Sunday, 28 March on M-Net (DStv 101) and Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) at 17:30, with the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards 2015 taking place on Saturday in Los Angeles.

The Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2015 will be broadcast on Nickelodeon (DStv 305) a few days later in South Africa and Africa on Wednesday 1 April at 16:00.

Bonang Matheba is a nominee in the localised add-on category of Favourite South African Radio DJ" to help market the American awards show in South Africa.

Bonang Matheba's announcement as judge, only for her to withdraw and jet off to Los Angeles for a better made-for-TV special is highly embarrassing for Sun International as the Miss South Africa 2015 organisers.

Sun International through its PR agency, Ninesquared Communications, announced on 14 March that Bonang Matheba will be a judge of Miss South Africa 2015, just as she was in 2014.

After that announcement, Bonang Matheba jetted off this week to Los Angeles for the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards 2015, leaving the judging chair with her name on it at Sun City empty.

Ninesquared Communications on Thursday didn't respond with an answer to a media enquiry as to how Sun International feels about Bonang Matheba agreeing to be a judge and then pulling out.

In a statement on Thursday Bonang Matheba said she has "stepped down as judge of the Miss South Africa 2015 pageant taking place at Sun City this weekend due to an urgent international commitment", confirming that she dumped the local pageant show.

"It is unfortunate that I had to step down as Miss South Africa judge due to an urgent overseas work commitment".

It's not clear, and Bonang Matheba failed to explain, why she committed to be a Miss South Africa 2015 judge if she knew prior to this commitment and announcement of her being a judge that she is going to, or must go to the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2015 for Viacom International Media Networks International Africa (VIMN Africa).

Likewise if Bonang Matheba was only asked to attend the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2015 after the decision was made to be a Miss South Africa 2015 judge, is strange that she would dump and cancel on an existing diarised commitment for an apparently "better" one.

BREAKING. Downton Abbey on DStv's BBC Entertainment done after 6 seasons; 'want to close the doors while it felt right'.

The acclaimed British period drama Downton Abbey will be done after the upcoming 6th season which will be the final series for the ITV drama shown in South Africa on BBC Worldwide's BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) and Times Media's VIDI.

NBCUniversal-owned Carnival Films, the producer of Downton Abbey is confirming the months-long rumours that Downton Abbey's 6th series will be the final one.

Carnival Films managing director Gareth Neame, who is also Downton Abbey's executive producer, says "Millions of people around the world have followed the journey of the Crawley family and those who serve them for the last five years".

"Inevitably there comes a time when all shows should end, and Downton is no exception".

"We wanted to close the doors of Downton Abbey when it felt right and natural for the storylines to come together and when the show was still being enjoyed so much by its fans."

"We can promise a final season full of all the usual drama and intrigue, but with the added excitement of discovering how and where they all end up..."

"The Downton Abbey journey has been amazing for everyone aboard,” says Julian Fellowes, creator and writer in today's statement.

"People ask if we knew what was going to happen when we started to make the first series and the answer is that, of course we had no idea."

"Exactly why the series had such an impact and reached so many people around the world, all nationalities, all ages, all types, I cannot begin to explain."

"But I do know how grateful we are to have been allowed this unique experience. I suspect the show will always be a principal marker in most of our careers as we set out from here, and if so, I consider that a blessing and a compliment."

NBCUniversal International Television Production's president Michael Edelstein says "Downton Abbey is nothing short of a global cultural phenomenon, whose compelling storylines and characters are beloved by millions around the world".

"Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame's sublime drama has secured its place as a beacon of British creativity that will live on for decades to come."

BREAKING. SABC fires two more SABC board members: Rachel Kaladiss and Ronnie Lubisi dumped as unstability once again engulfs SABC board.

The latest SABC board purge continues with the SABC board which has, as expected, rid itself of the two further SABC board members - Rachel Kalidass and Ronnie Lubisi - who the SABC board couldn't dump on 13 March since there was no longer a quorum left.

Now Rachel Kalidass and Ronnie Lubisi are also immediately out after they received letters in March accusing them of fraudulent conduct.

Their firing follows that of Hope Zinde earlier this month, where both Rachel Kaladiss and Ronnie Lubisi walked out, causing the planned ouster of the further two SABC board members to be postponed.

The SABC confirms that Rachel Kaladiss and Ronnie Lubisi have been terminated from the SABC board, saying in a statement they've been "removed as non-executive directors with effect from 26 March" and that the shareholder - meaning the minister of communications, Faith Muthambi - has been informed.

Unstability has once again engulfed the SABC board in 2015, amidst allegations of undue interference from the minister of communications into the workings of the SABC.

Last week Faith Muthambi told parliament that she rejects the Broadcasting Act and that she can directly interfere with the workings of the SABC since the South African public broadcaster is a state-owned firm falling under the Companies Act.

While parliament has yet to decide on a new SABC board member to replace the disgraced Ellen Tshabalala who resigned after lying about bogus qualifications, there will now be a further three positions to be filled yet again.

Today's interesting TV stories to read from TV with Thinus - 26 March 2015.

Jeremy Clarkson now faces police arrest for his physical violence.
Co-horts James May tells Sky News the sacking of Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear on BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) is a "tragedy" and that "the three of us are a package" while Richard Hammond says "we're all three of us idiots in our own different ways".

The BBC has "The Jeremy Clarkson Story" - a reflexive post-firing explainer.
Meanwhile abused producer Oisin Tymon has been targeted by online vicious trolls after the firing news.
The BBC is looking for a new Top Gear presenter without the racial slurs and offensive behaviour of Jeremy Clarkson.
Jeremy Clarkson also lawyered up just before his firing with the American "litigation boutique" of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.
Twitter went "into meltdown" after Jeremy Clarkson got fired, and Jeremy Clarkson fans threaten to boycott Top Gear and the BBC after his sacking. He also changed his Twitter profile while his girlfriend Philippa Sage "flew in to comfort him" in his West London home.
Variety asks what's next for the damaged Top Gear? and a former BBC boss says "Jeremy Clarkson was a disaster waiting to happen".
GQ Britain says the BBC was "foolish" to fire Jeremy Clarkson over a violent drunk fight - the BBC is supposed to "take care" of a drunk TV presenter during a work trip.

BBC Worldwide and Brand Events are quiet about what is happening to the Top Gear Live events scheduled - including the one in South Africa in June - as anxious people who've bought tickets are wondering what's going on with Top Gear Live's future "in doubt".
Analysis: Jeremy Clarkson's horrible violence left the BBC no choice but to fire the Top Gear presenter.

Oprah's OWN orders an Iyanla Vanzant spin-off.
With Iyanla: Fix My Life broadcast on TLC Entertainment (DStv 172) and now SABC2, OWN is ordering an as-yet-untitled spin-off with Jay Williams. Also, Oprah unveils a brand-new theme song and anthem for her TV network.

BET's (DStv 129) Wendy Williams gets a show on ID: Investigation Discovery (DStv 171).
Death by Gossip with Wendy Williams will focus on crimes that were fueled by rumors and lies.Wendy Williams will be the presenter and executive producer.

An Alien Nation remake is in the works.

Leighton Meester and the dear Dorota are still friends.
The Gossip Girl star and her maid are still in touch.

Why all of the sudden 1990's TV show remakes?
The X-Files creator Chris Carter says its "because its worked before and there's a possibility it can work again".

The Goldbergs sitcom on M-Net wanted to do a "Thriller" Halloween episode.
But its too expensive: The Michael Jackson Estate has to give permission for the song - which has a high price tag, and then the show has to pay $100 000 for the choreography.

Muggers of Vuyo Mvuko and the SABC crew are due back in court.
The criminals who are illegal immigrants in South Africa will appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court again today.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

BREAKING. The Supreme Court of Appeal dismiss - with cost - StarSat's appeal over its porn TV channels ordered off South Africa's airwaves.

You're reading it here first.

The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein has ordered the South African satellite pay-TV service StarSat - operated by On Digital Media (ODM) and China's StarTimes Media SA - to stop broadcasting pornography on South African television.

The court has dismissed, with cost, StarSat's appeal of the earlier judgment of the Western Cape High Court at the end of 2014 - a judgment which also ordered StarSat to stop broadcasting porn.

At the beginning of November 2014 Judge Lee Bozalek in the Western Cape High Court ordered StarSat to stop broadcasting its hardcore pornography TV channels in South Africa.

That court case decision came after the the non-profit organisations Justice Alliance of South Africa (Jasa), Cause for Justice and Doctors for Life took South Africa's broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), and StarSat to court for allowing and broadcasting pornography on television in South Africa.

Icasa admitted to the court during that case that the regulator had failed to appoint experts to consider StarSat's porn plan.

The struggling On Digital Media, still in business rescue, also failed to register with the Film and Publications Board (FPB) as a porn purveyor.

The Woodmead-based satellite pay-TV operator then appealed the High Court ruling.

In December 2014 the Western Cape High Court rejected ODM's appeal, again finding that the broadcasting regulator must relook the process and decision which gave StarSat (formerly TopTV) permission to broadcast the hardcore pornography in the form of Brazzers, Desire TV and Playboy TV channels.

ODM then decided to take the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal at the beginning of this year and again resumed broadcasting its sex channels.

Now, in the latest chapter of the porn broadcast case, the Supreme Court of Appeal has ordered that StarSat's application for appeal "is dismissed with cost on the grounds that an appeal has no reasonable prospects of success".

It means that due to StarSat's failed attempt to appeal, the satellite pay-TV operator must immediately stop broadcasting its controversial porn package of channels.

StarSat which already spent a large sum of money on the case, can still approach the Constitutional Court in order to apply for leave to appeal. 

In such a case the original order of the Western Cape High Court will be suspended, pending the leave to appeal proceedings at the Constitutional Court.

There's been no statement yet from StarSat, which, despite its focus on fighting for televised pornography, has failed in the past year and a half to significantly expand and improve the quality and number of the general entertainment and movie channels of its bouquet - the real driver of pay-TV uptake.

According to the 2014 court documents, ODM last year had around 400 subscribers for the sex channels which subscribers need to subscribe to as a separate porn package.

While StarSat's hardcore sex channels remain a niche offering - something which ODM at launch in May 2010 promised subscribers and South Africa's TV industry it would never broadcast only to do a U-turn - StarSat at the end of 2014 said that the company sees its porn channels as a "freedom to view" issue.

ODM said that the pay-TV operator "will continue to ensure that citizens in South Africa have the freedom to view the programmes they wish to".

While StarSat has been fighting its porn battle in court, ordinary StarSat subscribers in 2015 continue to blast the operator.

StarSat subscribers constantly complain about bad service, a bad customer call centre and long call waiting times, the bad video and audio quality of some channels and channels freezing up, payment problems, erratic electronic programme guide (EPG) errors, removed TV channels and old programming.

BREAKING. The BBC fires Jeremy Clarkson; inquiry finds Top Gear presenter guilty of physical and verbal attack 'of an extreme nature'.

The BBC has fired Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear on BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) after an inquiry found him guilty of a physical and verbal attack "of an extreme nature" of producer Oisin Tymon.

Tony Hall, the BBC director-general, just released the following statement:

"It is with great regret that I have told Jeremy Clarkson today that the BBC will not be renewing his contract. It is not a decision I have taken lightly. I have done so only after a very careful consideration of the facts and after personally meeting both Jeremy and Oisin Tymon.

I am grateful to Ken MacQuarrie for the thorough way he has conducted an investigation of the incident on 4th March. Given the obvious and very genuine public interest in this I am publishing the findings of his report. I take no pleasure in doing so. I am only making them public so people can better understand the background. I know how popular the programme is and I also know that this decision will divide opinion. The main facts are not disputed by those involved.

I want to make three points.

First – The BBC is a broad church. Our strength in many ways lies in that diversity. We need distinctive and different voices but they cannot come at any price. Common to all at the BBC have to be standards of decency and respect. I cannot condone what has happened on this occasion. A member of staff – who is a completely innocent party – took himself to Accident and Emergency after a physical altercation accompanied by sustained and prolonged verbal abuse of an extreme nature. For me a line has been crossed. There cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another dictated by either rank, or public relations and commercial considerations.

Second – This has obviously been difficult for everyone involved but in particular for Oisin. I want to make clear that no blame attaches to him for this incident. He has behaved with huge integrity throughout. As a senior producer at the BBC he will continue to have an important role within the organisation in the future.

Third – Obviously none of us wanted to find ourselves in this position. This decision should in no way detract from the extraordinary contribution that Jeremy Clarkson has made to the BBC. I have always personally been a great fan of his work and Top Gear. Jeremy is a huge talent. He may be leaving the BBC but I am sure he will continue to entertain, challenge and amuse audiences for many years to come.

The BBC must now look to renew Top Gear for 2016. This will be a big challenge and there is no point in pretending otherwise. I have asked Kim Shillinglaw to look at how best we might take this forward over the coming months. I have also asked her to look at how we put out the last programmes in the current series."

'EXCLUSIVE!' Is eNCA's Karyn Maughan becoming South Africa's Connie Chung? Why eNCA is on a slippery slide to tawdry tabloid coverage.

"Just whisper it to me, just between you and me?"

Remember when America's Connie Chung on CBS leaned forward and exploited Newt Gingrich's mother in 1995 to tell her what he called Hillary Clinton? ("A bitch" the mother said.)

Well, it looks like eNCA (DStv 403) reporter Karyn Maughan is now becoming South Africa's Connie Chung as eNCA is starting to slide precipitously closer and closer to tabloid television and tawdry tabloid TV territory with salacious "personality" stories in the mold of Entertainment Tonight.

It is news, yes, but should eNCA do it?

The tabloid trash television markers are all over the eNCA story of Karyn Maughan interviewing the mom of slain rapper Flabba who, worthy of an Inside Edition segment, tells of the "threatening" Whatsapp messages girlfriend Manqele allegedly sent him before she killed him.

"She's gonna kill me," mourning mamma reveals to Karyn Maughan, billed as an "exclusive" - complete with exclamation mark - in a sensational profile story, the hallmark of tabloid entertainment news shows perfected in America like Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight and Extra.

Tabloid fodder - the more tawdry, trashy and tragic the better - is one of the ways TV news uses to try and juice the ratings, and now it seems eNCA is on the same slippery slide.

Yes, Karyn Maughan did extensive coverage of the Oscar Pistorius court case last year and she excelled at it.

In a story and ongoing TV narrative of that scope, length and with larger-than-life characters, you cannot help but focus on the various media characters, the minutiae of their personal lives and every morsel of scandal-riddled lives.

The danger would be, and is for TV news channels like eNCA, it's addictive nature. Channels like eNCA should try and stay away from that trough as far as possible. But it's difficult.

Once a shark has smelled the blood, something more akin to instinct takes over.

Last year Andrew Tyndall, who tracks American TV news, told The Hollywood Reporter how ABC's ABC World News Tonight has started to veer away from "real news" and try to lure and keep viewers in sneaky ways to stay tuned in.

Trashy tabloid coverage is TV news' version of sugar and of partially hydrogenated oil - oh so good tasting but not really good for you.

The problem is creates is one of credibility. What real news value does a story - exclusive! mind you - based on trashy Whatsapp messages, relayed by a grieving mother put on camera - have? And what does it to for eNCA's image and brand and news name over time?

Most journalists, especially broadcast journalists, secretly live for these kinds of lurid Connie Chung stories.

They're "easier" to do in a sense because you hook viewers by hooking a talking head who is essentially somewhat exploited (since they're not media savvy) into talking and saying things that will make a salacious, lovely sound byte for a day.

It's the "Barbara Walters interviewing Donald Sterling's girlfriend V Stiviano" type TV trash: people who don't fully comprehend what they're doing, nor the power of the media, but who willingly talk for a empty calorie tabloid story.

Full disclosure: I've done those stories too as a journalist. I've jumped on unsuspecting people who didn't realise what they were saying. I've called a mom about her son who've assaulted someone and she told me exactly what he told her. A front page, main headline banner story.

As a news editor I've sometimes told other journalists to pursue these stories, as well. Dad forgot his baby in the car who died? You want that interview! Someone close to someone famous has some words or message or keepsake or document and is willing to reveal it? You want to get it! First!

But it's trashy and stupid. And eNCA should know, and do, better.

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

South Africa's set-top box tender for DTT delayed ... AGAIN.
Digital terrestrial television (DTT) further stalled with new drama and a legal battle looming over the tender process for the multi-billion rand set-top box (STB) manufacturing tender.
Meanwhile the switch from analogue to digital TV will cost South African viewers, consumers and the TV industry billions of rand which is not budgeted for.

BBC decision on Jeremy Clarkson 24 hours away.
The star of Top Gear on BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) will know his fate in a day, says a BBC executive, after an inquiry about on-set "fracas". Jeremy Clarkson will be fired Wednesday (today) by the BBC, reports The Telegraph.

National Geographic Channel (DStv 181) bans CNN reporter from Killing Jesus media premiere.
Sarcastic National Geographic Channel spokesperson Chris Alberts "thanks" journalist Tom Kludt for the "extra attention". National Geographic Channel banned the journalist due to "negative coverage" of Bill O'Reilly - who is on FOX News Channel, which is part of the group Nat Geo belongs to.
Nat Geo banned Tom Kludt from the entire Killing Jesus event and denied his media accreditation "out of respect for Bill O'Reilly and because there allegedly isn't space alongside the red carpet.
And ... How National Geographic blatantly intimidated Society Matters until it just closed down last year.

The Empire strikes back.
FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131) sues to keep the name Empire for its TV show - after a real-life record label with the word Empire says the show is causing "trademark dilution by tarnishment" because it is about "a label run by a homophobic drug dealer prone to murdering his friends." ... Yet the record label wants its own stars to appear in Empire.

Mad Men's Jon Hamm went to rehab for alcohol addiction.
Jon Hamm completed a 30-day stay to dry out and "completed treatment for his struggle with alcohol addiction".

The real reason why FOX is reviving The X-Files.
With The X-Files coming back after 13 years to TV its actually more about making the past 9 seasons which also belong to FOX more relevant and appetising to streaming services like Netflix - FOX will monetise The X-Files when new episodes stir interest in people wanting to watch the old episodes.
Also, the revived The X-Files will actually benefit from an older Mulder and Scully. And 7 things that need to happen in the new The X-Files.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Five people shortlisted as a possible SABC board member replacement; Lumko Mtimde dropped due to lack of proof of qualifications.

Five people - Saskia Janine Hickey, Ntomizandile Lesame, Keabatswe Modimoeng, Jenni Irish-Quobosheane and Ashwin Trikamjee - have been shortlisted by parliament as a possible new SABC board member.

One of these five people will replace the disgraced Ellen Zandile Tshabalala, who lied about her qualifications, on the SABC board.

Lumko Mtimde, who was on the SABC board and resigned in 2013 after ugly SABC board infighting with the then SABC chairperson dr. Ben Ngubane, was shortlisted as one of the 97 nominees but he was disqualified.

Lumko Mtimde was disqualified as one of the final shortlisted SABC board member candidates after proof of his academic records, as stated on his CV, were not submitted.

BREAKING. The X-Files back on TV after 13 years with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as Mulder and Scully for limited 6 episode series.

Thirteen years (that's the first conspiracy right there) after The X-Files ended on television, the truth is still out there: The X-Files will return to TV this year as a limited series of 6 episodes with stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, as well as series creator and executive producer Chris Carter, who also is returning.

FOX Television Group announced that The X-Files will return to television, 13 years after the drama series about FBI agents involved in paranormal investigations and conspiracy theories which lasted 9 years, ended its run.

Besides 20th Century Fox TV and Ten Thirteen Productions returning to the show, its also a reunion for FOX Television Group chairmen and CEO's Dana Walden and Gary Newman who were both with 20th Century Fox Television when The X-Files originally started.

"I think of it as a 13-year commercial break," says The X-Files series creator and executive producer Chris Carter, in a statement.

"The good news is the world has only gotten that much stranger, a perfect time to tell these six stories."

"We had the privilege of working with Chris on all nine seasons of The X-Files - one of the most rewarding, creative experiences of our careers - and we couldn't be more excited to explore that incredible world with him again," says Dana Walden and Gary Newman in the statement.

"The X-Files was not only a seminal show for both the studio and the network, it was a worldwide phenomenon that shaped pop culture - yet remained a true gem for the legions of fans who embraced it from the beginning."

"Few shows on television have drawn such dedicated fans as The X-Files, and we're ecstatic to give them the next thrilling chapter of Mulder and Scully they've been waiting for."

During its original broadcast run in South Africa The X-Files which started in 1993, was one of the few American TV shows the SABC had exclusively on the public broadcaster and which wasn't on pay-TV.

All nine seasons were shown first on TV1 which later changed to SABC2, with The X-Files which became the number one most watched show on TV1 in 1995, and the second most popular TV show on SABC2 in 1997.

It will be interesting to see whether the revived The X-Files - still popular in reruns - is shown on M-Net (DStv 101) on MultiChoice's DStv in South Africa, or whether it will also be going to FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131).

FOX recently scooped the year's biggest new TV show and high-buzz Empire, as well as Wayward Pines, Backstrom, Legends and others in a new 20th Century FOX TV studio output deal.

The Royalty Soapie Awards 2015 set for Saturday in Durban; DJ Merlon, R&B singer Bucie set to perform with Durban's Gospel Choir.

The Royalty Soapie Awards is set to take place this Saturday at 19:00 at Durban's International Convention Centre where DJ Merlon, the Durban Gospel Choir, R&B singer Bucie will perform.

The Royalty Soapie Awards, taking place for a second year this year, won't be broadcast live on South African television, but will be shown later in the year on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161).

Mzansi Magic's Isibaya and's Scandal! are leading the charge with 16 nominations each in this year's Royalty Soapie Awards, followed by SABC2's 7de Laan with 14 nominations.

On stage this year will be DJ Merlon with Mondli Ngcobo, as well as Durban's Gospel Choir and the R&B singer Bucie, with Goliath & Goliath as the hosts.

Besides awards for various categories, the Royalty Soapie Awards will also be handing out two Lifetime Achievement Awards to veterans of South Africa's TV industry.

The Royalty Soapie Awards was started in 2013 as a new genre-specific awards ceremony set to honour soap opera television in South Africa.

Entries open for ANN7's 2nd South African of the Year Awards 2015; award show honouring notable South Africans to take place on 26 September.

ANN7 (DStv 405) is returning its South African of the Year Awards it started last year, with the ANN7 South African of the Year 2015 Awards which will take place in September for a second time.

The 24-hour local TV news channel run by Infinity Media is now once again looking for South Africans to enter. ANN7 will add the I Am South African show as a daily stripped programme from July at 17:00 as a lead-up to the awards ceremony.

The ANN7 South African of the Year Awards 2015 will be broadcast live on ANN7 on 26 September, and like the daily show will focus on bringing viewers inspirational stories of notable South Africans who are making a positive difference in the country.

The awards ceremony in September will hand out awards in the categories of Trendsetting celebrity of the Year, Campaign of the Year, Sportsperson of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Spirit of Humanity Award, Young South African of the Year and South African of the Year.

Entries can be done through SMS (a SMS to 43043 costing R1.50 with SATY, category, name and surname and description) and email (to, with the category, nominee's name and surname, and a description).

The eligibility period is for work between June 2014 and July 2015 and for more enquiries people can call 011 542 1222. The closing date for entries is 30 April 2015.              

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

You don't want DStv and StarSat to sell their TV channels individually.
If MultiChoice and On Digital Media and StarTimes Media SA s"unbundle" their pay-TV channels, guess what ... you are going to be paying a lot more for DStv and StarSat.
Meanwhile Canada will offer pay-TV subscribers a la carte pay-TV channels from next year - but it will mean higher "per-subscriber carriage fees".

MultiChoice to add a new TV channel for Southern Africa soon.
The new TV channel from M-Net on DStv will be for movie producers to broadcast their local content across the Southern Africa region. The new DStv channel will be in standard definition (SD) and M-Net is looking for movies from localfilmmakers.

"The SABC is now a propaganda machine."
The COPE political party says the SABC is no longer an authentic public broadcaster but increasingly a propaganda machine for the ruling party.

Meanwhile the SABC is getting ready to fire 2 more SABC board members.
SABC board members Rachel Kalidass and Ronnie Lubisi received letters in March accusing them of fraudulent conduct and they've been threatened with suspension. The Communication Workers' Union (CWU) says it is extremely concerned with what is going on at the SABC and the minister of communications, Faith Muthambi's, interference.
Meanwhile former SABC board member Lumko Mtimde who resigned in 2013 could be making a comeback as SABC board member - he is one of 97 candidates nominated for the new position after Ellen Zandile Tshabalala's disgraceful exit.

Anger keeps building over massive 20% and DStv price increase in Zambia.
Meanwhile a consumer watchdog body in Zambia says DStv's massive price hike from 1 April is too steep and untimely.

Meanwhile Sky is hiking its subscription fees from June.
Sky usually increases its subscriptions in September every year but is now starting to do it twice a year.

Jeremy Clarkson says he's been fired by the BBC.
The star of Top Gear on BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) tells an audience at a charity auction he was sacked by the BBC. In an obscenity-laced tirade Jeremy Clarkson said the BBC "f*cked up" Top Gear.
Meanwhile BBC Worldwide has been forced to cancel the first of the Top Gear Live shows, with the Norway one which is getting postponed after Jeremy Clarkson's "fracas".
Meanwhile The Hollywood Reporter asks whether the BBC will really fire Jeremy Clarkson.

Sky News (DStv 402) reporter "devastated".
Martin Brunt tells inquest he is "devastated" after death of woman he interviewed who was an online troll.

More people fired at E! Entertainment (DStv 124).
Betsy Rott, Tim Rosta and Leigh Anne Gardner are out together with "virtually everyone in the TV specials department".

Downton Abbey's upcoming 6th season will be its last.
TVLine reports that the new 6th season of the ITV drama shown on BBC Entertainment (DStv 120) will end after the 6th series.

Masechaba Lekalake done with Ekse on
Her final episode of the local talk show on which saw production upheaval behind the scenes, will be on Thursday, 26 March.

Zuku wants DStv to pay penalties in content sharing fight.
Zuku TV from Wananchi has asked Kenya's Competition Authority to force MultiChoice Kenya to resell some of the rights to its exclusive content and to pay penalties

Monday, March 23, 2015

REVIEW. The surreal 2015 South African Film and Television Awards remains bad although it is getting better ... as many questions remain.

Although still filled with cringe worthy mistakes and problems it wasn't as bad as in the past - which means there was improvement - when the 9th South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) was broadcast live on Sunday night on SABC2 from Gallagher Estate in Midrand.

The National Film and Video Foundation's (NFVF) "annual" - although there's years where it didn't take place at all - 9th Saftas aimed at honouring South Africa's film and TV industry, once again disappointed, although some things were better.

The 2015 Saftas again had film and TV industry insiders as well as viewers roll their eyes.

There was strange nominees (several in wrong categories like Jeremy Maggs of eNCA nominated for a variety show), little attention to detail (naming host Loyiso Gola "Loyisa" for instance and blatantly omitting noteworthy names from the In Memoriam tribute), panning over empty seats, sound issues and other production mistakes like moments of black screen with just a SABC2 logo.

All in all the 2015 Saftas, again done by Clive Morris Productions, was a better live TV production and broadcast than in previous years with less mistakes and better pre-production - although this NFVF initiative was still far from perfect and still lacks credibility and quality.

The comfort of just a black screen with just a SABC2 channel logo in the corner means that you're of course watching yet another attempt at a live South African TV awards show.

The 2015 Saftas stage and stage design by Michael Gill, a 360 degree filmed and lit square creation was the best yet seen at the Saftas in its nine years of existence - functional (although it took some winners long to reach and walk over the stage; perhaps more an incorrect seat plan issue), gleaming and beautiful.

The 2015 Saftas also - surprise! - finished on time (only two minutes late) compared to the overrun of hours in previous years - a huge improvement; although it was still bogged down by endless talk from figureheads and government officials.

Saftas host Loyiso Gola didn't quite sparkle but was a huge improvement on the inept hosts and presenters of previous years.

It again took about half an hour before the first award was even handed out to a winner, with the Saftas still not realising that for a made-for-television awards show viewers tune in to see, and will only stay, for winners being announced and musical performances - not for long speeches.

For an awards show giving itself the label and theme this year of "coming of age" - a hollow moniker referring to South Africa's "21 years" of a film industry (although its actually much older, in fact the 2nd oldest film industry in the world) - the NFVF, Saftas organising committee and the Saftas producers didn't bother to include any clip show or retrospective of highlights of the work and the people from this 21 years.

The 2015 Saftas' most poignant moment came close to the end when's Scandal! actress, Masasa Mbangeni, dressed in red, won as best actress in a TV soap.

"We all want to be seen," she said."By giving me this award you say you see me. And you say that I'm here. So thank you."

Marius Weyers received a lifetime achievement award and said: "It's an incredible time to be in this industry".

The Saftas, the Saftas judges and the Saftas organising committee have problems that need to be addressed and which still haven't been with NFVF CEO Zama Mkosi in charge.

Zama Mkosi always says the Saftas will be a night to remember. It's true - it's remembered because it's perpetually bad.

Besides English and Afrikaans there were again this year almost no shows as nominees in other languages. Meanwhile South Africa has 11 official languages and TV and film are done in other languages.

The best actor nominees in a TV drama for this year's Saftas were all white. What the Saftas and Saftas judges unconsciously signal to viewers and the industry - whether intentionally or not - is that in a whole year there wasn't a single black deserving actor in a local TV drama who was good enough to be a nominee - and that is simply not true.

Similarly the nominees for best actress in a lead role in a TV comedy category were all black.

Is this the Saftas' form of TV apartheid? What is the overriding diversity rules for the Saftas, if there are any, and when do the judges and judging chairpersons Roberta Durrant and Jerry Mofokeng step in to ensure there's actually equal representation in every category?

Interestingly "Loyisa" as the 2015 Saftas named host Loyiso Gola made jokes about Oscar Pistorius being the biggest news story of the past year. Yet the Saftas, ironically, had not even one show or programme which covered that months long news story as a nominee in any category.

Similarly, although it fell in the judging period, the NFVF and Saftas couldn't create any category or include a single thing regarding any of the shows or coverage during the passing of Nelson Mandela.

This period saw some stellar documentaries, programming and coverage across several TV channels - brilliant work which will now never be recognised.

It was also somewhat meta-media and awkwardly self-referential when Loyiso Gola said that finally South African shows are being recognised internationally. It's actually only been his Late News News on eNCA and which got that honour.

The Saftas does not have a category for Best TV documentary (apparently South Africa doesn't have documentaries that are good enough that matter).

Yet TV trash like The Comedy Central Roast of Kenny Kunene was a nominee in a superfluous category like Best international format show while the Saftas also ended up shocking shortlisting advertiser-funded productions (AFP's) like Clover’s Little Big Cook Off and Tropika Island of Treasure as nominees for best reality and game shows. 

Surely South African television produce better TV than this?

The Saftas remain surreal and still comes across as amateurly done, although there's been improvements. 

Hopefully the Saftas can become more transparent, more representative and more professional which is what the industry - and in the end the consumers and viewers of local film and television - deserve.

The NFVF's shameful 2015 Saftas again totally botches the In Memoriam section; blatantly "forgets" several notable names for the segment.

On Sunday night on SABC2 it was once again too difficult and cumbersome for the 2015 South African Film and Television Awards to get its annually botched In Memoriam segment right, with the Saftas which again blatantly left several names off the list.

The 2015 Saftas under the custodianship of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and the Saftas organising committee with the awards show ceremony on TV produced by Clive Morris Productions, again messed up by failing to give proper attention to those the industry lost the past year in its tribute and shamefully omitted names as happened in the past.

While viewers watched a piano and violin tribute at the 9th South African Film and Television Awards as the names scrolled across TV screens and across the backdrop of the Michael Gill designed stage at Gallagher Estate, the Saftas and producers left out several noteworthy industry stalwarts who had passed away.

There was no mention of the SABC cameraman Amos Sibongile Mabuza, SABC Ndebele news anchor Mhlekwa Mahlangu or soccer legend turned SuperSport presenter Isaac "Shakes" Kungwane.

The shameful 2015 Saftas blatantly left out - or forgot - about filmmaker Nelson "Nana Mahomo, stage designer Johan Engels; actor, writer and director Glyn Jones, eNCA (DStv 403) cameraman Elelwani "Dot Com" Rampfumedzi and the former Generations actress Nathi Rula.

The Umoja narrator Penuel "Hope" Ndaba who passed away in December 2014 wasn't "important" enough to get an In Memoriam mention at the NFVF's Saftas.

Writer Nadine Gordimer got an honourable and deserved mention; however the Saftas blatantly and shockingly excluded writer and critic Dan Jacobson, Andre P Brink, Mafika Pascal Gwala and Chris van Wyk.

It's unacceptable and pathetic that the NFVF, the Saftas organising committee and the Saftas year after year are unable to proper honour those who've passed away in a purported awards show supposedly there to honour those in South Africa's film and TV industry.

If you can't get it right, stop doing it. 

Doing it shoddily and the Saftas producers botching something like the In Memoriam segment year after year (which isn't difficult to get right, complete and accurate) does an incredible amount of damage.