Friday, February 12, 2016

E! going red carpet local in South Africa starting with the 2016 Saftas; renews its Africa E! News Special series for a second season.

You're reading it here first.

E! Entertainment (DStv 124) is finally going red carpet local in South Africa and will now do red carpet coverage at major South African celebrity-laden events, while its Africa E! News Special profile series has also been renewed for a second season.

The channel from NBCUniversal International Networks has been late to the local TV industry party in South Africa since it was added to MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform at the end of 2004 in a carriage agreement.

While other international channels available in South Africa and Africa ranging from BBC Worldwide's BBC set, Viacom International Media Networks Africa's MTVand BET, Disney and Discovery Networks International's Discovery and TLC Entertainment to even CNN International ramped up local production on South African series and content, E! kept with a strict diet of American fare the past 11 years.

Now NBCUniversal International Networks, that still censors content on the E! channel for Africa and South Africa, will add more ongoing localised African content for viewers in the form of red carpet coverage and celebrity interviews at big South African events, starting with the 2016 South African Film and Television Awards taking place on 5 March.

In 2016 E! will also produce a second season of its Africa E! News Special local celebrity series it started last year, profiling South African stars similar to Nicky Greenwall's The Close Up on e.tv and My Story on M-Net.

The second Africa E! News Special season, similar to the first 12-episode season that started in September 2015 and produced by Brainstorm for E!, will do more sit-down profile interviews with up and coming South African entertainment talent.

E! Entertainment made the announcement about its increased local South African content on Thursday night at a glitzy rooftop fashion show party packed with celebrities sipping Mo√ęt&Chandon, where designer to the stars, Gert-Johan Coetzee unveiled a brand-new red carpet inspired fashion range.

Top Billing and MetroFM presenter Bonang Matheba made the announcement, warning South African celebrities to, from now on, "watch out for the E! microphone" at red carpet events.

"South Africa is making huge strides in recognising and celebrating our own celebrity culture," Bonang Matheba told TV with Thinus Thursday night.

"Look at the success of local South African reality shows like Date my Family, Our Perfect Wedding; South Africans just love seeing local people they know on the red carpet and television."

Speaking about Gert-Johan Coetzee's new collection, Bonang Matheba just had praise as a celebrity who has showcased his head-turning couture for a number of years as an early adopter from even before he became a sought-after celebrity designer.

"If I have an opportunity I take him with, if he has an opportunity he takes me with. It's a synergy that has worked so well for us, and I'm so grateful that we're there for each other through all the bad days and the good days. And we work wonderfully together."

"E! has always been the home of the red carpet, and continues to connect viewers with the world of celebrities and fashion on and off screen," says Colin McLeod, the NBC Universal International Networks managing director for emerging markets and the United Kingdom.

"As someone who celebrates glamour and loves making women look and feel like stars, it is such a privilege to collaborate with E! because I share the brand's passion for the red carpet," says Gert-Johan Coetzee.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

A crush of TV news crews for president Jacob Zuma's 2016 State of the Nation Address at parliament: What TV news channel is doing what.

Today's State of the Nation Address 2016 in Cape Town will be covered by a crush on TV news crews - the largest contingent of local TV reporters and producers ever assembled in parliament.

The massive media interest is an indication that South African television expects, and wants to be ready, for any unexpected fireworks or dramatic developments that TV channels want to beam live to viewers.

Ironically, the large number of accredited TV media people present at parliament today will dwarf the public - the presidency announced earlier that there won't be tickets for members of the public who want to attend SONA2016 with no overflow viewing area at Tuynhuys "due to the depressed economic climate".

Here is what South African television is planning for SONA2016 today:

ANN7 (DStv 405)
ANN7 has 61 people accredited for this year's 2016 State of the Nation Address - almost double the number of rival eNCA, and the most of any TV outlet.
This year for the first time ANN7 will anchor the broadcast from Cape Town with new ANN7 Prime anchor Peter van Onselen and political reporter Clement Manyathela anchoring from parliament.

Reporters covering the event include Kalden Ongmu, Chante Jantjies, Michael Appel, Karabo Yibe, Sinazo Cele, Kevin Brandt, Zinhle MngadiNobuhle Nkhoma and assignment editor Cecilia Russel.who will bring viewers all the colour, action and reactions from the red carpet, parade, protests and the president's speech.

Analysts include political commentators Dennis Cruywagen, Pumeza BamProf Sipho Seepe and Levy Ndou.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane, National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete and the Deputy Minister of Higher Education Mduduzi Manana will be among the ANN7 guests interviewed.

ANN7's continuous coverage of SONA 2016 started at 06:00 today and will continue until midnight.

eNCA (DStv 403) / e.tv
eNCA has 32 people accredited for this year's 2016 State of the Nation Address.

Rolling coverage will start at 16:00 today and will be anchored by Iman Rappetti at parliament and Jeremy Maggs in the Johannesburg studio.

Iman Rappetti will be taking to analysts Mcebisi Ndletyana, Angelo Fick, Judith February and Abdul Waheed Patel. eNCA will also do crossings to reporter Thulasizwe Simelane for political reaction.

Other accredited eNCA reporters include Percivale Young, Dianne Hawker, Athi Nthongana, Leigh Anne Jansen, and Bonga Dlulane.

Reporters Lester Kiewit and Annika Larsen will be on the red carpet to see what members of parliament and their partners are wearing.

eNCA says live coverage of SONA2016 will continue throughout the night, bringing viewers all the pomp and ceremony with Iman Rappetti who will welcome e.tv viewers at 18:58 for a simulcast broadcast on both channels.

At 19:00 eNCA and e.tv will carry the president's speech live.

The speech is expected to end at 20:28 when e.tv will drop coverage but eNCA will continue with its live broadcast until 21:00 with post-speech reactions from various political figures and analysts.

eNCA says it has camera positions at key points in and around the parliamentary precinct, ready to cover any developments that may occur during Thursday evening.

SABC2 / SABC News (DStv 404)
SABc spokesperson Kaizer Kgangayo didn't respond to a media enquiry about the public broadcaster's SONA 2016 plans but coverage will be done on SABC2 and the SABC's SABC News channel on MultiChoice's DStv.

The SABC accredited 219 people for SONA2016 with Morning Live anchor Leanne Manas and contributing editor Vuyo Mvoko who will anchor live coverage from parliament.

SABC2 will switch to the SABC News channel feed to carry the president's speech from 18:00 until 21:00, with all usual scheduled SABC2 Thursday evening programming cancelled.

CNBC Africa (DStv 410) provided no programming advisory but will likely broadcast the president's speech live and accredited reporters for parliament. The Parliamentary Service (DStv 408) channel will broadcast the proceedings live as well.

Although they won't broadcast the president's speech live, international TV news channels will have reporters present who will file stories, ranging from Al Jazeera (DStv 406 / StarSat 257), to CCTV News (DStv 409 / StarSat 266), BBC World News (DStv 400 / StarSat 256) and Bloomberg Africa (DStv 411 / StarSat 264).

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Nickelodeon executives to panel a discussion at the Cape Town International Animation Festival on how Nickelodeon works with animators.

Executives from Viacom International Media Networks Africa's Nickelodeon (DStv 305) will be participating in the Cape Town International Animation Festival (CTIAF) for the first time this year when the 4-dar drawfest kicks off on next week on 18 February in Cape Town.

The London-based Alexi Wheeler, the senior director of development and production for Nickelodeon International will join a panel of speakers from Nickelodeon Africa to discuss how Nickelodeon as a channel works with animators from across the globe.

Other Nickelodeon executives on the stage will include Tasania Parsadh, the channel director of Nickelodeon, Nicktoons and Nick Jr, as well as Pippa Tshabalala, the senior on-air producer for the Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and Nicktoons TV channels that's available on MultiChoice's DStv platform.

Nickelodeon, in conjunction with Animation South Africa, is sponsoring the CTIAF Student Awards. That will see 2 students visiting the Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank, California for a 2-week work experience session.

Hectic Nine-9 producers and presenter Samora Mangesi apologise for racist remarks, 'what I said on live TV was very ignorant and extremely childish'.

The producers and a presenter of the SABC2 afternoon youth timeslot Hectic Nine-9 are apologising for the racist comments the presenter Samora Mangesi made last week, saying his behaviour on live televsion was "distateful, insensitive and completely unacceptable".

The SABC2 youth presenter will now undergo formal tolerance counselling.

Samora Mangesi on Wednesday on SABC2 mocked coloured people's pronunciation of the word "Pac-Man" on-air, similar to eNCA anchor Andrew Barnes who was suspended and given a disciplinary hearing earlier this year after mocking the minister of basic education, Angie Motshekga's pronunciation of "epitome" during a news broadcast.

In a recorded message, Samora Mangesi who joined Hectic Nine-9 in mid-2013 is now apologising, saying "I was talking about old-school gaming and I made a joke regarding coloured people's pronunciation of the word Pac-Man".

"I know that my remarks were grossly distateful and very inappropriate and I know that I offended a lot of avid fans and avid viewers of the show as well and I'd like to apologise wholeheartedly for that".

"I know that what I said was very ignorant and extremely childish. I regret what I said and it was never my intent to hurt anyone's feelings or make anyone feel bad about themselves. It was sincerely just a joke between two colleagues and two friends," said Samora Mangesi.

"I have since learnt that anything that I say, even if it's in jest, can impact people's lives in a negative or positive way. I am extremely sorry and I promise to do better next that I'm on air."

Shelly Scheepers from Okuhle Media says  the production company doing the show for SABC2 wants to sincerely apologise for the racial comment made by Samora Mangesi during the live broadcast.

"The producers of Hectic Nine-9 fully acknowledge the severity of his comment and we are taking it very seriously."

"As we are a live show it is not always possible for us to have 100% control over what happens while we are on air, this is the one unfortunate thing about the live television environment."

"We agree that what Samora said in jest was distasteful, insensitive and completely unacceptable, and wish to distance the show from this view."

Samora Mangesi will now undergo formal counselling in tolerance, says Shelly Scheepers.

Samora's Apology
We would like to sincerely apologise for the racial comment made by our presenter Samora Mangesi on the live broadcast of Hectic Nine-9 on Wednesday, 3rd February 2016.The Producers of Hectic Nine-9 fully acknowledge the severity of his comment and we are taking it very seriously. As we are a live show it is not always possible for us to have 100% control over what happens while we are on air, this is the one unfortunate thing about the live television environment.We agree that what Samora said in jest was distasteful, insensitive and completely unacceptable, and wish to distance the show from this view.We are in discussion with Samora and he will offer a more formal apology to our viewers. He will unreservedly retract the statement and undergo formal counsel in tolerance.RegardsHN9 TEAM
Posted by Hectic Nine-9 on Tuesday, February 9, 2016

TV critic's notebook: M-Net's 'devil-may-care' problem with Lucifer and why the hot blowback to the M-Net hell's kitchen could have been a lot less heated.

A lot of South African viewers and DStv subscribers are, rightly or wrongly, upset and angry with M-Net over the broadcast of a now very controversial new drama series Lucifer.

The irony is that M-Net could have prevented it all, should have pre-empted possible problems and had the power to prevent it, but didn't.

Now M-Net and DStv are incurring brand damage and negative sentiment with the most complaints about just one show - 89 - to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) that I've seen in a very long time (and I go through them all) and threats that people are going to cancel their DStv subscriptions if M-Net doesn't remove Lucifer from the M-Net Edge (DStv 102) schedule.

This TV critic's notebook isn't about whether Lucifer should be broadcast or not - I'm against censorship and South Africa is a free country and broadcasters and brands like M-Net and DStv are commercial entities delivering a commercial TV service people can take or leave as they want and can, or can't, afford to.

Rather I want to give some insight and perspective on why I think M-Net failed to see and anticipate the devil drama and offense the show could cause and why M-Net could have prevented the current viewer uproar.

Even before Lucifer started at the end of January on M-Net Edge, as a TV critic I was already well-aware of the show.

I therefore absolutely raised an eyebrow when M-Net issued their programming updates and advisories and I noticed that Lucifer was scheduled for 19:00 on M-Net Edge at the end of January.

By that time I've watched Lucifer trailers on YouTube and elsewhere, have read about the show, and I knew that even in America on FOX Lucifer would be shown at 21:00 - two hours later than in South Africa.

Really, what were M-Net's executives thinking? Were M-Net's executives not checking and why did the checks and balances regarding scheduling once again apparently failed?

M-Net is extremely well-aware about the risks and more conservative viewer attitudes of audiences in African countries as well as South Africa.

A show entitled Lucifer should have given M-Net pause and at the least have raised red flags. Something like this should at the very least have been seen and screened by M-Net executives who should have been watching the show before it goes to air. M-Net apparently didn't.

Nor did M-Net make the effort to communicate to the South African press and TV critics what exactly the show was about, and to educate viewers through educating the press.

I deliberately didn't write or report anything about Lucifer's obvious South African possible problems because I didn't want to stir up viewer response pre-emptively.

I deliberately didn't want to go into agenda-setting mode as news media sometimes do and to negatively or positively influence viewers about a show that at that stage hasn't been shown yet.

I did however think that M-Net was going to realise on their own certain sensitivities and the "mistake" and move the show later or come up with another plan of showing it.

What I definitely did do however was to start going through my contact list for people I would like to call, to get and verify their cellphone numbers and contact details - in case Lucifer exploded into a viewership issue.

To add more context, I must also tell you that over the December holiday I watched the new science fiction mini-series Childhood's End - not yet scheduled for any South Africa channel.

(Now I don't and won't spoil it but if you watch that, or read about that and what happens in that show and what is seen and revealed wonderfully-shockingly, and how mankind reacts over something in that story, you will instantly understand why the moment I saw Lucifer on the schedule I knew it could be a problem for viewers.)

Then, two weeks ago I sat in an auditorium inside MultiChoice City, MultiChoice's headquarters in Randburg when M-Net unspooled at the DStv Showcase, a trailer for Lucifer to media covering television just before the on-air debut of the first episode.

It was the same once I've seen weeks before on YouTube.

Immediately on my left sat another longtime stage and screen TV writer and critic. On my right sat Yolisa Phahle, M-Net's CEO.

During the Lucifer promo, the journalist on my left leaned over to me in the darkness and asked exactly this: "Is this show sacrilegious?"

At that very moment I realised that M-Net is very likely going to have a very big problem.

When a print journalist covering television struggles to make a fairly accurate assessment of what a TV show is about, its narrative, its characters, and those characters' intent, then you have a problem.

The journalist also confused Lucifer, the devil character played by Tom Ellis as the "good angel". He also thought that the black angel standing in the street - actually the "good character" sent to take the devil back to hell - to be the devil.

I had to explain to him that no, the well-dressed one is the devil; the creature with wings is the angel sent to capture him.

I think M-Net could have prevented the devil drama if it actually watched the show before it scheduled it and broadcast it. Or perhaps M-Net executives did watch a show called Lucifer, but was out of touch with local South African sensitivities.

Working in television and running TV channels doesn't mean just buying TV. It also actually means watching TV.

M-Net buys an incredible amount of telly for South Africa and Africa. In that sense it actually sits with the opposite problem from the SABC that struggles with dated, old and too little exciting content.

With this bigger inflow of content however comes the burden and responsibility of keeping track of what it is, and actually watching it - not just programming it.

M-Net bought Flesh and Bone - completely inappropriate for the M-Net channel - and luckily somehow noticed and took it off. M-Net realised content sensitivities regarding the second season of The Affair and altered the times.

But these incidents are become more and more regular and obvious. As a TV critic I always notice them since it always pops up as glaring issues - because I read beforehand and try to watch as much as I can of new shows.

If M-Net wants to prevent and limit future brand damage that arise through certain sensitive content, it will be better if those watching before all the rest of us are watching, to actually start watching - or to appoint more people to actually watch and screen content.

You can't show a trailer for a show named Lucifer to the press and then it's also the first time that a lot of the people working for a TV company and who deals with the media, sees it for the first time and also let out surprised gasps and "oohs" and "aahs".

Lucifer was/is one of M-Net's Express from the US titles, but that doesn't mean that M-Net executives with a lot more resources, connections and direct content contact than TV critics couldn't have already known and seen more than what was available publicly on the internet.

Good chefs personally oversee and do a personal taste-test in the kitchen of every single thing before it leaves the kitchen to go to the front of house.

The hot blowback to hell's kitchen will be a lot less heated if South Africa's TV bosses can perhaps start to do the same.

eNCA news channel again accused of racism in an open letter; eNCA says it takes 'a dim view' of the allegations and will start disciplinary enquiry.

Angry eNCA (DStv 403) staff is once again accusing the 24-hour TV news channel on MultiChoice's DStv of racism, accusing eNCA in an open letter of preventing workers from organising and joining unions, and questioning why top executive positions are given to whites.

The open letter to John Copelyn, chairman of the eMedia Investments board and the Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI) CEO comes after a similar letter that circulated company-wide through eNCA in September last year with allegations of racism, intimidation and victimisation.

The latest letter comes after the announcement that eMedia is making top executive changes, with eNCA news boss Patrick Conroy taking over the reigns of Platco Digital's OpenView HD (OVHD) free-to-air satellite service while the noted academic Prof Anton Harber will be taking over from 1 March as eNCA's new editor-in-chief.

eNCA remains the most watched by far of all of the local and international TV news channels available in South Africa on MultiChoice's DStv and StarTimes Media South Africa's StarSat platforms.

John Copelyn is accused of creating "a clique of hand-picked managers" since taking over from Marcel Golding with the letter slamming the appointment of Prof Anton Harber who is the Caxton Professor of Journalism at the University of the Witwaterstand and who was a founder of the Weekly Mail (now the Mail & Guardian).

"We are aware that there is no dustbin for whites in your company, no wonder why racism is so rife and goes unpunished in this company".

The letter from an eNCA staff member was addressed to an executive, office bearer and shareholder representative and has circulated within the company and outside.

Vasili Vass, spokesperson tells TV with Thinus in response to the open letter that eMedia as the holding company of eNCA and e.tv "takes a dim view of this 'open letter' which appears deliberately intended to bring the group and its companies into disrepute".

"A letter which is defamatory, grossly untrue in many respects, inciteful and harmful has been penned and distributed."

"We will deal with the matter by holding a disciplinary enquiry into the letter and its allegations and in the circumstances do no propose to deal with its content any further in the media."

eMedia says it "has always operated in accordance with the law, the Labour Relations Act and the Constitution and will continue to do so. Recent management appointments have been made by the board of eMedia Investments to meet future opportunities and challenges of the media group and it stands by them".

Minnie Dlamini and IK Osakioduwa to co-host the 4th 2016 AfricaMagic Viewers' Choice Awards on 5 March; will be broadcast live on DStv across Africa.

The South African Minnie Dlamini and the Nigerian IK Osakioduwa will be the hosts of the 4th 2016 AfricaMagic Viewers' Choice Awards that will take place on Saturday, 5 March in Lagos, Nigeria.

As in previous years, the AMVCA ceremony, created to help recognise African film and TV talent, will be broadcast will be broadcast live on all of M-Net's AfricaMagic channels on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform across the African continent.

Public voting for the 2016 AMVCA's 26 categories closes on Friday 26 February with individual viewers who can vote up to 100 times through multiple platforms, including the WeChat app, cellphones and online.

The 2016 AMVCA will be the first time that Minnie Dlamini is hosting, and the 4th time for IK Osakioduwa who has hosted since the award show's inception.

"We are excited to present Minnie as the co-host of the 2016 AMVCA," says Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, M-Net West Africa director. "Her pairing with IK guarantees a great show".

"The AMVCAs recognise and celebrate film and television talent across Africa, and as a proud African, I am truly delighted to play a role in this celebration," says Minnie Dlamini.

"It is truly an honour to host the AMVCAs for a 4th successive year," says IK Osakioduwa. "I have been privileged to see firsthand the contribution of the awards to the film and television industry across Africa and this gets bigger and better every year".

M-Net's devil show draws record number of complaints; M-Net says Lucifer is 'artistic' as DStv viewers threaten MultiChoice with cancelling their subscriptions.

M-Net's devil show has drawn a record number of complaints, with a whopping 89 complaints that's been received so far by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) over just one show.

Besides complaints received directly by M-Net and MultiChoice and elsewhere over the controversial new American drama series Lucifer, the barrage of specific complaints to the BCCSA over the devilish show is the most for one TV programme the BCCSA has received in several years.

After complaints started coming in after the first episode of Lucifer was shown at the end of January, M-Net immediately raised the age restriction to 16 and moved the show from Wednesdays at 19:00 to the graveyard timeslot of Fridays nights at 23:00 on the M-Net Edge (DStv 102) channel.

M-Net initially showed Lucifer in South Africa and in several African countries on M-Net Edge two hours earlier than the 21:00 timeslot its broadcast in on FOX in America.

Outraged DStv subscribers and M-Net viewers in a flood of complaints to the BCCSA are saying that Lucifer "promotes Satanism", gives a "false picture to our youth" and "glorifies Lucifer and sells lies to the public by making Lucifer look human and caring".

Many complainants to the BCCSA are threatening to cancel their DStv subscriptions if the broadcast of Lucifer isn't stopped and if the show is not removed from M-Net Edge.

M-Net told the BCCSA that Lucifer explores the possibilities of how the devil could be leaving his evil ways and do something positive in an artistic manner and that the devil is not being glorified.

"The programme, in a very artistic manner, explores the possibilities of Lucifer leaving his evil ways and doing something positive. The devil is not glorified at all. The narrative in the programme is purely drama and does not in anyway dispute the contents of the Bible," argued M-Net.

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission ruled that for M-Net to remove the show from the M-Net Edge channel on MultiChoice's DStv service would be too drastic.

According to the BCCSA, although Lucifer is full of "bloody drive-by shootings, heaps of sexual innuendo, gangster glorification and crude language" the programme isn't advocating hate speech.

Complainants have until the end of today to appeal the BCCSA ruling.

Court grants urgent interdict against EFF; bars the political party from threatening, interfering with ANN7 and The New Age reporters and inciting violence.

The urgent court interdict brought against the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) was granted on Tuesday that the Gupta-owned ANN7 (DStv 405) TV news channel and The New Age newspaper brought against the political party.

Oakbay Investments - a shareholder in the Gupta-owned media and other companies - as well as Oakbay Investments CEO Nazeem Howa along with other plaintiffs asked the North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday for the court order to force the EFF not to commit violence against ANN7 or the newspaper, its assets like property, and staff.

The Guptas' court interdict granted by judge Johan Louw also asked the EFF not to interfere with the activities of ANN7 and The New Age reporters and journalists. The EFF opposed the application.

The court interdict prevents the EFF from threatening ANN7 and The New Age reporters, and from making threats of violence against the Gupta brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh.

According to the court interdict granted, the EFF is barred from interfering with the activities of ANN7 or The New Age reporters and can't bar these reporters from attending any public political EFF events.

The EFF is also not allowed to incite violence against the Guptas, their 4 500 employees through public statements, press releases or public speeches, is not allowed to damage Gupta-owned property and isn't allowed to incite followed to enter the premises of Gupta-owned properties illegally.

The EFF is barred from intimidating the Guptas and their employees, or to cause these employees to fear for their lives or safety, or to limit their reasonable freedom of movement and trade.

EFF leader Julius Malema last week went on a scathing tirade against ANN7 and The New Age, banning reporters and journalists from ANN7 and The New Age from attending any EFF events or press conferences and using threatening language saying their safety can't be guaranteed.

It saw the abrupt cut of a televised broadcast from the EFF press conference as the ANN7 crew killed the feed, packed up and left.

Julius Malema said the EFF wants the influential Guptas with strong ties to president Jacob Zuma, to leave the Gauteng province and South Africa.

"We don't want to see The New Age and ANN7. It's propaganda machinery," said Julius Malema.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Bryan Fuller named showrunner and co-creator of the new Star Trek TV series; will help with 'returning Star Trek to its roots'.

Bryan Fuller will be the co-creator and showrunner of the new Star Trek TV series that will start in January 2017.

The veteran writer and producer who used to used to write 22 episodes for Star Trek: Deep Space 9 and Star Trek: Voyager will serve as the executive producer alongside Alex Kurtzman.

"My very first experience of Star Trek is my oldest brother turning off all the lights in the house and flying his model of a D7 Class Klingon Battle Cruiser through the darkened halls," says Bryan Fuller in a statement.

"Before seeing a frame of the television series, the Star Trek universe lit my imagination on fire. It is without exaggeration a dream come true to be crafting a brand new iteration of Star Trek with fellow franchise alum Alex Kurtzman and boldly going where no Star Trek series has gone before".

"Bringing Star Trek back to television means returning it to its roots, and for years those roots flourished under Bryan's devoted care," says Alex Kurtzman about Bryan Fuller.

"His encyclopedic knowledge of Star Trek canon is surpassed only by his love for Gene Roddenberry's optimistic future, a vision that continues to guide us as we explore strange new worlds".

"For the past 50 years Star Trek has been a groundbreaking franchise that not only changed the landscape of television, but made a significant impact on pop culture," says David Stapf, president of CBS Television Studios.

"When we began discussions about the series returning to television, we immediately knew that Bryan Fuller would be the ideal person to work alongside Alex Kurtzman to create a fresh and authentic take on this classic and timeless series".

"Bryan is not only an extremely gifted writer, but a genuine fan of Star Trek. Having someone at the helm with his gravitas who also understands and appreciates the significance of the franchise and the worldwide fan base was essential to us".

The 50th anniversary of the Gene Roddenberry's science fiction series is coming in September this year and has seen several different series and movies over the past five decades.

CBS Television Studios will produce the new Star Trek series that will be streamed on CBS' subscription video-on- demand (SVOD) service CBS All Access, but it will be sold internationally concurrently by CBS Studios International.

That means that South African viewers will most likely see the new Star Trek iteration on M-Net or M-Net Edge (DStv 102) on MultiChoice's DStv, or on the Naspers' SVOD service, ShowMax,or Netflix early in 2017.

The new Star Trek TV series is however not related to the upcoming new Star Trek film, Star Trek Beyond, that will be distributed by Paramount Pictures and which is already being panned by fans.

With the 50th Star Trek anniversary, its also possible that one of the two planned pop-up channels from M-Net Movies for MultiChoice's DStv that's being worked on, could be a Star Trek channel showing all the films and the episodes of the various TV series.

Star Trek: The Next Generation for instance was remastered in high definition (HD) and its 7 seasons haven't yet been seen on television in South Africa in its restored glory.

Viacom Africa and its MTV channel, as well as e.tv, 'reveal' that the local version of Lip Sync Battle Africa will start in April 2015. As in last year.

Back in October last year I reported that e.tv will be doing a local version of Lip Sync Battle in 2016, and then in November that Viacom International Media Networks Africa's MTV will be doing Lip Sync Battle Africa  - they finally issued an official press release about it today.

VIMN Africa says actor LL Cool J "revealed today on MTV's social media platforms" that there will be a local version of Lip Sync Battle Africa done in partnership with e.tv.

Actually VIMN Africa "revealed" it to the press last year in November, and e.tv "revealed" it a month before that.

VIMN Africa will first show Lip Sync Battle Africa on MTV (DStv 130) and MTV Base (DStv 322) before e.tv will get the right to show the episodes.

e.tv and VIMN Africa have worked together for the past two years in content agreements for the MTV Africa Music Awards and is expanding its partnership.

The first season of Lip Sync Africa in which contestants lip sing to popular music tracks will have 13 half hour episodes starting on 14 April at 20:50 on MTV, and from 16 April on MTV Base at 11:30.

VIMN Africa and MTV says "the weekly show will go live in April 2015" - obviously meaning 2016 - and obviously meaning that a lot of the copy-and-paste Journalists Covering Television simply used and ran the press release as a story without changing or questioning anything.

"We are thrilled to partner with e.tv on localising Lip Sync Battle for an African audience, with its amazing energy and authentic charm that has celebrities lining up to take part and viewers clamouring for more," says Dillon Khan, MTV Africa head.

"We are extremely excited about this groundbreaking partnership," says Monde Twala, the managing director of e.tv channels division in the statement.

"Lip Sync Battle Africa is a fresh and entertaining format, it's an extension of e.tv's goal to bring viewers fresh home-grown content with a special twist".

In 2016. In 2016.

Gupta owners of the ANN7 TV news channel and The New Age newspaper files urgent court interdict against the EFF party against possible violence, media interference.

The Gupta-owned ANN7 (DStv 405) TV news channel and The New Age newspaper have filed an urgent court interdict against the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) political party.

Oakbay Investments - a shareholder in the Gupta-owned media and other companies - as well as Oakbay Investments CEO Nazeem Howa along with other plaintiffs are asking the North Gauteng High Court to order the EFF not to commit violence against ANN7 or the newspaper, its assets like property, and staff.

The Guptas in the interdict application also want the court to order the EFF not to interfere with the activities of ANN7 and The New Age reporters and journalists. The EFF is opposing the application.

The urgent court interdict application comes after the EFF leader Julius Malema last week went on a scathing tirade against ANN7 and The New Age, banning reporters and journalists from ANN7 and The New Age from attending any EFF events or press conferences and using threatening language saying their safety can't be guaranteed.

It saw the abrupt cut of a televised broadcast from the EFF press conference as a ANN7 crew killed the feed, packed up and left.

Julius Malema said the EFF wants the influential Guptas with strong ties to president Jacob Zuma, to leave the Gauteng province and South Africa.

"We don't want to see The New Age and ANN7. It's propaganda machinery," said Julius Malema.

In the affidavit filed in the urgent court interdict application, Nazeem Howa says "Julius Malema lashed out at the Gupta brothers and their commercial interests with a clear and unambiguous threat of violence and xenophobia".

The Communication Workers' Union (CWU) that has members working at ANN7 and The New Age newspaper says "state security agencies", the Guptas and Oakbay Investments must protect the workers and reporters.

"As a union we are up in arms against ANN7 and The New Age with regard to poor working conditions in these companies and we know how exploited these workers are and how they struggle daily to make ends meet," says CWU secretary Aubrey Tshabalala.

"These are our members and we will encourage the EFF to fight its political battles with the Guptas and not focus on easy targets, that is the defenseless workers".

"We call upon state security agencies including the employer to provide sufficient protection for our members at ANN7 and New Age while they are on duty trying to make a living. We further call for an indaba of all stakeholders in the media industry to discuss issues of security and allowances for field journalists".

The South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) updates its look with gold and the word 'imagine' for the 10th Safta ceremonies set for March.

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) has unveiled this year's logo and look for the 10th South African Film and Television Awards ceremonies that will be held in March.

The gold-over theme for 2016 now has the word "Imagine".

The NFVF, an agency of the department of arts and culture, will again try to produce a better televised Saftas awards show this year.

The Saftas, supposed to be for the local South African film and TV industry, always reflects its badly on television - marred year after year by bad production values, shoddy and shocking omissions and mistakes, a litany of technical problems and mistakes, as well as amateur presenting talent who struggle to read and don't know, nor care, with correct pronunciation of people's names.

With the new visual identity for the 10th Saftas "we're celebrating the glamour and the solid hard work that thrives in this industry every day," says Zama Mkosi, the NFVF CEO in a statement released today to show the updated look for 2016.

"We consider ourselves the backbone of the Saftas and the decision to imbue a new sense of progress and meaning to the identity, affords us another opportunity to demonstrate our support."

"As we celebrate a decade of the Saftas it was a fitting time to redefine the event and all the elements that make it a noteworthy annual gathering".

BET adds new Wendy Williams red carpet fashion commentary show; Wendy's Style Squad; won't cover this year's Oscar over exclusion of black nominees.

Viacom's BET (DStv 129) channel is adding another show from talk show host Wendy Williams, Wendy's Style Squad, with the new hour long red carpet fashion commentary show that will emulate Fashion Police on NBCUniversal's E! Entertainment (DStv 124).

With E! Entertainment's damaged Fashion Police brand struggling to regain its former popularity and viewership, Wendy Williams of The Wendy Williams Show is now directly challenging that show and will be doing 6 Wendy's Style Squad episodes in 2016 but will deliberately ignore the Oscars.

Wendy Williams will be the moderator, with a panel of fashion insiders that include Bevy Smith, Lloyd Boston and Robert Verdi who himself was a former host of Fashion Police on E! Entertainment.

The programming schedule of BET's international channel feed on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform does not yet indicate the addition of the new show for South African and African viewers.

Starting with the Grammy Awards, Wendy's Style Squad will cover 5 other red carpet events in 2016: The BET Awards, the Emmy Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards and the Billboard Awards.

Wendy's Style Squad, executive produced by Talia Parkinson Jones for Debmar-Mercury and Wendy Williams Productions, is however deliberately snubbing the Oscars due to the lack of black nominees.

"The purpose of the specials is to celebrate our viewers. Our viewers are black and unfortunately the Oscars is not reflective of our community. We hope next year that will change," says BET.

Wendy Williams will provide viewers "with plenty of attitude, games, laughs and must-see moments, and she and her co-hosts will provide a fresh and exciting take on the worlds of fashion and celebrity," says BET Networks in a statement.

Wendy's Style Squad topics and segments will include the "Dos and Don'ts" of celebrity fashion, hot and upcoming trends and opinionated coverage of the best and worst fashions of the big awards show nights.

Gogglebox South Africa on the Sony Channel on DStv will have one very big flaw when it starts in March: The show about TV will exclude the biggest TV channels in South Africa.

Gogglebox South Africa will have one very big flaw that will be a deliberate drawback for the new show when it starts on 3 March on the Sony Channel (DStv 127): the show that's purportedly about television won't be about all South African television.

Gogglebox South Africa will not be inclusive of all TV channels and all the local and most collectively watched South African TV fare. The show will exclude the biggest TV shows, soaps and channels with a focus on what's on Sony's own two TV channels and some other DStv channels.

In Gogglebox viewers at home watch viewers as they watch and comment on television.

Sadly Gogglebox South Africa that will be shown on the Sony Channel from 3 March at 21:00 will only be about shows on The Sony Channel, Sony Max and some other DStv channels.

The SABC's three channels - SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 - together with the free-to-air commercial broadcaster e.tv dominate with the biggest viewership especially when it comes to weekday soaps and prime time programming like Uzalo, Muvhango, Generations - The Legacy, Rhythm City, Scandal!, Ashes to Ashes and a range of other mass audience shows that South Africans watch and follow in large numbers.

Yet Gogglebox South Africa on Sony Channel will apparently not include or cover any of these shows or channels - the programming that truly make for a communal watching experience in South Africa and that give rise to questions like "Is Gxabhashe really dead?", "Is Xander going to be found guilty?" and "Will Tau ever know if his baby is alive?"

Gogglebox in the United Kingdom broadcast on Channel4, has no problem to show viewers watching rival public channels as people in Gogglebox comment on various popular programming shown across rival channels like the BBC, ITV and others.

Asked if Gogglebox South Africa will include and cover all TV channels, including programming on the SABC and e.tv, Sony Pictures Television Networks tells TV with Thinus it won't.

"The shows that will be reviewed weekly on Gogglebox South Africa are a cross selection of shows on the Sony Channel, Sony Max, as well as the best and most talked about entertainment, sport, news, politics and current affairs shows that aired in the past week on DStv".

Sony Pictures Television Networks declined to respond as to what the rationale is behind the decision to not cover and include all channels' possible shows in Gogglebox South Africa.

The decision means that Gogglebox South Africa won't be as inclusive as it should be, to make for a real comprehensive show that really reflects the most popular, most watched and top TV moments of the previous week that South African viewers have really been talking about.

This exclusion will likely hamper the upcoming show's bigger, broader appeal and popularity.

Gogglebox South Africa is likely stepping into the same TV trap that became the downfall of previous shows on South African television on specific channels that promised to cover entertainment news or celebrities but then actually ended up only doing myopic coverage of news or celebrities who appeared on that one channel.

Adding to the awkwardness is that Gogglebox South Africa is Sony Pictures Television Network's first locally commissioned South African television series.

Sony wants to show that the show is South African, but Gogglebox South Africa will make as if the TV that the bulk of South African television viewers are really watching, doesn't exist.

When a big moment happens in Uzalo, The Bold and the Beautiful, Majakathata, Isidingo, WWE wrestling, Selimathunzi, 7de Laan or Scandal! - all the biggest top-rated shows representing tens of millions of viewers on their respective channels - it won't make Gogglebox South Africa on the Sony Channel on DStv.

"Gogglebox is a fantastic show and we believe that its humour and diversity makes it perfect for South African audiences," says Sonja Underwood, Sony Pictures Television Networks' territory director for Sony's Africa channels.

"It is not your typical television show and we believe our first local production will become a firm viewer favourite."

Gogglebox South Africa will have 10 episodes and is produced by Eject Media's Stephan Le Roux and Picture Tree's Gary King.

"We believe that we have created a show that will create debate among people," says Stephan Le Roux. "Gogglebox South Africa reflects the current state of society and will stimulate viewers to share their opinions and thoughts".