Wednesday, January 17, 2018

EXCLUSIVE. Dancing with the Stars SA on M-Net will take place in the Dancing with the Stars SA Dome that Rapid Blue is literally building on the rooftop of the Hyde Park Corner shopping centre and will seat an audience of 350.

Lionel Ritchie might have been dancing on the ceiling but when the celebrity contestants of Dancing with the Stars South Africa waltz across the floor to strut their stuff on M-Net from next month, TVwithThinus can exclusively reveal that they'll do so on a roof.

Rapid Blue, producing Dancing with the Stars South Africa for M-Net (DStv 101) that will be beamed to viewers from Sunday 4 February, has been constructing a massive, purpose-built, brand-new ballroom on a rooftop - the Dancing with the Stars SA Dome on the rooftop of the Hyde Park Corner shopping centre in Johannesburg.

The newly constructed ballroom dome on top of Hyde Park Corner at the corner of Jan Smuts Avenue and William Nicol Drive in the wealthy Johannesburg suburb is both literally and figuratively very far removed from the Carlton Centre Ballroom in downtown Johannesburg where Strictly Come Dancing SA started more than a decade ago on SABC2 in February 2006.

After 8 seasons on SABC2 and SABC3 that ended in 2015, M-Net and Rapid Blue decided to revive the BBC Worldwide format show and in the process also decided to shed the old name, taking on the American moniker of Dancing with the Stars to usher in a new TV era for the glitter floor format show on South African television.

A centrepiece as part of that pasodoble TV makeover is the brand-new rooftop ballroom, as the show moves from free-to-air to a pay-TV broadcaster and also into a social media milieu where viewers will now weigh in instantaneously as on-the-couch dance critics.

"M-Net and Rapid Blue kept an open mind while scouting all over South Africa for a suitable venue," explains Kee-Leen Irvine, Rapid Blue owner and the South African uber producer who will be executive producing the show from the Dancing with the Stars SA Dome.

"Having seen the Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair on the Hyde Park Corner rooftop, we had a conversation with Jill Grogor, who handles all the publicity and events for Hyde Park Corner about whether we couldn’t erect a dome at the top of the centre."

"Hyde Park Corner Centre Management loved the idea," says Kee-Leen, "but safety and logistics was a huge consideration for us. After extensive engineering investigation and assessment, we established that we could go ahead.


Unique ballroom seating 350 in horse-shoe configuration
Being done from a ballroom under a dome will be an African first for Dancing with the Stars that besides the Carlton Centre Ballroom in the past, is hosted in a variety of different venues all over the world - from full sound stage studios, like those at Elstree in London, to massive warehouses.

The new Dancing with the Stars SA will be using about 2 500 square metres of floor space for the production. With the show being done from a rooftop, means that Rapid Blue and M-Net are again recording another footnote in the record book of South Africa's television history.

"TV shows are generally produced in standard studios, but finding a studio space that is large enough, centrally located and able to accommodate the required parking is always a huge challenge," says Kee-Leen Irvine. "Being able to work from a Dome at the top of Hyde Park Corner is really unique and interesting."

The Dancing with the Stars SA Dome will seat approximately 350 people as part of the show's audience where co-presenters Chris Jaftha and Tracey Lange will hold sway. Construction of the dome and ballroom started just over a week ago on 8 January.

"Often the architecture of a show of this nature resembles that of a theatre, for instance a stage and raked seating."

"Dancing With The Stars SA is unique in that we're essentially recreating a ballroom, and all the action takes place on a competition standard, 15 x 9 ballroom floor, with the audience seated around it on either side and at the front of the house – almost like a horse-shoe."

And how will the actual ballroom floor be tested? "Every season gets a brand new ballroom floor and being sturdy and non-slip, these floors are naturally more than equipped to handle the impact of the dances," says Kee-Leen Irvine.

"We're really pleased that Hyde Park Corner is such a prestigious, easily accessible venue for Rapid Blue, M-Net, and the cast and audience. It comes with great parking facilities and a variety of restaurants where guests can enjoy a snack before or after the show."

Fantasy youth drama series, The Shannara Chronicles, on Netflix cancelled by Viacom; producers Sonar Entertainment looking for a new TV channel to take it over.


Sometimes even an elfstone ain't enough to save the world (or your show): The Shannara Chronicles available on Netflix in South Africa and Africa has been cancelled after two seasons, with Viacom opting not to renew the fantasy series.

The Shannara Chronicles that was on MTV and made for MTV in America, is one of the victims in the fallout of the massive restructuring in getting rid of scripted and drama series on all of Viacom's channels besides Viacom's new flagship and premium general entertainment channel, the Paramount Network launching in America tomorrow.

If The Shannara Chronicles did get a third season from Viacom, the show would have had to move to the Paramount Network, exactly as TVwithThinus speculated would likely be the case a year ago, in February 2017 - only the new Paramount Network didn't want the show, feeling that it doesn't fit in with what the new channel wants to be.

No word yet on when South African viewers will will get to see the Paramount Network on possibly MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service, or StarSat or perhaps one of the new streaming services.

The Shannara Chronicles was renewed for a second season in 2016 but then episodes were suddenly burnt off in a roll-out of 2 episodes per week in October and November of 2017 as Viacom raced to get rid of it.

The fantasy drama series produced by Sonar Entertainment and based on the fantasy novels of the famed fantasy author Terry Brooks could still be picked up by another TV channel or streaming service like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video for instance, but the chances are slim.

Netflix has been showing The Shannara Chronicles outside of America and starred Austin Butler (Wil), Ivana Baquero (Eretria), Manu Bennett (Allanon), Aaron Jakubenko (Ander) and Marcus Vanco (Bandon).

Sonar Entertainment is now looking for a new TV channel or streaming service to possibly take over the show that filmed in New Zealand.

America's TV Guide was first to report the cancellation of The Shannara Chronicles, quoting Kevin Kay, the new Paramount Network president as saying "We have officially passed on making any more. Maybe Sonar Entertainment is going to take it somewhere else. For us, we passed on the future of that".

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

In February on Fine Living a new season of Giada at Home will start, along with new show, Rustic Renovation, and continue with double episodes of Million Dollar Contractor and We Bought the Farm.


In February on Fine Living (StarSat 281 / Cell C black 251) a new season of Giada at Home will start, and the channel will continue with double episodes of Million Dollar Contractor and We Bought the Farm, and a new show Rustic Renovation will look at cabin renovations.


■ A brand-new season of Giada at Home starts on Fine Living on Sunday 11 February at 22:00 with double episodes featuring home-cooked Italian recipes with a Californian twist, prepared by Fine Living’s favourite chef Giada Di Laurentiis.


■ Rustic Renovation starts on Wednesday 14 February at 22:00 with double episodes.

The brothers Chase and Brock Jurgensen have built a construction company based in Minnesota, where just about everyone has a cabin, whether on the water or deep in the woods – and the brothers are on hand to renovate and modernise those that have been badly built or neglected.

With Chase’s expertise as a contractor and Brock’s skill in woodwork, together they creatively
transform worn-out, broken-down spaces into beautiful, functional homes.

This season, Chase and Brock update a fourth-generation family cabin on Lake Charlotte, adding barnwood-framed windows to brighten up the space. Plus, using salvaged items and reclaimed materials, the brothers transform an original World War II Quonset hut into a bright, unique guest house with custom beds.



■ Million Dollar Contractor on Thursdays at 22:00 gives a behind-the-scenes look at the construction of Manhattan’s most elite homes with contractor to the stars Stephen Fanuka.

Along with his expert crew, Stephen works on some incredible high-end projects as the series continues in February, including his biggest challenge yet: the building of a solarium on the roof of a Central Park West apartment building.

With the help of a team of audio engineers, Stephen builds a room that’s perfectly suited to listening to music, while also pleasing to the eye. Throughout the series Stephen also shares some top tips and tricks that may be of use to first-time DIY-ers, and anyone who’s thinking of renovating their own home.


We Bought the Farm will continue on Fine Living in February on Sundays at 21:00 with double episodes.

In the first season of We Bought the Farm viewers can join outdoor-loving families looking for a simpler lifestyle as they search for their dream luxury farmhouse.

In each episode, real estate professionals help them pick their ideal property, whether it’s a quaint
country farmhouse or luxury properties on hundreds of sprawling acres.

As the first season continues in February, a Miami family with 8 kids looks for a simpler lifestyle in Martin County – but can they find a farm that has plenty of land, a spacious house, and farm animals?

Meanwhile, North Carolina couple Mike and Holly are tired of keeping their two horses in a boarding facility, so they’re searching for a farmhouse with a barn and large pastures to keep their horses happy.

Fox News Channel adds 7-episode documentary series, Scandalous, looking back at the impeachment of the former American president Bill Clinton.


The Fox News Channel (StarSat 261 / Cell C black 502) is rolling out a new 7-episode, documentary style series, entitled Scandalous, looking at the impeachment of the former American president Bill Clinton.

A+E Networks UK adds the Sabido Productions documentary, Sharpeville Echoes, to the History channel in Africa for 2018's Human Rights' Day.


History (DStv 186) has added the documentary Sharpeville Echoes for broadcast on the channel on Tuesday 20 March at 18:30.

Produced a few years ago by Sabido Productions, A+E Networks UK that programmes the History channel, has scheduled Sharpeville Echoes for the night before 21 March that is Human Rights' Day in South Africa.

Sharpeville Echoes, produced in 2010, looks back at the Sharpeville Massacre of 21 March 1960 when at least 69 people were killed by South African police as protesters fled the Sharpeville Massacre.

Seven young photographers return to Sharpeville, in 2010 when it was 50 years after the Sharpeville Massacre - several of whom don't know anything about Sharpeville, and some who don't want to know.

Sharpeville Echoes also interviews the only photographer who witnessed the massacre, along with researchers and historians who have attempted to piece together this infamous point in apartheid era South Africa's history.

Uzalo kills off Leleti Khumalo's MaNzuza and Sihle Ndaba's Smangele in a double murder story line with an hour long funeral special episode on SABC1 set for 16 February.


Producers of the weekday drama Uzalo on SABC1 have decided to kill off the characters portrayed by Leleti Khumalo and Sihle Ndaba with a double murder story line that will get rid of the characters of MaNzuza and Smangele.

Leleti Khumalo decided to quit the show that is filmed and set in KwaMashu, Durban when contract negotiations for the 4th season didn't work out while the show's producers, Stained Glass TV, fired Sihle Ndaba.

The actors' exit from the show was announced in October 2017 with Leleti Khumalo who has been with the show from the show's start in February 2015.

The KwaMashu matriarch MaNzuza is murdered along with Smangele, with the prime time double murder that will result in a double funeral in the church set on the Newlands studio sound stage in Durban.

The Uzalo double funeral will be broadcast on SABC1 on Friday 16 February as an hour long special episode.

The tragic funeral - complete with church choir send-off and celebrity guests appearances - was filmed on Tuesday 16 January, a month before the SABC1 airdate.


So far there's been no statement or comment from Stained Glass TV and its co-owners Gugulethu Zuma ka Ncube and Pepsi Pokane about the characters being killed off and new additions to the show.

In December 2017 Uzalo retained it's title as the most watched show on SABC1 and in South Africa with 9.15 million (26.3 AR) viewers and a 68.2 share, meaning that more than 2 thirds of all switched-on TV sets in the country were tuned to the show during the 20:30 timeslot.

BBC World News anchor George Alagiah reveals that his cancer is back; will be undergoing further treatment.


The BBC World News (DStv 400 / StarSat 256 / Cell C black 501 / OVHD 112) anchor George Alagiah (62) has revealed that his cancer has returned and that he is once again fighting the disease.

George Alagiah, a father of two, is the the BBC's highest paid star from its so-called "minority ethnic background" group of staffers after the BBC decided to reveal its highest paid stars' salaries in a list in 2017.

George Alagiah says he will be undergoing further cancer treatment.

George Alagiah battled bowel cancer in 2014 and got the "all clear" in 2015 after extensive treatment that included several rounds of chemotherapy and three operations, after which he returned to work at BBC News in November 2015.

“My brilliant doctors are determined to get me back to a disease-free state and I know they have the skill to do just that,” says George Alagiah in a statement. “I learned last time around how important the support of family and friends is and I am blessed in that department. I genuinely feel positive as I prepare for this new challenge.”

On  Twitter the Sri Lanka born news anchor said "Always knew cancer could come back but still tough dealing with disappointment. Harder for my family. I know what I have to do: stay calm, stay content, stay fit and let doctors do their best".

The BBC in a statement says “Everyone at the BBC sends George and his family their best wishes as he undergoes treatment and we will be thinking of them.”

WHO KNEW? After switching Investigation Discovery to ID Xtra on MultiChoice's DStv and StarSat, the IDx channel has quietly been switched back to Investigation Discovery.


Discovery's Investigation Discovery (ID) channel on DStv and StarSat that was switched to ID Xtra (IDx) in January 2016, has quietly been switched back to just ID after a year and 10 months.

Investigation Discovery (ID) that changed to IDx with a big hoo-haa, is back to quietly just being ID on MultiChoice's DStv on channel 171, and on StarSat run by China's StarTimes Media SA and On Digital Media (ODM) on channel 223.

IDx was switched back to ID in mid-October but there was no official announcement from Discovery Networks International for the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA) region.

Quite awkwardly, because there was no announcement, the media has been blissfully unaware and months later even operators like MultiChoice still uses the IDx channel logo on some of its websites for channel 171, instead of just ID.

In January 2016 Discovery Networks CEEMEA said that ID is being replaced by ID Xtra and that “with its glossy reconstructions of real-life mysteries, ID Xtra will have viewers glued to their screens for hours at a time.”

"Mystery and suspense is one of the fastest growing genres within pay-TV and Discovery is in pole position, leading the category with a channel that has already been a proven success across CEEMEA. We are delighted to offer yet another high-quality channel.

Aletta Alberts, MultiChoice general manager for content said in a statement at the time that “our DStv customers love mystery and suspense stories and ID Xtra takes these stories to a glossier and more dramatic level.  Avid fans of this genre will have an even wider selection of brand new and intriguing content to choose from and still be able to catch up on their old time favourites from Discovery ID.”  

TVwithThinus, that like other media, also wasn't aware of the Investigation Discovery channel branding backtracking back from IDx to just ID, asked Discovery Networks International when ID Xtra flipped back to ID and why.

Discovery says the brand alignment roll-out took place between 18 and 31 October 2017.

"Based on the global success and high demand of the investigation genre, as well as a wider strategy that will see us unify our brands in an increasingly connected world, we have decided to transform IDx into investigation Discovery (ID) across CEEMEA".

"Borrowing from the highly successful American Investigation Discovery, a market-leading channel across both pay and free television, we will start using a new, more sophisticated, cinematic brand package which maintains premium quality and broad appeal, while becoming more seamlessly integrated with the channel's programming".

"This transformation is also accompanied by continued heavy investment in content, to deliver a broad mix of high quality shows and noisy event programming which reflect consumer priorities".

Minister of communications Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane doesn't know that the SABC plans to appoint Chris Maroleng as new chief operating officer.


South Africa's minister of communications Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane was unaware that the South African public broadcaster is set to appoint Chris Maroleng as the SABC's new chief operating officer (COO) - indicating that the SABC is apparently no longer looping the minister of communications in regarding top executive appointments.

Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said she was clueless about Chris Maroleng becoming the new SABC COO who will be replacing the controversial and famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng, although SABC management and board sources said Chris Maroleng's official appointment is being finalised.

Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said in a terse statement that she has “no knowledge of any official appointment”.

“The minister of communications has noted the media reports about the appointment of a chief operating officer at the SABC,” said Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane in a statement.

All appointments of the chief operating officer, CEO and chief financial officer (CFO) of state-owned entities are done through cabinet processes and therefore the announcements of the outcome are made by cabinet.”

“It is the minister’s responsibility to present any appointment of executives of the SOEs under the department of communications through cabinet processes. To this end, the minister has no knowledge of any official appointment of a COO of SABC.”

That the SABC is planning on appointing Chris Maroleng as COO without the knowledge of the minister of communications signals that the SABC is following the court decision in late-2017 affirming the SABC board's right to make all appointments of staff - especially of its top executives - without the prior approval or interference of the minister of communications.

Although the minister of communications is appealing the ruling, the communications minister has agreed to abide by the affirmation of the SABC's independent appointments process until the appeal can be heard in court.

The public pressure group, SOS Coalition, in a statement says it "notes with concern" the minister of communication's "statement that alleges that the SABC’s CEO, COO and CFO appointments are to be made by government through cabinet processes".

"The SABC is not an ordinary SOE, this fact was highlighted in recent court rulings."

BACK TO TRASH? The upcoming season of Clover's Tropika Island of Treasure Maldives on SABC3 takes a dangerous dive back to worse when it comes to its show publicity - here's why.


Warning lights are flickering for the upcoming Tropika Island of Treasure Maldives whose shockingly bad and misguided PR has once again taken a terrible turn for the worse after the dramatic improvement of the previous season, Tropika Island of Treasure Seychelles, that was on SABC3 in 2017.

After the much better and much improved 7th season of the advertiser-funded production (AFP) in April 2017, the upcoming 8th season of the Clover SA brand reality competition show set in the Maldives, seems as if it is crossing back to trash as far as its publicity and actual show exposure in the press are concerned.

While Tropika Island of Treasure Maldives is supposed to start on 5 Feburary at 19:30 on SABC3, there's hardly been any publicity around the show or the contestants like last year for the 7th season.

Likewise the so-called "announcements" of the celebrity and other contestants got basically no exposure in the general media - and there's a reason for that.

The lack of broad exposure is because Clover and Tropika and its designated publicists went back to trash with a wrong approach of not releasing basic contestant information to all press and TV critics covering a show like this, but weirdly divvying up individuals to select, and oddly chosen, media outlets on a one-by-one basis. Some were not even the target audience of the show.

Unfortunately if you shout in a soundproof room, nobody will hear you and that's what Tropika Island of Treasure Maldives decided to basically do. Weird.

Furthermore the consumer-contestants were announced in an oddly staggered approach as "exclusives" for just one media outlet.

Lo and behold, on Tuesday Clover and Tropika had the audacity of lying and saying "contestants revealed for Tropika Island of Treasure Maldives" when a press release got sent to the media, making as if the contestants are being revealed now.

The problem of course is that they had already been revealed, with the media that got sent lukewarm, half-baked leftovers that were reheated as if the press is in the business of rerunning old news.

Its happening because Clover and Tropika's PR people - supposedly paid to communicate with the press and for strategies that get the press engaged but failing to do that properly - didn't want to give that information out to all press, properly, at the same time.

The result is that the majority of media outlets now won't touch Tropika Island of Treasure with a pole. Neither are a lot of them going to bother to feature and name contestants after they've been named in other media outlets before as dished up "exclusives" from what is supposed to be general-issue show information.

The 8th season of Tropika Island of Treasure Maldives was filmed at the end of 2017 in and around the Adaaran resort in the Maldives with Katlego Maboe from SABC3's morning show Expresso as the new presenter for this season.

 “Each season of Tropika Island of Treasure has something new and exciting for fans – and Tropika Island of Treasure 8 will be no different," says Miantha Padayachee, Tropika brand group manager, in a statement. for Tropika.

"We have an incredibly diverse mix of celebrities and contestants who will compete in all new and awesome challenges on one of the most beautiful islands on earth. Will there be excitement? Yes. Drama? Most likely. Plot twists? Without a doubt."

Without a doubt the PR and publicity of Tropika Island of Treasure Maldives is back to being way worse than the uptick before and during the 7th season.

This season, again, Tropika didn't bother to take any press to the actual island in the way that M-Net does for Survivor South Africa for actual on-set, on-location interviews and coverage.

Likewise the so-far misguided contestant reveal strategy for the upcoming season has already backfired.

Will there be a media launch event for Tropika Island of Treasure Maldives? Will Tropika issue a screener or show the media the first episode?

Will there be some kind of face-to-face media engagement with actual members of the press like for the previous season?

Will there be actual programmatic publicity and show information going out to all media at the same time, treating all media outlets equally, when it comes to the basic dissemination of show info going forward?

Tropika Island of Treasure Seychelles did all the right things for the 7th season PR wise but is now once again, sadly, shipwrecking the show.

The BBC's set of channels going from life below zero to where the wild men are, and from shiny show to Chelsea in January.


The BBC's set of channels are going from life below zero to where the wild men are, and from a shiny show to Chelsea, in January.


■ The 5th season of Life Below Zero starts on BBC Earth (DStv 184) on Sunday 21 January at 17:00 for 8 episodes.

The struggle for survival continues for Sue Aikens, Jessie Holmes, Glenn Villaneuve and the Hailstone family as the onslaught of winter looms once again in Alaska.

With the last of the longer days coming to an end, the Alaskans must travel through unfamiliar territories and stockpile resources before the waterways freeze and winter's dark, brutal conditions overtake the land.


■ The 5th season of Where the Wild Men Are with Ben Fogle starts on BBC Earth (DStv 184) on Sunday 21 January at 18:00 for 8 episodes.

In this season the adventurer heads to the remote Wilderness Island, off Australia's north-western cape, to meet a couple whose near-death experiences compelled them to start a new life in the wild. He then heads to the pine-covered mountains of Canada, where artistic couple Catherine and Wayne live on a floating island they built themselves.

Other remote locations Ben visits in this series include a farm on the edge of the Egyptian Sahara desert, a backpacker's hostel deep in the Guatemalan jungle and the remote Andalucían mountains where a British couple have become alpaca farmers.



■ The singing and musical act competition show Let It Shine starts on BBC Brit (DStv 120) on Sunday 21 January at 18:00.

It's problematic and bad that BBC Worldwide is showing the old Let It Shine for South African and African DStv subscribers after it played out in the United Kingdom in January and February of last year. 

The winners actually started touring in September 2017.

Graham Norton and Mel Giedroyc are the presenters and Gary BarlowDannii Minogue, Amber Riley and Martin Kemp are the judges.

The purpose of Let It Shine is to put together people to create a band to join the cast of a stage show featuring the music of the boy band Take That.


■ The 12th season of Made in Chelsea starts on BBC Lifestyle (DStv 174) on Sunday 28 January at 21:00 for 12 episodes with more cat-fights, fun and heartbreak.


■ The second season of Top of the Lake, entitled Top of the Lake: China Girl will start on Wednesday 31 January at 20:00 on BBC First (DStv 119).

Recently returned to Sydney, Detective Robin Griffin (Elisabeth Moss) is trying to rebuild her life. When the body of an Asian girl washes up on Bondi Beach, there appears little hope of finding the killer, until Robin realises that the girl didn’t die alone.


■ The 7th season of Death in Paradise starts on Monday 15 January at 20:00 on BBC Brit (DStv 120).

There’s a new detective in town. Jack Mooney (Ardal O’Hanlon) is starting to settle in the sun-soaked island of Saint-Marie, and he has some impossible mysteries to solve. Jack’s laconic style belies a sharp mind and relentless determination. He’s a brilliant detective, and he’ll need all his instinctive genius to solve perplexing murders.


■ The new comedy series Game Face starts on Tuesday 16 January on BBC Brit (DStv 120) at 21:30.

Marcella, in her 30s, crashes her way through life, assisted by her dubious life-coach, best friends and ever-patient driving instructor.

Bouncing back from a seismic break-up, clinging on to her dreams of becoming an actress, and - when she remembers her lessons - finally learning to drive, Marcella is on a mission to change her future for the better.


■ The 6th season of Ross Kemp: Extreme World has started on BBC Brit (Dstv 120) on Fridays at 21:00.

Ross Kemp investigates important issues around the world, ranging from the rise of armed race hate groups in Donald Trump’s America, the killing of thousands of suspects in the Philippines’ war on drugs, the feuding gangs of Naples, the bandits of Madagascar, the drug epidemic sweeping through Palestine and the plight of migrants attempting the arduous journey through war-torn Libya.

Monday, January 15, 2018

BBC Worldwide Africa switches Come Dine with Me South Africa from BBC Lifestyle to the BBC Brit channel on DStv; 4th season will start on 15 February with more colourful and diverse contestants.


The 4th season of the beloved Come Dine With Me South Africa series is switching channels from BBC Lifestyle to BBC Brit (DStv 120) and will start on Thursday 15 February at 20:00 with the revived show that will once again include voice-over narration done by Dave Lamb.

The 4th season of the show will start on BBC Brit exactly a year after the SABC awkwardly announced that it had picked up the food competition series for a 4th season on SABC3 - just to then be forced to backtrack after already airing promos and announcing that it will no longer be producing the show.

The out-of-cash SABC failed to sign the necessary contracts for the ITV Studios format produced show.

BBC Worldwide Africa and the South African production company Rapid Blue that is the format rights holder, then agreed to bring the show back for viewers of the BBC's entertainment fare in South Africa and across Africa.

BBC Worldwide Africa has been reluctant to bring Come Dine with Me SA back for a 4th season although TV critics loved it and viewers have been clamouring for more local episodes of the show.

In each episode ordinary South Africans take turns to host each other in dinner parties at their homes. They then rate each other's food, presentation and hosting abilities.

There's a 5 year gap between the 3rd season of Come Dine With Me SA and the upcoming 4th season that will have episodes filmed in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.

The new season of Come Dine With Me SA will also see the show switch channels. The previous three seasons were all broadcast on BBC Lifestyle where seasons of shows like The Great South African Bake Off were also shown.

Early in 2017 BBC Worldwide announced that Come Dine With Me SA would return to BBC Lifestyle in early 2018, but now Come Dine With Me South Africa is switching to BBC Brit.

BBC Worldwide Africa didn't specify why Come Dine With Me SA is switching to BBC Brit and why it will no longer be on BBC Lifestyle.

"We are thrilled to be able to announce the return date of Come Dine With Me South Africa for a 4th series," says Joel Churcher, general manager and vice president of BBC Worldwide Africa.

"Since announcing its return, viewers have blown us away with their excitement at seeing a new line-up of the country's best and worst dinner hosts step into the kitchen."

"I have seen a sneak peek of episode one and am confident that the new contestants will find their ways into the hearts of our viewers with the new episodes, promising even more iconic moments and catchphrases".

The first episode of the 4th season of Come Dine With Me South Africa is set in Pretoria with pole dancer Carmi van Heerden, the hyper-critical Philipine Modimogale, the amateur-dramatic Ian Perryman and the chatty Nonhlanhla Ntwasa.

"After all these years of producing international formats for a South African audience, I'm still constantly amazed at all the colourful and diverse personalities that our amazing country has to offer," says Kee-Leen Irvine, Rapid Blue executive producer. 

"This season of Come Dine With Me South Africa once again bring the proof to the pudding.”

Will - or when will - South Africa's pay-TV viewers get Viacom's new the Paramount Network channel, and should it replace something like MTV Europe?


A question of paramount importance: Will - or when will - South African pay-TV viewers get to see Viacom's new flagship TV channel, the Paramount Network, that is launching on 18 January in the United States?

Will Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) possibly roll out the Paramount Network in 2018 on one of the existing direct-to-home (DTH) satellite pay-TV services like MultiChoice's DStv, StarSat from China's StarTimes Media SA and On Digital Media (ODM), or Kwesé TV?

Or perhaps the Paramount Network could possibly be added to the channel line-ups of one of the new over-the-top (OTT) services like Cell C's black, or DEOD?

A year ago, in February 2017, Viacom announced that it will be creating the Paramount Network in 2018 through scrapping its one channel, Spike TV, and that it will remake, rebrand and relaunch Spike TV in early 2018 as The Paramount Network - it's most important new channel.

The Paramount channel as a premium, general entertainment channel will carry "bold original scripted and non-scripted series" with Viacom that's moving its best shows to this channel and rolling out several brand-new scripted series and drama series on this channel.


Programming on the Paramount Network will include brand-new programming and series like Waco, Heathers (pictured), American Woman, Yellowstone, First Wives Club, Velvet and Accused along with shows like Lip Sync Battle, Ink Master, Bar Rescue, Bellator MMA and more.

Since the Paramount Network will be Viacom's flagship TV channel from next week, it's inconceivable that South African and African viewers won't get to see it ... eventually.

As TVwithThinus reported last year, the Paramount Network, together with BET (DStv 129), Comedy Central (DStv 122), MTV (DStv 130), Nickelodeon (DStv 305) and Nick Jr. (DStv 307) will now be Viacom's flagship channel brands with all of Viacom's effort, focus and content spending that will now be going to these channels.

The Paramount Network will do and have the premium shows in Viacom's content collection, while MTV is getting "refocus" around reality shows.

Viacom International Media Networks already operates a Paramount Channel (a film channel) in some parts of the world - but not in South Africa and Africa - and will likely just morph and change these placeholder channels (Paramount Channel and Spike TV) in other territories into The Paramount Network over time.

But what about countries where these placeholder channels don't already exist and have an existing footprint?

Last week TVwithThinus asked Viacom International Media Networks Africa if VIMN Africa will be adding, or is looking at adding, the Paramount Network as a TV channel in South Africa and Africa, and also whether getting the Paramount Network to viewers in South Africa and across Africa is important or seen as a priority.

How exactly does VIMN Africa see the Paramount Network's importance and relevance for South Africa and Africa?

At the time of filing this report there hasn't been any answers to these questions from Viacom Africa, but if there is, it will be updated here.


TVwithThinus will keep tracking the ongoing developments around the Paramount Network since Kevin Kay, now the Paramount Network president, himself has said that Viacom's new channel is positioning itself as the crown jewel in Viacom's collection of TV channels going forward.

"The Paramount Network will take Spike's already strong programming mix and amplify it with the Paramount brand. Its focus will be on building distinctive, high-quality scripted and non-scripted original programming – with dramas, comedies, documentaries, movies, sports and tentpole events."

One possibility - if the Paramount Network were to be made available in South Africa - would or could be to replace MTV Europe (DStv 130) on MultiChoice's DStv for instance.

MultiChoice already carries MTV Europe and the Afro-tainment MTV Base as separate channels.

Just like MultiChoice had done with Viacom's BET channels that was cut down from two to one, MTV could be snackwitched down to one channel without any loss to make space for the Paramount Network in MTV Europe's place.

The original content on MTV Europe like the Siesta Key-type shows could easily be transplanted onto MTV Base's schedule to make the programming line-up of MTV Base stronger, combining the best of MTV's Brit-American reality series with MTV Base's original African productions like the MTV Shuga series.

It would also make it easier for viewers to know where to find all the MTV-ey reality and music type content, with then the Paramount Network as the more higher grade channel where the drama, sitcom, documentary series and scripted fare content and shows like the new Yellowstone drama with Kevin Costner can reside.

On Monday in America at the Annual winter tour of the Television Critics Association (TCA) in Pasadena, California, Kevin Kay told TV critics that the Paramount Network wants "to be the definitive new home for premium storytelling", and that "our goal is to change the game of how viewers experience high-end scripted" TV content.

Paramount Network president of development Keith Cox told TV critics that Paramount Network is going to be famous for big bold originals. We want to make linear TV urgent again."

MultiChoice claims 'eNews' is one of the most watched channels on DStv Now while no such channel exists; adds Discovery's set of channels to DStv Now from January.


MultiChoice claims that the 'eNews' channel is one of the most watched TV channels live streamed on its DStv Now service - despite the fact that no such channel exists.

MultiChoice's DStv Now service from its DStv Digital Media division announced that it also further expanded its over-the-top (OTT) channel collection in January 2018 that now includes Discovery Channel, TLC, Discovery Family and ID Investigation Discovery.

MultiChoice in a press release on Monday, said that the 'eNews' channel was one of the most watched channels on its DStv Now service during December 2017.

The problem is that eNews isn't a channel. MultiChoice most likely means either E! Entertainment (DStv 124) from NBCUniversal International Networks, or eNCA (DStv 403) from eMedia Investments that used to be known as the eNews Channel until it changed its name more than 5 and a half years ago in August 2012.

"E! News" does exists as the name of a daily show segment on E! Entertainment - it is that channel's daily TV news programme - but it is very unlikely that MultiChoice means that.

MultiChoice was asked what exactly it means by "eNews" and when there's a response this report will update with that. Update:  MultiChoice says the "eNews" is in fact eNCA.

Oddly, MultiChoice in its press release also refers to "kykNet" (it's actually kykNET).

"The top live channels streaming during this time were the SuperSport channels, M-Net, eNews, Mzansi Magic, kykNet, Comedy Central and M-Net Movies Smile," says MultiChoice in its statement about December 2017 viewing on DStv Now.

MultiChoice notes that the most watched shows on DStv Now during December 2017 were Binnelanders, The Queen, Isibaya, Boer Soek ‘n Vrou, The Imposter, Premier League, Lockdown, Paw Patrol, international rugby, Shameless, Isithembiso and Getroud met Rugby.

MultiChoice says usage of its DStv Now service increased by 18% in December 2017 over November 2017.

"Almost 20% of total usage of DStv Now is coming from DStv Compact customers, who received access to the service in May last year," says MultiChoice.

MultiChoice says the bulk of DStv Now usage over the festive period came from Android devices in the Gauteng province.

"Local content and channels, along with SuperSport, continue to be the top performers across all platforms."

MultiChoice says it added the set of channels from Discovery Networks International from January 2018 to DStv Now as live streamed channels. These include Discovery Channel (DStv 121), TLC (DStv 135), Discovery Family (DStv 136) and ID Investigation Discovery (DStv 171).

Interestingly ID Investigation Discovery used to be IDx on DStv. However, at some point after Investigation Discovery was changed to IDx (ID Xtra) in January 2016, it has quietly changed back to ID on MultiChoice's platform.

SuperSport extends its broadcast partnership with Tennis Australia to 2021; new deal includes Laver Cup and several lead-in tennis tournaments.


SuperSport has extended its broadcast partnership with Tennis Australia to 2021.

According to the extended deal, the Laver Cup will be broadcast in 54 countries - including South Africa - for the first time on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform, along with ongoing extensive coverage of the Australian Open tennis tournament.

Included in the new extended deal between SuperSport and Tennis Australia are broadcasting rights to lead-in tournaments like the Australian and Asia-Pacific Wildcard playoffs, Mastercard Hopman Cup, World Tennis Challenge, Brisbane International (ATP matches) and the Sydney International (ATP matches).

“SuperSport has over the years enjoyed a successful partnership with Tennis Australia which has seen the Australian Open become one of the most watched grand slams across Sub-Saharan Africa whilst assisting us in extending our footprint on the continent,” says Gideon Khobane, SuperSport CEO.

“The new deal, with the added content, shows the trust Tennis Australia has in us as a broadcaster to help them reach new markets and grow the event across the African continent.”

Richard Heaselgrave, Tennis Australia chief revenue officer says “We have had a long-standing partnership with SuperSport now for more than 20 years and we are extremely pleased to not just extend but also expand our relationship.”

SuperSport’s coverage will include two simultaneous linear TV feeds, mobile and internet, live and on-demand broadcast with additional coverage of news, results and videos online.

Inspiration TV on OpenView HD abruptly goes dark as yet another of the platform's original channels at launch disappears.

The Inspiration TV channel has abruptly gone off OpenView HD (OVHD) with OpenView HD losing yet another of the channels it originally launched with.

OpenView HD, run by Platco Digital that's part of eMedia Investments, didn't explain why Inspiration TV is removed from the free-to-air satellite platform service, or if or when it will be back - saying only Inspiration TV is gone because of "technical issues".

When OpenView HD launched in October 2013, Inspiration TV, apparently run by Inspiration Ministries, was part of the original TV channels line-up.

In a statement issued on Monday morning just more than an hour before the Christian faith-based Inspiration TV went off air on OpenView HD, OpenView HD says "the religion channel, Inspiration TV, will no longer be available on the OpenView HD satellite platform from 15 January at 12:00 until further notice".

"This is due to technical issues that are being experienced with the broadcast of the channel on the platform. Updates will be issued in due course".

The channel never made much of an impact during its broadcast run on OpenView HD, with neither OpenView HD nor Inspiration TV that ever once bothered to issued any programming information or channel line-ups, schedules or show information, during its 4 years on the platform.

Chris Maroleng to become the SABC's new permanent chief operating officer (COO), replacing Hlaudi Motsoeneng - sources.


Chris Maroleng is to become the SABC's new permanent chief operating officer (COO) replacing the controversial and famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

SABC insiders, including SABC management and SABC board sources told TVwithThinus that the former Africa editor at eMedia Investments' TV news channel eNCA (DStv 403) will be appointed as the SABC's new COO.

Chris Maroleng was an eNCA anchor and Africa editor until he left eNCA in July 2014.

At eNCA Chris Maroleng led the team which started eNews Africa in 2009 and built up the channel's Africa division, which included the setting up of news bureaux in Nairobi and Lagos, and was the anchor of the weekly show Africa 360 that was abruptly cancelled in April 2015.

Chris Maroleng left eNCA when eNCA started to gut its Africa division and downsized its news staff and operations as it dramatically slashed budgets and Africa coverage - something that eNCA hasn't recovered from three and a half years later.

Chris Maroleng then became MTN's group executive for corporate affairs until the end of December 2017.

Chris Maroleng who has a master’s degree in international relations, as well as a honours and BA degree in political studies and law from the University of Cape Town, is most famous with the South African public for his "don't touch me on my studio" altercation on live TV in April 2010.

Pandemonium ensued in the eNCA studio during Chris Maroleng's Africa 360 show, where he intervened and protected the political analyst Lebohang Pheko when the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) secretary general Andre Visagie went ballistic on air.

Sources tell TVwithThinus that Chris Maroleng will become the SABC's new permanent COO from February 2017, a position that's been vacant for months and that has been filled by Bessie Tugwana, a so-called "Hlaudi enforcer", who has been appointed and who has been serving in the role the past few months in an acting capacity.

While Hlaudi Motsoeneng was acting COO and permanent COO, the famously matricless executive plunged the SABC into a myriad of crises.

That ranged from financial to bad governance issues, as he made wrong and debilitating decisions that heaped not just negative headlines and scorn on the SABC but also negatively affected the broadcaster's staff morale, liquidity and operating bank balance, and viewership and listenership ratings.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

National Geographic renews Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson for a second season in 2019, entitled Cosmos: Possible Worlds.


National Geographic (DStv 181 / StarSat 220 / Cell C black 261) has renewed Cosmos for a second season that will be broadcast in 2019, entitled Cosmos: Possible Worlds.

The second season of the rebooted Carl Sagan series will retain the same creative team behind-the-scens as during the first season of Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey, with Seth MacFarlane as executive producer, Ann Druyan as executive producer, writer and director and executive producers Brannon Braga and Jason Clark.

The renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson will once again return as the presenter of the 13-episode second season that will again be broadcast worldwide on FOX in America and on National Geographic in the rest of the world.

Cosmos: Possible Worlds, produced by Cosmos Studios and Fuzzy Door Productions, will be accompanied with a simultaneous book release written by Ann Druyan with the same title.

"In the vastness of space and the immensity of time, the number of worlds to explore and stories to tell are virtually infinite," says National Geographic.

"The Cosmos television series transported a global audience to the farthest reaches and most deeply hidden recesses of the universe. In the course of those journeys, the series dramatized the lives of many of the forgotten searchers who contributed to the world’s understanding of who, when and where we are in the universe. Cosmos: Possible Worlds will venture to previously uncharted territories."

National Geographic renews The Story of God with Morgan Freeman for a 3rd season to be broadcast in 2019.


National Geographic (DStv 181 / StarSat 220 / Cell C black 261) has renewed The Story of God with Morgan Freeman for a third season.

The third season of The Story of God that will be broadcast on National Geographic in 2019 in 172 countries and 43 languages, will once again see actor Morgan Freeman go on an international journey as he discovers the power of religion and how it touches all of our lives.

Morgan Freeman will travel to some of the world’s holiest sites and speak with religious leaders, scientists, historians and archaeologists to try to shed light on questions about the puzzle of the divine laws.

Each episode of the 3rd season of The Story of God will focus on a different topic about the divine to help shed light on the questions that inspired mankind.

Executive producers include Morgan Freeman, Lori McCreary and James Younger of Revelations Entertainment.

“We are pleased to expand our partnership with Morgan, Lori, James and the entire Revelations Entertainment team on another season of The Story of God,” says Tim Pastore, National Geographic president of original programming and production.

“Our viewers around the world have had an incredible response to the series thus far, and we’re excited to see where else this team might take us.”

Phil Keoghan taking over as presenter of Explorer on National Geographic; show retooled yet again with the new 20-episode season that will visit far-flung places.


Phil Keoghan is taking over as the new presenter of Explorer on National Geographic (DStv 181 / StarSat 220 / Cell C black 261), replacing the BBC presenter Richard Bacon.

National Geographic cancelled Explorer in 2010 but then revived it in 2016 as a weekly talk show series “mixing intrepid field pieces, round-table discussions and in-depth interviews”.

Now National Geographic is now once again adapting and rebooting Explorer for its latest upcoming season starting it's broadcast later in 2018, taking Explorer out of the studio and into the world with a new season of 20 episodes, produced by National Geographic Studios, visiting far-flung, real-world places.

The presenter known for his work on The Amazing Race will venture into far-flung regions to meet with National Geographic Explorers on the front lines of groundbreaking scientific, technological and historical discoveries for the new Explorer season that is currently in production.

The new Explorer will premiere on National Geographic in 172 countries and 43 languages.

“Phil embodies what it means to be a National Geographic Explorer - he's undoubtedly interested and curious about investigating the relationship between the Earth and human life,” says Tim Pastore, president of original programming and production at National Geographic.

Explorer is a show about informing and entertaining, and we’re confident that with Phil as presenter, he will be the catalyst for viewers to understand the way we fit into the world.”

Phil Keoghan says “I have been sharing stories in front of a camera for the past 30 years, and I am thrilled to partner with National Geographic again on such an iconic series that is rooted in fueling the adventurous spirit found in all of us.”

“I look forward to taking viewers with me on adventures around the globe to learn how we shape the world through adventure, curiosity and understanding.”

The season’s correspondents on Explorer include Francesca Fiorentini, journalist, comedy writer and host and producer of Al Jazeera's AJ+; and Ryan Duffy, a journalist who has scaled empty high-rises in China’s Ghost Towns.

Also included are Jago Cooper, a British archaeologist, National Geographic Explorer and the curator of the Americas at the British Museum; journalist Cara Santa Maria; musician Sal Masekela; documentary filmmakers Gaelareh Darabi, Tim Samuels, Mariana van Zeller and Alexandra Roca; and innovator Albert Lin.

Subjects that Explorer will cover in upcoming episodes of the new season include:

Light Riders – The show embeds with a group of Silicon Valley-backed Tanzanians who carry solar panels to remote areas and bring electricity to villagers for the first time in their lives.

The Future of Farming – With the world population on track to exceed 9 billion by 2050, how will we feed the world? The show heads to Europe, where one country may have already discovered a path toward averting global disaster through amazing technological innovation.

Godfather of Gaza – The show investigates the illicit and highly dangerous underground system of Hamas-run tunnels in the Gaza Strip. Correspondent Mariana van Zeller gains unparalleled access to a tunnel run by a businessman intent to dig his way to a better life for the people of Gaza.

Sensory Substitution – Using advanced technology, a group of scientific pioneers re-create missing senses and push the limits of human perception.

Saltwater Crocs – Once on the brink of extinction, Australia’s saltwater crocodiles are making a comeback with alarming consequences. The exploding crocodile population is fueled, in part, by demand from fashion brands.

Nat Geo WILD adds 3 new natural history series, 3 new series and a TV special, Symphony for Our World, for 2018's Earth Day.

Nat Geo WILD (DStv 182 / StarSat 221 / Cell C black 262) is adding 3 new natural history TV series, 3 new non natural history series, as well as a global TV special for Earth Day - and has renewed 3 show for further seasons.

Specific starting dates for broadcast in South Africa and across Africa from the channel run by Fox Networks Group Africa are not known yet.

“As the only network that is 100% dedicated to celebrating animals and wild places, we take great pride in consistently bringing our viewers powerful and awe-inspiring wildlife specials and series,” says Geoff Daniels, the executive vice president and general manager of Nat Geo WILD in a statement.

“Nat Geo Wild captivates audiences by showcasing jaw-dropping landscapes and animals, and this wildly entertaining natural history slate upholds our unparalleled reputation for wildlife programming.”

“This year we’re bringing jaw-dropping, unexpected natural history adventures along with surprising and intimate animal stories. We want to inspire people to get out there and see the wild world and all that it has to offer.”

Besides new natural history TV series America's Wild Frontier, The Mighty Northwest and Wild Russia, Nat Geo WILD will also broadcast Symphony For Our World as a TV special on Sunday 22 April in 140 countries as part of 2018's Earth Day.

Symphony For Our World will be an hour-long TV special combining National Geographic natural history footage with an original symphony created by the Emmy- and BAFTA-nominated Bleeding Fingers Music, to take viewers on a breathtaking musical journey through some of the world’s most incredible wildlife spectacles.

Nat Geo WILD has also renewed The Incredible Dr. Pol, Dr. K's Exotic Animal ER and Buckeye Bottoms each for a new season.


Here's the new natural history Nat Geo WILD series coming to viewers in 2018:

America's Wild Frontier
From the Great Valley of Appalachia and the Badlands of South Dakota to the ice sheets in the Land of Lakes, explore the dramatic landscapes of the great frontier and the wildlife that continues to thrive in America’s heartland.
Renowned for some of the most beautiful, wild scenery in the world, this new 5-part series showcases a diverse cast of characters that includes bears, bison, beavers, weasels, wood ducks, and wild horses.

The Mighty Northwest
Home to the tallest trees on earth, the last of America’s big glaciers, and a string of towering volcanoes, America’s Pacific Northwest is one of the United States’s most intriguing and mesmerizing natural wonders.
In this new 5-part series viewers can discover the epic meeting of land and sea that attracts some of the biggest marine life on the planet from the Redwood forest - home to an incredible diversity of animals and the tallest living beings on earth, to the iconic Rocky Mountains where wildlife thrives despite the harsh climate and steep elevation.

Wild Russia
Wild Russia is a stunning adventure across Russia’s unique terrain that extends across 12 time zones with contrasting environments.
The show will celebrate Russia’s most mysterious locations and iconic wildlife in this landmark 4-part series that will take viewers on a journey through the wetlands of the Kamchatka Peninsula, the crystal clear waters of Lake Baikal - the oldest and deepest lake in the world, the icy and pristine landscapes of Siberia, and a little-visited corner of the globe - the Russian Far East.
Viewers will experience intimate encounters with the incredible species within this expansive country including brown bears, the Baika seal, the Siberian lynx, leopords, tigers and an abundance of bird and fish species.


Here's the new non natural history series on Nat Geo WILD series coming to viewers in 2018:

Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue
The extraordinary staff at the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region risk their lives and give their hearts to save all animals big and small.
The Pikes Peak team works together to rescue and rehabilitate more than 40 000 animals a year. The job is risky, urgent and unpredictable as the team responds to emergency calls in the untamed wilderness. Watch the incredible stories of nature, animals and the unwavering perseverance of the officers and veterinarians of Rocky Mountain Rescue.

Alaska Grizzly Gauntlet
The legendary survivalist Les Stroud returns to TV in Nat Geo WILD’s Alaska Grizzly Gauntlet to go deeper into the wild than ever before, learning from the world’s most captivating and dangerous animals how to endure remote Alaska.
Les Stroud has survived some of the world’s most extreme environments, from the deepest recesses of the Amazon to the brutal heat of the Kalahari, with nothing but his survival skills, a multi-tool and some serious grit. Now he faces the greatest challenge of his career, tackling Alaska’s harshest climates.

Zoo Life
The call of the wild takes people all over the world in pursuit of exotic creatures including a pristine land where 10 000 animals span 12 000 acres. And no, it’s not in Africa. It’s in Ohio!
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is one of the largest and most popular zoos in the United States, boasting none other than Jungle Jack Hanna as its legendary director emeritus who actually lives in the zoo!
It takes hours just to see it all, but now for the first time Nat Geo Wild is taking viewers behind the scenes to meet the animals and the army of people who work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to create one of the best zoo experiences in the country.

The Walking Dead on FOX renewed for a 9th season; gets a 4th new showrunner as longtime writer Angela Kang is promoted to executive producer before the 8th season resumes on 26 February.


The Walking Dead has been renewed for a 9th season with the zombie apocalypse drama that is also getting its 4th showrunner.

The second half of the 8th season of The Walking Dead will start on 25 February in America and on Monday 26 February at 21:00 on FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131 / Cell C black 201) as one of Fox Networks Group Africa's few remaining "Express from the US" titles on the channel.

The drama series produced by AMC Studios in America, shocked in its mid-season finale by revealing that Carl Grimes, played by Chandler Riggs, has been bitten by a zombie walker.

The Walking Dead previous announced that as one of last five remaining original characters, the character will be killed off in the upcoming first new episode while the character of Morgan played by Lennie James will be leaving at the end of the season to join the spin-off series Fear the Walking Dead seen on AMC Networks International's Sundance TV (DStv 108) when the two shows do a cross-over story later this year.

Scott M. Gimple who has been with the show since the second season hasn't been fired like the previous showrunners Frank Darabont and Glen Mazzara, but is out and being moved to a new position of chief content officer over both The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead.

The longtime The Walking Dead writer and co-executive producer Angela Kang, a writer on the show since 2011 and a co-executive producer since 2013, is taking over as showrunner and executive producer.

The Walking Dead has seen a ratings decline since the end of the 6th season and the latest changes behind-the-scenes are likely in an attempt to bring renew focus and storytelling to the series.

“We are proud to acknowledge Angela Kang’s significant contribution to the series and to set a clear path forward for a ninth season under her direction. Further, with gratitude and admiration, we also recognize Scott M. Gimple’s broad impact on, and leadership of, the content that fuels our The Walking Dead universe,” says AMC in a statement. “Together, we will dream bigger and more broadly than ever before.”

The Walking Dead is a special show which started in an entirely different era of TV, and continues, in this new era, to confidently take chances to tell compelling stories that excite audiences and make them deeply connect with its characters, adapting Robert Kirkman’s brilliant comic book,” says Scott M. Gimple.

“As the show closes in on its tenth year, I’m honoured to keep working with the talented, dedicated people behind and in front of the camera to make it all it can be, while expanding the world of The Walking Dead with new narratives like Fear the Walking Dead and a whole host of truly cool stories ahead. Angela is a big part of the heart and soul of The Walking Dead, and I’m thrilled to help facilitate her vision of the show’s next era.”

Angela Kang says “I am beyond thrilled to be stepping into this new role with The Walking DeadWorking on this series and having the opportunity to adapt Robert Kirkman’s amazing comic has been a fangirl dream come true for me.”

“I’m excited to continue working with Scott M. Gimple and the wonderfully supportive folks at AMC, and can’t wait to share the next chapter of the story with our fans".

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Eden Classens, Ebenhaezer Dibakwane and Vanes-Mari du Toit also part of M-Net's Dancing with the Stars SA dance competition show.

The model and soap actor Eden Classens will also be dancing as one of the contestants in the glitter floor format show Dancing with the Stars South Africa starting on 4 February on M-Net (DStv 101), along with the comedian Ebenhaezar Dibakwane and the netball player Vanes-Mari du Toit.

Eden Classens is a model and soap actor in the Afrikaans weekday soap Suidooster on kykNET & Kie (DStv 145) and kykNET (DStv 144) who studied acting and musical theatre in New York at the New York Film Academy before returning to South Africa.

“I am absolutely ecstatic to be a part of this experience," says Eden Classens. "I’m excited by this challenge and am here to dance my heart out and have fun.”

The South African comedian Ebenhaezer Dibakwane who won the Newcomer Award at the Comic's Choice Awards in 2016, will also be taking part in the show as a contestant.

Ebenhaezer Dibakwane is best known for his stand-up acts, opening for Dillan Oliphant, being part of the Stand Up 4 Comedy ensemble alongside Mo Mathebe and Virgil Prins and having been part of the Blacks Only and the Comedy Central International Comedy Festival alongside Trevor Noah.

He has also appeared in the e.tv drama series Ashes to Asheswas a presenter on Walala Wasala on SABC1 and had a role in the sitcom Thuli noThulanli also on SABC1.

“These are exciting times for me. I can’t wait to dance, baby - into people's homes, memories and hearts,” says Ebenhaezer Dibakwane.

The South African netball star Vanes-Mari Du Toit will also be on the Dancing with the Stars SA dancefloor.

Vanes-Mari Du Toit is a player on the South African National Netball team and has an impressive 38 caps for South Africa under her belt. She's also a presenter and commentator on SuperSport, and last year married Matthew Proudfoot, assistant coach for the Springboks.

“I’m as excited as a kid on Christmas morning to be a part of Dancing With The Stars SA. It’s going to be a tough challenge, but I’m so ready to learn how to dance.”

The other already announced Dancing with the Stars SA contestants rounding out the 12 untrained celebrities are TV presenter Thembisa Mdoda, actor Frank Opperman, actress Juanita de Villiers, the former Miss SA Liesl Laurie, athlete mother Odessa Swarts, film star Zola Nombona, singer-songwriter Connell Cruise, the former Bafana Bafana soccer star Delron Buckley, and the former Springbok Thando Manana.

Dancing With The Stars SA is produced for M-Net by Rapid Blue.