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The TV Snitch: Late Night TV, 3Talk and Panel Talk Shows

For a couple of months I’ve been wondering about the South African TV industry and why some things work and some don’t. Here are some of my musings.

Why don’t we have late night TV shows?
I’ve been pondering about this for years. We had The Phat Joe Show, which aired on Thursdays, from 1999 to 2005. e.tv commissioned the late night show and had it for two years, before it moved to SABC1 in 2001. Phat was excellent on the show. He had the personality, and the comic excellence, to be a late night show host – from the jokes he made, to showing how no question was sacred. 

Seeing the success of Phat Joe’s show, SABC 3 then commissioned Late Night with Paul Viv, which aired on Monday evenings. It ran from 2004 to 2006. It wasn’t much of a success, mainly because he wasn’t really funny, but at least he had some great interviews, including one of my favourites with the late Lebo Mathosa and former Miss SA, Claudia Henkel. 
SABC 2 got into the game with Late Night with Kgomotso (quite good) as did M-Net with The Gareth Cliff Show (terrible) and The Trevor Noah Show (disappointingly mediocre). 

e.tv hit the jackpot with the excellent mock news show, Late Night News with Loyiso Gola. The show has even been nominated for an Emmy – that’s how good it is. 
In a country where we desperately need to laugh at ourselves in order to forget the politics and the bad news we hear every day, why don’t we have a couple of late night shows? Surely it would make for great viewing, especially on weekdays? 

Comedy Central (channel 122 on DStv) carries The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report from Tuesdays to Fridays (albeit the previous night’s episodes) late at night, while M-Net has Last Week with John Oliver (Sunday nights, after the M-Net movie), which has a one week delay, is still very funny and topical.

So how about it SABC, e.tv, StarSat and DStv? We have our fair share of talented comedians, including Phat Joe, Chris Forrest, David Kau and Kagiso Lediga, who would translate well on camera, so please give us a daily late night TV show – one where no topic is sacred, we laugh at ourselves and actually have some great TV. 

Imagine how much better LNN would be with some competition? I believe South Africa has people who are sophisticated enough to tune into late night TV shows so it’s time we have a couple. 

3Talk with Noeleen
While I was on leave, I tuned into SABC3’s 3Talk with Noeleen. One thing that’s missing on that show is human interaction. The over-reliance on Twitter comments and viewers calling in is what makes the show very bland. 

The success of any daytime TV talk show is the host’s interaction with the audience. 3Talk doesn’t have that and it’s just so boring. I may not be the target audience, but even so, I must not want to change the channel every time the show is on air.

I’ve been thinking. Panel talk shows, like The View and The Talk are popular and when well-produced, are pretty good. How about we keep Noeleen Maholwana Sangqu and get Katy Katopodis, Kgomotso Matsunyane and Michelle Garforth-Venter to co-host the show in a four-panel show?

I can imagine the show airing from 6pm to 7pm, where the seasoned broadcasters discuss the day’s news, events and other issues. A few visits from personalities and a studio audience, and I think it would be a great TV show. I’d definitely watch it and it would make for a great transition from the daytime soapies, to the news, something that’s missing on SABC3. 

It’s no secret that the 6.30pm news slot on SABC3 is not working. Why not do something about it? Move 3Talk to a later timeslot, thereby moving up Days of Our Lives and The Bold and the Beautiful. 

It’s time that our channels gave thought to how they can keep viewers watching their shows and that’s only possible by producing TV that people actually want to watch. I’m so over being down on South African TV. It needs to end.

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