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The TV Snitch: Arsenio Hall, Tyra Banks, Andile Ncube, X-Factor SA and Game of Thrones

Buhle Mbonambi on the good, bad and interesting  on our TVs

X-Factor SA
The first leg of the Durban auditions took place yesterday at Sahara Kingsmead Cricket Stadium. It was the pre-auditions, so the judges weren’t there. However, the host, Andile Ncube, was there. It’s still ridiculous that at the time of going to press, SABC1 and Rapid Blue haven’t revealed who the judges are. What I have been able to get from my source is that the rumoured judges – Zakes Bantwini, Lira, AKA and Zahara – have apparently signed their contracts to be judges and mentors on The X-Factor SA and had a Skype call with Simon Cowell. I still don’t get why there’s so much secrecy and it doesn’t help that the SABC channels haven’t yet held their upfront screenings this year. Upfronts are where the media get to see the new and returning shows we can expect in the next quarter. I guess we’ll have to make do with the rumours. 

Tyra’s Back!
I see ABC has commissioned a daytime talk show with former model Tyra Banks as host. This is unexpected and interesting. The show will be syndicated to various ABC-affiliated channels. Tyra had her own talk show, The Tyra Banks Show, which ran from 2005 and ended in 2011 and won an Emmy. This time round, the show will be more lifestyle-oriented, with “Banks fielding a team of lifestyle experts as they tackle a range of topics –  from fashion and beauty to home and entertaining to empowerment and individual enterprise –  and will offer a cross-platform experience incorporating Banks’s social media reach of more than 28 million followers across all platforms.” So possibly she’ll have a monologue at the beginning of the show, like a late-night TV host, then cut to her panel, The View style. The show is still to be named and will premiere next year. Now what does this mean for Katie Couric? Is she being replaced by Tyra? Katie’s show hasn’t been a success, ratings-wise, and I’m not surprised it is being cancelled –  she’s more suited to a morning show, anyway. 

Game of Thrones & M-Net
I’ve been wondering, why did M-Net screen Game of Thrones two weeks after the US? Who made that decision, because it really wasn’t a good one. Fans will know what happened in the latest episode, which they have to wait two weeks for, before M-Net screens it. This spoils it for fans who go online, and that’s always the worst. This happened when King Joffrey was poisoned at his wedding. Everyone on social networks and websites was going on about the Purple Wedding and Joffrey’s death. It was impossible to miss. With the ninth episode being aired in the US today, chances for spoilers are huge. So why can’t M-Net employ the same model as Fox, in that episodes of their biggest shows, like The Walking Dead and Da Vinci’s Demons, are aired less than 24 hours after the US? That would make more sense and significantly reduce the possibility of spoilers. 

Arsenio Hall Cancelled
CBS has cancelled Arsenio Hall’s late-night talk show, The Arsenio Hall Show. Yes, it wasn’t doing so well in the ratings, compared to Letterman, Fallon, Kimmel, Stewart and Colbert. But it was another platform for less-seen actors. Community actress, comedienne and Survivor fan Yvette Nicole Brown took to Twitter to mourn Hall’s show. “In my five years in the cast of a network comedy @ArsenioHall & @George Lopez were the only late-night talk-show couches I was welcomed to” she tweeted. “Losing @Arsenio Hall’s voice in late night hurts. Just taking a moment to thank him for all he did for those of us who wanted a shot too… Shows like theirs are not a small thing to those of us who aren’t often ‘seen’ in the same way our counterparts are.”
And it’s true. You almost always get the same Hollywood starlet and hunk on high rotation on the major late-night shows but never other talented stars like Yvette, Parks and Recreation’s Retta and Broad City’s Hannibal Buress. It’s no secret that diversity still is a major issue in Hollywood, and a lot needs to be done. While I wasn’t a fan of Arsenio Hall, I believe his show has a place on our TV screens. 

This column was published in the 8 June 2014 issue of the Sunday Tribune SMtv Magazine

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