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The TV Snitch: #DStvUpfront and more reveals from @MNet @DStv

Multichoice and M-Net held their local content upfront in Joburg on Monday and SMtv was invited. There were major reveals, including a R1 billion investment by Multichoice and M-Net into producing local content. 

M-Net chief executive, Yolisa Phahle, and Aletta Alberts MultiChoice’s General Manager of Content (pictured above) had a Q&A session with the media. Here are some of the major reveals:

MasterChef South Africa

After the reality cooking competition was nominated for an International Emmy Award, it is little surprise that M-Net renewed the show for two more seasons, including a celebrity edition. The show was in production for six months and the seasons were shot almost concurrently. The show’s new judge, Reuben Riffel, looks at home during the promo they showed press at the upfront. The third season starts on Thursday August 21 at 7.30pm. The celebrity edition of the show will start in January. The ten celebrity contestants are: Patricia Lewis, Sade Giliberti, Lorna Lukhele, Lunga Shabalala, Terence Bridget, Magdalene van der Merwe, Tol Ass Mo, Lerato Moloi, Chris Forrest and Alex Jay. From the little I heard from Lerato and Alex, there were a lot of knife accidents, some so bad, they needed medical attention. 

Idols South Africa

The tenth season of Idols started in mid July and with the auditions having drawn to a close, the boot camp episodes start tonight. The good news for fans is that the live shows will actually be broadcast live and the results show will be on the same day as the performances. This means that contestants find out immediately if they have been eliminated from the show. Will it work? I don’t know, but I’m glad that it’s a live show, especially since the recorded show is sometimes spoiled by those who were at the recording, therefore making us aware of who gave a great or mediocre performance before we tune into the show on Sundays. Could this be the final season of Idols? There were rumours doing the rounds that there could be a local version of The Voice being produced for M-Net next year. While execs denied this, it wouldn’t be surprising. Idols South Africa hasn’t produced a star – besides Khaya Mthethwa, Elvis Blue and Lloyd Cele – in years. Even the previous winner, Musa, is all but forgotten. 

New Channels

According to Aletta, there are a few channels that will soon be added on to the DStv bouquet. While she didn’t reveal which channels, she did mention that there are about 40. I asked if BET was one of the channels to be added. She wouldn’t confirm or deny, but said to wait until the end of August. 

No Local Talk Shows

I asked Yolisa if there was any thought of commissioning a talk show and she said no. “The R1 billion we are investing in local content is mainly for local series, reality competitions and actuality shows. That’s what most of our audience wants, so we won’t be commissioning any local talk shows anytime soon.” That’s a shame, especially since South Africa really needs a talk show, other than SABC 3’s 3Talk. I believe that this is a missed opportunity. When you check M-Net’s schedule, only Carte Blanche, Idols and MasterChef South Africa are local productions. The rest are international shows. But I guess they are the experts and they know what the audience wants. 

Buhle Mbonambi’s trip to the DStv Upfront was sponsored by MultiChoice. 

This column first appeared in the 10 August 2014 issue of Sunday Tribune's SMtv

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