Pay TV operator MultiChoice and its flagship channel M-Net have collaborated to create a new version of US reality franchise Real Housewives set in Durban.
The Real Housewives of Durban, based on the NBCUniversal format which originally airing on US cable channel Bravo, is set to debut on 1Magic DStv channel 103 on January 29.
The 14-episode series is produced by Let It Rain Films and will show viewers a glimpse into the glamorous lives of some of Durban’s wealthy ladies who engage in lavish consumption, extravagant lifestyles and dramatic relationships.
Nomsa Philiso, director of local entertainment channels at M-Net, said: “Reality TV has become our most followed genre, not only because it gives viewers authenticity and entertainment, but resonates with their lived experiences as it gives them a glance into a world in which they aspire to live one day.”
The Real Housewives of Durban is coming on the heels of The Real Housewives of Johannesburg, which ran on MultiChoice channels for two seasons from August 2018.
Pay TV channel M-Net and global producer and distributor Fremantle have begun production on eight-part contemporary crime drama Reyka, which will debut on M-Net (DStv channel 101) in July 2021.
The international coproduction is being filmed in South Africa and will be distributed globally by Fremantle.
Reyka is the story of a flawed but brilliant criminal profiler, played by Kim Engelbrecht (The Flash), who is haunted by an incident from her past when she was abducted by a farmer, played by Iain Glen. She investigates a string of brutal murders committed by a serial killer in the sugar cane fields of KwaZulu-Natal.
The show continues M-Net’s moves into international coproduction, after its 2019 drama Trackers, coproduced with HBO’s sister channel Cinemax and German public broadcaster ZDF.
Nkateko Mabaso, CEO of M-Net, said: “MultiChoice continues to lead the continuous productions of high-quality African television content that goes beyond our borders.
“This partnership with Fremantle is a brilliant way to showcase our prowess as DStv is Africa’s most-loved storyteller, and we particularly relish pairing our local talent with international stars.”
Julie Hodge, editorial director of global drama at Fremantle, added: “As production commences on our first ever South African drama, this is a proud moment for Fremantle and M-Net. The series has been in development for many years and we hope it will be the first of many successful projects in the region.
“Reyka is a rich and compelling story and we couldn’t be happier to have Kim and Iain onboard to bring these complex characters to life. We are confident it will be one of our stand-out international dramas for 2021.”
The series also stars Anna-Mart van der Merwe, Hamilton Dhlamini, Kenneth Nkosi, Nokuthula Ledwaba, Desmond Dube, Gerald Stein, Ian Roberts, Fiona Ramsey, David Butler and Jessica Hayes.
Reyka was created and written by award-winning screenwriter Rohan Dickson (Husk, Welcome to Hawaii), who has worked with South Africa’s major broadcasters and been a showrunner on highly successful dramas including Scandal, Zone 14, Jacob’s Cross, and High Rollers.
He was also the executive producer and showrunner on Isidingo, a long-running multi-award-winning drama series with a huge fan base across Africa.
The series is directed by Zee Ntuli (Hard to Get) and Catharine Cooke (The Girl from St Agnes). It is jointly produced by Serena Cullen for Serena Cullen Productions (Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Cold Feet) in the UK and Harriet Gavshon for Emmy-nominated Quizzical Pictures in South Africa.
African pay TV giant MultiChoice Group and its flagship channel M-Net are set to launch a new telenovela channel called Novela Magic on the DStv platform.
Set to debut on November 27 at 18.00, the channel will provide African telenovelas and also honour the vast range of cultures and languages on the continent through a diversity of original home-grown stories and local creative talent.
Novela Magic will launch in phases, starting with the Southern African region for subscribers to DStv Premium, Compact Plus, Compact and Family packages. Titles in the telenovela collection include Nigerian series Unbroken (260×30’), Battleground (410×30’) and Forbidden (260×30’), and Zambian soap Zuba (180×30’), all from MultiChoice Studios.
According to MultiChoice programming executive Nkateko Mabaso, it is the growth and success of local storytelling that has compelled the business to launch an African telenovela channel.
“For over 30 years M-Net has been bringing to audiences across the African continent compelling stories that harness the imagination of our viewers while also showcasing the vast talent that is harboured on the continent,” said Mabaso.
“We want to continue this legacy of showcasing the best African stories with themes that resonate and engage our viewers, hence the launch of this new channel Novela Magic.
“West Africa and Southern Africa are synonymous with telenovela storytelling and these regions will now be able to share their wonderful crafts with other African regions on one channel and stories created in the language of the country of origin will be dubbed into English.”
South African pay TV broadcaster M-Net has commissioned a local version of ITV Studios’ hit relationship format Love Island.
Local production company Rapid Blue will work on the South African adaptation, the 20th local version of the format commissioned around the world.
The first season will be recorded in the country’s Western Cape and will launch in late February on M-Net 101 on DStv.
Maarten Meijs, president of global entertainment at ITV Studios, adds: “The multi-channel phenomenon is having a fantastic year, travelling the world at a rapid pace. This is the second version on the African continent, following the Nigerian acquisition earlier this year, and we can’t wait to see how this local adaptation will find its way to the South African viewers.”
Love Island features a group of singletons who come together in a stunning villa to embark on a summer of friendships and relationships. Every few days, the Islanders must couple up and those who fail to find a partner risk being evicted.
The format is owned by ITV Studios and Motion Content Group and is distributed internationally by ITV Studios.
South African network Mzansi Magic’s hit talent show Idols has announced the final 16 contestants who will compete to be declared the best young singer in the country.
This years’ series, based on UK format Pop Idol from Fremantle, will kick off without a live audience due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Nomsa Philiso, director of local entertainment channels at Mzansi Magic operator M-Net, said: “The show is about to reach its peak, a stage where viewers are starting to have their clear favourites.
“While we have had to take the difficult decision not to have audiences at the live shows due to the current environment and in trying to keep our fans and contestants safe, we are excited that our valued viewers can still enjoy this exciting production with us from a distance.
“The fate of the contestants now rests with you, the viewers at home, as they will rely on your votes to ensure that they make it to the next round, starting with our male contestants this coming Sunday.”
The 16 contestants are Ntokozo, Zama, Jerodine, Dee, Ndoni, Melanin, Bongi, Be, Qhawe, Ethan, Mr Music, Succedor, Zahn-Reece, Jooma, Brandon and Sonwabile. The judges are Somizi Mhlongo, Randall Abrahams and Unathi Nkayi, while Tebogo Thekisho hosts.
Season 16 of Idols South Africa airs on Sundays at 17.00 on Mzansi Magic Channel 161.
Mzansi Magic is a South African digital satellite and general entertainment channel broadcast on DStv. It is owned by MultiChoice and managed by M-Net’s local interest division.
Pay TV operator MultiChoice and its pay TV channel M-Net are working to roll out new local entertainment TV channels in African countries including Ghana, Ethiopia and Mozambique over the coming months and into 2021.
New channel Ghana M-Net will carry M-Net original productions including a local telenovela, reality shows and comedy and will be positioned as a flagship network for DStv subscribers in the country.
The companies will also launch a general entertainment channel for Ethiopia, where M-Net is already working on its first telenovela in the Amharic language, as well as a lifestyle channel for Africa similar to Discovery’s HGTV and BBC Lifestyle.
Yolisa Phahle, CEO of general entertainment, said: “Now it’s time to showcase to ourselves the best of our fashion, the best of our cooking and the best of the way in which we live.”
New ‘visual album’ Black is King from US singer Beyoncé is set to roll out from July 31 on pay TV platforms across Africa.
They include MultiChoice’s DStv service, Canal+ Afrique, the new Disney+ video streaming service and also M-Net, flagship channel of MultiChoice. This is made possible due to the distribution deal Disney signed with MultiChoice’s M-Net and Canal+ Afrique.
The film was produced in a year and is based on the music of The Lion King: The Gift, the studio album Beyoncé released alongside Disney’s 2019 CGI remake of The Lion King.
It reimagines the lessons from the new version of The Lion King for children and features an impressive list of diverse voices on its creative team, including directors Emmanuel Adjei, Blitz Bazawule, Pierre Debusschere, Jenn Nkiru, Ibra Ake, Dikayl Rimmasch and Jake Nava, as well as co-director and long-time collaborator of Beyoncé Kwasi Fordjour.
Other cast members include international African models like Aweng Ade-Chuol and Adut Akech, supermodel Naomi Campbell, Tina Knowles-Lawson, actress Lupita Nyong’o, singer Kelly Rowland, Pharrell Williams and Jay-Z, among others.
Additional co-directors and second unit directors add to the crew’s global representation, including Dafe Oboro, Julian Klincewicz, Derek Milton, Meji Alabi, Joshua Kissi, Alexandre Moors and Deon Van Zyl.
According to Beyoncé, the Black is King film was a labour of love and was researched, filmed and edited in the past year.
“It was originally filmed as a companion piece to The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack and meant to celebrate the breadth and beauty of Black ancestry,” she said.
“The events of 2020 have made the film’s vision and message even more relevant, as people across the world embark on a historic journey. I believe that when Black people tell our own stories, we can shift the axis of the world and tell our real history of generational wealth and richness of soul that are not told in our history books.
“With this visual album, I wanted to present elements of Black history and African tradition, with a modern twist and a universal message, and what it truly means to find your self-identity and build a legacy. My only goal is that you watch it with your family and that it gives you pride.”
Filmed in various locations, the film’s cinematography captures beautiful people and landscapes across continents, starting in New York, then Los Angeles, South Africa, West Africa, London and Belgium. It will be viewed by audiences in Africa including South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Namibia, Cameroon, Liberia, Burundi, Senegal, Togo, Somalia, Benin, Congo, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Gabon, Cape Verde and other countries.
Although an official trailer for the film has been released by Disney, the screening dates and times on the African pay platforms have yet to be announced.
MultiChoice Group has partnered with the United Nations (UN) as an official supporter of its Covid-19 awareness campaign, named Pause.
The Pause campaign, which is aimed at highlighting the dangers of sharing false information related to Covid -19, launched globally on June 30 with information broadcast across Africa through the DStv and GOtv on-air and digital platforms, SuperSport and M-Net properties and Showmax.
Furthermore, the campaign asks people around the world to pause, think and take care before sharing information that could be inaccurate or a result of misinformation and may have harmful effects.
Robert Skinner, senior advisor for global communications at the UN, said: “We are in a moment of global reckoning as Covid-19 and its social and economic consequences challenge the world in unprecedented ways. Misinformation, hate speech and fake news are fueling and distorting all of these challenges and eroding the truth. We are very excited to have MultiChoice onboard as a supporter giving the launch of our campaign reach across Africa. They are uniquely positioned to deliver this important message to their diverse audiences across the continent.”
MultiChoice executive chairman Imtiaz Patel added: “Reliable information is vital to the fight against Covid -19. The dissemination of credible information has become critical to fighting this epidemic, which continues to impact millions across the globe and our continent. We are, therefore, honoured to be able to utilise the continental reach of our broadcast and digital platforms across Africa to empower people with vital information.”
MultiChoice has supported a number of initiatives in the fight against the spread of the pandemic, which continues to wreak havoc across the globe and is being felt acutely across Africa. It also continues to seek opportunities to use its platforms to combat the spread of Covid-19 while supporting initiatives and airing educational and news-related content aligned with the organisation’s commitment to making an impact in the communities where it operates.
Kids’ spy drama Alex Rider, from Sony-backed Eleventh Hour Films, has been picked up in almost 100 territories around the world, including all major African markets.
Distributed by Sony Pictures Television (SPT), the adaptation of Anthony Horowitz’s young-adult spy novels has been acquired by South Africa-based M-Net, which will offer the show on Showmax across sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa.
Meanwhile, StarzPlay has taken the series for broadcast in multiple territories across the Middle East and North Africa and NENT Group will add it to its streaming service Viaplay in Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
The 8×60’ series has also been picked up by Kinopoisk HD in Russia and will air on Nova in Greece and DSmart in Turkey.
In Asia, buyers include Sony Liv in India, Korea Telecom in South Korea and U-Next in Japan, while TVNZ is streaming the series in New Zealand. Sony-owned AXN will broadcast it in multiple European territories, including Portugal, Hungary, Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The news follows the agreement with Amazon Prime Video in the UK to carry the show from next month, while Movistar+ is showing the series in Spain. Deals for territories including the US, China and Australia will be announced soon, according to SPT.
Alex Rider was the first series commissioned by SPT’s international production and distribution divisions on spec, greenlighting the project independently to be distributed worldwide.
“When we started on this unique journey our aim was to create a premium drama that paid justice to Anthony’s novels, with exciting action scenes, nerve-shredding tension and great acting. Eleventh Hour have delivered just that. And at a time when the world needs escapism, there’s no better time for a new hero to step forward,” said Wayne Garvie, SPT’s president of international production.
Otto Farrant plays the lead role, with Brenock O’Connor, Stephen Dillane, Vicky McClure and Andrew Buchan co-starring. The adaptation is by Bafta-winning screenwriter Guy Burt (Bletchley Circle, The Borgias, The Hole).
BBC Studios (BBCS) has appointed the former MD of general entertainment pan-African pay TV business Kwesé TV to a commercial director role across South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Pierre Cloete has been named commercial director for branded services for Sub-Saharan Africa, reporting to Louise La Grange, senior VP of branded services.
Cloete joins BBCS from Kwesé where he was serving as entertainment MD when the company went into administration last month. He will start the new role on September 1 from his base in Johannesburg.
During his time at Kwesé he also served as head of Sports Digital Content and acting CEO for Kwesé Sports. Prior to that he worked as head of TV and media for Ericsson in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“The appointment of a commercial director for Sub-Saharan Africa signals our ongoing commitment to the market and a continued local presence on the ground,” said La Grange in a statement.
“Pierre has a proven track record in the African television industry and I am confident that his experience and local knowledge will put BBCS in the best position to achieve our ambitions for growth.”
Cloete said: “I am delighted to join BBCS as commercial director for branded services across sub-Saharan Africa.
“The quality of the BBC channels and its content is first class, and it is an honour to join the BBC Studios team.
“Africa is filled with amazing people that enjoy great stories and love quality content. The potential is ever increasing in Africa as more stories are being told and consumed, and I look forward to adding value to the BBCS team.”
His appointment comes shortly after BBCS restructured its Central Europe, Middle East and Africa region and also after the sudden exit of Joel Churcher, the BBC’s Africa boss, in July.
Pan-African networking platform MultiChoice Talent Factory is on the look-out for 60 aspiring film and TV creatives from 13 African countries to join the MTF Academy 2019.
The countries involved include Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Angola and Mozambique.
Aimed at igniting Africa’s creative industry through TV and filmmaking, this is another opportunity for young filmmakers to hone the skills they have in television and film production under the mentorship of industry experts like Berry Lwando, Njoki Muhoho and Femi Odugbemi, respectively.
Set to join in October, the selected students will be part of the fully funded programme at three academy hubs in southern Africa (Lusaka, Zambia), East Africa (Nairobi, Kenya) and West Africa (Lagos, Nigeria).
They will have hands-on training in the film industry, storytelling, cinematography, production, audio and directing. They will also be able to work on live sets during local TV productions and create original content that will be aired on various local M-Net channels across MultiChoice’s platforms DStv, GOtv and Showmax.
In an effort to invest in Africa’s creative industry, MultiChoice Talent Factory recently introduced the MTF Masterclass series as well as the MTF Portal, which brings together talent and opportunities on one platform.
A statement on the company’s website reads thus: “At MultiChoice Africa, the African entertainment industry is at the core of who we are and what we do. This social investment programme shows our commitment – alongside long-term partnerships with government, stakeholders and creative organisations – to develop Africa’s creative industries into vibrant, economic centres. This is how MultiChoice uses the power of entertainment to enrich lives.”
Yanga! TV has acquired network premier rights within the UK and Ireland to air Akin Omotoso’s award-winning films Man on Ground and Tell Me Sweet Something in November.
Nigerian director Omotoso hails from Ibadan and has acted in several movies, including Blood Diamond and Shake Hands With the Devil.
He has also directed several short films and his first feature was God is African in 2003. He has directed series like Jacob’s Cross and Fifty, which now airs on Africa Magic and M-Net. He also helmed Jesus & the Giant, A Hotel Called Memory and Vaya.
Yanga! CEO Lindsey Oliver said: “We could not be prouder to broadcast acclaimed director Akin Omotoso’s work on Yanga! TV, further cementing our goal to be the best broadcaster of African content to the diaspora, bringing brilliant and vibrant auteur voices from Africa directly to viewers in the UK and Ireland.”
Tell Me Something Sweet is a story centering on a Johannesburg woman who falls in love with a male model, setting off a complicated love rollercoaster. Funded by the African Women’s Development Fund, this film has won two awards at the Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards (AMVCAs).
Man On Ground, meanwhile, is a crime drama about a young Nigerian refugee in Johannesburg who goes missing amidst rioting by immigrants. It premiered in 2011 at the Toronto International Film Festival and won two AMVCAs.
Yanga! will air the films in the UK in November and is available on Sky channel 453 and Freesat channel 171.
The producer of Nigerian movie Lara & the Beat, released in July, is creating a TV spin-off featuring characters from the film.
The TV series will focus on two female characters from the movie, Lara and Dara, in a new story. It will be produced by Biola Alabi and directed by Tosin Coker, the duo behind the movie.
Biola Alabi, CEO of Lagos production company Biola Alabi Media (BAM), said: “We are creating another world around them so we are not just leaving them in the film; we are creating a television series around them.”
Regarding other characters in the movie, she said: “You will see younger versions of them in books and TV series, even in educational formats, so you might be using them for health campaigns.”
Described by BAM as “a coming-of-age movie,” Lara & the Beat follows two sisters caught in a financial scandal around their late parents’ media empire. They are forced out of their privileged bubble and must learn to build their own future and salvage their family’s past.
Former M-Net chief Alabi has also previously produced BAM food/travel series Bukas & Joints, which airs on AIT, Africa Magic and The Africa Channel in the US, as well as the 2017 movie Banana Island Ghost.
Lara & the Beat’s cast includes Chinedu Ikedieze, Bimbo Manuel, Chioma Akpotha, Lala Akindoju and Uche Jombo. Although the release date for the TV spin-off has not been disclosed, it is already in development.
Pay TV operator MultiChoice has appointed Nkateko Mabaso as the new CEO of its flagship channel M-Net in sub-Saharan Africa. The appointment is effective immediately.
According to Mabaso’s predecessor Yolisa Phahle: “Nkateko has been appointed in recognition of his continued commitment and contribution to local programming that audiences love and watch in increasing numbers year on year. He is passionate about our continent’s film and television industry and I wish him every success.”
While serving as the acting CEO of M-Net, Mabaso ensured the successful implementation of content strategies as well as investments in initiatives like content creation and coproduction.
He also ensured local channels that MultiChoice operates across the continent produced content that generated revenue and massive audience growth. These channels include the Africa Magic channels, Maisha Magic East, Maisha Magic Bongo, Zambezi Magic, Mzansi Magic, 1Magic and others.
Mabaso said: “I am incredibly excited to assume this new role and for the future of the company. I will continue to focus my efforts on local content creation to meet the growing audience demand for home-grown programming.”
Mabaso joined M-Net in 2009 as a marketing manager for Channel O and Vuzu, where he oversaw the positioning strategy ahead of the Mzansi Magic launch. Before that, he held positions at advertising agencies The Jupiter Drawing Room and Grey Advertising South Africa, as well as project manager for Edcon Group.
African pay TV broadcaster M-Net has commissioned its first season of docu-reality series Marry Me Now.
M-Net, owned by media group Naspers, will broadcast the 13-episode series on youth-skewing channel 1Magic in all 46 Sub-Saharan African countries, including Nigeria.
Originally produced by Israel’s Armoza Formats and Zipi Rozenblum, the show gives women who have been waiting for their partner to pop the question the chance to plan their wedding and then challenge him to marry her on the spot.
South African broadcaster M-Net’s Africa Magic network is to launch a telenovela starring two former Big Brother Naija (BBNaija) housemates.
The show, titled Ajoche, will feature Tokunbo Idowu (popularly known as TBoss) and Bassey Ekpenyong. Both appeared in the 2017 edition of the Endemol Shine-owned reality format, shot in South Africa and branded See Gobe.
Idowu was a controversial character in BBNaija last year, going topless during the broadcasts and generating much discussion among BBNaija fans for her romantic liasons on-screen.
Ekpenyong, meanwhile, has found post-BBNaija success, appearing in Nollywood movies such as The Patient.
Ajoche is an original TV series that is set to premiere on Africa Magic Showcase. It will feature the former contestants alongside actors Femi Branch (Desperate Housewives Africa) and Hilda Dokuba (Stigma) as lead characters.
Announcing the show via Instagram, Africa Magic said: “We’re pulling out all the stops for another telenovela of EPIC proportions!”
The show is set to premiere on April 30 at 20.30 WAT and 21.30 CAT. It is exclusive to Africa Magic Showcase, DSTV channel 151 and it will air every weekday.
M-Net, the MultiChoice-owned TV channel behind the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCAs), has announced the head of the jury for the 2018 event.
As the AMVCAs draw closer, taking place in September, veteran filmmaker Deborah Odutayo has been confirmed in the role for this year’s awards.
Commenting on the news, Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, director of M-Net West Africa, said: “Debbie Odutayo is a respected and seasoned television professional who brings extensive experience and renown to the AMVCA judging process.
“Her appointment as head judge is in tandem with the AMVCAs being the biggest celebration of film and television talent in Africa. We are thrilled to have her with us as head judge, and we ask that our viewers stay tuned as preparations for the show enter the final stages.”
With more than 30 years of experience in TV, Odutayo was most recently president of the Electronic Media Content Owners Association of Nigeria, the umbrella body for corporate TV content producers in the country. She also co-founded the Royal Roots Communication Network.
Hosted annually, the AMVCAs celebrate the contribution of African filmmakers, actors and technicians in film and television. For the last five years, they have been hosted in March. However, the sixth edition will be held on September 1 this year.
Entries for this year’s AMVCAs began on March 1 and ended April 30. The 2018 AMVCAs will broadcast live on all Africa Magic channels on MultiChoice’s pay TV platforms DSTV and GOtv.
“I’m responsible for my own success and I have never limited my capabilities because I am a woman. I don’t see the gender factor because your performance and consistency will take you far in life.” Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu
March is recognised worldwide as women’s month. In view of this, Content Nigeria is celebrating women who have made an impact in Nigeria’s TV industry.
Today we profile Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, regional director for West Africa at M-Net, who has proven to be a constant innovator and achiever, inspiring everyone she comes across.
Mba-Uzoukwu has had a passion for broadcasting since she was a child, when she aspired to become a newscaster. After competing in a beauty pageant at 17, she went on to study political science at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, forsaking her dreams of studying international relations and becoming a diplomat.
A few years after graduating in 1992, Mba-Uzoukwu started working at marketing agency Tequila Nigeria as its client service manager. She later went on to study direct marketing at the Institute of Direct Marketing in the UK, bagging a post-graduate diploma. Afterwards, she went on to work in the Nigerian offices of several multinational companies, such as British American Tobacco, Coca-Cola and Airtel.
Mba-Uzoukwu joined pay TV broadcaster M-Net Africa in 2012 as its West African regional manager, in charge of strategic planning, marketing and operations.
In 2014, she became the regional director for M-Net’s operations in West Africa, managing its various channels, including Africa Magic Showcase, Africa Magic Family, Africa Magic Epic, Africa Magic Urban, Africa Magic World and three local-language channels: Africa Magic Hausa, Africa Magic Yoruba and Africa Magic Igbo.
She pioneered the launch of Africa Magic Igbo and the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards, driven by her passion for the television and film industry in Nigeria.
According to Mba-Uzoukwu, her ideas are aided by the fact that she launched her career in strategic planning and marketing first. She once said that her husband persuaded her to go into marketing because she seemed to have a zest for it. For Wangi, content is key and the right kind helps to broaden minds.