Producers told to improve ratings
South African soapie fanatics, Muvhango viewers in particular, could be watching the VhaVenda soapie for the last time in the next season if the SABC has its way.
Sunday World can exclusively reveal that the SABC mandarins have discussed the possibility of canning the show and have given its producers, Word of Mouth Pictures, owned by Duma Ndlovu, the last season to air if its ratings do not improve.
The explosive tidbits, which will send an earthquake through the soapie ecosystem, came to the fore when the soapie executives shared them with the cast and crew members after their luncheon last week. “The cast members were told the soapie has been given one more season to air and, if the situation doesn’t improve, it will be canned,” said the source. The allegations, which have plunged the cast and crew into uncertainty amid fears of losing their jobs, were also confirmed by a senior SABC executive.
“The matter was discussed in one of the management strategic meetings, but this soapie is not going anywhere, at least not anytime soon. The soapie is making a lot of money for the SABC and the ratings are very good.
“This matter is just being pushed by certain SABC members who want to kick Duma Ndlovu out of the organisation and bring their own people there. The political ramifications of this plan have also never been considered,” said the deep throat.
SABC spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo could neither deny nor confirm that the discussion to can the SABC2 soapie had taken place.
“All SABC programmes are subjected to evaluation based on a number of factors including audience ratings, associated costs and relevance to the market. To this effect, the SABC is pleased to have signed a new contract for Muvhango for another season.
“Our viewers can look forward to watching their favourite programme on SABCS2,” she said.
If the soapie is canned, several well-known actors, including Litebogo Molise, who plays Mulalo’s wife, Maumela Mahuwa, who plays Susan, Gabriel Temudzani, who plays Vhafuwi and Dingaan Mokebe, who plays James Motsamai, will lose their jobs.
The show first aired in 1997. Attempts to solicit comment from Muvhango founder Ndlovu drew a blank as he ignored our phone calls as well as text messages. As part of austerity measures, the public broadcaster recently canned SABC3 soapie Isidingo and reduced the time slot of SABC1 soapie Generations: The Legacy.