e.tv's flagship soapie, Scandal!
, airs its 500th episode next Thursday, having launched in January 2005.
The show was initially planned as an assault on SABC1's Generations
, and the channel boldly put it on at 20h00 on week nights when it premiered.
That particular move backfired horribly, as it became clear the Generations fans were going nowhere.
e.tv wisely changed the timeslot to 19h30 instead and since then the show has flourished, averaging more than 1.7-million viewers per week and regularly peaking at over 2-million viewers per episode.
On the eve of their 500th anniversary, the producers took time out to talk about what this milestone means to them and what lies in the future for the show.
"This is a double celebration for the Scandal! team," said outgoing series producer Bronwyn Berry.
"Not only are we celebrating the 500th episode but we're also celebrating the fact that our audience ratings have doubled in the past year and a half – more than two-million people are watching e.tv every night at 19h30.
"So Scandal! is indeed South Africa's fastest-growing soap.
"Looking back over the past year, there are many highlights – Scandal!'s youngest and sweetest star – Lehlohonolo Nhlapo who plays Thato's baby daughter, Busi. Expect to see more of her.
"The babynap storyline – new action territory for Scandal! – guns, bullet wounds, ransom drop-offs and of course the development of a heart warming relationship between Scandal's super bitch, Nirvana and Thato's baby, Busi.
"The great new sets – especially the reception area – are bigger and better than anything we've seen on Scandal!.
"The love story between Tino and Shakira, and then the devastating discovery that they are actually half-brother and sister," concludes Berry.
Lusiwe Mlambo will be taking over from Berry as series producer, having been in the industry for over eight years.
She started out as a production assistant on a kiddies show for the national broadcaster and since worked on various other projects as production manager and insert producer.
In 2004 she joined Muvhango
as a line producer and then producer, and was part of a team that secured the show a four days a week broadcast.
"I believe that this show is different from the rest because it continuously produces compelling storylines and the characters are authentic," she said.
"We would like to see all of South Africa talking about Scandal!, from the taxis in Soweto to the trains to Gugulethu and we won't stop until we achieve it.
"The show has grown in terms of its audience share but we know that success is work in progress and we need to be constantly striving for more and better.
"We can definitely say to our viewers that we will continue to provide South Africans with stories that echo their lives and in the process unearth new acting talent."
The 500th episode of Scandal! airs on e.tv on Thursday 31 May, at 19h30.