It's crazy times people!
Oh wait... they've been crazy for a long time, especially when it comes to 7de Laan.
The soapie's suffered yet another blow this week. A blow so brutal that it makes the frenzy of the other schedule changes
surrounding the show look like a Valentine's kiss.
On Sunday (12 February) SABC2 swatted the Sunday afternoon 7de Laan omnibus off the schedule like a fly off a wall and the impact is huge.
The day after its disappearance (Monday, 13 February) SABC2 released this statement about why the omnibus has suddenly gone:
What the statement fails to state is that there isn't
a repeat on SABC3 and that the move will affect a whopping 1-million viewers a week - and more.
This was echoed by the outcry by 7de Laan fans who are going off about it. Here's a link to what fans have to say on 7de Laan's Facebook page: 7de Laan on Facebook
Since the show moved from 18h30 to 19h00 in July last year, the 7de Laan omnibus has made the Top 20 list of SABC2's most popular shows three times, reaching over a million viewers for its most popular episode each time:
This means that cancelling the omnibus is the same as SABC3 cancelling Isidingo during primetime because it attracts the same numbers.
And you may know, The Broadcast Research Council's Top 20 TAMS lists
are extremely limited so it's impossible to see what happened with 7de Laan in the other months between July and now BUT the very fact that it reached these numbers for three months reveals that these are the sorts of numbers the omnibus was attracting.
The omnibus started showing up in the Top 20 after the move to 19h00 on weeknights so viewers clearly started to use it to escape the endless primetime week night changes.
And now it's gone in a double whammy blow, in the very same week that its primetime time changed to 18h00. This puts it in direct competition with kykNET's Afrikaans soapie Suidooster and the pressures of life at this time.
It's a jaw dropping move because it was such an opportunity for the channel to harness the fandom of the show and turn Sundays into a 7de Laan phenomenon for loyal fans who've stuck with the show despite the upheavals. It was a business opportunity just waiting to happen and it was perfectly poised for the channel to turn it into cash.
The SABC could have found a sponsor - or many sponsors - for the omnibus and raked in much needed money for the broadcaster. The opportunity was right there, waiting and ready as a lucrative entity and now they need to start from scratch with a new line-up, unproven viewership numbers and over a million very unhappy viewers.
Amidst all this 7de Laan is clearly trying its best to keep its viewers. They're celebrating 17 years on air this year with a flashy 4000th episode in March, they've signed up KB Motsilanyane to star
and they're touring the country. It's as if every positive move they attempt to make gets met with a negative from the channel.