Top Billing: No more rich people on the poor broadcaster

Written by Tashi from the blog Tashi's TV on 17 Oct 2019
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So all the boasting on Top Billing is over. Yay! 

It's been cancelled by the SABC and the last episode airs on Saturday (19 October). This according to The Sowetan, who received confirmation from the production house Tswelopele Productions.

The SABC hasn't said a word yet - everyone's been sleeping in today with the load shedding - but they'll say something about it at some point, maybe.

The thing is and this is the thing... any cancellation is a nasty thing for a production house and a show's cast but this cancellation is long overdue.

I've been wondering how the show's managed to stay on air because it's so "aspirational" it aspired itself out of relevancy.

It has such a sense of exclusivity that I've felt excluded while watching, as if I'm not good enough, and lonely, wondering if I'm the only one feeling alienated. 

It's as if everyone's living the "good life" on the show, completely oblivious to the hardships in life, especially in South Africa. 

The over-priced weddings and children's birthday parties... those are my worst because they just seem so unaware of how the other half - or rather 98% - of the population lives.

I know it's supposed to be escapism but escapism should be fun and peace-inducing and in many ways it doesn't do this, because of how it glorifies material wealth and the sense that individual worth is reflected in what you have.

That said, there can be no denying that the series has made a positive contribution to the South African TV industry. It's opened up the industry with the Presenter Searches, it's created careers for many people and it's brought a sense of glamorous occasion to the country.

Ultimately though, it's definitely time for it to end and for the SABC to look towards a lifestyle show that more aptly reflects where South Africans are at today. 

Do you feel the same? 

Shows in this post: Top Billing

Channels in this post: SABC3


17 Oct 2019 13:57

Feel sorry for new presenters. The whole sabc3 is a mess

17 Oct 2019 14:29

I'm happy about its ending. It lost its 'aspirationality' a long time ago.

17 Oct 2019 17:31

Tashi edited on
10/17/2019 5:34 PM

The SABC's just released their statement... nothing new in it. Only that they're airing repeats until March! 

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) would like to officially announce that SABC 3 programme ‘Top Billing’ will be airing its final episode on Saturday, 19 October 2019.

The series has continuously brought viewers a taste of the good life by showcasing some of South Africa’s grandest homes, explored a magnitude of breath-taking countries, brought South Africans closer to some of the biggest stars around the world, hung out with our local celebrities and witnessed many of them say ‘I Do’. 

Mr David Makubyane, Acting Group Executive: Television stated “Top Billing has been one of SABC 3’s flagship programmes for over two decades. It has been a legacy title and from its introduction and within the first decade of its lifespan, set the benchmark for lifestyle magazine programming.

Through it, the SABC pioneered entertainment television in South Africa in the early stages of our democracy and consciously put a different face and perspective to the South African narrative and perception. “

He further commented that “we would like to thank Tswelopele Productions for their commitment and dedication in producing a world-class property as well as our viewers and stakeholders for their loyalty throughout the years.”

Ms Basetsana Kumalo, producer and co -owner of Tswelopele Productions with Ms Patience Stevens stated “this show exemplifies excellence and sophistication in arts, design, décor, fashion and broadcasting, creating countless jobs and building careers in its many years on air.

"It has been quite a ride and it is fitting that after 25 years we salute this season as our final one. We’ve enjoyed many accolades with Top Billing - including a SAFTA award in the Best Magazine Show category. We trust the show has served audiences by inspiring them to dream big, embrace their inner creative genius, and dare to live the life they deserve.”

SABC 3’s Top Billing subsequently became instrumental in launching the careers of A-list presenters such as Dr. Michael Mol, Ursual Chikane, Jeannie D., Tumisho Masha, Michelle Garforth, Janez Vermeiren, Lorna Maseko and the late Simba Mhere. Ursula made her debut on the show the same year as Bassie and added such a bubbly flair to the show.  

SABC 3’s Top Billing subsequently became instrumental in launching the careers of A-list presenters such as Dr. Michael Mol, Urshula Chikane, Jeannie D, Tumisho Masha, Janez Vermeiren, Lorna Maseko and the late Simba Mhere. 

“Ursula made her debut on the show the same year as Bassie and added such a bubbly fair to the show. Dr. Michael Mol auditioned shortly after he won the Mr. South Africa pageant. I remember his audition like it was yesterday. He came to interior designer, Stephen Falcke’s house where we were filming and both Bassie and I instantly knew we had found the ‘one’,” added Patience Stevens, co-Executive Producer Top Billing. 

Presenter Search on 3 went on to add an array of talented presenters into the Top Billing line-uu discovering the likes of Jonathan Boyton Lee, Jade Hubner, Harmony Katulodi, Ryle de Morny and Dr. Fez Mkhize who added their flair to the show.

SABC 3 and Tswelopele Productions – from the presenters, producers, crew and the dedicated team who worked on the show, wraps up this season finale with the hope that it will open doors for new opportunities and encourage young creative talent to trust in creating concepts that stand the test of time. 

Viewers can tune into the finale episode of Top Billing, which will air on Saturday, 19 October 2019 at 18h30 on SABC 3.

Viewers can enjoy repeats of special episodes of the show until March 2020.

SABC 3 thanks its viewers and stakeholders for the support during the 27 years of “the good life” and as the channel embarks on a new strategic direction, we invite viewers to stay tuned for more exciting and new content on the channel. Announcements will be made in the near future in this regard.

18 Oct 2019 08:43

The end of an era indeed 

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