As you may have seen in the TVSA News Shorts
, SABC2's gone berserk with their 18h00 and 21h00 timeslots, slashing Muvhango and 7de Laan to three days a week: Mondays to Wednesdays.
They've lost their Thursday and Friday episodes to Giyani, which has been renewed for Season 2, and a new telenovela called Die Sentrum, which starts on Thursday 8 April at 18h00.
It's grim news for loyal 7de Laan and Muvhango fans who are being forced into changing their daily ritual of tuning into their favourite shows after a long day.
Suddenly they have less of what they love, in a time when so much has been taken from us already.
Unfortunately the news isn't a total surprise. Both shows have seen a drop in viewership over time and, more importantly, big changes in cast and storylines.
Many of 7de Laan's nostalgic characters have left the series over the past couple of years and now Muvhango's resorted to the supernatural with a storyline that's scaring viewers for all the wrong reasons!
Check out what TVSA members have to say about it in the replies here: Muvhango Teasers - January 2021.
Could there be a silver lining to this turn of events? Yes, it may pay off for viewers in the long-run for these reasons:
7de Laan and Muvhango fans could score by getting more of what they love instead of less, if
both shows find a way of making their three episodes a week more exciting than five.
It's possible because they won't have the same pressure of delivering on a daily basis, which gives them space to conceptualise and be creative.
This is how Muvhango started after it was extended from a weekly drama. It was a weekly show when it premiered in 1997 and only became a soapie after three seasons, when it was extended to three episodes a week, also Mondays to Wednesdays.
The competition between the four series in the two timeslots could push each of them to greater heights e.g. Will Giyani outperform Muvhango or vice-versa when it starts in August? And if so, will only one proceed in the timeslot for years to come? Is this the plan? Could be.
We presume the reason Giyani hasn't returned to its previous timeslot of Mondays to Wednesdays at 21h30 is because of the arrival of BET's Isono between Giyani's Season 1 and 2.
There are already two dailies in this timeslot with e.tv's Imbewu and Isono so a third would be a crowd.
Building the 21h00 timeslot on SABC2 is better than 21h30. At least it's only up against one South African soapie, Ferguson Magic's The Queen.
Silver lining no. 4.
Viewers get a new show with Die Sentrum and more actors and industry professionals are employed.
Let's just hope it's not set at a pharmacy because it sounds like a pill!
According to SABC's Group Executive for Television Merlin Naicker:
"The acquisition of this new local production is part of our long-term plan to invest in quality local content.
Serving a diverse South African audience, it is imperative that we come with innovative and exciting content, which will not only draw the viewership, but bring in the revenue required to keep the public service broadcaster financially sustainable”.
So it needs to make money obvs. It's not just the show's responsibility but it's also highly dependent on the SABC's advertising sales team to do business and
where the money goes once it's made.
We all know the SABC's despicable and destructive history with this, which means it's now up to the SABC to prove that all these changes are worthwhile and that there is a silver lining to them.
Do you think there is?