Mzansi Insider Review

Hlelo and Ntando Masina

In a moment of madness I decided to skip watching Rhythm City tonight and watch the debut episode of SABC 1's Mzansi Insider. I was really hoping that the show would be something NICE. Needless to say, that is a wasted 30min of my life that I will never get back. I am very disheartened by the travesty that is happening in SABC. I am a huge fan of SABC 1 and on the few occasions that I have had the pleasure of doing something with the people from the channel it has been great. Had it not been for the opportunity I got to cover the entire season of Class Act many things in my life right now would not be happening. Having said that, I am baffled by the utter disregard the channel seem to have for the audience they serve. I am very disappointed.

I had the pleasure of having an informal chat with someone who works in a senior position at the channel. During our conversation I posed the question to him about the shows that get commissioned for the channel. Candidly he told me that I and many of the people who write on websites such as this complaining about what we see on SABC forget that JHB serves a minute number of the channel's overall viewership. Of course I was shattered that, though nice as he was, he would suggest that I would be stupid enough not to know that fact. Of course , the online active community of tv viewers is small. However this very small community is what keeps our industry in check.

My problem with this situation is: Yes majority of the people who watch SABC do not care about the mediocrity that they are being served. I hate saying this BUT... they do not know better. The so called “Johannesburg tv viewers” are the ones who know that we deserve more than what we are getting. Generations can getaway with not paying attention to the finer details in their production because they know come 20h00, millions of South Africans will be watching the show. Still, are we as entertainment lovers supposed to just swallow that? They say a lie echoed by millions that does not make it TRUTH. Just because you doing something bad and millions still watch it and not complain, doesn’t mean you doing something right especially if you know what you doing is not your best.

Mzansi Insider leaves a lot (a whole lot) to be desired!!

What I like about the show

Quiet frankly. Nothing. There is nothing fresh about the show. Period. Honestly I love the fact that the channels are covering events and giving our stars a spotlight to shine. I believe that the more hype we create around our celebrities the more interest we will induce from the public. So in that regard I am happy that we have more tv shows dedicated to that. Sadly, the shows cover the same events, interview the same individuals and cover the same stories. You see one show, you've seen them all. The RGB Reloaded launch was weeks ago and we still getting the same lame coverage of the event.

What I do not like about the show

Everything. What's the difference between Mzansi Insider, Live, Se'skhona, RGB and Selimathunzi? Nothing except for few inserts tweaks. The shows are all the same, now add the other channels that have the same shows with the same format then you have an overload. Can the SABC tell me that in the past 3 years there hasn't been a proposal that brought a fresh different approach to the entertainment reporting genre? I am tired of complaining about this issue.

The Twins are pretty but as tv presenters of what is supposed to be a lively interactive show about the entertainment industry, the girls are way out of their depth. I know this is their first presenting gig and one should give them a chance to settle into the gig but given what has been happening in the industry lately this is one luxury that we as the viewers can not afford these girls.

The Twins

Did Mzansi Insider even hold auditions for the show? We have watched open auditions on MTV that brought us Fizz and Sizwe, the channel O's O-Access auditions also showed that there are plenty of talented young South Africans who can pull off presenting a show of this nature. Why oh why are we then supposed to tolerate people on our screens who can not deliver?

At this rate with RGB's Brenda messing up by saying words like enimalistic (or whatever the hell she said to Sonia Booth) instead of minimalistic and the constant inaudible rumble she goes on in those inserts she does, all these entertainment magazine shows make Kuli Roberts's Headline look like the Oprah of this genre in SA. Poor Brenda, now it shows that the Home Affairs role was a lucky break for her. I loved her work on that show but I have come to realise that the role of VUYO is going kill her longevity in this business. The girl is monotonous and comes across as trying too hard which spells disaster as she will always be type-cast. With presenting, I say be yourself. You are not a glamour girl and you are not that proficient in English so just stick to your own language. You are on SABC 1 for heaven' sake. RGB was a huge mistake for Brenda. There are no dimensions to her as an entertainer. Her attempt at humour is flat at best and she just doesn't blend well with the glam of celebville. Eish... let me leave Brenda alone this is not about her :)

Phila Mazibuko

I left Phila out of this mainly because he was not too involved in tonight's episode. Plus, I think a lot of people are just picking on him. Of all the faces we are being bombarded with this year I think in my books Phila is the only one that deserves his break, he has delivered. He does have something about him that's fresh and interesting. It's only a matter of him finding his niche and growing into that rather than try to do everything all at once because that could backfire on him big time.

As for the twins, just because you are pretty and work for Yfm it doesn't mean you were meant to be on tv. Contrary to what our tv execs may think. I never thought I would say this but I miss the days of continuity presenters and Romeo Khumalo as the boss. At least then we had equal opportunities for anybody who had talent and wanted to be a presenter. It was not about who you know more than what you can do.

If the channels were to do an overhaul (which would be relatively inexpensive given that some people are being paid for doing nothing) after which they would just bring in new people with no ties to any production company or channel employees then brainstorm on ways to go forward from this catastrophe. There are brilliant ideas out there that would make SA's no.1 channel even bigger and more deserving of the title. The channel could then be proud to label itself is the number one channel not simply because people have to watch it but because people love it.

If the people at the helm think our people are unsophisticated to be shown quality entertainment then the channels have the power to change that. The channels can not loose viewers they have now because they are giving them world class shows BUT at the moment the channel is not. Continue this way then it's a given that they would loose them. Even though Generations is still the number 1 show in the country, it still lost some ratings in recent polls whereas shows like Rhythm City are gaining more viewership. If SABC 1 keeps tainting the 18h30 slot with these bad shows then they will be opening up a room for the other channels to move in on their turfs. Soon the 18h30 slot will be a graveyard for the channel as its viewers will go to other channels during that time and getting them back at 19h00 might prove to be a problem in the long run thus threatening the 20h00 Generations slot.

NB: I got invited by SABC to the media launch of Intersexion tomorrow night. I am really looking forward to the show. It promises to be something interesting. I love that it features a lot of under-rated actors and new talent like CLASS ACT's Winner, Sdumo Mtshali. Hopefully the channel will redeem itself with this show because right now, I am not impressed with the new changes.

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