Uzalo Pulls 5 Million Viewers For SABC — SABC1's New Ratings Gem

With the ratings slump plaguing SABC1's once popular soapie Generations, many wondered if the channel still had it in itself to come up with a show that could resurrect its dominance in this genre. Well, Uzalo may just be the boost the channel needed. The KZN telenovela has pulled some impressive punches. 

Yes Mzansi, last week the telenovela managed to hit the 5 million mark, making it the most successful telenovela in the country, EVER. Furthermore, this puts the show right up there with the biggest primetime hit shows the channel has had like Intersexions and Zone 14.

I had the pleasure of being invited to the launch of the show in KwaMashu few weeks ago. I was very impressed by the job the production has done down there. The sets, built to size, were amazing. I was also excited about the new faces they are bringing to the screen.

I was, however, concerned that the content and the plot of the show may be just too reharshed to have any impact on the viewers. My view was that, with Isibaya having pretty much taken ownership of the family rivalry plot in the township, it was going to very difficult for any other show of a similar format to get away with that too. 

Unfortunately for me, I had not counted on the fact that many of the SABC viewers have never seen Isibaya so whatever Uzalo brought to the table was fresh to them therefore it gave the show a fair chance to deliver the stories without comparison. 

Be that as it may, the show is a clear success. They have managed to hit the target and audiences clearly can not get enough.

I asked producers Pepsi Pokane and Gugu Zuma some few questions regarding this development;

How does it feel to be the most watched show on SABC1
It's exciting, and a bit daunting. It's validation of the entire team's hard work, and encouragement for us to push harder. The TV landscape in South Africa is so vibrant lately, we're just happy to be part of this moment in SA's TV history.
Do you think this validates the point that given a chance new talent can attract big audiences?
Absolutely. There's no doubt that the newcomers are delivering some of the show's strongest performances, and we're really happy about betting on undiscovered talent. That's something that this country has in sheer abundance, and Uzalo is thrilled to be able to be working with them.
The show has now become part of the national conversation on social media, will the production be doing any digital/social media campaigns to engage the fans?
We're currently finalizing detail on an exciting collaboration that will have a strong presence on social media networks, so viewers can expect to see an additional layer of Uzalo in the near future."
For Pepsi:

With the positive reception that Uzalo is getting from the audiences and essentially making Bonngoe's partnership with another production company a success, will this be an encouragement for the company to work more in partnership with smaller production companies in future?
The partnership has certainly an affirmation that these kind of collaborations can create magic. It's wonderful that the partnership has worked out so well, and is an encouragement to look into others.
For Gugu;

Having taken the gamble to have a production in KZN, out of the hub of entertainment industry in Jozi, and now it being a success — does this mean your company will be doing more productions in the province?
At this point, we're focusing on making sure that all our hard work on Uzalo yields the results we want, we really want to focus on growing Uzalo into a serious powerhouse. That said, the abundance of talent in KZN (and in SA at large, for that matter) is incredible, and there are SO many stories to be told here, it would be great to return, and also to see other production houses – especially KZN based ones – telling these stories.

Uzalo airs Monday – Wednesday at 20:30PM on SABC1

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