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The 2013 local and international television landscapes have done well in parts, not so well in others. We had a number of prominent faces who hopped from one channel to the next and new entrants to our screens. Not all of these endeavours were a success. Munya Vomo looks back and picks the viewing highlights and lowlights.
Exit Left: LA Reid has been in the music business for decades and rose to prominence as the co-owner with Babyface of LaFace Records.
It was only right that he become part of the judging panel of the talent show, The X Factor. What was unexpected was his sudden departure from the show after only two seasons, with Reid citing that he had a company to run. Insiders speculated that he and Simon Cowell, a fellow judge and the show’s creator, had issues on and off the show – a thing Reid denied. Yeah, right.
Flatliners: Kris Jenner, the mother and “momager” of the Kardashian clan, is utterly shameless.
We know she has been pushing her children into the public arena since they were very young.
We thought that after they landed countless reality TV series she would let up, but we got a shocker when the matriarch announced that she was to have a TV talk show of her own, called Kris.
Using connections she had made over the years, Jenner hosted some formidable guests and even pulled a showstopper by having rapper Kanye West appear on the show’s season finale with the first public viewing of pictures of his and Kris’ daughter, Kim’s baby girl, North West. Still, all the fluff could not hide that her presenting skills were severely lacking and the show was not renewed.
The Replacement Kid: When a well-loved celebrity leaves a top job their replacement is usually given a hard time by fans.
Sinazo Yolwa, the talented yet little-known TV presenter, knew this before she auditioned for The Real Goboza and for So You Think You Can Dance.
In the case of The Real Goboza, Yolwa was vying for a spot Pearl Thusi had occupied and there is no need to spell out how many other young talented and established women also auditioned.
The same can be said for So You Think You Can Dance for which Yolwa would step into Sade Giliberti’s dancing shoes. With looks and a sassy attitude, Yolwa did well on both shows.
ER Factor: When Danai Gurira first did a cameo on Law & Order it was a big deal for the actress, but a forgettable performance for fans of the show. It was like trying to remember the extras who get shot in a Chuck Norris film.
However, the American-born actress with Zimbabwean heritage was not about to disappear into oblivion. She had a stint on Lie To Me, but her luck only changed when she joined The Walking Dead, a hit horror series on which she plays Michonne, a badass vampire slayer.
Michonne is a principal character in the comic books from which the TV show was adapted and Gurira is trying to outdo the illustrated version of her character.
Jack Of All Trades: At the launch of Kabomo Vilakazi’s sophomore album, Memory Remains, the MC on the night, Unathi Msengana, spoke of how she had begged Vilakazi for more than a decade to release an album, but he always refused.
At the time he was a renowned poet and the editor of YMag. When he finally succumbed to recording the music, life was never the same for the man.
He has had a number of South African Music Awards and Metro FM Music Award nominations in the past two years. He is a sought-after artist and has cut his teeth in acting on Zabalaza, South Africa’s first township soapie, in which he gives a convincing performance.
Just Can’t Get Enough: There was a time this year when you’d want to watch a reality game show such as Tropika Island of Treasure and Pearl Thusi would pop up. If you didn’t like that and instead flipped to a celebrity gossip show like The Real Goboza, you would still see Thusi.
If that made you mad and you turned to Isidingo for some soapie therapy, guess who you would see there? Thusi.
But since she is not a musician, there was no chance she’d be on Live AMP, belting a song, right?
Wrong, she presents the show. You would probably switch off your telly and turn to the radio, but guess who you’d hear on MetroFM? Thusi.
It is natural to want to go out for some retail therapy, but if you go past Jet Stores you wouldn’t miss the light-skinned model beaming at you. Yes, it would be Thusi and the convenience store next door would have a condom range with who on the packaging?
Rebel With A Cause: Dineo Ranaka is not an easily likeable person. She has the lioness persona that means she will get whatever she needs, no matter what it takes. This has seen her get into trouble with her previous employers.
With the media fanning the news about her demise, the self-professed “mogul” has done well for herself. She has moved from Club 808 to making the second season of her hit reality show, Dineo’s Diary.
She has also moved from 94.7 Highveld Stereo to Power FM and is doing well there. Her stint in music looks promising so as hot-headed as she may be, Ranaka has the talent to back it up.
Living The South African Dream: It is commonly accepted that after someone wins Idols SA they just fall off the map.
Not Khaya Mthethwa, last year’s winner. He has done a great job at keeping himself relevant by recording an award-winning album and being a host on a new gospel TV show, Gospel Alive, which has been a hit from the start.
Sucking The Teat Dry: RJ Benjamin got a job as music director on this year’s instalment of Idols SA. No one can argue his prowess when it comes to music.
He then became responsible for calling in celebrities to mentor the contestants so if you were in his bad books, tough luck.
He outdid himself when he also appeared on stage several times, belting it out with the contestants and ProVerb.
Way to stay in the game, RJ!
What were you thinking?: Kwaito’s Arthur Mafokate was a hustler in the 1990s and is still at it today.
He had his first TV gig on Step Up Or Step Out and did quite well. He then decided to ditch that and do his own thing in a similar show, U Can Do It, which, while no Step Up Or Step Out, was okay.
But, someone should have stopped him before he joined ANN7’s Straight Talk.