E.TV has made no bones about the fact that local content is its driving factor. That channel objective has been manifested in its soapies, eKasi dramas, reality series and its game shows – with You Deserve It being commissioned.
Presented by Sydney Matlhaku, a familiar face in the TV realm, with Nkanyiso Bhengu as the location host, the game show boasts an unusual twist.
Unlike other game shows, the contestants win money for unsuspecting but very deserving beneficiaries.
This Soweto-born presenter, who made his debut as a co-presenter on SABC1’s Studio Mix Live, says he wouldn’t trade what he does for anything – including an acting gig.
“The main thing is that presenting allows you to connect with people on one level, either from an entertaining or edu- cational point of view, or to build that bridge from a connective point of view,” he says.
He adds: “I think I was fortunate to have my first gig with Studio Mix Live. At the time, it was the Top 10 show. I have been a DJ since I was nine. So it was a part of my life and a natural transition as I love and understand music. That was one of my luckiest breaks. I have never wanted to act. It entails too much scripting and too much waiting. I believe if I’m going to act, I’m going to act as myself. With presenting, it has become easier now.”
You Deserve It bridges two worlds: one in which viewers are thrust into a nail-biting game show environment and then taken on a location excursion to meet the winners in a rather emotionally-charged reveal.
Matlhaku says: “When we did this show, we did a few rehearsals. Once you get into the groove, you can ad lib. The director and producer are happy with that. It also gives you a mapping and allows you to put your personality and everything else you have learnt into it. I have done a few game shows in the past. I have been that kind of presenter – it is about how relative you are.”
He adds: “I have done SABC1’s The Gen Game, which is a BBC format show. I have done a whole lot more shows which is probably why the producer thought I would be the perfect person for the job.”
Meanwhile, he says, he was sold with the whole “giving back” concept.
“This project is all about giving back. It is about putting your money where your mouth is. That is what attracted me to the project. It is probably one of the biggest things for the South African market.”
As for what he is expected to bring to the table, Matlhaku reveals: “I’m expected to be the friendly, interactive person. To be emotional when I have to, but to also get my ‘straight face’ on. It is a dark and light aspect, in a way. I’m a bit nervous. I actually don’t know how the show is going to be received as it isn’t a straight- forward game show. But I think the selfless and interactive elements will strike a chord.”
And, in case you are wondering, season two has already been given the green light. Matlhaku confirmed they will be shooting over December and January.
• You Deserve It airs on e.tv from Sunday at 6.05pm.