Going beyond the wall of celebritydom

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to Nicky Greenwall - pic by Marnus Meyer Marnus Meyer Back on the box: Entertainment journalist Nicky Greenwall. Picture: Marnus Meyer

NICKY Greenwall is one of the country’s pioneering entertainment journalists from the 2000s. She’s had a good run with several shows that had an almost E! Entertainment feel to them despite being locally produced.

ScreenTime with Nicky Greenwall was one of the shows to come out of her company, Greenwall Productions, and now that she is back on our screens Tonight had to find out from her what to expect this time around.

“We’re thrilled that e.tv have commissioned two new seasons,” said Greenwall.

To keep the show fresh she had several people who are on top of their game in the entertainment industry share their stories.

“In season three we have the likes of Lerato Kganyago, Psyfo, Nonhle Thema, Euphonik, Siv Ngesi, Nandi Ngoma, Dineo Moeketsi, Trevor Gumbi, Lulo Café and Jaynelle Clarke, Phat Joe and Kurt Schoonraad, among others,” she said.

Viewers are no doubt happy that Greenwall Productions is already shooting the next season which should air soon.

“And then there’s season four which airs from October 22. The line-up for that season is still undecided so we welcome our viewers to tweet us their suggestions at @Screentime_etv,” said Greenwall.

There is no denying that several entertainment magazine shows have popped up in recent years and you have to wonder what separates ScreenTime from the rest.

“We’re a celebrity chat show that works for our audience, not the celebrities we interview. Our job isn’t to puff up these celebrities or, for that matter, bring them down. We just want to get to the human truth of what it’s like to live in their shoes. It’s a very stripped down, simple format.

“I think social media has changed the landscape of celebrity journalism for good. A big focus of our show is on how the fans and the media at large are responding to each celebrity’s work and personal life,” she explained.

That said, the term “celebrity” is a hot subject in South Africa as its very definition is still up for discussion. The ScreenTime team may not have set guidelines as to who should make it on to the show and why, but they won’t go with just anyone who wishes to be interviewed.

“We don’t have a standard set of criteria that we search for guests by. Some of our guests are extremely popular, while others appear to be on the verge of that level of fame.

“The theme of all the shows that we produce is ‘fame’ in all its guises. Some of our guests are still chasing it, while others have realised their fame, only to discover that it doesn’t bring them the pleasure they thought it would,” Greenwall said.

Journalists have different interviewing styles and Greenwall shared the process she uses.

“We write a guideline of what issues we need to cover in the interview, specifically things that the fans, or even detractors, are talking about. I always say we don’t like to shy away from the ‘elephant in the room’ – and more often than not I think the celebs we interview welcome the opportunity to clear the air. Our main goal is to be as non-threatening as possible. I believe what most people want (famous or anonymous) is to be understood. If we can help bring about that level of understanding between audience and celebrity then we’ve done our job,” she said.

But who is this show really targeting, you may wonder, given that there are a plethora of showbiz shows available to us?

“Our main target audience are the people out there who dream of one day being famous or making a living out of entertainment and don’t quite know how to get there. Many of the stories on the show are cautionary tales about what damage fame can do. But a lot are also inspiring and will, hopefully, give people the courage to dream big,” concluded Greenwall.

• ScreenTime With Nicky Greenwall, Tuesdays, 8pm, e.tv.


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