Janez Vermeiren

Munya Vomo

There have been rumours about Top Billing presenter Janez Vermeiren (pictured) having burnt his bridges with the show’s producers by starting his own TV production company that will compete with the SABC3 show.

Vermeiren clarified that the talk is merely speculation.

“I have always wanted to invest my time into content production. Top Billing gave me the right training for those ambitions so when the time came for me to try out my ideas, I jumped at it,” said Vermeiren.

Having been with the show for several years, he feels ready to use his experience to entertain SABC audiences with some fresh ideas.

“I started a production company with some partners and we have four shows that are ready to be shown. I must be clear that… these shows are not in direct competition with Top Billing. They are about other concepts which we felt needed to be explored and we are excited about how this is going to turn out.

“Unfortunately I can’t say much about the nature of the content because we still need to seal deals first,” he explained.

Although Vermeiren does not work on Top Billing as much as he used to, he made it clear they were still on good terms.

“The other day we spoke about how best I could work on Top Billing. I am not there much like before, but whenever they feel they need me to do some work, I am available.

“Top Billing gave me opportunities other presenters can only dream of. So if I can keep working there, then I will,” he said.

For him it has become a case of time management more than anything else. With the new company about to take off, Vermeiren’s attention is being drawn in a number of different directions.

“I obviously have new responsibilities which will demand my time. I am actually really sad that I just gave up another hosting opportunity for a big show I had just got. I would have really loved to join them, but again, the company has its demands.

“Also, my fiancée is pregnant and she’s expecting in August so I always have to be be close to her,” he said.

The idea of him starting his own business venture was also inspired by the fact that Vermeiren is the presenter who has spent the longest time on Top Billing.

“I always joke around with them that I am the new Michael Mol. I just think with everything there comes a time when you need to find something that challenges your mind even more. Granted, I enjoyed presenting, but after a while your mind challenges you to do more.

“I am now looking past presenting. Looking into the delicate process of creating content. There was a time when Top Billing was just an idea on paper and now the show has done very well. I am really grateful for what it has done for me, but it’s time for me to try out my hand at TV producing,” he said.

Information on the four shows Vermeiren’s company is producing will be available in due course.