Cape Town – e.tv is changing its entire primetime line-up from Monday 2 March, adding a half-hour weekday Zulu TV news bulletin and incorporating the fired Generations actors into its new 20:00 telenovela to take on the SABC in the battle that matters most – the one for viewers.
From March, e.tv moves its popular weekday soap Rhythm City from 18:30 to 19:00 directly opposite SABC3’s struggling Isidingo, which is also when e.tv’s new telenovela of 104 episodes will start opposite the SABC1’s reset Generations – The Legacy which is struggling in the ratings.
e.tv plans to pounce and has added the very actors the SABC fired into its own 20:00 timeslot where viewers want to see them, teasing a "regeneration of 8pm".
e.tv will launch its first half hour Zulu TV news bulletin, eNews Izindaba at 18:30 from March and is moving its primetime news bulletin to 20:30.
'New shows during primetime throughout the year'
e.tv on Wednesday night announced the major expected scheduling changes to its line-up, with the free-to air terrestrial TV channel saying that in 2015 the channel will be introducing new shows during primetime throughout the year.
e.tv's new telenovela of 104 episodes will be broadcast from Mondays to Thursdays at 20:00. The new polygamy drama series Umlilo will also start on Monday 2 March in the 21:00 timeslot.
Club 808 is once again moving, but still remains on Fridays, now moving to 18:00. The 20:00 timeslot is taken by a repeat of the first season of Traffic! featuring Bonnie Henna and Bongo Mbutuma, and a new second season set to start this year on e.tv as well.
e.tv says it is moving Rhythm City to 19:00 – where it will be competing against SABC3's Isidingo which has until now been the only local soap in the 19:00 timeslot – "to complete the one and a half hour local drama timeslot".
The 6th season of eKasi: Our Stories moves to Tuesdays at 21:00, half an hour later than its current time.
On 7 April e.tv will also start a new rural drama, Matatiele, which takes over the 21:00 timeslot. Matatiele is based and shot on location in the Matatiele village in the Eastern Cape.
'New primetime been in planning for years'
e.tv says its changing its primetime line-up to remain competitive as a linear terrestrial TV channel in South Africa. Monde Twala, managing director for e.tv channels division says "the new primetime schedule has been in planning for a few years".
"e.tv aims to be at the forefront of this growth [in local TV content] by not only introducing a high number of new and local genres, [but] we have also improved story-telling, production and directing. This ensures that our content is competitive," says Twala.
"We are on strategy mode, we need ideas and partners to realise these goals. The aim of these programmes is to invest in the development of local content," adds Twala, saying that "the list is very long for 2015" of what e.tv wants to try and do.
"Every year we make sure that we go big, fresher and better. We are happy about the natural growth of our channels, we want more, and we want to grow bigger. Our vision still remains, to be the destination of choice.”
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