Cape Town – The first really big South African TV battle of 2015 is filling the trenches: e.tv is preparing for a full-on assault on the SABC's restarted Generations The Legacy with its own brand-new local telenovela entitled Gold Diggers which is plans to deliberately broadcast from next year in the ultra competitive timeslot of 20:00 directly opposite the damaged Mfundi Vundla soap.
e.tv declined to give or confirm the Gold Diggers name, but Channel24 was told the new e.tv telenovela with the working title of Gold Diggers, which might change, is produced by Clive Morris Productions and will have 104 episodes.
There's no specific starting date yet for Gold Diggers (not to be confused with the Channel O show Gold Diggerz) which is expected to be around February 2015.
e.tv confirms that Gold Diggers "will be aired at 20:00 from next year".
It means that e.tv is pitting its hot new local production against the SABC1 heavyweight which fired its entire principal cast in August and returned at the beginning of this month getting a lukewarm reception from viewers and critics due to inexperienced, young actors.
Sources say e.tv is gunning for Generations and the 20:00 timeslot. “The absence of Generations on SABC1 for two months from screens and the drop in ratings clearly showed that viewers are willing to look elsewhere".
"Generations, especially after everything that happened, revealed that it's no longer invincible. Viewers want riveting drama, compelling characters and addictive stories as recent telenovelas have proven," says an insider.
"The 20:00 timeslot is cut-throat but there's no longer just one must-see offering. Viewers [will] respond to a great story told well with characters you can't look away from. Millions of free-to-air viewers want quality drama which is lacking in primetime at 20:00. This is war. One not taking prisoners."
The e.tv soap Scandal! from Ochre Moving Pictures which is celebrating its 10th anniversary and just killed off a major character and is planning new offshoot story lines similar to the current prison drama for 2015, will serve as the lead-in for the new telenovela.
SABC2 is also working on producing a new local telenovela for 2015.
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