Big Brother SA contestant to present DStv’s Oscar trial coverage

2014-02-26 09:54
Cape Town – The inclusion of a former Big Brother South Africa reality contestant as a presenter for MultiChoice’s upcoming Oscar Pistorius murder trial TV channel on DStv is raising eyebrows.

The former Big Brother South Africa star Leigh Bennie who isn’t a career investigative journalist, who doesn’t have a strong legal background and who hasn’t done any extensive court, crime or specialist reporting, will be one of the presenters weighing in with Oscar Pistorius coverage on the special DStv channel.

The DStv channel will run for 24 hours on channel 199 from 2 March – a day before the trial starts and cover the sensational court case which has already been described by experts as “the OJ Simpson of South Africa’s judicial system”.

The double amputee paralympic athlete shot and killed his model girlfriend Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day, 14 February, last year and will appear in court on a charge of premeditated murder from 3 March.

The Oscar Pistorius Trial TV channel is produced by Combined Artistic Productions which produces Carte Blanche for M-Net as its weekly Sunday evening investigative show, and the former Big Brother South Africa housemate has been roped in to be one of the on-air presenters.

The former reality show star who became a radio host will be part of the Oscar Pistorius team to "provide fascinating insights". Bennie previously worked at an airport before she entered the Big Brother South Africa house in 2001, a fact she was initially coy about with other housemates like "Bad Brad" and Ferdinand Rabie.

It’s not immediately clear what Bennie’s specialist experience is in covering a high-profile murder trial compared to seasoned reporters such as the eNCA’s (DStv 403) Karyn Maughan, an excellent and experienced court, crime and specialist reporter who will be covering the trial for that news channel. A media enquiry done after the presenters’ announcement was made just before close of business on Tuesday, has not yet been answered.

With Bennie’s inclusion as one of the presenters it is now unclear whether the Oscar Pistorius DStv channel will teether more to the tabloid side of crime and court coverage like the Investigation Discovery channel and programmes such as E! True Hollywood Story, or be a more serious-minded media outlet for South Africans to follow the court case.

Bennie whose contract with radio station 702 wasn’t renewed in 2013, popped up in October last year on M-Net’s Carte Blanche as a presenter in a story about dirty water.

Regular live-crossings

Now Bennie will weigh in for South African viewers along with a team of TV presenters from a special studio in Johannesburg, with regular live crossings from on-air talent based at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

Other presenters on the Oscar Pistorius trial TV channel include veteran Carte Blanche presenters Derek Watts, Devi Sankaree Govender, Bongani Bingwa and John Webb, as well as Emma Sadleir, a social media lawyer who’ve made several appearances on the programme in the past. The heavyweight legal journalist and radio talk show host David O’Sullivan will also present.

The DStv channel also promises “a large variety of expert guests from around the world throughout the course of the daytime and evening programming”. Robert Shapiro, known for his defence of OJ Simpson as well as American forensic experts and police consultants for TV shows like Dexter have also agreed to appear on the channel.

The Oscar Pistorius trial TV channel will run from 07:00 until 22:00 from 2 March, and then repeat the day’s coverage between 22:00 and 07:00. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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