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SABC to air Muvhango and 7de Laan only three time a week.

The SABC says its move to reduce Muvhango and 7de Laan to three airing episodes per week was sparked by the public broadcaster’s efforts to open the industry. The longtime Venda and Afrikaans soapies will only air from Monday to Wednesday when the SABC begins its new financial year in April.

“The SABC’s channel strategy is to provide audiences with highly entertaining, fresh, diverse and relevant local content. As such, SABC2 is running the campaign of creating more slots on the channel for more fresh content in response to the current audience content consumption but also in the attempt of bringing different stories that represent different parts of our nation. The breakdown of slots will also provide more opportunities for independent producers to bring their creative works to the channel,” said SABC acting spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo.

The SABC said that Muvhango’s coveted 9pm timeslot will be filled by the second season of Giyani: Land of Blood on Thursdays and Fridays. The XiTsonga telenovela, tells the story of two feuding families and is helmed by creators of The River, Phathutshedzo Makwarela and Gwydion Beynon under their production company Tshedza Pictures.

The first season of the telenovela, which premiered in April 2019, starred Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Ndivhuho Mutsila, Fumani Shilubana, Candy “TsaMandebele” Mokwena and Wiseman Zitha.

A new telenovela, Die Sentrum will take over 7de Laan’s 6pm timeslot on Thursdays and Fridays.

Muvhango is one of SABC television’s best performing shows and last month it remained the most-watched programme on SABC2 with a viewership of 3.69m. According to data by Broadcast Research Council of SA, 7de Laan was watched by 1.44m viewers during the same period and ranked number six on SABC2.

“While Muvhango remains the channel’s flagship and top-performing programme, audience consumption patterns are changing. As such, the channel is responding to these changes and providing valued content to retain and grow audience numbers,” Seapolelo said.

However, she was not clear as to whether latest move by the SABC was an indication of the end nearing for Muvhango and 7de Laan. She said that the channel will continue monitoring programme performance on a regular basis, analysing the relevance and strength of all properties, including those of the two soapies. She added that based on the strategic role of the content, decisions on the future of the properties will be made.

Created by Duma Ndlovu’s Word of Mouth Pictures, Muvhango has been around since 1997. Thanduxolo Jindela, head of PR at Word of Mouth Pictures, redirected all questions on the matter to the SABC. However, Jindela said 2021 was filled with great excitement as the show brings more drama for viewers.

Danie Odendaal Productions, which created 7de Laan, said in a statement: “We wish to reassure you of our unwavering commitment to continue producing relevant, informative and entertaining content. Our upcoming storylines are filled with inspiration, humour, drama and love matches that’s sure to get you talking.”

Now in its 22nd season, 7de Laan recently reached a milestone, broadcasting 5 000 episodes.

The SABC’s announcement comes after canned its soapie Rhythm City and Mzansi Magic did the same to Isibaya.

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