With the new year well underway, M-Net hosted a 2-day media event at Sun City showcasing what they have planned for 2020. Not only were we shown how M-Net will be structuring their schedule, and which shows will be making a return, but we also got the opportunity to find out more about the local and original content they are planning for the year.
The first day of the event saw M-Net proving why the moniker Fast Forward was so fitting for the event. We were shown how their scheduling for the coming year will not only take into account international trends but the varied tastes of their subscribers. The goal is to be the first to offer the best in local and international shows.
In recent years, TV series have stepped it up and proved that they can stand toe-to-toe with blockbuster movies. Nowhere is this more evident than in the way movie stars have started to migrate to the small screen. Actresses such as Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst have all appeared in their own TV series. This seems to be a trend that is set to continue, and one M-Net is fully aware of when it came to planning their schedule.
Among these trends are spinsoffs and reboots. Fans of the popular 90s’ TV series Mad About You will be delighted to know that Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt will be reprising their roles for another season.
Crossovers have also become a part of the TV series landscape, with many recent series crossing over with other properties. One such crossover will be Magnum P.I. and Hawaii Five-O. According to M-Net, there are even more of these crossovers in the works, which is an exciting prospect.
Along with making sure that subscribers get the most exciting and best content available, M-Net will continue with their themed evenings. There will be Magic Mondays, Chicago Tuesdays, Action Wednesdays, Local Thursdays, and Feel Good Weekends. This is a smart move on M-Net’s part as it allows subscribers to know exactly what to expect when it comes to prime time. It makes choosing when to switch on the TV just that much easier for subscribers looking for something specific to watch.
Some of the brand-new shows coming to M-Net include Council of Dads, FBI: Most Wanted and The Outsider.
Council of Dads is a heart-wrenching tale about friendship, death and what it means to be a father figure.
FBI: Most Wanted, a series from Dick Wolf, is a high stakes drama that focuses on America’s Federal Bureau as they track down and capture notorious criminals on their most wanted list.
The Outsider is a mini-series based on the novel from Stephen King and sees a gruesome murder investigation taking a turn for the supernatural as a seasoned cop and investigator find themselves starting to question everything they believe in.
New Amsterdam, NCIS: Los Angeles, Magnum P.I. and Hawaii Five-O are all among the shows making a return to M-Net in 2020 and fans are sure to be pleased about this.
Of course, with the end of another year comes the need to say farewell to some of the shows we love. Will & Grace, Homeland and Modern Family are among the shows that will be leaving.
After the presentation about scheduling for 2020, we were treated to a Survivor-themed dinner and a Q&A session with the team behind the popular reality television series, as well as a surprise appearance from season 7 contestants Rob and Nicole.
Although details on the upcoming 8th season of Survivor South Africa were scarce, we did learn a bit more about all the effort that goes into planning a season of the show. It was surprising to hear just how many numerous revisions and iterations the team goes through in their planning before the final elements of a season is decided upon. Things like the challenges can keep evolving and changing up until a few months before.
It was also heartwarming to hear how presenter Nico Panagio is joined by his family while shooting on location. As a family man myself, I can understand just how much it must mean for him to have his wife and kids with him.
Of course, the usual questions were asked. How tough is it really for the contestant and do you sneak them any food? The answer to this was that it is even tougher than we can imagine, and it is evident from all the weight the contestants lose that they are truly on their own. Naturally, it’s in these moments, seeing the contestants picking themselves up again, when they are at their lowest point – which makes the show so addictive to watch. We truly can’t wait to see what surprises season 8 holds for Survivor fans. Judging from the secrecy surrounding the next season, we can only surmise that it will be yet another amazing show to watch.
Day 2 saw us finding out more about a brand new local series coming to M-Net called Still Breathing. Channelling This Is Us, the show is set to change how South African series is viewed internationally. We were fortunate enough to watch the first episode of season one, which consists of 13 episodes, and I was floored by the quality of not only the acting but the cinematography, editing and, of course, the writing.
The minds behind the series are husband and wife team Johnny Barbuzano, who has won multiple SAFTA awards, and Tiffany Barbuzano, who has not only won a prestigious Golden Globe award but is also an amazing writer. The shows stars some marvellous talent including Kate Liquorish, Shannon Esra, Brendan Pollecutt, Brandon Auret , Siv Ngesi, Fulu Mugovhani, Susan Danford, Sean Taylor, Michele Maxwell, Jane de Wet, Dorothy Ann Gould and Michael Richards.
Sitting around a table in the famous Palace at Lost City surrounded by all kinds of sweet temptations, we were afforded the opportunity to talk with the cast members for a short time while sipping on some tea and coffee. The first thing that struck me about the cast was how they were all amazed by the outstanding script from Tiffany and how this, along with the opportunity to work with Johnny (the man in the director’s chair), was the driving factor in them saying yes to the project. What came across during the various conversations was that each member of the cast knew from the get-go that they were part of something special, something that had the potential to elevate what local series can be. Having seen footage of the show, I can attest to how emotional, well-written and beautifully shot the series is. Still Breathing is set to air on M-Net 101 on the 27th of February 2020 at 20:00. Be sure to have your box of tissues handy.
We ended off the day with an evening themed after The Bachelor. Winners of the Bachelor Bingo game each received a rose from the Bachelor himself, Mark Buckner, who proved even more charming in person. We were also treated to another Q&A about the show. The Bachelor Season 2 starts on the 13th of February at 19:00 on M-Net channel 101, with the premiere episode being 90-minutes long.
The next morning, after getting lost in a maze at the Valley of Waves, M-Net unveiled their brand new show, Single Wives. While the name might get you thinking that this could be just another dating show, it is actually has a more interesting premise. The show follows a group of women who have each lost love, whether it be due to a divorce or the death of a spouse. The women are then guided through the process of letting go of the past and starting anew by two coaches, Mapaseka Mokwele and Justin Cohen. It’s an interesting take on reality shows, focusing on healing.
M-Net once again proved why they are considered the leader in their industry. The network strives to make sure that their subscribers get the best and latest content available.
Thank you, M-Net.