Can death and mayhem resurrect prime time TV?

2015-02-13 10:31

Five former Generations cast members have been roped in to be part of 104 episodes of “thrilling family feuds and unravelling secrets” as e.tv attempts to regenerate the coveted 8pm slot with its very own telenovela, Ashes to Ashes, set to take Generations the Legacy head on.

The new series revolves around the Namane family, who run the popular and the prosperous Namane Funerals.

Among the original cast members of the now-struggling soapie who were shown the door by MMSV Productions’ Mfundi Vundla in August are: Zenande Mfenyana (Reba) who played Noluntu, Patrick Shai (Selogilwe) who played Dineo’s father Patrick, Nambitha Mpumlwana (Mandlakazi) who took the role of the rich and successful business woman Mawande, Maggie Benedict (Violet) who played the role of Akhona but left Generations, and came back for a few episodes before the cast members were fired, as well as Mandla Gaduka (Damian) who played the role of hustler and barman Choppa.

It remains to be seen how these five actors will fare in the cut-throat and unpredictable environment, but looking back at their solid careers one has no doubt that they will give their former home a run for its money.

The free-to-air TV channel first made its promise to “regenerate” the coveted 8pm slot in November last year, when it was clear that the slot was available for the taking. Viewers were forced to adopt Skeem Saam as their preferred soapie following the sacking and the canning of Generations in August, when remainder of the episodes ended in October.

Generations the Legacy premiered on December 1 2014 amid plunging viewership figures, which started as a promising 7.5 million and spiralled to a disappointing 5.8 million viewers towards the start of the festive season in mid-December, a far cry from an average 7.4 million viewers for the original Generations.

The cast list for Ashes to Ashes was released early this week. The list is dominated by former Generations cast members, and also features the talents of Nyaniso Dzedze of South African dance movie Hear Me Move, which is set to be released at the end of this month.

The cast was unveiled at an official launch of the telenovela held at the Barnyard Theatre, Cresta Mall, in Johannesburg yesterday.

With March 2 fast approaching, viewers have been promised TV viewing heaven.

Two of the telenovela’s stars Mpumlwana and Mfenyana cancelled their interviews at the last minute as they were still preparing for the formal launch amid a hectic shooting schedule. But you can watch Shai talk about his new role here: Actor Patrick Shai stars on Ashes to Ashes

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