M-Net cancels The Wild

2012-08-04 12:31

M-Net has cancelled the pay broadcaster’s struggling soap The Wild which was too costly produce and didn’t get enough viewers.

The Wild will end in March 2013 two years after it started with much fanfare and controversy.

M-Net has decided to dump the soap and use its money for other local TV productions, calling it a “difficult decision”.

M-Net has been without a channel head since April, but Theo Erasmus, M-Net’s director for general entertainment channels under which the M-Net channel falls, said that The Wild, which is a high-cost production, is getting cancelled so that it’s massive production budget can be used to create other new shows.

Viewership vs investment
It “could be spent on other productions that could possibly produce better ratings in a shorter period of time,” Erasmus said. The Wild’s viewership was “not in line with the vast investment,” the pay broadcaster said.

M-Net cancelled its longrunning soap Egoli three years ago - which alternated with Carte Blanche as the number one and two shows on M-Net in terms of viewership - to replace it with The Wild.

In contrast The Wild, filmed in high definition, set on a game farm and which lured big names like real-life soap couple Connie and Shona Ferguson, hardly cracked M-Net’s Top 10 list of most watched programming from week to week.

Stumbling blocks
The Wild also has the dubious distinction of being the first and only South Africa soap to ever be picketed following a public demonstration during its launch from disgruntled actors and industry workers unhappy about their contracts.

M-Net moved The Wild around to several timeslots trying to find a bigger audience; the last timeslot change happened in January.

M-Net tried twice to re-purpose The Wild on sister channel Mzansi Magic (DStv 107) in a bid to lure a bigger audience and expose the show to more viewers.

The Wild also battled a wildfire which cause the production to shut down, faced ongoing rezoning challenges which could still take many years to resolve and saw tumultuous changes behind the scenes where writers, producers, heads of departments and the series producer left the show.

Spin-off possibilities
Bobby Heaney of Imani Media production company eventually stepped in as the new executive producer and M-Net’s Magic Factory production arm took over full production.

M-Net said it plans to create “spin-offs” from The Wild, set in a more “settled, urban environment”, bringing this location-based filming experiment to an end after two years.

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