Real Housewives of SA’s Barbie Brazil hits back at NBC over rights

2013-07-16 11:25

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A war of words has erupted between Barbie Brazil and NBC Studios about who the rightful owner of The Real Housewives franchise in South Africa is.

On Sunday, City Press published a story in which Brazil (real name Ennie Tembi Tshabalala) announced that her plans to film The Real Housewives of South Africa were at an advanced stage.

Her claims were immediately refuted by Jonathan Tuovinen, a director of formats and production at NBC Universal International Television Production, in London.

In a statement, Tuovinen said: “I would need to inform you that Ms Barbie Brazil does not have the format rights for The Real Housewives franchise in South Africa.

NBC Universal and its affiliate Bravo! (the original channel that airs the US versions of the show) is in no way affiliated with Ms Brazil. She has never been in touch with us, and we have never heard of her prior to this article.

“The international remake rights (officially known as format rights) are held by NBC Universal International. Ms Brazil does not have these rights.”

In addition, Tuovinen took to Twitter yesterday and announced: “Barbie Brazil does NOT have the Format Rights for The Real Housewives of South Africa! She is a scam :D”.

This morning Brazil’s manager, Lelo Bikitsha, issued a statement, fighting back. “Barbie Brazil has been the subject of considerable comment on social media pages and the internet concerning her ownership of the Real Housewives of South Africa.

“She totally rejects all assertions from Bravo TV that she doesn’t own the rights to the name in South Africa.”

Bikitsha said Brazil’s company was registered through the department of trade and industry in South Africa and they were willing to make scanned copies of the documentation available to anyone who is interested.

“This is yet another proof of attempted bullying by subsidiaries of large-scale US corporations and will be challenged to the fullest extent.”

Brazil, a former stripper, is originally from Thokoza on Gauteng’s East Rand. She owns a clothing label called Bourgeoise Boutique.

- City Press

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