- SABC2's primetime weekday soap Muvhango has not been cancelled.
- The public broadcaster has dismissed reports and said that the soapie has been renewed for another season.
- Muvhango remains the most-watched TV show and scripted drama series on the channel.
SABC2's primetime Venda weekday soap Muvhango hasn't been cancelled and has been renewed for another season.
Sunday tabloid reports alleged that Muvhango, produced by Word of Mouth Pictures, is on its last legs and have been given an ultimatum by South Africa's public broadcaster that wants to pull the plug on the veteran drama series.
What is true is that Muvhango remains the most-watched TV show and scripted drama series on SABC2 pulling as much as 3.88 million viewers (10.79 AR) in September 2020, making it the overall 10th most-watched TV show on South African television just behind another rebroadcast of Sgud'snaysi on SABC1 and e.tv's Rhythm City.
What is also true is that Muvhango has been hampered by payment issues between the SABC and Word of Mouth the past few months, the last coming as recently as August. The show has also been negatively impacted by a handful of shutdowns and production breaks because of the coronavirus pandemic as crew, and cast members have tested positive.
READ MORE | Muvhango halts production due to Covid-19
In August Muvhango, created by Duma Ndlovu, was on a production break anyway when cast and crew again went unpaid by Word of Mouth, with insiders at the time telling Channel24 that they were not sure if they would go back to work because of the non-payment.
Word of Mouth Pictures, where Mandla KaNozulu has now been appointed as CEO, blamed the failure in early-September to pay the show's workers on the SABC. Staffers meanwhile said that "people are planning to down tools when we come back because this is honestly unfair". Days later, on 4 September the SABC again paid Word of Mouth Pictures.
The weekend's rumours on the possible cancellation of Muvhango started when Word of Mouth executives – who claimed they had been told so by SABC executives – in turn, told the show's cast and crew that the show might get axed "if it doesn't improve".
Mmoni Seapolelo, SABC spokesperson, told Channel24 that "the SABC disputes the allegation that Muvhango has been canned".
"All SABC programmes are subjected to evaluation based on a number of factors, including audience ratings, associated costs and relevance to the market. To this effect, the SABC is pleased to have signed a new contract for Muvhango for another season."
Thanduxolo Jindela at the Kwathole Conexion PR agency that reps Word of Mouth didn't respond to a media enquiry on Tuesday seeking comment.