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FIRST SA TELENOVELLA (article first published : 2003-12-31)

kykNET, M-Net's Afrikaans channel on DStv, will bring a new soap to the box next year. The channel has also commissioned South Africa's very first telenovella.

Theo Erasmus, kykNET’S General Manager, says these exciting new developments will boost the local television industry. "We'll be doing groundbreaking work with the telenovella and the new projects will create work opportunities for experienced, out-of-work actors as well as for newcomers and technical staff."

Over the next two years the kykNET channel will spend R46 million on four local drama series, the new soap and the telenovella. The soap launches in October 2004, initially with one episode per week, gradually increasing to three episodes per week. The soap has been assigned to Spectro Productions, headed by Johan van de Vyver with experienced writer Leon van Nierop leading the writing team.

A first for South African television, the telenovella, will be made by Willie and Pieter Esterhuizen from Westel Productions. A South American concept related to the soap format, the storyline is slightly more dramatic with closure in the final episode. kykNET's telenovella will comprise 39 hour-long episodes.

The drama series Plek van die Vleisvreters is currently in post-production. The first of the 13 episodes will be screened in April next year, the murder mystery is scripted by Chris Vorster and directed by Gerrit Schoonhoven. Well-known actors such as Hans Strydom and Tertius Meintjes play opposite new young talents like Kim Nicholas, Hykie Berg and Nicola Hanekom.

The sequel to Song vir Katryn will be on air in July 2004. Written by Jan Scholtz and directed by Koos Roets, Song vir Katryn was kykNET's very first drama series and broke all viewing records on the channel.

Two more dramas are in script development stage and will be broadcast in 2005. Working on the projects are Franz Marx, one of South Africa's most experienced drama and television producers, and Katinka Heyns whose impressive CV includes films like Fiela se Kind and Paljas. Katinka's writer-husband Chris Barnard will write the one she produces.

"We've commissioned some of the best and most experienced drama and soap producers in South Africa to create top-notch series for kykNET,” says Theo Erasmus. “It was a logical step forward to commission a soap and telenovella. It will establish kykNET as a serious competitor in the local TV industry and secure our reputation as one of the fastest growing young brands in the country."




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