M-Net ups its effort to air local programming

S. African station may include a sitcom, talkshow, sudser

JOHANNESBURG — South African pay TV station M-Net has responded to criticism that it is not doing enough for the local industry by announcing that it will increase — by 38% over 1999 — airtime devoted to local productions in 2000 and will stage pitching sessions for five new local shows.

Pitches under way

The pitches, under way, are for a South African sitcom, a music chart show, a talkshow, an entertainment magazine and a soap opera.

M-Net’s programming division, Magicworks, said the decision is based on the fact that the channel’s three locally produced programs — a version of “Who wants to Be a Millionaire,” “Carte Blanche” and “Egoli” — attract the highest ratings and ad rates.

“Our research shows that there is a need for viewers to see themselves, their heroes and their stories, being told on the screen,” Magicworks chief executive Carl Fischer said.

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