M-Net’s reality guru Fischer to exit

Exec to step down at the end of March

JOHANNESBURG — M-Net head of local productions Carl Fischer has decided to step down at the end of March after 10 years at the feevee.

As a strong supporter of the independent production sector in South Africa, he pushed to increase M-Net’s investment in local programming. When he took charge, there were six locally produced shows on the M-Net schedule; now more than 100 local programs have been produced for the various M-Net channels broadcast across Africa as part of DStv’s satellite service.

For many years Fischer headed his own production company, which was bought out by Endemol, where he worked as a producer before joining M-Net.

In 2000, Fischer changed the face of South African television by introducing locally produced reality TV to local viewers in the form of Endemol’s “Big Brother,” leading to his nickname “Mr. Big Brother.”

The success of “Big Brother” led to M-Net investing in more local versions of reality shows, including “Idols” and “Survivor,” with the nonscripted genre becoming one of M-Net’s biggest viewer drawcards.

Fischer said the past 10 years at M-Net had “been among the most exciting of my 33-year career in television productions, but I’m really looking forward to slowing down a bit and to get around to things I’ve put on hold for a long, long time.”