M-Net can’t afford The Wild
M-Net viewers are expected to kiss the channel’s The Wild goodbye come March 2013.
Theo Erasmus, M-Net’s director of entertainment channels, dropped the bomb yesterday in a surprise media release, citing cost and ratings issues.
The show, the first South African soap opera to be completely shot on location, was launched with much fanfare in April last year and stars real-life couple Shona and Connie Ferguson.
According to Erasmus, the “difficult decision” was reached because it was no longer cost-effective for the channel as it was lagging in ratings.
“Soaps take many months to build an audience, while other genres may produce higher ratings quicker. The ratings of The Wild have been growing steadily month on month, but not in line with the vast investment,” said Erasmus.
Actor Tumisho Masha, who has been part of the soap since its inception, told City Press that the announcement “came as a surprise to all of us (the cast), especially after all the awards The Wild has won.”
Former Live co-presenter Minenhle Dlamini, who launched her acting career in the soapie, described the announcement as sad, maintaining she “understands it was a business decision that had nothing to do with the quality of acting on our part”.
M-Net’s ambitious project has been beset with problems for months, even losing the original land it bought for the production of The Wild due to “rezoning challenges that could take many years to resolve”, according to Erasmus.
Dlamini admitted she was going to miss her TV family.
“Since we were shooting on location, in those freezing mornings, we would have picnics and lots of fun,” recalled Dlamini.
When asked where to from The Wild, Masha was optimistic.
“When things like this occur, it is an opportunity to stretch one’s wings and explore other things. But for now, I will put down my head and look forward to the future.”