National broadcaster SABC has cancelled one of its longest running shows, ‘Top Billing’.
This Saturday’s episode will be the last according to various reports. The show has been running on SABC3 for an incredible 25 years.
Due to the financial troubles South Africa’s public broadcaster finds itself in, it can no longer afford to pay for it.
The travel and lifestyle show has been on air non-stop since the 90s. Tswelopele Production has been behind it.
Contacted by Sowetan Live, spokesperson for the cash-strapped company Vuyo Mthembu said: “Please note that an official media statement will be released tomorrow [today] in this regard.”
The hammer was reportedly dropped 4 months ago, when SABC failed to renew the show’s contract. Their argument was that it is too expensive to make, averaging between R500,000 and R800,000 per episode.
The price tag, coupled with dipping ratings forced SABC’s hands.
Here’s the full statement from Top Billing.
It’s been an exceptional 25 years from where I come from as a producer and co-owner of Tswelopele Productions. The privilege of producing an incredible show that has captivated South Africans and international audiences is one that warms my heart every day when I think of my very first day as a young presenter on Top Billing.
This show exemplifies excellence and sophistication in arts, design, decor, fashion and broadcasting, creating countless jobs in its many years on air. It has been quite a ride and it is fitting that after 25 years, we salute this season as our final one.
Every show has a beginning and an end and I must admit a quarter of a century is one great feat. Patience Stevens and I are so proud of the work and marvel this show has been in our lives and careers.
We’ve enjoyed many accolades, experiencing its Longevity and watching audiences embrace living the The Top Billing life gives us goosebumps every day. It is a wonderful chapter neither of us will ever forget. We trust that the show has served audiences by inspiring them to dream big, embrace their inner creative genius and dare to live the life they deserve.
From the presenters, producers and all crew, Top Billing wraps up this season as a series finale that will hopefully open the door for new opportunities and encourage young creative talent to trust in creating concepts that stand the test of time and style.
Thank you for the journey, and the journey of Hope continues.
Basetsana Kumalo, Executive Producer & Chairman of Tswelopele Productions