A record breaking 11.4m people watch an Uzalo episode

Uzalo is currently on production break due to the lockdown./123RF
Uzalo is currently on production break due to the lockdown./123RF

Soapie Uzalo pulled a record-breaking viewership on South Africa television with more than 11 million viewers watching an episode last month.

According to the latest data by the Broadcast Research Council of SA, the SABC 1 daily drama not only comfortably retained its top spot as SA's most-watched show, but registered a new ratings high.

The show, starring Dawn Thandeka King, Baby Cele, Wiseman Mncube and Masoja Msiza - among others, was watched by 11.4 million people on Wednesday, April 15.

That's an increase of more than a million viewers from the show's most-watched episode the month before that saw 10.29 million people tuning in on Monday March 30.

"This new record means that we are capable of so much more than what we ever dreamed of. The hard work, focus and trusting our instincts work and we should do more of that," Uzalo executive producer Mmamitse Thibedi said.

This is not the first time that Uzalo has made local TV history after it set a record high of 10.25 million viewers in September 2018.

The previous record of 10.14 million viewers was held by the opening match between South Africa and Mexico of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

"This historic television milestone is testament to the unwavering dedication to excellence and hard work that is displayed through the SABC's partnership with Stained Glass Productions [the Uzalo production company]," acting SABC spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo said.

"We applaud the producers, actors, actresses, and crew of Uzalo for the sterling work, they have put in, in entertaining the millions of South Africans who tune into SABC 1, to watch the nation's number one television programme."

Uzalo last aired a new episode last Thursday after running out of new material to broadcast as a result of shutting down production for over a month thanks to the Covid-19 national lockdown.

Thibedi said they were confident that they will retain their top spot after the hiatus.

"Uzalo audiences are very loyal to the show, and have expressed their disappointment at the broadcast interruption. They keep saying they look forward to seeing what we have in store for them when we come back," Thibedi said.

"For these reasons, we believe we will be able to retain our core audience thereby retaining our numbers.

"We've ensured that the measures we have to implement for the Covid-19 response are not detrimental to the story line. We will maintain high drama in the scenes and continue to thrill with our twists and turns."

Novice telenovela Gomora (2.51 million viewers) with Katlego Danke in the lead has upset Connie and Shona Ferguson's The Queen (2.36 million viewers) by toppling it to become DStv's most watched show.

Last month, The Queen was on top with 2.28 million viewers, while Gomora debuted at number three with a viewership of 1.70 million.

News bulletins have experienced a ratings soar during the national lockdown period across all SABC channels.

President Cyril Ramaphosa's address to the nation on April 21 had 5 million viewers and April 23 (4.69 million) has been a rating hit for SABC 2 news.

The two broadcasts were only topped by Muvhango (5.21 million).

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