TV music show to be uprooted

AXING DENIED: Simphiwe Mthembu. Pic. Tshepo Kekana. 04/07/07. © Unknown.
AXING DENIED: Simphiwe Mthembu. Pic. Tshepo Kekana. 04/07/07. © Unknown.

Patience Bambalele

Patience Bambalele

The future of the popular television music show Rootz is hanging in the balance.

The African traditional music show has been dropped like a hot potato by the SABC with the corporation refusing to renew the contract, sources said.

But the SABC has denied that a decision has been made not to renew the Rootz contract .

Simphiwe Mthembu of SABC1 said: "We have not commenced with reviews of this property and, as far as the channel is concerned, Rootz is still on air. We will only be able to comment on whether or not the channel will continue with this programme once the reviews have been completed."

Ali Mpofu, the show's producer, said: "Our contract will not be renewed because the SABC claimed that the show did not perform well when it started.

"But, I don't understand how they can judge the show based on what happened six months ago. Lately Rootz has been performing well."

Rootz, which depicts African culture, airs on Sundays at 6pm and there is a possibility that the December 30 episode might be the last one, sources said.

Mthembu said: "There are a number of factors in deciding whether or not to continue flighting certain programmes.

"These are audience ratings, programme performance, relevance to audience and the channel's new positioning strategy."

Sources close to the SABC said the tender had been given to scriptwriter Jerry Mofokeng.

Mpofu said he was not bitter because he had done his job. Rootz was introduced a year ago to replace Ezodumo. The show started on a bad note with producers not getting the brief right. Following heavy criticism, the show picked up.

Today it is regarded, by some, as the most-watched show on Sundays, after soccer and the news. Unconfirmed reports say the show has 2,2million viewers.