Our home-grown Noeleen belongs back in prime-time slot

So SABC3 has moved its long-running lifestyle talk show 3 Talk from its prime time slot to 4pm because it is "dull".

So SABC3 has moved its long-running lifestyle talk show 3 Talk from its prime time slot to 4pm because it is "dull".

To add insult to injury, the weekday 5.45pm space has been filled with the Oprah Winfrey Show because it is perceived to be more popular.

Sources told entertainment writer Zenoyise Madikwa the move was made because 3 Talk had lost viewers to Oprah.

Also, it is alleged that show host Noeleen Maholwana-Sangqu followed the same sequence every time and blah blah blah ...

Then SABC3 came up with some balderdash through its communications manager Gesh Conco: "The adjustment was made to stay current and to meet viewer demands and expectations".

"This move is also part of SABC3's re-branding and repositioning campaign, which started earlier in 2008.

"SABC3 has always adopted the policy of giving the viewers what they want andwe believe this move is in line with that thinking."

First, the notion that the changes were made to meet viewer expectations is a blatant lie.

I do not think South African viewers prefer an American television programme to a home-grown show that is more current and incisive.

Second, what yardstick did SABC3 use to determine Oprah's popularity over Noeleen?

To me it boils down to our being fed any American brew in spite of taste, always hiding behind "viewer demands, yakety-yak ... yak".

Seriously, Maholwana-Sangqu's show is better than Oprah's simply because it deals with issues that affect and involve South Africans.

I have watched happy stories and sad tales unfold on 3 Talk.

One of the highlights was the build-up to the first 3 Talk episode that culminated in the broadcasting of a real-life open-heart surgery on Wally Katzke, 52, a volunteer cardiovascular candidate. That was riveting television and the first ever - worldwide.

Granted, 3 Talk might lack Oprah's live audience interaction - but that is all.

The difference between Oprah and Noeleen is stark. For instance, one of Oprah's first prime-time shows was about American participants being hypnotised into communicating with their dead loved ones. What a crock.

On the other hand, Noeleen had one of the most brilliant 45-minute conversations with local jazz musician Jonathan Butler, who took the world by storm at the tender age of 13.

Where else, but on 3 Talk, would I have learnt that our hero realised, only when he was sitting next to music icons Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones, among others, that the Grammy Awards were big?

Of course, Noeleen has also interviewed unsung heroes and icons from around the globe.

Her last prime-time interview was with Springbok rugby coach Peter de Villiers, who is well-known for not granting TV interviews.

Oprah is the world's most visible talk-show host and says so herself.

Conversely, Noeleen is the face of talk shows in South Africa and makes her guests feel at home with her laid-back demeanour.

Oprah Winfrey does not belong in the prime-time slot when we have our own home-brewed and competent numbers - not only Noeleen but other untapped talent as well.

It is time that the SABC beat our own cowhide drum louder than they blow the American saxophone.