JOHANNESBURG — Sowetan has reliably learnt that President Jacob Zuma’s actress daughter Gugu has been roped in to produce a new hard-hitting drama to rescue SABC 1 after 16 Generations actors were sacked last month.
Zuma, fresh from an internship with United States superstar actor and producer Tyler Perry, is said to be hard at production in KwaZulu-Natal creating a show titled Uzalo, which some in the industry believe will replace the ill-fated Generations.
The show, which is commissioned for over 300 episodes, is expected to have a drama and soapie appeal with a Zulu language slant as it is aimed to take on the hugely popular Isibaya on Mzansi Magic.
Isibaya plays at 8.30pm and not the coveted 8pm slot that Generations has dominated for years.
People close to Uzalo this week refused to comment about the show, which is expected to feature some familiar faces from Generations with a generous helping of new stars.
It was originally planned to go on air in January 2015, but with the drama at Generations, the source says the show may be on local screens sooner.
Duma Ndlovu is one of the three executive producers working with Zuma, the third is Pepsi Pokane.
He said it was no secret that they were working on Uzalo but would not comment on whether it is a replacement for Generations.
Ndlovu has been updating his friends on Facebook about the developments on Uzalo, even posing with Zuma and her mother Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in Pietermaritzburg, where he introduced the younger Zuma as executive producer of Uzalo.
In another posting he warns aspirant actors of bogus auditions held in the name of the new show. Efforts to speak to Gugu Zuma drew a blank. However, a highly placed executive at the SABC shot down the claims that Uzalo would replace Generations.
She pointed out that plans were under way to have Generations refreshed with new story lines and faces.“It’s back to the drawing board. The crew is hard at work finding new ways with brainstorming sessions.”
According to the source, there has been some reported meetings behind the scenes with some of the axed Generations stars initiated by the production house to woo them back on for the show in what has been described as a “divide and conquer,” strategy.
Plans are afoot to present the new look soapie to the SABC board for approval before a publicity blitz begins, to gain back the trust and confidence of the viewers and advertisers.
Generations publicist Sandra Mhlongo and creator Mfundi Vundla were unavailable.