'The Wild' to be canned
Not even Connie and Shona Ferguson could save it, as TV soap fails to attract viewers
A LACK of audience numbers, among other things, has sent M-Net's flagship soapie The Wild tumbling - hardly two years after it hit the small screen.
M-Net confirms that the soapie, which was launched in April last year, will be canned, with the last episode broadcast in March next year.
Among the reasons for the premature death of the soapie is that the show is not attracting as many viewers as expected and it was draining the coffers of the pay channel.
Theo Erasmus, M-Net director for general entertainment channels, says it was a difficult decision to make but it was made based on two interrelated factors.
"Firstly, M-Net ascertained that the monies allocated to The Wild, which is a high-cost production due to the fact that it's a location-based soap, could be spent on other productions that could possibly produce better ratings in a shorter period of time.
"Secondly, the original land bought for the production of The Wild faced ongoing rezoning challenges, which could still take many years to resolve. This left the production with no real home," says Erasmus.
With its breathtaking African scenery and compelling stories, it was on the international map barely a year after it launched.
Since its launch, The Wild has been showered with industry accolades, including four SA Film and Television Awards prizes.
Recently, it also received the You Spectacular Award for most popular Soap, with actors Ty Keogh and Shona Ferguson also grabbing awards for sexiest male and best actor respectively.
It even received international recognition, with a Rockie Award nomination in a category previously won by soaps such as Days Of Our Lives.
Erasmus says that M-Net is proud of The Wild's achievements:
"The Wild has set new standards for soap production in the country.
"Therefore the M-Net channels are working on plans to create spin-offs from The Wild in a more settled, urban environment.
"The ratings of The Wild have been growing steadily monthly, but not in line with the vast investment."
This unfortunate development will leave a number of top notch actors who are part of the soapie's cast in the lurch.
Chief among them are celebrity couple Connie Ferguson and husband Shona.
The pair was recruited and used to drum up the ratings as they are viewed as some of the best the industry can offer.