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“dam­ag­ing” any of th­ese other shows. In fact, it en­hanced them and gave view­ers a fas­ci­nat­ing glimpse be­hind the scenes.

Through el­e­vat­ing a type of pseu­do­calamity that is no real cri­sis – sim­i­lar to a Real House­wife from Bev­erly Hills throw­ing a glass of wine into an­other’s face – Pre­sen­ter Search on 3 de­liv­ered tears, an­guish and drama as contestants strug­gled to mas­ter the art of hav­ing a pro­fes­sional on-air ap­pear­ance while con­stantly wad­ing through this Willy Wonka-type TV fac­tory.

Some­thing as sim­ple as a script with de­lib­er­ate spell­ing mis­takes, for in­stance, caused won­der­ful height­ened re­al­ity drama.

The most bril­liant part was Top Billing’s Ur­sula Chikane, who popped up as a men­tor in one of the ear­lier episodes. She should have been an over­all men­tor and judge. It was breath­tak­ing watch­ing her give real ad­vice about be­ing on TV, want­ing the contestants to suc­ceed, watch­ing her scold, ca­jole, be­rate, en­cour­age and teach. This is what a re­al­ity TV judge should be like, and even or­di­nary view­ers who will never be on TV were made to feel like Ur­sula was help­ing them.

Ob­vi­ously, SABC3 and the SABC as a whole can’t just keep adding new TV pre­sen­ters, hence the hia­tus be­tween sea­sons. But here’s an idea: why not de­tach the show from the com­pe­ti­tion el­e­ment and con­tinue to bring view­ers the drama? Clev­erly po­si­tioned and planned, some­thing like “Pre­sen­ters” could be a weekly fly on the wall be­hind an SABC show.

Cam­eras can eas­ily film pre­sen­ters and pro­duc­ers in point of view shots in glo­ri­ous cinéma vérité style, deal­ing with no-show guests, tech­ni­cal prob­lems and other TV calami­ties.

There is so much op­por­tu­nity in Pre­sen­ter Search on 3, and SABC would do well to run with it.

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