The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has announced the cancellation of SABC News’ investigative show Special Assignment on SABC3 after 24 years, blaming low TV ratings, with the last episode said to air on 2 August.
According to the broadcaster, Special Assignment’s viewership has significantly dropped over the years on SABC3.
According to industry reports, the channel is suffering the lowest ratings of the public broadcaster’s three major TV channels, with the broadcaster also being affected the most by the government’s switch-off of analogue TV signal transmitters.
In a letter to staff, Moshoeshoe Monare, SABC Group Executive of News and Current Affairs, said the decision to cancel the show was due to a drop in viewership.
SABC3 and the SABC News division are responsible for producing the show, which has been moved across multiple days and timeslots over the last decade, constantly forcing potential audiences to try and find and adjust to new days and timeslots.
The SABC indicated that Special Assignment’s timeslot will be replaced with a shortened version of another news show, It’s Topical, while exploring the possibility of a new, investigative show.
Special Assignment started in August 1998 and has been competing over decades in the investigative television journalism space with e.tv’s 3rd Degree hosted by Debora Patta and later Checkpoint with Nkepile Mabuse, as well as Devi fronted by Devi Sankaree Govender also on e.tv and eNCA; and the long-running Carte Blanche on M-Net.