SABC is reducing fan-favourite show 7de Laan from five weekly episodes to just three from Mondays to Wednesdays. To replace it in its Thursdays and Fridays will be a new telenovela called Die Sentrum.
Die Sentrum follows “a group of eight diverse counsellors who work together in a helpline call centre and seek to help callers with their personal issues, however, each one of the councillors has their own challenges to overcome,” explains the broadcaster.
Callers and the counsellors will share stories that explore social scenarios against the present times in South Africa. Topics like alcoholism, domestic violence and love will all be discussed.
The show stars actors Carmen Maarman, Chumani Pan, Keeno Lee Hector, Stiaan Bruwer and more. Episode 1 will premier on April 8.
“Die Sentrum is a very unique concept as we haven’t had a dramatic series set in a crisis call centre before. The counsellors are there not to judge their callers but to assist them in whichever circumstance they find themselves in, this range from callers just needing someone to talk to, to life-threatening situations. We are grateful that the SABC has given us the opportunity to produce this series.” Says director Mandilakhe Yengo.
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The broadcaster confirmed to Channel24 in late January that both 7de Laan and the Venda soapie Muvhango are being reduced to three weekly episodes. 7de Laan will broadcast from Mondays to Wednesdays at 6pm from April 5 and Muvhango episodes will go down to three per week in August.
According to the SABC’s Head of TV Merlin Naicker, this change is “part of our long-term plan to invest in quality local content.”
This decision has left many viewers disappointed. Loyal fan Jermaine Christians even started an online Change.org petition demanding 7de Laan remain on air for its five weekly episodes.