Wed. Jul 17th, 2019

Revealed: These are South Africa’s most-watched TV shows

South Africa's most watched TV ShowsThe soapies are on top, but some of South Africa’s most-watched TV shows are actually quite factual. Here are the most popular productions on the box.

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The battle for ratings between South Africa’s most-watched TV shows is truly fascinating. The Broadcast Research Council of SA (BRCSA) have released their figures for April 2019, which highlight just how many millions of people are tuning in for their favourites each evening.

What are the most-watched TV shows in South Africa?

The landscape is dominated by soapies, with news broadcasts and sports coverage also making their presence felt. Movie nights also seem to bring home the bacon, with modern classics bringing in the love some networks.

For these lists, we’re looking at the most popular prime time shows aimed at viewers aged 15 and over, which air between the hours of 17:30 – 22:00. We are looking at the main SABC channels, as well as ETV and DStv, before ending with the combined top 10 of South Africa’s most-watched TV shows. Let’s get stuck in, shall we?

South Africa’s most-watched TV shows

SABC 1:

  1. Uzalo: 9.08 million viewers on Tuesday 16 April.
  2. Generations The Legacy: 8.4 million viewers on Tuesday 16 April.
  3. Skeem Saam: 7.9 million viewers on Tuesday 23 April.
  4. Xhosa News: 4.8 million views on Tuesday 23 April.
  5. Nyan Nyan: 4.7 million viewers on Tuesday 23 April.

It looks like Tuesdays are a very big deal for soapie fans. Four of the top five most-watched SABC 1 shows from last month were some of our favourite melodramas. Meanwhile, viewership for the news spiked after the Durban Floods terrorised the city, killing scores of citizens.

SABC 2:

  1. Muvhango: 5.2 million viewers on Tuesday 9 April.
  2. 7de Laan: 2.58 million viewers on Wednesday 24 April.
  3. Live Lotto Draw: 2.06 million viewers on Wednesday 24 April.
  4. Giyani: 1.8 million viewers on Tuesday 23 April.
  5. Nuus: 1.5 million viewers on Thursday 25 April.

Again, our soapies were triumphant in the battle of the ratings, as both Muvhango and 7de Laan reigned in millions of viewers for some truly climactic episodes. Meanwhile, the promise of R68 million lured in plenty for the Lotto Draw, and South Africans proved they still have a taste for current affairs, as Nuus secured a top-five place.

SABC 3:

  1. Isidingo: The Need: 844 266 viewers on Monday 29 April.
  2. Safari Live: 788 834 viewers on Sunday 21 April.
  3. Mela: 523 743 viewers on Sunday 21 April.
  4. FA Cup Semi-Final – Watford vs Wolves: 523 255 viewers on Sunday 7 April.
  5. John Carter: 515 535 viewers on Saturday 27 April.

The lesser-viewed SABC 3 still pulled off some coups last month. Isidingo proved to be the most-watched show, but the channel was left to rely on one-off events. Watford’s stunning 3-2 win over Wolves in the FA Cup piqued the interest of over half-a-million South Africans, as did the Disney blockbuster John Carter.

DStv:

  1. The Queen Mzansi: 1.3 million viewers on Thursday 25 April.
  2. Isibaya: 952 181 viewers on Thursday 25 April.
  3. My Perfect Wedding: 949 236 viewers on Sunday 7 April.
  4. The Herd: 866 241 viewers on Sunday 7 April.
  5. Lockdown: 802 771 viewers on Monday 29 April.

On the pay-TV channels, it would be more long-running dramas doing the business in the ratings war. The Queen Mzansi and Isibaya brought in 2.3 million viewers between them. Three Manchester United games – against Manchester City and two European legs vs Barcelona – were the most popular sporting events on the network.

ETV

  1. Scandal: 5.9 million viewers on Tuesday 16 April.
  2. The Karate Kid: 4.4 million viewers on Saturday 6 April.
  3. Rhythm City: 4.3 million viewers on Monday 8 April.
  4. Scoop Network: 4.2 million viewers on Wednesday 3 April.
  5. Imbewu: The Seed: 3.95 million viewers on Tuesday 16 April.

Martial arts can still bring in the viewers. The Karate Kid was only second to Scandal in the ETV ratings. Again, it’s soapies galore for April, thanks to Rhythm City and Imbewu. Around 6.4 million tuned in for all three Captain America films broadcast on the channel, capitalising on the hype over the recently-released Avengers: Endgame.

Top ten shows and the most-watched soapies in South Africa

  1. Uzalo (SABC 1): 9.08 million viewers on Tuesday 16 April.
  2. Generations: The Legacy (SABC1): 8.4 million viewers on Tuesday 16 April.
  3. Skeem Saam (SABC 1): 7.9 million viewers on Tuesday 23 April.
  4. Scandal (ETV): 5.9 million viewers on Tuesday 16 April.
  5. Muvhango (SABC 2): 5.2 million viewers on Tuesday 9 April.
  6. Xhosa News (SABC 1): 4.8 million views on Tuesday 23 April.
  7. Nyan Nyan (SABC 1): 4.7 million viewers on Tuesday 23 April.
  8. The Karate Kid (ETV): 4.4 million viewers on Saturday 6 April.
  9. Rhythm City (ETV): 4.3 million viewers on Monday 8 April.
  10. Scoop Network (ETV): 4.2 million viewers on Wednesday 3 April.

All in all, Uzalo remains the most popular soapie on the box, followed closely by Generations and Skeem Saam. Scandal and Muvhango also put in some incredible performances last month, to ensure the TV dramas dominate the most-watched list.

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