Desperate Housewives Africa: The Good Times Are Back | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Desperate Housewives Africa: The Good Times Are Back

Posted: May 1, 2015 at 1:42 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Azeez Balogun, Lagos


It is believed that the golden age of television dramas are far behind us. Gone are the days when the busy roads of Lagos will be empty just because a popular drama was showing on NTA. A popular joke says that the safest time in Lagos is 8:00 p.m. every Thursday when village headmaster is showing on television, because even the criminals are at home watching it.

General Manager, DSTV  Martin Mabutho, and CEO of EbonyLife TV, Mo Abudu

General Manager, DSTV Martin Mabutho, and CEO of EbonyLife TV, Mo Abudu

The Nigeria Television Authority during the late 70’s and Eighties aired quality television dramas that kept viewers glued to their seats. Some of them include, Checkmate, Koko Close, Second Chance, Lynx, Behind the Cloud, Cock crow at dawn, Bassey and Company, Third eye, Fortunes, and the likes. They were all hits and gathered a huge following.

After the 80’s, there was a decline in the quality of television dramas and the ones being made were just a shadow of the ones that preceded. But recently, there has been a revival of television dramas of some sort. This is mostly due to the popularity of Pay TV in Nigeria, and the demand for high quality content of such platforms. ‘Tinsel’ for example created a TV drama reminiscent of the good old days and with a very modern and relatable themes. Many others have followed after Tinsel, and they have tried to keep up with the standard of good quality and great content.

However on Tuesday, Ebony Life premiered a TV drama Hit series which definitely is a game changer, and has catapulted TV drama to a whole new level. The average viewer confessed how much they enjoyed the show, but practitioners must have shed a tear or two of joy, to see how far Nigeria has gone in producing a world class television drama. The entertainment and lifestyle network held the private screening of Desperate Housewives Africa, the local adaptation of the multiple award-winning ABC television drama hit series, at the Agip Recital Hall, of the MUSON Centre in Lagos.

Following its premiere, Desperate Housewives Africa started showing on Thursday on DSTV. The event itself was an enchanting evening of beautiful people, beautiful appearances and altogether beautiful moments full of gorgeously dressed guests and hostesses, bespoke décor, colouful branding, red carpet interviews, cameras, lights, music, cocktail, light refreshments and cut-to-the-chase addresses and remarks.

Addresses were made by the Executive Chairman and CEO of EbonyLife TV, Mo Abudu and Marketing Directors of Diageo, Procter and Gamble. The remarks were followed by the showing of behind-the-scenes of the drama series, which itself was trailed by an address from EbonyLife TV’s Director of Scripted Programming, Ms. Quinty Pillay.

The original Desperate Housewives which is an American production won both the 2005 and 2006 Golden Globe Awards for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy, and was created by Marc Cherry and produced by ABC Studios. The series is broadcast in more than 200 territories around the world, where it has been one of the most popular U.S. TV shows in recent history with its eighth and final series concluding in 2012.

The story is about numerous women and their struggles for a better life, and their ever conscious efforts to ‘look good’ amongst themselves. It starts with an outwardly successful neighbour Rume Bello, played by Marcy Dolapo Oni, who succumbs to death, her friends continue to deal with their everyday lives and, as seen through Rume’s eyes, the story mysteriously unravels in a dramatic, comedic whirlwind which will have you at the edge of your seat calling for more.

Michelle Dede portrays the character, Tari Gambadia. Her ultimate desperation is unknown at first as she competes for the attention of a new hunky neighbour who has his own ulterior motives? Nini Wacera, portrays Ese De Souza, a housewife who struggles with maintaining the perfect family. Kehinde Bankole, as Kiki Obi, continues a rather sordid and sleazy love affair and Omotu Bissong, who stars as Funke Lawal, copes with life as a stay-at-home, fatigued mother of four boisterous and rambunctious children.

According to Christine Service, Senior Vice President and Country Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa comments, “We are very excited that one of ABC’s hit television series is being made for African viewers.  This is a first for the continent of Africa and we could not be more proud of what we have seen so far of Desperate Housewives Africa.”

Mo Abudu, Executive Chairman and CEO of EbonyLife TV, has this to say about the production. “Once again, I am pleased to say that we are extremely excited to bring this rich, thrilling and captivating drama to our local and global audiences. We have put in a lot to maintain our premium homegrown quality of  production and our viewers can absolutely look forward with great delight to watching a most riveting adaptation of the multiple-award winning version from Africa; one with a uniquely African essence that closely mirrors the format and storylines of the multiple award winning American version.”

For Director of Scripted Programming, Quinty Pillay, “No stone has been left unturned in ensuring that we worked with the best in every facet of the production. We have taken the multiple award-winning original version and given it a distinctly African twist, from the storytelling, to the ‘look and feel’ of the entire production, without compromising on the global appeal. Viewers in Africa and indeed the rest of the world will hate to miss a second of every episode of it!”

Headline sponsors for the production include Snapp, Diageo’s unique apple-flavored alcohol drink for independent female consumers; Oral-B, worldwide leader in the brushing market; and Ariel, the marketing line of flagship laundry detergents made by Procter & Gamble.

Since 2006, five different versions of Desperate Housewives have been produced for EMEA and Latin American audiences. These are “Umutsuz Ev Kadinlari” a Turkish production which launched 2011; Amas de Casa Desesperadas,” the Argentinean version (in Spanish, for broadcast in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay); the Colombian/Ecuadorian version (in Spanish, broadcast in Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Panama, and also sold to Japan); the U.S. Hispanic version (for broadcast in U.S., Mexico, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic); “Donas de Casa Desesperadas,” the Brazilian version (in Portuguese, for broadcast in Brazil).

According to Marcy Dolapo Oni, “Being part of Desperate Housewives Africa is very exciting. I was such a fan of the U.S. version and can’t wait to see how our own storylines cater to and engage our African audiences.” The drama is already and instant hit, and will surely go on for more seasons. For now, Tv buffs are still revelling in its awesomeness. It will quickly surpass Tinsel and the likes if the content quality is maintained over time.