As the last minute before 9:00pm ticks down, the presenters are waiting for the director’s cue to start reading the news, the two anchors, male and female are spiffed up for the bulletin, then it’s time to roll and they must be in sync.
Then the first one goes….. This is the 9 o’clock news, Thanks for joining us….. My name is….the other one then joins in and I am…….Prime time news begins now.
Kenyan media houses have noticed that while content is always king, quality presentation gives them an extra edge over their competitors and are now pairing male and female presenters with explicit instructions to be warm to the audience. It starts as a news pairing but with time, just like wine, ends up being the perfect casting.
The recent Media Transfer Window gifted presenters across all media houses new newsroom soulmates. Some of the couples have been stupendous while others have been okay.
Lulu Hassan and Rashid Abdalla 8/10
Citizen TV went for the jugular when they saved Kanze Dena’s seat in Nipashe Wikendi news desk for Rashid Abdalla who was brought in to pair his real world wife Lulu Hassan. Their presentation before the latter went on leave was effortless, they worked like clockwork.
Media observers are also keen to note that Lulu is happy to let Rashid shine and is comfortable with complementing her husband. The Kiswahili is also thoroughly polished.
Ben Kitili and Sharon Momanyi 8/10
Despite bleeding some of its fine presenters to other outlets, KTN always finds a way of replacing its best talent. This time pairing Kitili and Features Editor Sharon Momanyi.
Fresh from marrying the love of his life Amina Mude, Ben Kitili fancies hanging a fob watch on his slim fit suits while the composed Momanyi prefers her professional look. Together they dazzle enough to attract viewers. This is the only prime time couple who are both editors…….. Beauty and brains huh?
Victoria Rubadiri and Jeff Koinange7.5/10
Shortly after a feature on an acrobat who could bend most parts of her body aired in their first bulletin together, Jeff asked Victoria what she could bend in comparison to the feature acrobat. Victoria hesitated at first but shrugged off Jeff’s cheeky talk immediately but that signaled that they were free with each other and a sign of greater things to come.
Since then, they have hit the ground running. However Jeff’s popularity as a talk show host hangs heavy over the authenticity of this couple and that’s the only blot in an otherwise well thought out pairing.
Mark Masai and Smirti Vidyarthi 7/10
Possibly the most eloquent couple in Kenyan prime time news, Mark and Smirti are just shy of being perfect.
Mark is livelier and once in a while drops the joke to keep the audience engaged while Smirti is the epitome of the traditional professional news anchor. This couple lacks the x-factor to take on the other gelling ones.
Olive Burrows and Dennis Okari 5/10
Things have not yet quite worked for these two. An occasional joke never works while they don’t really capture the viewers’ attention by the throat.
Individually they are good enough and command presence but the idea of pairing them together is an epic fail.
Pairing them with other presenters might just do the trick for them.
Whether or not the love transcends beyond 9 0’clock is a matter of speculation but in studio, love is in the air.