Socialite Vera Sidika

When StarTimes launched Hello Mr Right, a reality TV show co-hosted by socialite Vera Sidika and comedian Dr Ofweneke in December last year, it was done to add some local touch to the pay TV’s rich telenovela portfolio.

The show, a spin-off of its Nigerian version, was allocated the 9:40pm time slot on Saturdays on the Novela E channel, available on select bouquets offered by the broadcaster. Four months down the line, StarTimes is reaping dividends for placing its faith in popular entertainment stars to drive a new idea of match-making.

“Actually I can tell you with certainty that Hello Mr Right is the most popular programme in Kenya at that time slot across free to air and pay TV channels,” says StarTimes CEO Andy Wang. “The show has done better than we would have expected.”

Mr Wang, appointed this week with added role of General Manager for East Africa, revealed that the biggest problem the broadcaster faces is content promotion but Kenyans have had no qualms tuning in on Saturdays to watch the match makings show.

“The show accounts for 29% of the Kenyan audience at that time slot,” he said. This is quite substantial in a market with hundreds of channels to pick from.  That is certainly welcome news for StarTimes which is still in the process of setting up a production house in Nairobi to plug Kenya’s local content deficit.

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Hello Mr Right is a match making reality show where a single man is presented before several single ladies who assess his qualities before deciding if he is good enough for them. With K24 having already cancelled fan favourite show Nairobi Diaries in a bid to ‘clean up’ its image, Hello Mr Right only competition is KTN’s latest show Socialites and Ebru TV’S super popular reality show Perfect Match.

Star Times’ success with the show is a clear indication that the reality show niche is a sure bet and a ratings magnet for Kenyan broadcasters. Also, it has proved critics of Vera Sidika wrong. Many thought she may have the looks but had no skills to host a successful show.

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Despite obvious financial constraints, Perfect Match averages 200,000 views on You Tube, far much more than what mainstream media channels attract for news items. Socialites’ first episode also received fair reviews when it aired last week.



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