EXCLUSIVE: Citizen TV Scales Down Drama Production as Crisis Deepens

  • The Covid-19 outbreak in Kenya that threatens a global recession of unprecedented proportions, has not spared the media industry in Kenya.

    Media houses have been forced to reorganise programming and take extensive measures to protect staff as they continue to provide much-needed coverage of the pandemic. 

    Royal Media Services (RMS) Managing Director, Wachira Waruru, in an interview with Kenyans.co.ke on Thursday, March 26, disclosed that production of Citizen TV dramas such as Maria and Tahidi High had been scaled-down in observance of personal hygiene as directed by the national government.

    He, however, revealed that the media house, that also owns Inooro TV and more than 10 radio stations had several pre-recorded episodes that would continue to air in the coming months.

    Royal Media Services Managing Director Wachira Waruru, after his election as the chairperson of Media Owners Association on April 27, 2018.
    Royal Media Services Managing Director Wachira Waruru, after his election as the chairperson of Media Owners Association on April 27, 2018.
    Daily Nation

    "We have content that is able to last us for a few months for most of the dramas. So, from that, we were able to scale down because of the current circumstances.

    "You know things are changing every day and we are making decisions to respond to requirements of hygiene. For Maria, we have plenty in stock and is still in accordance with the requirement. We are able to scale down to controlled productions," stated Waruru.

    Other affected shows include Mother-in-Law, Johari and Inspekta Mwala whose productions were significantly scaled-down.

    Stanley Ngige, the production manager at RMS told Kenyans.co.ke, that for all in-house productions there was content to broadcast for the two months. 

    "From where I sit as the production manager, productions that are local have been done way ahead. We actually don't survive hand to mouth, we normally do a quarter which is three months, that is 13 episodes on a weekly basis.

    "However, precautions have been taken and you saw a feature where we took people through what our staff is going through. In the meantime, we have reduced the number of productions," stated Ngige.

    "Currently, Maria is filming on a small scale because we have programs to run us at least for some time. We have somebody taking care of hygiene with monitoring and sanitisers," he added.

    Brian Ogana, who plays Luwi in the hit show Maria, assured fans taht several pre-recorded episodes were lined up for airing in the coming months. 

    "There are episodes that will run. Maria is here for a while, so fans better be on the lockdown and glued to their TV," he noted.

    Five shows, Inspekta Mwala, Tahidi High, Johari, Papa Shirandula and Mother-in-law are scheduled to air during the 6:30 p.m. slot once a week while Maria hits the screens every Monday to Friday at 7:30 p.m.

    Below is how RMS has adapted to protect its staff from Covid-19:

    Safety At The Workplace: Companies put in place measures to lockout Coronavirus. RMS embraced new guidelines to safeguard their employees. Employees sanitize their hands when entering and leaving the office. Wanjohi: We’ve bought protective gears for our journalists #DayBreak

    Posted by Citizen TV Kenya on Monday, 23 March 2020