5 Popular Kenyan TV Shows That Ended for Controversial Reasons

  • Left to right: Nyali MP Mohammed Ali (Moha Jicho Pevu), Betty Kyalo and Citizen TV Anchor Jeff Koinange
    Left to right: Nyali MP Mohammed Ali (Moha Jicho Pevu), Betty Kyalo and Citizen TV Anchor Jeff Koinange
    File
  • In the showbiz world, it is hard to guarantee job security for workers since one moment, there could be an all-star team but lose it all after one executive decision from management.

    The following five Kenyan TV shows were once considered the country's biggest but all of a sudden, they were no longer on air.

    Some of the shows were affected by contents from actors, money or age limits.

    Kenyans.co.ke samples five hit shows that were abruptly discontinued due to controversial reasons.

    1. Nairobi Diaries

    A promotional poster for Nairobi Diaries that aired on K24 TV.
    A promotional poster for Nairobi Diaries that aired on K24 TV.
    Twitter

    When the show debuted on K24 TV in December 2015, critics hailed it as a premier reality show that broke ground from the largely comedic content that dominate Kenyan TV.

    The show attracted a sizeable youth viewership with its concentration on Nairobi socialites and celebrities in their day-to-day life full of scandals.

    In 2018 the show's renewal hit a snag despite confirmation from the crew that it had taken a break to prepare for another season.

    Reports, however, indicated that the show ended its run over pay differences and was set to run on a different TV station but no word about its return has been heard from its producers since.

    2. Vitimbi

    Actor Mama Kayai with the late Mzee Ojwang' during a past event
    Actor Mama Kayai with the late Mzee Ojwang' during a past event

    For years, households tuned in to KBC TV every Monday evening for their weekly dose of laughter from the creators of Vitimbi.

    In 2014, however, the long-running comedy was permanently taken off screen and for a year, the stars of the show remained mute about the abrupt move.

    In July 2015, Mary Kavere, who played Mama Kayai told the press that the cast was kicked out from the station one morning because they had grown too old.

    KBC chased us one morning after all those years saying that we were old. They didn’t tell us what went wrong. That was very disrespectful of our careers,” she stated.

    Other stars of the show told NTV's The Trend, which was at the time hosted by Larry Madowo, that they were shown the door without compensation.

    3. Upclose With Betty Kyallo

    A file photo of Betty Kyallo
    A file photo of Betty Kyallo
    Facebook

    For the better part of 2018 and 2019, Weekend With Betty dominated Fridays prime time ratings with her signature spotlight interview style in which she would spend a day with celebrities and politicians and document it for broadcast.

    In 2020, however, her stay at the Kijabe street-based station became untenable after Mediamax Network Limited workers engaged in a tussle with its management over the decision to slash their salaries by half.

    The saga kicked off with a majority of the station's employees moving to court to stop the company from slashing their pay.

    In March, before the matter was concluded, Kyalllo announced her exit and revived the show on her YouTube channel.

    In June, K24 TV fired its entire newsroom staff sparing only two.

    4. Jicho Pevu

    Nyali MP Mohammed Ali addresses area residents on February 16, 2019.
    Nyali MP Mohammed Ali addresses area residents on February 16, 2019.
    Daily Nation

    For 10 years between 2007 and 2017, Mohammed Ali, popularly known as Moha Jicho Pevu, was the envy of journalists the country over.

    He captured the attention of the country, and received death threats while at it, for his hit investigative show, Jicho Pevu on KTN.

    On Sunday, September 20, Ali, in an interview on The Hot Seat, told host Jacque Maribe that his stay at KTN had been immensely affected by disagreements with a member from the management.

    He further disclosed that he, together with John Allan Namu, had set up Africa Uncensored as part of their exit plan after their investigative pieces were constantly fought by an editor at KTN.

    The exit plan was, however, not smooth as sponsors shunned their new venture making it hard for them to monetise. 

    When he left KTN, he ran for office and was elected Nyali MP, a position he holds to date.

    5. JKL on KTN

    Citizen TV anchor Jeff Koinange using a fire extinguisher during an interview on JKL in 2019.
    Citizen TV anchor Jeff Koinange using a fire extinguisher during an interview on JKL in 2019.
    Citizen Digital

    After his return to the Kenyan media scene following stints at CNN and ABC news, Jeff Koinange's show on KTN were considered ratings juggernaut.

    In 2016, the station, however, dropped the show despite high ratings after a clip emerged of derogatory statement made by his guest, now-exiled lawyer Miguna Miguna at the time.

    He was hosting Miguna and Esther Passaris when the former apparently made the remark off air.

    Koinange later apologised about the incident announcing that the episode was the station's last. He would later join Citizen TV where he revived the programme under a new name, JKLive.