Citizen TV, the media outlet owned by billionaire SK Macharia, is tipping its toes in the uncharted waters of long-form true crime-style docuseries for the foreseeable future.
A highly placed source who spoke to Kenyans.co.ke on condition of anonymity confirmed that the station's latest production, Jane and Solomon, took more than a year to piece together.
Overseen by Royal Media Services Managing Director Wachira Waruru who was credited as producer and script writer, the series unearths the forgotten story of Jane Muthoni, a high school principal convicted of murdering her husband, Solomon Mwangi, who served as Kiru Boys’ High School principal.
The source explained that the team behind the series, whose inaugural episode aired on Sunday, August 13 and is slated to run until Sunday, August 20, was meticulously put together by the CEO himself.
The source, who has good knowledge of the project, indicated that the team chose the case which made headlines since 2016 due to the relatability of its characters.
"This particular story is intriguing but it is something that anyone can relate to. These are school teachers and everyone knows a school teacher and they are normal Kenyans. They are very progressive and ambitious. They wanted to prosper and were prospering then death struck. That is intriguing," our source noted.
"It has taken a long time (developing the project). We started over a year ago. It was difficult to do anything while the trial was still on. We had to wait for it to be concluded."
Shifting its focus towards special projects such as extensive true crime documentaries, which demand substantial resources and manpower, Citizen TV is positioning itself in the diverse digital media landscape and the global fascination with true crime content.
"It was intended to be fair and it is all based on court records and nothing else. (The series) is too long and each episode must match the ruthlessness of the murder," our source added.
The Kilimani-based station is said to have lined up similar multi-episode documentaries but it is still not clear whether Waruru, a respected media veteran, will be personally involved in the subsequent projects.
Wachira Waruru Profile
A media veteran who joined the industry decades ago, Waruru assumed the Position of Chief Executive at Royal Media Services in 2007. He is widely credited with shaping and driving the growth and expansion of the media house which owns two TV stations and over 10 radio stations.
Throughout his tenure as RMS boss, the media company has achieved a significant bump in viewership, largely due to Waruru’s focus on local and diverse content boosted by dynamic news teams over the years.
In 2018, Waruru was elected unopposed as the chairman of the Media Owners Association (MOA). Simultaneously, he served as the chairman of the media-led Presidential Debate series.
Two years later, former President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed him to the private sector-led Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund, responsible for mobilising resources to counter the pandemic's impact.
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