South Africa’s Model Million$ goes on-off, misses deadlines and loses sponsor


Reality show Model Million$ appears to have been blighted by a spectacular run of bad luck. However, it’s unclear what part of this bad luck it has bought upon itself and what part is beyond its control.

The brainchild of South African pin-up Kerry McGregor, the show has been beset with filming problems from the outset, which have resulted in extensive production delays. These interruptions led to the first episode reportedly being delivered to the SABC3 studios a mere 20 minutes before it was due to air, while the second episode of the reality series, which kicked off on October 1, was pushed back by a week. Now comes the news that Million$ has been placed on a two-week hiatus.

In a statement issued last week (a few hours before the third instalment was scheduled to screen), the global financial crisis, coupled with the weak rand, were blamed for the halt in recording. "As recently as last week we lost a major funding source from the US as a result of the economic chaos in that country," said executive producer Wayne Kyle. "Luckily, we have managed to secure additional sponsorships and hedge our international transactions, but it has unfortunately impacted on the production and put us behind …"

While Kyle said his team intended to pursue legal recourse against the American sponsor for reneging on their contractual agreement, "it's something that could go on for years and doesn't help us now." This effectively means Model Million$ will only return to the tube on Wednesday November 19, and the intended December 31 crowning of the winner on New Year's Eve will no longer be viable.

Nevertheless, Kyle is adamant that the show must go on, adding: "We are determined to bring the South African public the full series, even if it means that it will only end in January. "We will also spend this time implementing changes to the series, based on viewer feedback."

Understandably, the major question on the participating models', as well as TV audiences', minds is whether the loss of funding will affect the R1-million prize money, or the $1-million that viewers at home could also stand to win through the show's interactive SMS and Internet-based social networking competition.

Filmaker South Africa