The "Africa's Oprah Winfrey" label isn't one I came up with; that's what she's been called within and outside of Africa, although she's originally from Nigeria, born and educated in the UK primarily.
And I should note that it's a label she rejects; although I wonder if the two have ever met. I couldn't find any evidence that they have.
Her name is Mo Abudu, a talk show host, TV producer, media personality. Her talk show, Moments with Mo, was launched in 2006 on South Africa's subscription-funded TV network M-Net, and is said to be the first syndicated daily talk show on African regional television.
The talk show was an instant success, immediately drawing comparisons to the Oprah Winfrey Show, covering numerous topics ranging from lifestyle, health, culture, politics, entertainment, and much more, with guests including celebrities, Presidents, Nobel Laureates, and even the 67th US Secretary-of-State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
And with the success of Moments with Mo (it aired in 48 African countries, and also now airs on cable TV in other parts of the world), the 47-year-old entrepreneur is launching a new network set to debut on South African pay-TV platform DStv called EbonyLife TV.
It is set to launch in early 2013. It's the first time that a fully Nigerian-owned network will be carried by DStv.
No word yet on what the new network's programming will include specifically, but Ms Abudu says the 24 hour channel will focus on celebrating the lives and accomplishments of Africans, and providing a more complete representation of continental Africa.
Content will include original series, news and talkshows, along with imported content "that addresses issues relevant to black audiences in Africa and its diaspora."
Mo Abudu states:
The goal of the new network is to produce content that gives young people hope across the continent [a group that she says remains underserved by African media, apart from music-driven channels like MTV Base]. These are the people that 10 years from now are going to be running the continent, and we're not engaging them. We want to make sure that the content we produce has global appeal… The vision is a global vision for EbonyLife.
Production on original content is reportedly already in motion, as Abudu works on finding partners around the world to expand EbonyLife TV's reach internationally.
Something to watch going forward…
By the way, Tinapa Studios, a high-end film and TV production studio in Nigeria is being redeveloped Mo Abudu; and it also happens to be home to the production of Half Of A Yellow Sun, which wrapped shooting a few weeks ago.
And if you'd like to watch Mo in action on her show, it has a YouTube channel with clips from episodes of the show, like the one I embedded below (access the YouTube channel HERE):