We caught up with Patience Stevens, who is co-producer of Top Billing, Pasella, Expresso Morning Show and Afternoon Express alongside Tswelopele Productions Chairperson, Basetsana Kumalo and an all-round pioneer in the local television industry.
With Presenter Search on 3 coming to an end soon, Patience Stevens, who is one of the judges, gives us a sneak peak to what we can expect.
The Presenter Search on 3 has been a great way to unearth new talent but is also a popular reality show as well. Why do you think so many people enjoy watching this show?
I think that so many of us would love to present on television – but we do not all have the talent or confidence required. So, when you watch contestants excel, you can enjoy and be happy for them and when you see the really extraordinary auditions, you can have sympathy with them but also enjoy the humour of the moment.
The auditions have come and gone. What did you look for when a potential contestant walked into the room?
Someone confident, intelligent, charming, well informed, eloquent with an excellent command of language, good general knowledge and an ability to express themselves. We looked for someone the viewer would enjoy sharing time with and who they would want to invite into their homes on their TV screens and to interact with on social media platforms.
What has been the biggest challenge for you as a judge so far?
Trying not to make anyone feel insecure or unhappy about not being selected to go through.
Why do you think people should tune in and watch the show?
It’s fun! There is a lot of talent out there and it’s good to see people taking the risk of showing their strengths and weaknesses in order to achieve their dream of being a presenter on SABC3. DJ Fresh, Jeannie D and Sbusiso Kumalo are all great on camera as judges and add their unique energy and insight to the show.
Your career has been an exceptional one. Tell us a bit more about where your passion for TV started.
I studied drama at Wits where we learnt a lot about filmmaking and did many live theatre productions in a number of different genres. Performing on stage – with an audience – and feeling their reactions was an exciting grounding in what it means to entertain. Television gives this same special opportunity to communicate – but to a much larger audience – and going live is a thrill all of its own.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
There have been many exciting moments and highlights. Forming Tswelopele Productions with Basetsana Kumalo and being in partnership since 1995 has been special. Celebrating 25 years of Top Billing in 2017 with SABC3 was a massive highlight. Starting Cardova Productions, and specialising in advertiser funded shows, seeing Expresso on air for the past 8 years – and Afternoon Express for the past four. Creating brands like Top Travel and Win a Home with Bradley van den Berg. Producing the two latest series of Tropika Island Of Treasure and seeing the excellent audience ratings. Winning SAFTA awards for Top Billing, Pasella, and for Expresso and, of course, being appreciated and given the chance by SABC3 to be a judge on this new series of the Presenter Search on 3.