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‘Real Housewives SA to go ahead’, Barbie manager claims

The manager of a woman who claims she has the right to produce a South African version of reality show Real Housewives… has said shooting on “totally different” style of format is moving ahead.

This comes despite Housewives’ international format owner NBCUniversal stating it has had no contact with the woman, named Barbie Brazil, nor her manager Lelo Bikitsha and the fact that the format is under option with another unnamed South African prodco.

Brazil and Bikitsha claim they have registered the Real Housewives brand name legally through the South African trade department and that this gives them the right to create a series in the country. They also claim a “couple” of major local broadcasters have expressed concrete interest in the project and expect to make an announcement on a deal soon.

Questioned by TBI on how they plan to create a series, Bikitsha said: “The answer is simple. We plan to shoot and go ahead with the shooting of our reality show that focuses on the lavish lifestyle of South Africa’s housewives. The show will be aired here in South Africa and nowhere else.”

He added formats were a “tricky” business and claimed: “It is impossible to patent a format, simply because it is not new and neither is it unique. We are allowed by South African law to air the show here in South Africa and we have the legal documentation to prove it.”

Bikitsha said his show would not copy “anything that the NBC studio is currently using” and that the series would be “totally different” to other versions of the format, which has broadcast in territories including the US, Israel, France and Greece among others.

In response to the TBI story, NBCU today issued a statement that read: “NBCUniversal is unaware of the claims made by Ms Brazil and is not in business with her. There is already an existing option for the Real Housewives format rights in South Africa.”

BIkitsha said he and Brazil would “like to resolve any conflict and possible friction that may occur in the future so that everyone involved is happy”.