8 February 2020

Selina, Ma’Empress are among the most-watched shows in Kenya

It comes as no surprise that when Showmax released the latest ratings of its most-watched shows in Kenya, Swahili telenovela Selina and comedy-drama series Ma’Empress made the list. It’s a feat worth celebrating, especially for the film/TV industry in Kenya that continues to make bigger and bigger strides.

Clearly the myth that Kenyans don’t watch local content has been busted, and Philip Karanja, Ma’Empress co-producer couldn’t agree more.

“Kenyans will always want to watch what is Kenyan. I think that the narrative that Kenyans only love watching international shows is a lie because the conversation on the ground is very different. It’s actually we producers who are not keeping up with the amount of content that Kenyans want. And in terms of quality, the only way to get to international standards is by being on the ground, every day, working and practising,” Phil says.

His sentiments are echoed by Selina producer and director Reuben Odanga, “Kenyans are appreciating local content which is very good and important for this industry. The feedback we get from shows like Selina tells you that many people are watching so that assumption is not necessarily true.”

One of Odanga’s best work yet, Selina’s popularity is undeniable. It’s the first local show (that’s not a reality show) that has been passionately and immensely talked about on social media with each passing episode. And by the looks of it, is not about to dial down on the drama and plot twists even after the whole Rosette roller coaster. If you’ve been keeping up with the show, then you know that Nelson’s mother and sister who may not be the angels they appear to be, causing a rift between Nelson and Selina. But if they survived Rosette, then these two lovebirds can survive anything.

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“To be among the most-watched shows in Kenya means we are doing something right and it gives us a sense of direction to what more needs to be done. A word to local filmmakers out there: Let’s keep raising the bar!” Odanga says.

Selina which follows the tortuous romance between Selina (Celestine Gachuhi) and Nelson (Pascal Tokodi) is never short of drama week after week and has unleashed an appetite for local soap operas once only reserved for Mexican and Filipino telenovelas.

Ma’Empress, on the other hand, mirrors the struggles faced by women in the society we live in today using humour and drama, and Phil couldn’t be happier with the results. “It’s great that Kenyans see the vision that we had for the show. Ma’Empress is show about women dealing with women issues, as real as the subject can be.”

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