Nigeria's Television Talk Show Pioneers


With the development and rapid growth in the numbers of the Television Talk shows in Nigeria today, we decided to go down memory lane to where it all started. The world of daytime Television talk shows wouldn't be the same without these 3 women who paved the way for the growth which is been witnessed in the industry today; they are the Nigeria’s Television show forerunners.

MEE Mofe Damijo
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  Sunshine Foundation
The name May Ellen Ezekiel may not ring a bell to the new generation of Nigerians but the foremost journalist, author and writer in the country kept us glued to our TV watching her show, the MEE & You show on NTA  2 Channel 5 until her death in 1996. The show came to an abrupt end following the death of MEE who was wife of Nigerian Actor now turned Commissioner, Richard Mofe Damijo. MEE was the first female publisher in the country with her celebrity magazine, Classique Magazine which had the likes of Dele Momodu and Richard Mofe Damijo on board. 

Funmi Iyanda
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For over 8 years, Funmi Iyanda kept us enthralled with her live TV magazine programme, “New Dawn with Funmi”. The 3 hour programme which debuted in 2000 on NTA Channel 10 and later moved to the NTA network cuts across all age groups and social classes with segments such as sports, personality interview, comedy-Mama and Papa Nothing Spoil, health-Dr. Ogaga and much more with viewers calling in to ask questions. Olufunmilola Aduke Iyanda, better known as Funmi Iyanda, is an award-winning broadcaster, journalist, columnist and blogger. Funmi's foray into television began when she started producing and presenting “Good Morning Nigeria”, a breakfast magazine television show. The show became a hit, with its "Heroes" segment, which exalted the achievement of deserving members of the society, and "Street Life", which unlike many shows at the time went out on the streets in search of compelling Nigerian human-interest stories. Good Morning Nigeria focused on the injustices suffered by Nigerians, particularly the vulnerable members such as women and children.

The success of the show, “New Dawn with Funmi”, made it the longest running independently produced show on NTA. The show used its influence as a vehicle for social change and transformation by advocating the cause of the vulnerable members of the society, particularly women, youth and children. New Dawn gave birth to the "Change-A-Life" social intervention project. Over the years, Change-A-Life has affected the lives of many children and people through its scholarship, healthcare, counseling and micro-finance intervention scheme. The scholarship scheme supports 98 children.

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After a two-year hiatus, “Aunty Funmi” as we love to call her returned to our screen with “Talk with Funmi”, a groundbreaking television show which premiered in January 2010 on DSTV's Africa Magic & Magic World (Primetime), NTA/AIT and other selected stations around Nigeria. In show, Funmi journeys across Nigeria, capturing people and conversations from all spheres of life around the country. The show talks to people everywhere – from ordinary citizens going about their business to celebrities in unusual but natural settings. Also in 2010, she completed production on “My Country: Nigeria”, a three-part documentary celebrating the 50th anniversary of the country’s independence, which was aired on the BBC World Service. Lagos Stories, one of the episodes of the documentary, was subsequently nominated in the category for “Best News Documentary” at the 2011 Monte Carlo Television Festival in Monaco.
In 2011, she was honored as a Young Global Leader (YGL) by the World Economic Forum and was recently named one of Forbes 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa.

Agatha Amata
The 1989 Botany graduate of the University of Jos made her debut on the Nigerian screen in 1997 with her multi award winning show, “Inside out with Agatha” discussing issues that affect the society focusing on the family using the youth as a tool. It soon became a model for other talk shows on Nigerian television and an influential platform for many Nigerian youths to express themselves.

 “Inside out with Agatha” is the longest running independently produced show on Nigerian Television and is currently aired on 16 Television stations across the country including Mnet’s Africa Magic Channel and HITV.  The Real Inside-out Magazine is the talk show in print form, still addressing issues and also reviving the reading culture of the young ones. 

Agatha also runs an NGO named “Foundation for Effective Socio Economic Change in Africa”, initiated to employ the media as an effective tool advocating for a moral re-armament in society.

Also Worthy of mention is the contributions of Adesuwa Onnyenokwe, who was the Anchor of One-One on  with Adesuwa on NTA Network and host of Today's Women with Adesuwa on NTA 2 Channel 5

© 2013, GeneAfrique. All rights reserved. 

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  1. I loved New Dawn with Funmi, not a fan of Agatha's show

  2. They are all great presenters.