Top rated movie reality television show, Next Movie Star (NMS), is in dire straits. The show that discovered and nurtured to stardom acts like Portia Yamaha, Tonto Dike, Annie Macaulay, Uti Nwachukwu and Kevin Pam now making waves in Big Brother Africa, has found itself in deep financial mess, which insiders say may not be unconnected to the profligate lifestyle of the producers.
Despite several millions of naira annually raked in from sponsors by Mr. Sola Fajobi, boss of Digital Interactive Media, production company of NMS, Off the Stage learnt that the account is always in the red, while several people including staff and service providers are being owed huge sum of money. Only last week, a service provider had to drag Fajobi to the police station in a bid to recover his money.
In 2008, Next Movie Star paraded housemates from Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra-Leone, Liberia and Gambia with a promise that the winner would go home with assorted prizes including a brand new car, USD 5000, movie contracts, a flat for one year, and all expenses paid trips to major film festivals in Europe, while other housemates would get N10 million worth of prizes. But for reasons best known to Fajobi, almost all these promises have not been fulfilled, prompting winners and housemates to threaten fire and brimstone including court action to get their dues.
To show the terrible financial state in which Next Movie Star has found itself, recently Fajobi desperately and unashamedly sent a Save-Our-Soul text message to several people including past housemates soliciting for money. The SMS reads thus: “Good morning, I know the situation is not rosy for anyone now, God will take charge. I need to raise some funds by all means today and this week. I have lots of confirmed funds coming in November and December. Invoices available for confirmation. I am ready to pay up to 15 per cent within two months. Any amount can add value. Please, reply. Sola Fajobi.”
However, insider sources have revealed that people are lukewarm to Fajobi’s begging bowl, because of his antecedents in not redeeming pledges. Now, this situation has taken the shine off this year’s edition of the show. What a pity!