Franz Marx, has his theories about the immense popularity of EGOLI. ''Viewers can identify with the daily conflicts that unfold in EGOLI, and I do believe that the South African setting provides a sense of the exotic. We are always striving to improve tempo and story-lines, and to give viewers a wide range of characters they can either love - or loathe.'' Marx admits that when he writes, he has a very specific target audience in mind. ''EGOLI is aimed at women of all nationalities between the ages of twenty-five and forty-five, with middle or upper incomes''.
Due to Marx's ability to keep the EGOLI story lines topical, from World Cup Soccer & Rugby, Valentine's Day, and the Olympic Games to the Queen's visit, EGOLI clicks into current events and newsworthy issues worldwide. Marx says he reads two international papers a day, so he can keep on top of trends and current events. His Producers keep a watchful eye on the calendar, and many organisations contact Franz Marx Films to offer their input on forthcoming happenings on the local scene. Marx seems to know just how to keep his viewers coming back for more, often with a fresh ''injection'' of talent to keep interest levels high. Viewers have seen international stars such as Joan Collins, Richard Steinmetz, James Horan, Perry Stevens and Samantha Fox alongside local favourites like National athletes, rugby & cricket players.
It's very important to keep track of new trends, changing lifestyles, and those subtle shifts that characterise our lives in the nineties. We produce EGOLI for our viewers, and not for ourselves, so if our viewers don't like a character's clothes or hairstyle, for instance, we listen to that criticism, and make the necessary changes. It never pays to underestimate your audience.'' In his view, the credibility of the characters, the fast pace of the storyline, the complexity of the plot and the infallible combination of humour and drama are all key ingredients for EGOLI's winning recipe.
The writers, guided by a head writer, never work in isolation. They work as a team on the structure, detail, planning and continuity of the story.
Thousands of fans flock to the ''EGOLI Spectacular'' every year to meet their favourite stars. Burgert Muller, EGOLI's Associate Producer, says these promotional shows are performed at stadiums in cities, countrywide. ''The EGOLI Spectacular' has exceeded our greatest expectations,'' comments Muller. ''About 60 000 EGOLI fans flocked to the Margate Spectacular and created an incredible atmosphere on the beach. Fans and their interaction with the stars are what makes this show so special.'' Over the years EGOLI has boasted its own perfume and cookbook. The EGOLI cook book, with favourite recipes from the show's characters, Nenna, Elsa, Donna and Mrs. Naidoo, ranked number 1 on the top ten best-seller list for several weeks.
In 1999 EGOLI surpassed all previous records in the local television industry by becoming the first program in any genre to reach an incredible 2000 episodes in just under eight years of broadcast. Episode 2000 was broadcast on 3 December 1999.
As part of the Episode 2000 celebrations, EGOLI launched it's own hotline, to make it as easy as possible for viewers to stay on top of all that's happening on EGOLI. The hotline gives daily updates on the previous night's episode as well as a sneak preview on what's happening the next day.
At the end of 1999 Reinette Louw published ''Franz Marx's EGOLI 2000''. The book takes the reader behind the scenes, revealing how the series started, how it is made, and how it affects and changes the lives of the stars. In addition, the story is recapped as it unfolded what happened to Nenna, Louwna and all the other stars over the past eight years. EGOLI star Brümilda van Rensburg (Louwna Edwards in EGOLI): ''EGOLI's success has stunned me. I personally thought that we weren't going to produce more than 500 episodes - and just look how far we've come!''
''EGOLI has become a legend; and a few of its characters have actually become role-models'' adds Darryl Desmarais who portrays Stephen Edwards. ''It's also been a powerful injection for the industry - there are not a lot of producers like Franz Marx who are prepared to deal with a massive production team like the one on EGOLI.
Carl Fischer adds that every local production, whether it is a long running soap or a talk show, makes a valuable contribution to the overall development and standards of the South African production industry. ''EGOLI has been a beacon of opportunity for a host of South African, writers, actors and technicians - many of whom have moved on to contributing to the success of a host of other South African productions that grace our television screens. EGOLI's longevity is testimony to its wonderful ability to speak to the hearts and minds of South African viewers over the past decade.''
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