In-House: Iconic Africa Magic Shows

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Before online streaming platforms were available in Nigeria, one of the major sources of entertainment accessible to Nigerian households was cable television. For a few hours a day, families were gathered together to catch the latest episodes of whatever enthralling show had piqued their interests. When Africa Magic was founded in 2003, it quickly became the go-to channel to watch movies and shows tailored towards Africans. Its success resulted in an expansion of the brand, and in the 20 years since its inception, it has grown to be a chain of seven channels. 

Although Africa Magic shows are still a significant part of Nigeria’s entertainment culture, we can’t help but look back at its earlier years and the iconic shows it provided. 


Edge of Paradise

In 2006, MultiChoice Nigeria launched the hit family drama series, Edge of Paradise. The soap opera follows the life of Emeka Anyanwu, his wife Asabe, and their three children, Dozie, Adaora, and Obinna. A typical middle-class family, Edge of Paradise explores their individuality, dreams, and perspectives, and how this affects their family as a unit. 


Unlike many other popular drama series at the time, Edge of Paradise offered a distinct perspective on family dynamics within middle-class Nigerian families. The series opens with Emeka losing his job and how he navigates telling his wife and adjusting to their new economic realities. Unemployment, alongside many other social issues including cultism, and injustice were tackled through the plot of the show. 


During the show’s run, it  had many families glued to the edges of their seats with its realistic portrayal of Nigerian family relationships and lessons on healthy coexistence amongst others. 



The Nigerian entertainment scene is full of glitz and glamor but behind the faces of our favorite stars, are humans with exciting and interesting lives. Jara is a variety show that focuses on spotlighting the behind-the-scenes moments in the Nigerian film industry. 

Hosted by Big Brother Africa All-Stars winner, Uti Nwachukwu, and Comedienne  Helen Paul, the duo sat with upcoming actors and industry heavyweights on the show. The show originally launched in 2011 and was renewed for about nine subsequent seasons after its first year. 

The style of the show is laid-back and very conversational, offering guests a safe space to just speak about their careers, and share the truth about their journeys. The audience is taken  through a visual journey, with clips and pictures as the guest narrates their stories. 

Jara’s evolution over the years, whilst maintaining authenticity is one of the reasons it remains one of Africa Magic’s most successful shows. 


The Johnsons 

Only Africa Magic OGs will be well aware of the significance  The Johnsons has to the franchise. This endearing family comedy-drama, directed by Charles Inojie, originally graced our screens in 2012, and over the course of a remarkable decade, it has united families. With Chinedu Ikedieze brilliantly portraying the smart Efetobore  Johnson, Olumide Owuru’s charismatic portrayal of fine boy Tari Johnson, and the late Ada Emu’s perfect portrayal of the role of Mrs. Emu Johnson. 

One of the show’s standout qualities is its ability to portray the resilience of the average Nigerian family living in Lagos, Nigeria. The Johnsons skillfully explores the everyday challenges and triumphs faced by the Johnson family, making it relatable to viewers of various backgrounds.

With its compelling storytelling, strong character development, and consistent humor, The Johnsons has remained a beloved and influential TV series on Africa Magic.

Hotel Majestic 

Hotel Majestic was a captivating and popular television series on Africa Magic that left a significant mark on Nigerian television. Premiering in 2015, the show, set against the backdrop of a luxurious hotel, offered viewers a unique blend of drama, intrigue, and romance.

The show,  known for its gripping storytelling, filled with secrets, power struggles, and complex relationships covers the story of the Emeni Family’s betrayal over their ancestral riverside hotel in a pristine Nigerian community, a legacy spanning generations since the late 1800s was written by Tunde Aladese and brilliantly directed by Tope Oshin.  What set Hotel Majestic apart  from other series on Africa Magic was its frequent use of Pidgin by the characters, which served to enhance the authenticity and relatability of the characters.

Though Hotel Majestic eventually concluded its run, it remains a memorable and beloved series that contributed significantly to the Africa  Magic franchise.  


Nigerian Idol 

Nigerians are generally entertaining people, whether intentional or not, there is always something humorous in a lot of the things they do. Hence it is not surprising that a talent show set up to usher in the next singing sensation would be riddled with unbelievable and knee-slapping moments. In 2010, Nigerian Idol was launched as a spin-off of Idols West Africa, the singing competition that brought Timi Dakolo and Omawunmi to our screens. 

The Nigerian Idol franchise centered the Nigerian market and provided a landing spot for viewers to watch and unwind. Eight seasons in, the franchise is still going strong, providing entertainment for its viewers and creating opportunities for the contestants to improve their craft. 


Jenifa ’s Diary

The lead character Jenifa, from the 2008 hit self-titled movie, took a life of its own after the successful release of the movie. Starring Funke Akindele, Jenifa was a comedy  drama following the life of a “village girl” who was exposed to new experiences at the University of Lagos, a long way from her hometown. The movie, as well as its characters, became a household name in the country, to the extent that Funke Akindele was repeatedly referred to as Jenifa. The sequel, The Return of Jenifa was released in 2011, and in 2014, the television series adaptation of the show, Jenifa’s Diary aired. 

Riding off the success and reputation of the movie Jenifa, the television series was met with intrigue and anticipation. Fans were excited to continue the journey with their favorite  character who was now a school dropout and a hairdresser. The character’s distinct personality was kept the same, with staggering grammatical  blunders and her resilience to make the best out of opportunities given to her. 

The popular series has gone on to have 21 seasons, featuring actors and celebrities like Falz the bad guy, Tiwa Savage, Lolo, Lota Chukwu. Although the series was comedic, it is often used to pass salient messages to its viewers and address societal issues in Nigerian society. Jenifa’s Diary became a mirror of the many complexities of the average Nigerian. 

Although Jenifa’s Diary is not an Africa Magic original, the series has had a significant run time on the channel and is woven into the Africa  Magic television experience. 

  Jacob’s Cross

African drama Jacob’s Cross had its M-Net debut in January 2007 and ran for eight seasons before ending in 2013. The South African-produced series was eventually transformed into a drama for M-Net’s Africa Magic channels. 

The story revolves around businessman Jacob Makhubu Abayomi, an illegitimate son of a Nigerian business executive, who suddenly inherits a sprawling oil  empire. Upon the inheritance, Jacob sets out to consolidate on his inherited oil empire, however, his dream is threatened by his father’s family who believeJacob doesn’t belong in the family.  The family disputes and betrayals serve as the motivation for Jacob’s goal to create an African oil and gas business empire under their watchful eyes. 

Jacob’s Cross explores African identity, dreams, and legacies, with the themes cutting across the fabrics of its African audience. 

 53 Extra 

53 Extra, a spin-off of  Studio 53, premiered on July 1, 2010. The hosts were media personality IK Osakioduwa, and filmmaker Kemi Adetiba, with Dolapo Oni and Eku Edewor serving as co-pilots for the show.

Extending the impact of the show, in 2014, Sika Osei and Ozzy Agu joined the 53 Extra family, with Mawuli Gavor, Torah Olaiya, and Amira Ibrahim Alfa joining in 2017, the final entry of Simi Drey in 2019. 

The title ‘53 Extra’ represents the 53 countries that make up the African continent. Over the course of a decade, 53 Extra featured the best of African culture in terms of fashion, cuisine, travel destinations, décor, music, and all other aspects of African life. Each weekly episode showcases the best of African culture. Three years after wrapping its curtains, the impact of 53 Extra is still felt across the African entertainment industry. 

Doctors’ Quarters 

Nigerian soap opera Doctors’ Quarters marked its debut on M-Net in 2005 and ran until 2006. 

Starring Lilian Amah, Funlola Aofiyebi, Peter Aziza, Kate Henshaw, Kayode Ogunyemi, Ashionye Michelle Raccah and Preere Yibowei, amongst others, the TV series followed the story of five talented students as they cope with the trials and tribulations of life with death around the corner.

Leading the show were Moyo, Omolara, and Nadia, all of whom are guided by different motives. The inquisitive film student, Moyo, embarks on a project to account for the affairs of residents of the Doctors’ Quarters. The sophisticated Omolara is entangled in a romantic relationship with an older doctor, while at the same time attempting to conceal a family secret. 24-year-old Nadia defies her family’s wishes by undergoing medical training. 

The men were not left out of the show, with Ugo and Sammy being the foremost characters. Ugo is an intelligent final-year student who has the world dancing to his tunes—he’s got the charm and everything falls in place for him— but so he has to create a balance between his smoothness and his compassion for patients in need of his help. Sammy appears calm and  good-natured, but a nagging violent past poses a threat to his sanity. 

Shot in Lagos, Nigeria,  the show reflected the rich, colorful, and pacy culture of the country. Created in a 26-part drama, the show was backed by Integrated Broadcast Solutions & Technology and Endemol Nigeria. 



Originally created by Yinka Ogun in 2008, Tinsel takes pride in being the longest-running TV show in Africa, with an official accolade earned at the 2022 AMVCAs, and one of the most successful Nigerian television dramas in recent times.

First released on 1st of August 2008 on M-net, the exhaustive soap opera has been graced by a long list of actors, including veterans such as Ireti Doyle, Funlola Aofiyebi-Raimi, Osas Ighodaro, Linda Ejiofor, Kalu Ikeagwu and Yul Edochie. The story revolves around two rival film companies, Reel Studios founded by Fred Ade-Williams and Odyssey Pictures, headed by Brenda “Nana” Mensah. Over the years, the show has evolved, with the showrunners reimagining it in different forms and keeping the audience enthralled in a medley of romance, scandal, drama, betrayal, and triumph. 

In 2022, the cast and crew of the show celebrated its reaching 3,500 episodes, a milestone that was chronicled in a documentary titled Through The Decades: A Tinsel Story. The documentary reflects on how the trail-blazing series has survived for over a decade, including the changes, improvements and lapses that have occurred. Featured  in the  documentary are both past and current cast members of the series, current and past stakeholders of MNet/Africa Magic, pioneering producers of the show , and other notable  industry icons such as Tunde Kelani, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Tade Ogidan, and Joke Silva.

With its plots having been woven by incredible screenwriters like Kemi Adesoye, Tunde Babalola,  Uju Asika and Yinka Ogun , Tinsel continues to rule the screens, maintaining its reputation as Africa’s most valuable TV series.