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Friday, 20 April, 2001, 12:40 GMT 13:40 UK
Ghana's 'Larry King' returns
Ghanaian family watching television
TV is now reaching more and more people in Ghana
By Penny Dale in Accra

What could prove to be Ghana's answer to the US Larry King Show is back on the airwaves on Sunday after a short-lived existence under the former government of Jerry Rawlings.

"Kwaku: one on one", which features head-to-head interviews with Ghanaians from different walks of life and current affairs questioning, ran for just five weeks before it was slung off the national television station GTV in February 1998.

Kwaku Sakyi-Addo
Kwaku Sakyi-Addo thinks people want something more than just politics
Presenter Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, a respected and well-known broadcaster and journalist, believes it was dumped because one of its guest's answers annoyed the Rawlings regime.

It had a reputation for repression of the media, especially in its early days.

The show's return indicates a growing media confidence under the new president, John Kufuor, elected at the end of last year.

Intimate profiles

The series, which had good reviews first time around, returns with an attempt to get inside the new president's mind.

It reveals a likeable man steeped in politics because of a childhood spent in a house with a constant stream of political gatherings.

As with his other interviewees, it is his personality rather than his policies which Sakyi-Addo tries to draw out.

President John Kufuor
The first programme is an in-depth interview with President Kufuor
"I want to know what sort of personal qualities people have, what they've done in their lives and why," Sakyi-Addo says.

He believes other Ghanaians also want the bigger picture, something other than the political nitty-gritty that has come to dominate the country's vibrant independent radio stations.

"I get the sense that there is too much noise at the moment. Every station now has its talk-in programmes.

"I want to offer people something different, perhaps even a refugee."

Personality-type interviews will on occasion make way for current affairs interviews, however, which will also include non-Ghanaians.

Popular TV

While more Ghanaians have access to radio than television, more working-class urbanites are joining the ranks of the TV-watching professionals.

There is usually one TV set in most villages, where owners gladly open windows to give more people a look-in.

The 45-minute programmes are recorded for broadcast on GTV's prime time 1730 Sunday slot.

The style and format is comparable to that used by CNN's Larry King and the BBC's HardTalk - close-ups and direct questioning, with most of the talking being done by the guests.

"I'm not trying just to be like Larry King, but what I like about his show is the fact that he asks simple and direct questions."

Other guests on the show include a keyboard player, who hit the big time while in his teens and rubbed shoulders with music's rich and famous.

But he just as quickly lost his $3m fortune and 20 years later he is back in Ghana's capital Accra, penniless and relying on handouts from friends to feed a drug addiction.

This story contrasts with the life and work of a successful young brain surgeon, an unusual occupation in Ghana.

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See also:

07 Jan 01 | Africa
Ghana marks start of 'new era'
06 Jan 01 | Africa
Kufuor: Ghana's gentle giant
06 Jan 01 | Africa
Rawlings farewell to military
16 Feb 01 | Africa
Kufuor promises economic change
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