In a heartfelt announcement on Sunday, the renowned investigative journalism program, Carte Blanche, revealed that their presenter, Derek Watts, would be temporarily stepping back from his work to prioritize his health. Last year, Watts received a diagnosis of skin cancer that had unfortunately spread to his lungs. However, with the support of his family and medical specialists, he had been able to continue his role on Carte Blanche.
“While this news is undoubtedly disheartening, we remain hopeful and optimistic about Derek’s journey toward recovery. We have complete confidence in the expertise and dedication of his medical team, who will provide the best possible care and support throughout this process,” read the official statement released by the Carte Blanche team.
UPDATE ON DEREK WATTS’ HEALTH@DerekWatts updates #CarteBlanche viewers on his health. Read the full statement now on our website. Papa D, the Carte Blanche family and MultiChoice team are behind you all the way. https://t.co/Tz9oeEXtdQ pic.twitter.com/KS9dI5Sqjy
— Carte Blanche (@carteblanchetv) June 11, 2023
Watts’ health challenges extended beyond his battle with cancer. Last year, he experienced an incident during a family trip to Hoedspruit when he collapsed and was later diagnosed with severe sepsis. It was a long road to recovery, during which he had to relearn how to walk with the help of a physiotherapist.
Despite these setbacks, Watts expressed his determination to return to the show once his health improves. In a taped recording shared from his hospital bed on Saturday, he provided an update on his condition, saying he’ll be back soon.
Well-wishes to Derek Watts
Carte Blanche Executive Producer, John Webb, acknowledged the immense impact that the support and well-wishes from viewers had on Watts during his recovery from sepsis. He emphasized that the veteran journalist would draw strength from the continued love and support of those whom he had dedicated his professional life to.
The news of Derek Watts’ health struggle prompted messages of support from various quarters. Nomsa Philiso, CEO of General Entertainment at M-Net, expressed the network’s solidarity with Watts, his family, and friends, stating, “M-Net would like to send a message of support and well-wishes to veteran investigative journalist and long-time Carte Blanche presenter Derek Watts. We hold him, his family and his friends in our thoughts and prayers and wish him strength and courage as he fights this illness.”
The start of Watt’s career
Watts, born in Hillbrow and raised in Bulawayo, started his career when he joined the SABC News division in 1985. Later, he became a co-anchor of the popular sports magazine show, Top Sport. In 1988, when M-Net launched Carte Blanche as a new South African current affairs magazine TV show, Watts made the transition to the network, becoming the original co-host alongside Ruda Landman.
Over the past 35 years, he has fearlessly pursued investigations and conducted interviews around the world, venturing from Mount Everest to the nuclear aircraft carrier George Washington during the Gulf War.
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