Television

AXN 'Survives' cautiously amidst plans to air new reality show in November

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After having burnt its fingers with the second season of the reality show 'Survivor' AXN is not taking chances with its third season.

After just four episodes of the season which was set in Australia the channel was compelled to yank the show off the air in India as viewers - especially PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) - were uncomfortable with scenes depicting cruelty towards animals.

To avoid a repetition of this embarrassing situation the third season will start airing on 19 October, a week after it starts in America. This will give AXN's team time to review and edit out any objectionable material that might offend Indian sensibilities. However, other countries in the Asian region which gave the show a thumbs up will start showing it about eight to 12 hours after America.

The third season of the series is set in Africa and the rules will be exactly the same involving two teams. Each team will have seven members and there will be 14 episodes. In the first nine episodes, according to an AXN representative, eight people will be voted off the island.

According to him, when the show started last December, it took a while for people to warm up to a new concept but once they did, ratings definitely soared. Coke was one of the sponsors of the second series and though the channel has not yet managed to attract any sponsors for the third season it is hopeful of doing so. In the west there has been a marked audience apathy towards reality based shows especially after the terrorist attacks. However in India, since 'Survivor' is the only reality show that AXN will show, the channel is confident of doing well in the rating sweepstakes.

Regarding further programming initiatives, the spokesperson said the channel was hoping to finish the year with a bang. From the second week of November the channel will show an eleven episode reality series called 'The Amazing Race'. In America the show started airing last week. It has been produced by Jerry Bruckheimer who is all too familiar with the action terrain having produced movies like the 'The Rock' which starred Nicholas Cage, Sean Connery and Ed Harris and 'Pearl Harbour' a World War II epic

'The Amazing Race' involves 11 American couples who each have a different relationship with each other. They could be a recently engaged couple, brother-sister, husband-wife, mother-daughter etc. They will be dropped off in Africa and they have to make their way to America.

The spokesperson said that this show would be much more visually attractive than 'Survivor' since the movement of all eleven couples will be constantly tracked. A performance evaluation will be held after every three to four days and the team which is lagging behind will be eliminated. The winning couple gets one million dollars.

AXN sees the show as being much more challenging than 'Survivor' as participants have to perform physically enduring tasks like bungee jumping and crawling down a rock with the help of a rope. The relationship between the couples will be severely tested, as they not only have to survive but also have to trust each other to make the right decision. However transportation vehicles will be provided. This was not the case with Eco Challenge, an action series which AXN has shown. Participants in that event had to make their way by foot. The last event was held in Malaysia. The next event in the Eco Challenge series will take place in New Zealand from the 20th and will be telecast on the channel next April.

Another major attraction that AXN has lined up is the Oscar winning martial arts stunner 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon' directed by Ang Lee. It will be sired in December.

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