Zee cries foul over game show 'HouZee'

MUMBAI: Zee TVs mobile interactive game show HouZee debuted on 7 Agust (Sunday) in a controversial manner with the channel alleging that vested interest tried "sabotaging" the programme by hitting the all-important communication lines.

"Just ahead of the show around mid-day today, we got a call from Tata Indicom (a telecom service prover that has leased ISDN lines for the Zee show) informing us that the cable connecting the Mumbai studio to the telecom company's facility in Lower Parel area had been physically chopped off," Zee Telefilms vice-president Ashish Kaul said.

A police complaint has been filed in Mumbai by the telecom company that owns the communication cable.

Thankfully, Zee had a backup ready at its facility on the outskirts of Delhi and the show continued being on air with viewer participation.

The HouZee format has viewers participating in the game show via SMS through mobile phones sitting in their homes. The show is hosted by Jaaved Jafferi.

Pointing out that it was a "clear case of sabotage" by competition (that was not specified), Kaul said that from 8 am to 2 pm on Sunday people were unable to send SMS through any of the telecom partners' services to Zee's universal access code of 7575.

"Whenever people tried to send an SMS, all the cellular services showed a technical error continuously for about six hours," Kaul added.

The telecom partners for HouZee are Spice Telecom, AirTel, Reliance and Hutch. The show is also simultaneously telecast on Play TV, another Zee group venture that went on air early this year.

Zee, however, has not named anybody specifically in its complaint, but is still assessing the damage that the hacked cable has caused to the game show today.

Interestingly, Star Plus had alleged that its signals from Asisat 3 had got blacked out for some time last month on a day when Zee TV's much-hyped thriller Time Bomb had debuted.

Telecast every Sunday at noon on Zee TV and Play TV, HouZee is a show where viewers too can play live a numbers game along with the host by sending SMS.

Viewers participate and play for the various prize levels like Jaldi 5, Jaldi7, Any line, Any two lines and the Full House where big money could be won.

The show is a skill based game wherein the viewer has to answer a general knowledge question before and after winning a prize level. Jaaferi engages the audiences and announces the numbers. Winners are also invited to appear in future shows.

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