Television

'Desperate Housewives' to take centre stage on Star World

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MUMBAI: It is the show that took US broadcaster ABC out of the doldrums and enabled it to give NBC, Fox and CBS a serious run for their money.

Now Desperate Housewives, arguably the biggest new scripted show on American television in the past five years, is soon to make its mark in India. The show launches in India on Star World on 5 July.

'Desperate Housewife' Terri Hatcher is all set to mesmerise Asian viewers.

Ajay Vidyasagar, Star India senior V-P marketing and communications, while not giving out an exact date, confirmed to Indiantelevision.com that the show would kick off in India in the first week of July. Housewives is the key attraction among a slew of new shows that Star has acquired for 2005. The initiatives represent a focussed attempt by Star World to bring in fresh content from the US that it sees as being a perfect fit for its premium audience, Vidyasagar said.

For the uninitiated the show, which could be considered as Sex And The City with a suburban twist, starts with suburban housewife Mary Alice Young taking her own life. She then narrates the events that follow for the viewer. The focus is on her four friends. There's man-hungry single mother Susan Mayer, ex-career woman and now mother of four played by former Bond girl Terri Hatcher (Tomorrow Never Dies) who make a comeback to stardom in a big way.

Another character Lynette Scarvo has been described as Martha Stewart-on-steroids. There is also Gabrielle Solis, who has everything she's ever wanted but still can't find happiness. From her heavenly perch, Mary Alice played by Brenda Strong sees all and offers her own twisted take on the weekly goings-on.

In a recent interview Hatcher had said that she shares some similarities with her character. "But I think where we most relate is that I can be incredibly well intended, try very hard to get something right, and it just goes wrong. You know? I'm unlucky that way and I think she's very unlucky. Susan is really insecure and shy and she hasn't begun to see how to get a date or go on a date or dress for a date or anything."

Reality genre gets a boost: Star World will also strengthen its reality lineup through Mark Burnett's Rock Star. In the US the show will air on CBS from 11 July 2005. As had been reported earlier by Indiantelevision.com, the show sees singers competing for the chance to front the Australian rock band INXS.

INXS was at one time in the late 1980s and early 1990's Australia's biggest rock act. They carved out classic cuts like Suicide Blonde and Baby Don't Cry. Unfortunately its charismatic lead singer Michael Hutchense committed suicide after fighting a losing battle against alcohol and depression. Now Rock Star searches someone that has talent and charisma to boot to fill Hutchense's shoes.

However, the chance to be a rock star is something that most musicians can only dream about. The show will combine the world of rock music with relationship-style unscripted drama, performance competition and a weekly contestant elimination. Who gets voted out will be determined by a combination of viewer participation, judges and INXS band members. In this way the show's format is similar to American Idol.

Star World is currently airing the business based reality show The Apprentice which is also the brainchild of Burnett. The broadcaster has also picked up the rights to Invasion Iowa. Film star William Shatner Star Trek convinces an entire town in the state of Iowa that theyre going to be the stars of a big-budget science fiction film. Nothing could be further from the truth. The towns folk are blissfully unware of the fact that the shoot is intended to be a parody of Hollywood.

Star World has also acquired the rights to Little Britain which airs in the UK on BBC. Matt Lucas and David Walliams, the creators of this character-comedy sketch show, delight in all that is mad, bad, quirky and generally bonkers about the people and places of Britain.

The programme travels from the Scottish highlands, through Wales, the tranquil English countryside and the less tranquil council estates of Britain's inner cities, while the narrator (Tom Baker) adds his insightful and eloquent comments for those less familiar with these fair Isles.

Interestingly, the show was supposed to have some gay/lesbian sex references. These were cut out and replaced with new material. This was due to a decision that these references were unsuitable for a mainstream audience.

Heaven, hell and eternity! Another show on Star World's plate in the coming months mixes drama with dark humour. In the Canadian show Collector centuries ago the main protagonist Morgan Pym made a deal with Satan: his soul, in exchange for 10 years with his one true love.

After she dies Morgan not surprisingly becomes desperate to avoid eternity in hell. He therefore agrees to become a Collector. His job is to collect souls from those who'd made deals with Satan. Morgan's deal with the devil includes one additional clause: Morgan is allowed 48 hours with each client to try and redeem them before they are condemned to hell.

For sheer variety fans of the English drama can check out Tru Calling. In the suspense laden show a college graduate working in the city morgue is able to repeat the same day over again to prevent murders or other disasters. She uses this gift not only to save lives, but to help her trouble-plagued family - her older sister who is a lawyer and drug addict in denial; and her younger, irresponsible, slacker, gambling brother Harrison.

Quite a variety of shows that Star World has lined up for its viewers in the coming months.

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