Television

Sony to launch adaptation of 'Dancing With the Stars' in September

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MUMBAI: Reality shows and Sony Entertainment Television (SET) go hand in hand and have more or less become synonymous with each other. Having already launched Indian Idol, Fame Gurukul and Fear Factor and with the buzz being high on upcoming new launches like Big Brother and Extreme Makeover; comes another adaptation of the ABC's reality show Dancing With the Stars on Sony.

The Indian adaptation - Jhalak Dikhla Ja - will be co-produced by Siddhartha Basu's Synergy Communications and Theatre Red and is scheduled to launch in the first week of September. Jhalak Dikhla Ja will be a bi-weekly show and will involve a high level of audience participation and viewer interactivity.

Dancing with the Stars is the American version of the BBC TV series Strictly Come Dancing. The concept of the show is to pair a celebrity with a professional dancer in an attempt to win a high score from a panel of three judges and then a majority of votes from the viewers, who can call in or vote online. The person who receives the lowest score is eliminated.

SET India senior vice president and programming head Anupama Mondloi says, "We will have celebrities from different walks of life like television, Bollywood, cricket and hospitality industry."

When queried as to how Jhalak Dikhla Ja will be different from Star One's successful show - Nach Baliye - which was based on the same lines, Mondloi says, "All shows have certain amount of similarities whether it is a soap or a reality show. The key differentiator of Jhalak Dikhla Ja will be the viewer interaction. We will be looking at having maximum touch points for viewers to select their favourite celebrity and choreographer pair."

As per the original format, phone lines open at the beginning of each show for viewers to vote for their favorite couples and stay open for 30 minutes after the show ends. The couple with the lowest score is knocked out of the competition and one couple will be knocked out of the competition each week, starting with the first week. Online voting options are also made available and only one vote per email address is allowed.

With its pulse firmly on the reality meter, Sony will be launching the local version of Big Brother in November this year. On the other hand, Extreme Makeover will launch sometime early next year along with the second season of Fear Factor India. Another reality show on the cards is Paisa Bhaari Padega. The subsequent seasons of Indian Idol and Fame Gurukul also cannot be dismissed altogether!

Only time will tell whether the reality overdose will eventually lead to viewer fatigue on Sony; but it's worth keeping in mind that reality shows are just spurts in the overall programming scenario and hence Sony will also have to pull up their socks on some high voltage drama and fiction front. New fiction shows on Sony like Thodi Khushi Thode Gham, Aisa Desh Hai Mera, Vaidehi and Akela still have to pick up steam on the ratings front, where Star shows are omnipresent and Zee's Saath Phere, Kasamh Se and Sambhav Asambhav too are definitely making a mark.

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