was meant to be the yummy year-ender for India's no.1 TV channel. But, Star's
star-attraction Amitabh Bachchan fell ill. And the KBC schedule went for
Star's executive vice-president (content) Deepak Sehgal,"We had to cancel
plans for the year-end special featuring cousins, Fardeen and Zayed Khan on KBC.
We had to perforce replace this special with new cuts of old KBC episodes
featuring celebrities. The new celebrity episodes have all been cancelled."
Star has been trying to take AB's illness in its stride. "Initially,
we did suffer a setback because of Mr Bachchan's unfortunate health problem. But,
now we have indications that he may return to shoot KBC from February-
end. Yes, by the third week of January 2006 we'll run out of new KBC episodes.
We will continue with re-runs hoping viewers won't mind," says Deepak.
Mr Bachchan will hopefully shoot two episodes a day when he returns. "Initially
he shot one episode a day. But, now he swims through two episodes per day. Undoubtedly,
he's our main attraction on Star. Our big re-launch was through KBC. His
presence is desperately missed."
a more positive note, Star One has ousted Sony Entertainment from the no.2 spot.
Nach Baliye has done the trick. Says Deepak," Star One has already
become the no.2 channel in Mumbai. If Sony refuses to accept that, we have the
numbers to prove it. The currency is the same for all channels, and exchange rates
are non-negotiable. Star One didn't claim to be no.1 until we really reached that
position. In last week's ratings, Sony is no. 7 all-India. The process started
with The Great Indian Laughter Challenge.
But, the buzz that Nach
Baliye generated was unprecedented. We need to consolidate our position on
the channel. The slot (9 pm onwards) is very competitive.
Every channel wants to hit a sixer. We're hoping our new soap Dil Chahe More
which replaces Nach Baliye will hit a sixer. We will also return with the
second series of The Great Indian Laughter Challenge on Star One."
Deepak admits non-fiction programmes have a more sustained but briefer life-span.
Sony has Fear Factor lined up, while Star has the game show Heart Attack
coming up. "Reality TV has a relatively restricted relevance in India. We
can't have sex-oriented reality shows like Joe Millionaire, like they have
abroad. TV in India is for family. Therefore, no sex and lots of singing and dancing.
Sony's Fear Factor is ideal for Indian TV. We have Heart Attack
which we hope to air in the second quarter of 2006."
The host will
be Indian. But, he won't be visible on screen. Meanwhile Star's Top 3 Ekta Kapoor-navigated
soaps Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki, Kyunkii Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and Kasauti
Zindagi Kay are expected to have their super-run for at least one more year.
"Reality TV is like one fire-cracker that makes a beautiful design and then
disappears. It's our five-year soaps which make all the difference," says
big one for 2006 is Fear Factor. It would be Indian television's first
international production, with India, Malaysia and Indonesia collaborating for
Says Sony Entertainment Television EVP Tarun Katial,"It's
the world's biggest reality thrill game-show
has been running in several
countries for over ten years. We've already shot thirteen episodes on different
themes in Malaysia with different TV stars and film actors. This is a genre that
has never been done before on Indian television."
In the meanwhile,
Tarun stoutly defends the melodrama and tears on Indian Idol 2. "The
tears aren't orchestrated. They're genuine. Being an Indian Idol means
so much more to the participants than it did earlier. The first time around the
contestants didn't realize what being an Abhijeet Sawant meant. Now just being
in the Top 10 is bliss. Hence the desperation and tears. You can't force tears
on reality TV."
was wondering why Emran Hashmi came to judge those talented youngsters on Sa
Re Ga Ma.. when he was so disinterested in them! And really, how are people
like Hashmi and Udita Goswami qualified to judge singing talent, especially of
such a developed caliber.
Zyada? The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind. Manoj Bajpai cannot
hope to equal the power and glory of Amitabh Bachchan's game-show acumen. In fact,
Manoj is so stiff, staccato and pale, you wonder why Zee decided to put him on
in the first place. His interaction with the contestants isn't bad. But, he just
doesn't seem to connect with the camera.
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