Television

When Arnab vanished, almost

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What happens when the nation’s most vociferous, most articulate news show anchor goes missing? Well, the nation goes into overdrive, demanding to know the whereabouts of the host it has come to love, or hate, as the case may be.

We’re talking about Arnab Goswami, Times Now Editor-in-Chief and presenter of The Newshour, one of the most widely-watched and debated shows on the channel. Goswami’s disappearing act last week, though brief, was enough to set off a cacophony of telephones ringing at the Times Now office. And much like Arnab’s familiar rant on the show ‘The Nation wants to know’, viewers wanted to know where in God’s name was Arnab?

Unable to deal with so many telephone calls, The Newshour even put out a tweet saying: “Our viewers have been asking about Arnab. To them, we would like to say that he will be back on Monday at 9pm on show again”. However, the calls continued unabated. A Times Now employee described the number of calls and emails inquiring whether Arnab had taken ill as ‘astonishing’ and that “Only celebrities get such calls, don’t they?”

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Forget the cold vibes between BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and the party’s tallest leader LK Advani, it was Arnab who was the topic on social media.

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The twitterati took to their favourite website with a vengeance, sending out both love and hate tweets for the man who loves to play devil’s advocate on The Newshour. Some went on to draw parallels between Arnab’s absence from The Newshour with that of say a Salman Khan from Bigg Boss or Amitabh Bachchan from KBC. Others made unfavourable comparisons with other news anchors in tweets like: “Barkha Dutt to undergo a face implant to look like Arnab Goswami to boost NDTV TRPs” and even derided tongue-tied panellists as: “Panellists on The Newshour speechless as they’re used to speaking for just 10 seconds with Arnab around...”.

Still others heaved a sigh of relief as “they could finally turn up the volume of their television sets rather than turn down.” Forget the cold vibes between BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and the party’s tallest leader LK Advani, it was Arnab who was the topic on social media. So with such an iconic presence missing, did the channel lose out on TRPs or did other news channels make most of the opportunity. Only next week will tell... that is when the TAM ratings are out...

The collective impact of regulation and the creeping tyranny of the minority have stifled innovation in our industry and, dare I say, in the economy as whole. At 15 per cent, we may grow at thrice the rate of the GDP but that is more a reflection of our topline economic growth than the health of our industry. At this rate, it will take us another 15 years to hit $100 billion in value and by then, we will be just three per cent of the world media market. This is just unacceptable.

Till then, both those who love and hate Arnab can sit back and watch his shenanigans as he returns today same time same show on your favourite news channel...

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