The Anupam Kher Show looks to ramp up viewership further

MUMBAI: It is a format that has not been much explored but definitely experimented with by Hindi general entertainment channels (GECs). We are talking about celebrity talk shows with the latest to hit screens being The Anupam Kher Show (TAKS) on Colors.

With TAKS, the genre saw a re-birth. As compared to earlier shows such as Movers and Shakers on Sab, Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai on Zee TV, Issi Ka Naam Zindagi on Star Plus and Koffee With Karan season 4 on Star Plus (repeats), The Anupam Kher Show has been rated highest in terms of viewership for the launch episode. "

According to data provided by the channel, TAKS opened with 2,591 TVTs whereas, Movers and Shakers recorded 2,283 TVTs, Issi Ka Naam Zindagi registered 1,089 TVTs and Koffee With Karan season 4 garnered 738 TVTs.

Media planners say that ‘talk shows’ as yet haven’t been appetizing to Indian audiences. “If we compare these ratings with dailies or even any non-fiction property, they are low on numbers, but we cannot ignore that fact that talk shows are high on interest,” asserts a planner. "It's good that Colors has taken the step of bringing a personality like Anupam Kher who has acceptability with other big screen names and talent and viewers."

Colors CEO Raj Nayak feels that it is people’s perception that talk shows don’t get the ratings. “I think with The Anupam Kher Show we have managed to get both perception and ratings. More than an average of 2.4 million people have been watching it week on week which is a very good number for a chat show.”

Unlike on other chat shows where celebrities come to promote their movies, Nayak believes the beauty of ATKS involves no movie integrations and is completely not scripted and sans cue cards. “Most of the people coming on the show are his personal friends and that brings in a lot of intimate moments and there is a feel in the show since it is a free flowing chat where the guest is very comfortable.”

However, even though ATKS gained high in terms of viewership in the launch episode, the ratings have been slipping - abeit marginally in week two and three respectively to  2,360 TVTs and 2,263 TVTs. The fourth episode which featured Kangana Ranaut reported a weak 1,575 TVTs. "That's because of Queen which aired on Sony Entertainment Television," says a media observer. 

Nayak is not too perturbed about the drop in week four. "We need to watch how TAKS performs over a longer period," says he. "It is a "different" show which the team and I believe will grow on audiences. In every chat show, there are ups and downs. The ratings we have got for the show are anyway higher than what we had expected. You have to go with the flow and not create sensationalism in a show otherwise it looks scripted.”

He is confident that the upcoming week’s ratings will beat the launch viewership record as well. Channels sources reveal that the coming week's episode has Kapil Sharma as a guest, and the following ones are slated to feature Varun Dhawan and his father David Dhawan, and Akshay Kumar.

They reveal that the entire advertising inventory has been sold out and TAKS also has roped in  Jyothi Laboratories’ Henko as the powered by sponsor.

Planners also believe that overall, talk shows rate below daily shows. Yet they attract a small yet significant set of audience which are relevant to the GECs.

According to a highly placed industry source, the production cost per episode of a chat show is higher than that of the dailies. The reason: the cost of the sets, the host's fee and other embellishments that come along with celebritydom. "But they have a glamour and buzz factor which a TV show featuring TV stars cannot bring," says she. "Colors needs to be lauded for once again pushing ahead and working on producing differentiated programming. The show can also have a lot of syndication and distribution potential internationally to audiences which know of Anupam Kher because of his involvement with Hollywood through films like Silver Linings Playbook."

(updated on 13 August at 5:07 pm)

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