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Priyanka Chopra’s ‘Quantico’ makes smashing debut on ABC with 7 mn viewers; India awaits premiere

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MUMBAI: This girl tread on the trail that none before her have. She wiped out all boundaries and it seemed as if to her, no goal or dream was unachievable or out of bounds. We’re talking about the golden girl of Indian cinema - Priyanka Chopra, who is currently making waves on American television courtesy Quantico and living her dream Queen size. With 7.1 million viewers tuning in for the premiere episode, Quantico has shattered ratings records on ABC.

It was a bold move on Disney owned ABC Network’s part to cast an Indian actress as the lead for their television series but the ‘no risk, no gain’ policy seems to have paid off for the network. Quantico’s premiere episode has given ABC its best Sunday ratings since the 2012 telecast of Desperate Housewives’ finale.

Be it the larger than life scripting and narrative, the top notch production, or the fan base that Chopra has in the US as a Bollywood actress as well as a pop singer -- the fact is that Quantico may just be perfect answer to what ABC Network was looking for. With an average demo rating of 1.9, the pilot episode aired on 27 September topped other popular shows on the network like Revenge and Once Upon A Time by a good margin, as per reports from international media. To reiterate, that's over seven million viewers in a single day!

Chopra’s growing popularity internationally, especially after her pop album release, is no secret. Her recent public appearance during the NBA match between Warriors and Cavaliers where they played the Quantico promo, made headlines instantly. However, having said that, it certainly doesn't compare to her fan base back home in India.

It’s a proud moment for Chopra’s fans, who are waiting with bated breath for Star World and Star World HD to premiere the show in India on 3 October.

Chopra was recently seen reassuring a fan on Twitter, who questioned why her Indian fans have to wait seven days for the show to air in India. “@priyankachopra -:))) we are so deprived in India...why do we have to wait for one whole week to see your first episode? Not fair #Quantico,” a fan tweeted.

Chopra responded back saying, “Tried my hardest @priyaguptatimes to show in India ASAP! Can't wait for u all to c it on 3rd October!”

It does seem a tad uncanny that while shows like Downton AbbeyModern FamilyHomeland and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, are being simulcast in both the US and Indian network on Star World and Star World HD, a show likeQuantico, which has an obvious Indian connect and the potential to be more successful on home turf, is airing seven days after its airtime in the US.

It will be interesting to see, if the broadcaster buckles under pressure from Indian fans, if they continue to demand Quanticoto be simulcast after the pilot episode is released.

While it will be a one of a kind fan service for Chopra on the network’s part to allow the show to be simulcast here, the current air-time schedule might actually work in the show’s favour. Some argue that it couldn’t have been a better way to introduce the show in India -- among a flurry of excitement of its international success. After all, having a Bollywood star as a cast isn’t always an assurance of the show’s success, as we observe from the fate of shows like Yudh, which starred none other than Amitabh Bachchan.

While the show’s fate in India will only be decided after the pilot episode on 3 October, the broadcaster can easily piggy back ride its marketing and promotions on the buzz, which is already stirring around the show. What's more with Chopra and the entire Bollywood fraternity cheering her on social media, the excitement is palpable.  

Social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are already abound with gossip about the show. Whatever little screenshots, dialogues and status updates that Indians can source online is effective in working them up for the premiere. Now, whether the show and Chopra’s role as an FBI agent will be able to live up to this hype, we will know soon enough.

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