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'Bigg Boss' holds appeal across languages: Viacom18's Ravish Kumar

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MUMBAI: Viacom18’s punt on Bigg Boss, the biggest reality show in the country, has paid off in a big way over the last ten years with an astronomical number of viewers on TV as well as the company’s digital platform Voot. After entertaining the Hindi masses, Colors launched the show in Kannada, Bengali and Marathi in order to garner regional audiences.

“We were the first to pioneer Bigg Boss in Kannada and that expanded the franchise beyond. At that time, it was huge because we didn’t know how it would work and it was a big chunk of the budget for a market that has always shown an appetite for reality shows,” Viacom18 head of regional entertainment Ravish Kumar told Indiantelevision.com.

While Bigg Boss Hindi usually has an hour-long episode, some of the regional slots stretch as much as an hour and a half. “The beauty of the show is, no matter what language you do it in, the moment you put new people in the house, it becomes an entirely new show,” he said.

Colors, according to Kumar, shares a great overall working relationship with Endemol, the producer of the show, although, at times, there are creative differences. The duo has utilised its respective experience in markets effectively. “They were good in listening to us especially in the regional space, where their expertise was low and together we have built that. They, on the other hand, have a lot of learning from the other markets internationally,” he added.

With over 331 million viewers hooked on to the show across India, the first ever edition of Bigg Boss in Marathi premiered with a grand launch event on 15 April at 7 pm. The show, anchored by actor-director-producer Mahesh Manjrekar has Dabur Red Paste as presenting sponsor.

Prior to joining Viacom18 in 2011, Kumar was the executive VP and business head – regional channels at Star TV and a global category director at Reckitt Benckiser. He brings more than 23 years of experience in building brands, driving innovation, creating high-performance teams and delivering superlative business results across leading Fortune 500 companies in the US, the UK and India.

In the latest episode of Indiantelevision.com’s Executive Dossier, Viacom18 head of regional entertainment Ravish Kumar spoke about the show’s success in Kannada, his experience of working with Endemol Shine and plans for other languages.

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