A fresh dose of reality

Written by Sagorika Dasgupta | Updated: Sep 30 2007, 07:33am hrs
Reality programming its the order of the day. And most channels are going live in one format or the other. So, while Star TV ushers in the third installment of Nach Baliye and Sony brings us Jhalak Dikhlaja, season 2, the Indian version of the US reality show Dancing with the Stars, others like Sahara One are readying to adapt UKs Stars of the Stage, a music-based show, to Indian ears, and ESPN-Star is picking its next presenter via a national-level talent hunt.

In the second week of October, Channel V launches [v] My India Report, wherein six youngsters will tap the very pulse of young India. Starting off from Ahmedabad, Team My India Report has charted its way across Chandigarh, Varanasi, Shillong and Kolkata understanding perspectives on a range of topics relevant to the youth of today. Through the eyes of these six reporters, [v] My India Report aims to capture the voices and thoughts of young India beyond the metros.

Says Amar Deb, head honcho, Channel V: My India Report is a reality show but it is very unlike the current trend of reality shows with no bickering judges, no staged drama and no bitchiness among the participants. The show will appeal to Young India, the 14-24 year olds. Also, given the nature of the show and the burning issues it deals with, it will definitely attract the 25-to-34-year olds as well.

Thats the age group 25 to 34 Star TV is expecting to attract with its popular dance-based reality show Nach Baliye. Nach Baliye 2 also procured good ratings in its final episode, according to aMap ratings. The channel has just launched the third season of the dance competition, hosted by Hussain and Tina Kuwajerwala (winners of the last season of the show). Having got good ratings for reality shows like Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) and The Great Indian Laughter Challenge, Star TV hopes to smile all the way to the bank with the third season of the celebrity dance show. But will Nach Baliye 3 be a winner

Says Ajay Vidyasagar, president, content and new media, Star India, This year the show has moved beyond just television couples and has incorporated a combination of Bollywood couples as well. We believe that with the fresh format the channel will earn a better return on investments and good ratings.

Thats what Sony Entertainment Television is hoping for too, after the success of shows like Big Boss and Indian Idol. The channel tried its hands at dance-based reality shows last year with Jhalak Dikhlaja, and has launched Season 2 with great fanfare.

Zee TV airs two of the longest-running reality shows on Indian television, Sa Re Ga Ma (now Sa Re Ga Ma Pa) and Antakshari. According to Ashish Kaul, executive vice president, Zee Entertainment Enterprise, the key is to innovate to retain TV viewership. Through Sa Re Ga Ma, we have contributed almost 75-80% of the nations playback singers. The key is to constantly keep reinventing. The TVRs soared when we invited celebrity judges for Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2007 and when we invited a politician like Laloo Prasad Yadav, our ratings soared further. The channel has now diversified from music-based reality shows with Fun on the Run, a celebrity treasure hunt comprising eight duos. Television actors Delnaaz and Rajeev Paul, singers Baba Sehgal and Anaida, actors Mukul Dev and Gaurav Gera and Bakhtiyar and Tanaaz Irani are some of the couples on the show, who race across the country solving challenges and complicated tasks to unearth the treasure of Rs 25 lakh.

Another channel to join the reality show race is Sahara One. After the success of Biggest Loser Jeetega, the channel will be hosting a music-based reality show. The name of the show has not yet been decided but like most of the reality shows on Indian television, it is an adaptation of the UK-based Stars on Stage. Says Kalyanasundaram, creative director-programming, Sahara One, This show is a little different from the UK version, the participants comprise celebrities not only across the music industry but also from politics, sports and television. We received phenomenal TVRs with Biggest Loser Jeetega and we are sure that this new show will be another feather in our cap.

Then, theres Sahara FILMYs music-based reality show Bathroom Singer and Zooms soon-to-be-launched 13-part reality show called Sunsilk Gang of Girls Spotlight Mein, featuring four girls from around the country who will given an opportunity to live their dream.

Then, there are channels like Discovery, which airs the hugely successful Planet Earth, and will be launching three new reality-based shows in October and November. Oil, Sweat and Rig will showcase lives of men who face extraordinary technical challenges, while Man Vs Wild, an adventure series hosted by Bear Grylls, will focus on stories of survival. So, you will have Grylls parachuting into rainforests, wandering across parchy deserts and inhospitable peaks to demonstrate how to survive the toughest environments. The third show, Dirty Jobs, with host Mike Rowe showcase people with different occupations like serving slop to pigs or collecting sperm from stallions or even removing bones from fish. Needless to say, all the shows are imported. Made-in-India reality content may be far away from being brave or extreme, sticking to music and dance shows for the moment, but for how long