Zee launching India's first reality TV show among a bouquet of new programmes

By , agencyfaqs! | In | March 05, 2001
Close on the heels of a revamp of Zee News, Zee Television is launching a bouquet of fresh programmes

Close on the heels of a revamp of Zee News, following recommendations from management consultant A.T. Kearney, Zee Television is launching a bouquet of fresh programmes. Among them is "India's first reality TV show, PoW (Prisoners of War)", in the words of a highly placed source. The channel refused to divulge anything "officially" before the press conference scheduled at 1230 pm today at the Taj Ballroom in Mumbai.

However, a source close to agencyfaqs! said that the show will revolve around the exploits of some 10 people, who will be thrown into a 'prison-like' situation. They will be provided with escape routes at various points and the one who stands out by virtue of his / her wit and tenacity will be declared the winner.

It appears the channel is in the process of putting up ads in national dailies requesting applications from candidates who match a "particular demographic and psychographic profile". Once a shortlist is made, PoW programming executives plan to visit various towns and cities to interview the "prospective candidates" and identify the final 10 people in the 18 - 40 age group.

And where will this 'jail' be located? The Zee official said, "We are planning to simulate one. The most obvious place is Esselworld." He added, "The prize money will be competitive with what Kaun Banega Crorepati" and "Jeeto Chappar Phhad Ke" is offering, though it will be more in kind than cash."

Zee TV needs a good dose of fresh programming if it is to win back its numero uno position in the Hindi language satellite television market. Zee, along with other channels - except, up to a point, Sony Entertainment - has lost ground to Star TV since the middle of last year. KBC, Star's hugely popular game show which hit the air waves in July last year, has placed the channel on top and even hastened its break-even date. Zee tried to counter with Sawaal Dus Crore Ka, unsuccessfully. Some consolation for Zee is that JCPK, Sony's response to KBC, has been sliding down the TRP chart lately.

Today's announcements will give some indication of whether Zee is poised to better its act. But if the "Indian reality-show" is any indication, the going could be tough. For one, it will be a pioneer's challenge. As of now, the reality genre of television programming in India is restricted to Survivor, an American programme about real people marooned on an island, which is being telecast on Sony's AXN. "Survivor, which has been running on AXN for about 8-10 weeks, has a TRP of only about 0.3 or so," confirms a media planner. He also adds that he had expected it to rise to "2-3 per cent by now".

Worldwide, the genre of reality television has grown courtesy shows like Big Brother, Survivor, Temptation Island and ITV's Popstars. "The US is a huge market for such shows but I don't think India is ready for reality television," says the media planner, adding: "It doesn't have glamour. It is like a Shyam Benegal movie versus a Subhash Ghai flick." If Indians like glamour even in reality television, they may be closer to the Americans than the Brits, going by a report in The Economist, which says, "Unlike Americans, Britons like their reality to be depressingly, and sometimes tediously, real." So how would Indians prefer it? Over to Zee.

© 2001 agencyfaqs!


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