spending 39 days on a remote island, begins on AXN next month
Survivor II, the sequel to the popular reality television show about 16 people spending 39 days on a remote island under the voyeuristic gaze of some 28 million television viewers worldwide, begins on AXN next month. Loyalists will remember that last month we had reported on AXN's decision to temporarily discontinue the series after airing the final episode of Survivor I on March 20, 2000.
After a nearly two month break, the 'action' channel is now back with a fresh 14-episode series with an all-new cast on an all-new location, the Australian Outback (Survivor I was shot on the South China Sea off the coast of Malaysia.) Just to put things in global perspective, the Indian viewer will catch the first episode of Survivor II on May 3 while it runs into its 12th episode in the US.
There are three key changes, however. One, the show timing stands changed to Thursdays, 8 pm, from Tuesdays, 10 pm. Two, compared to the launch ads (in the press and on Sony channels), an interest-sustaining contest for Indian viewers and a six-city road show for Survivor I, Survivor II will not see any consumer promotions or advertising except for on-air promos. Three, unlike last time, there will be no Hindi broadcast.
These changes can be understood in the light of AXN's bigger focus this year - promoting the reality band (the 8 pm slot). AXN is unveiling three new programmes under the reality band in May - Ripley's Believe it or Not, Core Culture, and Exploring the Unknown. Considering its resources, AXN had a choice between launching the Hindi broadcast of Survivor II and Ripley's. It chose Ripley's given the "more broad-based appeal" of the latter, according to a source close to the channel.
The televised Ripley's Believe it or Not, she explains, is much more than the print version. "So if there is a segment about the temple in Rajasthan that is visited by rats, we show a segment on rats actually visiting it," she elaborates.The 22-episode serial with some 200 segments will also carry some Indian footage. It will be aired on Tuesdays at 8 pm.
Like before, AXN is maintaining modest targets for Survivor II. "We would certainly like to see it do better than Survivor I," says the source. Survivor I is said to have touched a high of about 0.5 on market share against company expectations of "close to 1". A senior media buyer who advertised on Survivor claims he was expecting it "to touch 2". "It has been below expectations," he explained. "It hasn't set the Ganges on fire; it has been okayish."
Along with Survivor II, AXN is banding the month of May as Extraordinary Month, following which June will be promoted as the Action Babes month. The other two programmes - Exploring the Unknown and Core Culture - are again reality-based shows and will be aired on Mondays and Wednesdays respectively. While the former is self-explanatory, Core Culture will delve into lifestyle sports like BMX, skateboarding and the like. It will also involve some on-ground activities.
The other two popular time slots on AXN - 9 pm and 10 pm - focus on fiction series and movies respectively. Last year, AXN had focused on promoting its series given that Survivor, the flagship of its reality band, was scheduled to make an appearance only by the end of 2000. Survivor II, the source claims, is 'much slicker, much faster'. AXN's renewed focus on the reality band this year and Zee's plan to tap the same would make for some real competition.
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