The month of October saw four general entertainment channels (GECs) - Sony, Colors, STAR Plus and Imagine TV - rolling out reality shows of various formats such as Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) Season 4, Bigg Boss Season 4, Master Chef and Rakhi ka Insaaf.
Both KBC and Bigg Boss are old formats and in their fourth season. They are at loggerheads at 9 pm.
Master Chef, a new concept on Indian television, is aired on Saturdays and Sundays at 9 pm. Rakhi ka Insaaf on Imagine - quite similar to Kiran Bedi's show Aap ki Kachehri - is slotted at 9pm on Saturdays.
Though big money is riding on all these shows, KBC Season 4 seems to be ahead in the race in terms of viewership.
As per TAM data (C&S 4+, HSM), KBC recorded an opening TVR of 6.21, while Bigg Boss' opening episode clocked a TVR of 4.83. It's interesting to note that KBC has made a comeback after a gap of few years and with its first host, Amitabh Bachchan.
Ajit Varghese, managing director, Maxus, opines, "In case of Bigg Boss, this time, the star cast is not that impressive. The format of the show is such that it develops its own content, which has to be captivating enough for the viewers. So, the fate of the ratings also depends on how the content evolves in the show."
Even Nayyar believes that Bigg Boss is riding completely on the popularity of its host, Salman Khan.
Both KBC and Bigg Boss after an initial high has stabilised at lower TVR. In its first week, KBC recorded an average TVR of 5.27, which declined to 3.95 in the second week.
In case of Bigg Boss, the reality show in its first week registered an average TVR of 3.15, which came down to 2.27 in the second week.
However, both Master Chef and Rakhi Ka Insaaf improved their performances in the second week after a low opening TVR. For instance, Master Chef opened with 2.59 TVR but in the second week it's TVR rose to 3.26 on the following Saturday.
Similarly, Rakhi ka Insaaf which clocked an average TVR of 1.9 in the first week, increased its TVR to 2.29 in the subsequent week.
In fact, expectations were not very high from Master Chef due to its format. However, rise in the show's TVRs indicates that the viewers are slowly accepting the format after the initial sampling.
Varghese has an interesting observation to offer. He says, "Rakhi Ka Insaaf's viewership depends on sensationalism; however, too much of drama could lead to a drop in the ratings."
While this may the first innings for the reality shows, the final call will be taken once the curtain falls for the shows.