After experimenting with formats such as Bigg Boss and Fear Factor - Khatron Ke Khiladi, Colors, the flagship Hindi GEC (general entertainment channel) from the Viacom18 stable, has joined hands with Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling and Endemol India to foray into the sports entertainment reality format.
TNA Wrestling is a privately held professional wrestling promotion organisation founded by Jeff Jarrett and Jerry Jarrett. The company broadcasts its events on television and the internet 52 weeks a year. TNA also gains revenue from live events, product licensing and direct product sales.
TNA headquarters is located in Nashville, Tennessee; its operating company is TNA Entertainment, LLC.
Speaking about the show, Raj Nayak, CEO, Colors, says, "Yes, we have launched many big reality shows, but with this show there is a huge potential of scaling it up even outside television. We intend to take the format across the country, while we keep the franchise, and also exploit it through merchandising."
Nayak believes that the show will appeal to the viewers and advertisers who are constantly looking for new and innovative platforms to reach out to their audiences.
Explaining the concept of the show, Deepak Dhar, managing director, Endemol India, notes that while the focus of the show will be on the wrestling matches, it is the entertainment and the drama aspect of the show that will put the matches in perspective.
Placed at the 8 pm slot, the channel has roped in cricketer Harbhajan Singh as the goodwill ambassador for the show.
In a country like India, where single TV households still rule the roost, will Colors find enough audience for its new property to make the show a success?
Despite the fact that Colors has taken a big punt with its newest property, media pundits are not very optimistic about the show.
P Balakrishna, COO, Allied Media, says that Colors is still primarily targeted at women, who form the major chunk of the Indian television audience. "Therefore, with the remote being controlled by the female viewers, accumulating viewers for Ring Ka King at prime time can be a big risk," he says.
Some also believe that with such a show on board, Colors could stand the risk of losing its regular and steady audiences.
"Traditionally, India does not promote violence. Therefore, I don't think parents would want their children to watch such a show. In fact, the property could also tarnish the image of Colors, which has been talked about for its socially relevant fiction formats," says a top media executive on conditions of anonymity.
Amit Ray, independent media consultant, is however, optimistic that the show will do well during its repeats. "Wrestling brings out a voyeuristic pleasure amongst the audiences. Yes, we are a conservative nation, but we are hypocrites, too. Therefore, while the format may not work during primetime, the show does have potential when it comes to repeats," he says.