Action returns on Colors

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | February 03, 2014
Fear Factor is coming back in its fifth season with a few tweaks in the format and a new host in film director Rohit Shetty.

Colors and Endemol have come together after a break of 18-24 months to bring back the action-packed property, Fear Factor-Khatron Ke Khiladi at the weekend prime time slot. The show is being brought in a tweaked format with lesser 'insect eating' stunts to make it fit for family viewing. The number of stunts has also been increased by way of removing 'working in pairs' (earlier, the participants performed stunts in pairs).

L-R: Deepak Dhar, Rohit Shetty and Raj Nayak

Rohit Shetty at the announcement event of Khatron Ke Khiladi

Rohit Shetty with the contestants of the fifth season of Khatron Ke Khiladi

The last season of the show appeared on the channel in 2011. Between the fourth and the fifth seasons, Colors has tried hands on other action based reality shows like Ring Ka King and the telecast of the MMA championship Super Fight League, both in 2012. However, both failed to gain ratings for the channel.

All 14 contestants, a mix of male and female, will fight for survival in Fear Factor-Khatron Ke Khiladi at Cape Town, South Africa, where the shooting starts in the first week of February.

Manisha Sharma, head, weekends programming, Colors adds that the channel has cautiously picked celebrities from different spaces this time, unlike before. It has also done away with the common man's participation in the show.

Rohit Shetty, who's known to blow up cars on the cinema screen, took entry after crashing the glass with a burning SUV on the launch event of the show's fifth season. While all the participants also tried a few stunts, Colors' CEO Raj Nayak had his share of playing with fire at the event.

Nayak adds, "We had to take a break so that the show gets a breather and we get some time to think about better ways to reinvent the show. As soon as we found a few good tweaks, we are bringing it back."

When asked if the show will be launched before the Indian Premier League, one of the most popular cricketing tournaments, Nayak answers, "It doesn't matter much now. IPL has settled down, it's been six years since it started. Matches go on for four hours and Khatron Ke Khiladi will be for one. I am expecting that the audience will peep into the show, taking a break. Plus, cricket is happening throughout the year."

Sponsorship deals have not been signed yet and it is expected that the show will replace the reality show, India's Got Talent on Colors. The spot rates and sponsorship rates should be in line with 24 and a little above IGT, expects Nayak, without divulging any specific financial details. He says that the show is less expensive in terms of production if compared to Bigg Boss.

Sources inform that it could cost Rs 50-60 crore for the channel to produce the current season of Khatron Ke Khiladi, which is about 15-20 per cent higher than the last season.

Deepak Dhar, managing director, Endemol is hopeful of taking the format to the regional space. He adds, "We took a breather for the fifth season and now when it's ready, it's here. We are looking at the regional markets and I believe it can happen and be successful in certain pockets of India."

When asked why the 20-episode series is being shot in South Africa, Dhar mentions that the production house has kept safety of the contestants and the crew at priority and South Africa is a tried-and-tested territory.

Sharma of Colors adds, "Much like Khatron Ke Khiladi, Rohit Shetty and his cinematic-style can be defined as the perfect amalgamation of action and entertainment. With each stunt that will be exclusively curated by him, Shetty will encourage contestants to surpass expectations beyond boundaries and raise the bar of action. He will guide and lead the contestants as the formidable Guru of Action by creating a path with specially designed stunts that will keep the audiences glued to their television screens week-after-week."

Launched in 2008, the first two seasons of the show were hosted by Akshay Kumar, the actor who is known as 'Khatron ke khiladi' for his daring approach towards stunts on and off screen. Two seasons had all-female participants who were supported by a male partner each, such that the participants were celebrities and the partners were ordinary people.

Season 3 had a twist, when male celebrities were taken as participants and Priyanka Chopra hosted the show for Colors. Akshay Kumar came back in the fourth season in 2010.

Some of the contestants who will be seen trying to conquer their phobias include actor Ranvir Shorey, known for his versatility; anti-hero Nikitin Dheer; stunning diva Mugdha Godse; door-crashing expert Dayanand Shetty; ladies' man Rajniesh Duggall; cricket commentator Rochelle Maria Rao; Bigg Boss Season 7 winner Gauhar Khan; television's angry young heartthrob Kushal Tandon; popular television crusader Pooja Gor; television's diva Mahhi Vij; actor Salman Khan; and Bollywood's action heroine, Geeta Tandon.

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