Sony Entertainment Television has a simple mantra - if you do something, do it big.
Reality programming has been an area of interest for the channel, and the broadcaster sees no better way to make its presence felt than to adapt the internationally popular reality music talent hunt Pop Idol to India.
Conceived by Freemantle Media and 19TV in the UK, the show has taken the West by storm and has been rolled out in 25 countries since its launch in 2001. The Indian chapter, called Indian Idol, will commence in October on the channel, with a marketing blitzkrieg - that is guaranteed to unsettle the rivals.
Sony has an ambitious on-air and on-ground initiative to mobilise people to participate in the hunt. The burst will begin in August with roadshows and on-air promos - inviting registrations from aspiring candidates.
Niret and Nikhil Alva's Miditech and Optimystix Entertainment India will produce the show.
Roadshows will be held in 10 cities across the country, with phonelines kept open to take applications from wannabe singers. Auditions will kick-off in September in four cities - Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Ahmedabad, presided over by a three-member jury comprising music director Anu Malik, choreographer-cum-film director Farah Khan and singer Sonu Nigam.
100 candidates will be selected in the first round of auditions, which will be whittled down to 30 in the next round called the Theatre, followed by 10 in the Piano round, with the winner selected in the Gala round.
"The galas will be a spectacular affair, and will be based on a certain theme," says Tarun Katial, executive vice-president, programming and response, Sony Entertainment Television. "There will be 10 gala episodes, and after each episode, one finalist will be voted out."
The aspect of interactivity built into the show sets Indian Idol apart from regular talent hunts. Viewers will be called to vote for their favourite 10 candidates in the Piano round, which will mark the beginning of the audience poll. "In other words, the jury's involvement is up to the Theatre round, when 30 contestants will be selected by them," says Katial. "After that, it is the viewers, who will decide who will be their Indian Idol.
Investment in the seven-month-long-exercise is predictably huge but channel officials refuse to put a number to it.
While Miditech will work on the reality programming component, which is filming the auditions, outdoor shoots et al, Optimystix will provide its expertise in-house, that is, in terms of directing the episodes and managing the in-studio component.
Anchors of Indian Idol will be popular television personality Aman Verma and erstwhile MTV veejay Mini Mathur. The show will be of the duration of an hour, with the plan to have one big episode every week.
According to Katial, the show will be an annual affair, and the winner in the first season will walk away with contracts both with a leading music company and the channel. © 2004 agencyfaqs!