Frankly, reality TV is here to stay; muscle is on fiction and kicking up a big fuss every few months
They say good reality seasons come in twos. It's with the third that things get tricky. The format gets predictable, especially with a rigid play out that international format owners often insist on. Ratings dip, audiences feel they can sample without staying with any one particular show, come in at the beginning when the hype is maximum, dip in and out during the course of the series and come in hordes to the finale. But it isn't so predictable - is it?
Two huge first season launches on rival channels, Kya Aap Paanchvi Pass Se Tez Hain? and Dus Ka Dum, didn't muster a pass in terms of ratings but Dus Ka Dum came back strongly in its second season. Fame Gurukul died in its second season, despite being hugely successful in its first. It never came back. So much for reality television soothsaying!
If you thought Fear Factor - Khatron Ke Khiladi was the standard for fighting your fears in skimpy outfits, Iss Jungle se mujhe bachao expanded a 21 day play out to two months and put contestants in a Malaysian jungle through incredibly excruciating challenges. Today, we can witness shows such as Mahayatra, where it does not only target the so called 'not into television' youth by showing dynamic adventurous tasks but also highlights the traditional and cultural role of Indian values.
Just when you thought talent based reality was passé, India's Got Talent and Entertainment Ke Liye Kuch Be Karega kicked off the blocks, conjuring images of seriously talented, if somewhat bizarre, performances from all corners of the country, passionately vying for the attention of stunned judges.
Dance India Dance (DID) was a massive sleeper hit that reminded everyone that you don't need three big, expensive judges. All you need are good performers, emotion that rings true, one Mithun Da and great post production to capture India's imagination, and boy DID it do that!
Rakhi got "married" on TV recently, there was a search for a Perfect Bride, Rahul Mahajan is hoping to be second time lucky in marriage via a television reality show and Amitabh Bachchan played Big Boss this time round.
Frankly, reality TV is here to stay, muscle is on fiction and kicking up a big fuss every few months. Even news channels seem to feed like vultures on the gossip, scandals, previews and titbits that drop out of reality television studios, not to mention newspapers. So this year, expand reality TV to food and cooking, to houses, to makeovers, to combat (being done!), to babies (already happened) and...
(The author is chairperson, Miditech)