Published : April 13, 2006
It seems to
be the season for new shows. On one hand, Sony Entertainment Television (SET) is launching a family drama, 'Thodi Khushi, Thode Gham' ('TKTG') on April 24, 2006 (in the place of 'Indian Idol 2'). On the other, STAR One is gearing up with a new game show, 'Heartbeat', beginning May 1. 'Heartbeat' will be pitched directly against 'TKTG' in the Monday to Thursday, 9:30-10 pm band.
'Heartbeat' is an Endemol owned format, which will be produced by Siddhartha Basu of Synergy Communications. The show will have a celebrity (either from the television fraternity or from Bollywood) alone in a room, connected to a machine that monitors his heartbeat. There will be no anchor or audience in the show; only a male voice asking the contestant questions ranging from politics to entertainment, lifestyle, sports and movies.
The contestant is allowed 500 heartbeats to answer each question. Each question has ten options, five of which are correct. The contestant needs to guess the correct options without using up more than 500 heartbeats. If he answers correctly, he tots up a certain amount of prize money in his bank and moves on to the next question (again with ten options).
The contestant is also provided with three telephones, which he can use to make and receive calls and seek help with the questions. However, he can't call the same person twice.
After every question, the remaining heartbeats and prize money get carried over till the next question. After every three questions, the contestant is given three options: He can play on, get a 60-second refreshment and relaxation break (available only twice throughout the show), or he can opt for the Cash Out question. This question can have more than five correct answers, but the number of correct answers is not revealed to the contestant. If he gives the wrong answer at this point, he is out of the game. If he answers correctly, he can claim his total prize money and leave, or play Double or Nothing, in which he hazards all he has to win double his prize money.
Sounds a bit complicated, doesn't it? Shailja Kejriwal, creative director, STAR India Network, admits, "Yes, the format is a bit complicated. That's why we are bringing in celebrities to ease things for the viewers and generate the interest factor."
Kejriwal is counting on the innovative factor, for this is a game show in which a contestant competes with himself. "Time is not an issue here as in other game shows. The trick is to stay calm and not exhaust the assigned heartbeats, which gets more and more difficult with each question," she says.
Initially, celebs such as Ajay Jadeja, Varun Badola, Priyanka Chopra and Vinod Kambli will take part in the show, after which the show will be made open to the general public.
On-air promos have been launched on the STAR Network channels to promote 'Heartbeat'. In addition, there's a print, radio, Internet and mobile marketing campaign. The marketing idea has people giving out statements like "I took 200 heartbeats to type eight pages", or "It took me 300 heartbeats to make myself a cup of coffee". The idea is to make 'heartbeats' the new currency.
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