For almost six years, it has been India’s premier show. But the Virani family seems to have finally lost its hypnotic pull over audiences. Zee’s drama-filled music contest-cum-reality show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge has toppled Star Plus’ Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi from its numero uno position to emerge as the country’s No. 1 show.
Star Plus representatives claim they’re not worried. Says Yash Khanna, head of corporate communications, Star Plus, “There has always been the odd week when Kyunki has not been number one. Kaun Banega Crorepati itself upstaged Kyunki sometimes.”
But the figures provided by TAM, the market research agency for the television industry, reveal that the success of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge is not a flash in the pan; it has sustained itself at the top for four weeks now — across all channels and all genres. Its ratings have been steadily rising, from 6.6 (in mid-August) to 8.07 (early September), while the ratings for Kyunki have remained static at around 6.
Ashish Kaul, executive vice-president, Zee Network, is exultant: “Star Plus should have replaced Kyunki months ago. Every story has to end one day.”
Whether viewers have tired of India’s longest-running soap or whether the current ratings are an aberration and Kyunki will be back as number one after Sa Re Ga Ma Pa ends (as Star Plus hopes), no one knows as yet.
But what is clear is that Zee’s other programmes, including soaps, have also been zooming up the ratings charts. Star Plus routinely had 40-plus shows in the Top 50. Now, the number has dwindled to 12 (September 2-8). Zee, which used to draw a blank, now has an equal number of top shows.