Last month, Shinjini Sengupta, a 16-year-old from Kolkata, reportedly suffered paralysis after being rebuked by judges on a reality show she participated in.
As she recovers, the role of judges on reality TV are being questioned: are they playing on the weaknesses of participants to make shows ‘entertaining’, even as the nation goes crazy about taking part in the same shows and TRPs soar?
Highly-placed sources told Hindustan Times that judges on reality shows get paid anywhere between Rs 75,000 to Rs 4 lakh per episode. With a season consisting of 13 episodes, that’s Rs 9.75 lakh to Rs 52 lakh to take home. Is that a good enough price to be mean on TV?
Niret Alva, president of Miditech that produced Indian Idol, said: “For the big-ticket shows, the money given to judges is really good, though it varies from show to show. Even those on the show don’t know how much their co-judge is getting paid.”
Music composer Ehsaan Noorani said: “Celebrities are becoming ‘professional judges’ because the money is good.” Alva added: “The concept of reality shows has been diluted. They are increasingly based on reality, not talent.”
(With inputs from Mou Chakraborty in Kolkata)