New year flags off with a promise that the small screen will have more action, a couple of new Bollywood entries, a handful of Bollywood comebacks and loads of fiction shows to entertain couch potatoes. Industry buzz is that the biggest forum for rewarding TV shows, The Emmy Award, is expected to conduct its first ever Indian version.
Also, news is that Multiscreen Media, which also is the mother of Sony Entertainment, is expected to launch a music channel and a Bhojpuri language channel this year. The Me group’s channels that were expected to be on air last year will arrive this year. Industry sources also indicate that Zee TV that had reportedly taken over the General Entertainment channel (GEC) 9X, will relaunch it in a big way with niche content.
More Bollywood faces, apart from Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Mallika Sherawat, are expected to be on the small screen this year. Buzz is that Priyanka Chopra, Akshay Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Salman Khan and even Sanjay Dutt are expected to be seen in various reality shows. The guesstimated expenditure of the entire industry together, only on big ticket reality shows, is likely to go beyond a thousand crore rupees, taking into consideration the star fees, cost of production and other expenses.
Most leading GECs, industry sources indicate, will be holding up most of their big ticket shows for the second half of the year, thanks to IPL 4, the Cricket World Cup in India and the T-20 World Cup in quick succession. In addition, the first half of the year is also expected to have more than 40 new shows across channels. Ashish Golwalkar, the head of non-fiction programming, Zee TV, says that channels have learnt to co-exist with IPL matches in prime time, but the World Cup in India is a big worry this year.
“The World Cup matches will make a dent in viewership through their 45-day run. That will understandably bother every channel. So strategies to consolidate positions, and be least affected by the matches will be put into place. And that may or may not include shifting top reality shows, not the ones that are on for a while,” he adds.
Last year belonged to Bollywood on TV. With competitive ratings, most shows are expected to be repeated with subsequent seasons, and probably with the same hosts. Ashvini Yardi, the head of programming, Colors, admits that a bunch of successful shows on their channel will return. “It’s early to pick on names but we will bring back a whole lot of shows because this year has been so successful. So, I wouldn’t be bragging if I say that in 2011 too, you’d find many Bollywood stars on the television,” she asserts.
It’s rumoured that Salman Khan will go back to Dus Ka Dum 3 on Sony after Bigg Boss 4 wraps up next week. Ajay Bhalwankar, head of programming, Sony Entertainment, says the details have not been worked out yet. “Besides Dus Ka Dum, there are formats like KBC which have helped the channel a lot, but there’s still a lot of time for these shows,” he adds.
Golwalkar states that neck-to-neck competition and stupendous amount of success stories in reality shows ensures that Bollywood continues to rule the tube. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Jhalak Dikkhlaa Jaa, KBC, MasterChef India and Bigg Boss are repeated next year. Star-studded reality shows are here to stay, regardless of the cost involved.”