‘Good reality show formats translate globally’
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‘Good reality show formats translate globally’

Mark Burnett, producer-pioneer of reality TV on next season of The Voice, explains why he doesn’t know what ‘reality TV means’.

tv Updated: Aug 26, 2011 17:26 IST
Serena Menon
Serena Menon
Hindustan Times

Pioneer of reality TV, Mark Burnett says now he “would love to make a scripted show”. And in 2013, he will finish his magnum opus 10-hour long TV series called The Bible, based on stories from the holy book. But till then, the man behind the success of high-rated shows such as Survivor, The Apprentice, Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader among others is concentrating on the second edition of his newest creation — The Voice, which goes on air in India on Monday on AXN.

The USP of the show, unlike the others in the genre, is that the celebrity judges — Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Christina Aguilera — make their choices based only on the contestants’ voice, as part of The Blind Audition segment. “The judges have to press a button and their chair spins around showing that they are interested. But if more than one coach turns around, then the power shifts to the person auditioning, who then gets to choose whose team he wants to go for,” explains Burnett, who is executive producer on the show.

The judges then pick a team each to mentor and train for The Battle Round. The show eventually culminates in a singing competition among the participants, where four make it to the finale. Ask him if he feels it has the potential to be made in India and he’s more than enthusiastic. “I think yes! The reason it can work is that it’s a global entertainment world and there’s a reason why good reality show formats translate globally. It shows that good ideas, if communicated well, can transcend language and cultural barriers.

And everybody understands a singing competition,” explains Burnett, who has visited the country on many occasions in the past as his Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader was made in India as Kya Aap Paanchvi Class Se Tez Hain? a few years and hosted by Shah Rukh Khan. “Now we’re working towards doing The Apprentice there. I really like the country a lot. I love its feeling,” says Burnett, who is now looking forward to working on a scripted show. Adding that he honestly doesn’t even know what the term ‘reality TV’ means, he says, “There are so many different types of non-fiction content- competition music shows, documentary-soap shows, game shows… its convenient from the journalistic headline point of view to use the word reality, but I don’t know.”

First Published: Aug 26, 2011 15:35 IST