As World Cup fever grips the Indian Sub-continent, various media players have lined up a variety of initiatives in the build up to the cricket extravaganza.
Not to be left behind, news channels, too, are looking to go beyond analyses and match statistics. India TV has launched a World Cup reality show, ‘Bigg Toss’, for which it has roped in Pakistani actress Veena Malik and Bollywood item girl Rakhi Sawant. The two would watch the matches involving India and discuss the pros and cons of players in their inimitable style.
‘Bigg Toss’ will be aired daily from 8 pm to 9 pm from February 17 onwards on those days when Team India will be playing the World Cup matches.
Outlining the contours of the TV reality show, Vinod Kapri, Managing Editor, India TV said, “This will be the first time any Indian news channel will be hosting a reality show in the run-up to the coverage of a World Cup sporting event.”
So far, the reality show telecast will involve a pre-match episode, in which around 14 to 15 celebrities will stay in a villa and will be divided into two groups. In turn, they will choose their favourite player out of the Indian squad.
In the post-match episode, Vinod Kapri said, all individual house mates and their teams would be awarded points on the basis of performance of players chosen by them. Whosoever gets the highest points will be adjudged the winner.
Master Stroke will be introduced in the post match episodes to give twists and turns to the proceedings in the house.
The telecast dates for ‘Bigg Toss’ have been set for Team India’s matches with the first episode to be telecast on February 17. This will be followed by episodes on February 19, 27, March 6, 9, 12 and 20, the Quarter Finals, Semi Finals and Final. (The show will be aired the day before and after the match days involving Team India).
Apart from ‘Bigg Toss’, India TV will be telecasting ‘Power Play Live’, ‘Khel Abhi Baaki Hai’ and ‘Final Report’ relating to pre-match, break time and post match. The telecast will be of half an hour duration.
Times Now’s ‘Power Play’
Meanwhile, as a build up to the World Cup, Times Now launched ‘Good Luck India’. The show was supported by an on-ground activation collecting wishes from viewers and stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Prasoon Joshi, Harbhajan Sing, Yuvraj Singh, and Virendra Sehwag, among others. The channel claims to have received around 55,000 wishes so far.
Times Now also aims to bring all the action of the World Cup on and off the field through a special show called ‘Power Play’ with a host of cricket experts and ex-cricketers like Barry Richards, Mike Gatting, Graeme Hick, Shane Bond, Sanath Jayasuriya, Jonty Rhodes, Arun Lal, Atul Wasan and Cricket historian Boria Majumdar. The show starts on Times Now, on February 18, 2011.
Sandeep Sharma, Senior VP - Marketing & Sales, Times Now & ET Now, said, “Historically, cricket programming on Times Now has always resulted in a viewership spike. Whether it is IPL or T20, Tests or One-day series, viewers prefer to follow cricket news and analysis only on Times Now. Our pre-World Cup special, ‘Good Luck India’, has once again reinforced this fact. The initial episode of ‘Good Luck India’ (aired on February 5 at 7 pm) garnered 50 per cent viewership in the English news genre. ‘Power Play’ aims to replicate the same magic with its eclectic line-up of cricket experts.”