Rapid-fire questions and quick-reflex answers. Quiz shows are everywhere, be it Bournvita Quiz Contest, Mastermind India, India’s Child Genius or others of the similar kind. But is the popularity of these quiz shows restricted to a niche audience?
Siddhartha Basu, the name synonymous with Indian quizzing and head of production house, Synergy, says, “Mastermind and Child Genius are doing very well, they are the top shows on the channels they are aired. You cannot compare in terms of the ratings with the other shows in Hindi but they work with the target audience. These shows find their audience.”
Derek O’Brien, the other czar of quizzing, has his own company, Derek O’Brien and Associates, headquartered in Kolkata with branches in four cities. He hosts about 200 live shows a year and also anchors Bournvita Quiz Contest (BQC) on Sony. Debkumar Mitra, Research Director, Derek O’Brien and Associates, says, “We believe we touch all kinds of audiences. BQC is the longest running show and its popularity speaks for itself. We get new applications every month, people reschedule their exams and do all kinds of crazy things to participate in the show”.
Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), the Indian version of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’ had phenomenal success. The show was hosted by Amitabh Bachchan, produced by Siddhartha Basu and the content was compiled by Basu’s team at Synergy. Asked whether one would see more of KBC, Basu did not give any dates but said, “The residual shows of Kaun Banega Crorepati are due next summer. The core format of the show will be the same but there will be a lot of innovations done for the audience.”
So, are innovations necessary to make the quiz shows more popular? Says Mitra, “We are open to do innovative shows. In March we will be doing a bilingual show; though it will be with schoolchildren, the show will be aimed at the common people.” He dismisses any possibility of the new show being on the lines of KBC.