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Reality programming - AXN gives it another shot

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Reality programming - AXN gives it another shot

If you thought that reality programming in India was dead after a few not-so-successful attempts by various channels, well think again.

AXN in its bid to revive the genre has launched another series of reality programmes, this time sans the hype though. 'Fear Factor', 'Scariest Places on Earth' and 'David Blaine' - 3 new shows have premiered this month on the channel.

Our readers would remember that the channel was one of the early adopters of reality programming in India, when they brought 'Survivor' to Indian homes. The show, which premiered last fall was withdrawn in June after protests from Animal rights groups. Star World, too tried its hand with 'Temptation Island' but the programme didn't perform up to expectations. Zee TV flipped and flopped with a few shows called, 'POW', 'RAAAH' before realizing the futility of it all. The latest entrant in the arena is BBC World, with Commando, which after a few false starts is finally on air.

So given this bleak scenario surrounding the performance of reality shows in India, what prompts AXN to retest the waters.

Says, Rohit Bhandari, Senior Marketing Manager, Sony Entertainment (I) Ltd, "All three shows have the right mix of action and adventure to continue our successful and popular programming formula, giving viewers in India, and region-wide, more opportunities to get the buzz from AXN."

AXN's identity surely matches well with the programme formats but are viewers enthused?

Lets look at the numbers for these shows:

In six cities (Four metros + Hyd and Blr), Survivor got an average rating of around 0.15% in the TG 15-44/MF/Sec AB. Both the new shows have also opened on a similar note with 'Fear Factor’ getting 1.43% on 13th Feb and 'Scariest Places' generating around 1.26% on 7th February. So what's different this time? For one AXN hasn't spent the kind of money they had spent on promoting 'Survivor'. And given the fact that the shows are generating comparable ratings, surely the profitability of the shows is much better this time around. There is decent amount of advertising too on ‘Fear Factor’ with brands like Archies, Indica, Head & Shoulders, Pepsi using it, but part of that could be bonuses that are so generously offered by channels these days.

Lets look at the shows now. 'Fear Factor' has a bunch of people confronting a series of challenging and life threatening stunts demanding co-ordination of mind and body. Contestants are put through three tasks; if they complete their tasks, they advance; if fear stops them from completing a stunt, they are immediately eliminated. On the other hand 'The Scariest Places on Earth' is a trip to the world of horror. Hosted by Golden Globe winner and Oscar-nominated veteran film actress, Linda Blair, best known for her role in the classical horror movie, "The Exorcist", this series will take viewers to some of the world's most renowned spook sites where several brave families dare to spend an evening alone in the legendary sites known for their haunting disturbing histories.

Then comes David Blaine, who astounds people on the street with his own brand of magic. Having mastered the art of illusions, Blaine - with his intense eyes, dark good looks and immense talent - raises eyebrows as he uses the art of sorcery in street corners. A special episode is 'David Blaine - Frozen in Time' on February 17th, when Blaine performs his death-defying encapsulation in a block of ice. Defying hypothermia and proving that mind is power over matter, he braves the paralyzing cold for 3 days!


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