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The TV star quotient in the success of soaps and reality programmes on mass channels

17-October-2005
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The TV star quotient in the success of soaps and reality programmes on mass channels

‘Dandiya Dhoom’, STAR Plus’ event with most of the stars of the channel, has delivered well. ‘Nach Baliye’ on STAR One seems to have created interest, and on similar lines, Sony is bringing in TV stars on ‘Fame Gurukul’ to compete for the Gurukul title. In all, the TV celebrity factor on mass channels is being extended to a whole new level, and in most cases, the strategy is paying off.

Cross usage of television stars has been happening for some time now and the fact that they can work some good TRPs for a channel has yet again been proven in STAR Plus’ ‘Dandiya Dhoom’. The event, which was telecast on October 2, 2005, has rated 10.6 in the Sunday 8.00 pm slot, as per TAM figures.

This is just one of the many cases, where such an initiative has delivered for STAR Plus. The channel’s Senior Creative Director, Shailja Kejriwal, said that while stars were an important factor for such efforts, it was not just about the stars.

“I don’t think just putting stars on the stage and asking them to sing and dance works. You have to build an emotional connect if you want to lure the viewer – by way of the script, presentation style and even other factors like their costumes. Otherwise there are too many such efforts on other channels that have happened and nothing really has worked,” remarked Kejriwal.

Sony TV’s Business Head, Tarun Katial, too, believes that television stars can be a big draw in reality programmes. “Television is otherwise an author backed medium, but in the case of reality shows, it is a whole different deal. Celebrities have their own pull in reality shows and that can work in favour of the show,” he said.

According to Balaji’s Creative Director, Ekta Kapoor, usage of stars like this was more like a fad. “There is a phase of trying these kinds of things. Such efforts are good for the channel – they serve the role of add-ons on weekends and so on. To that extent, yes they benefit the channel,” she said.

While that is what is seen in most cases, Sony is taking it a little deeper with ‘Fame Gurukul’. Just as the show has seen unknown faces make a mark, in this new turn, it will include television stars to help give the show ratings a further boost.

The idea has created a substantial buzz with STAR One’s reality format show ‘Nach Baliye’, where 10 celebrity couples battle it out to be the number one dance couple. Even though Katial offers no comments on this yet, it would be interesting to see how the move benefits the show.

Further on the usage of TV celebs in the TRP boosting game, Kapoor saw this as a trend of sorts. “There was this one time when there were too many item numbers in shows. Then there were small spurts of stage shows and other such stunts. The point is that till some time, people might want to watch it but after that, they don’t. The life of the tactic is finite,” she pointed out.

Looking at soaps now, there have been instances when a change in protagonist has seen the show steadily lose ground, and in cases like ‘Kahiin Kissi Roz’ and going forward even ‘Kkusum’, the shows have been taken off air.

Commenting on this, Kapoor said, “The star makes a big difference to the show, but it has to be backed well with the writing too. A strong story line can rescue the show from almost anything.”

Katial added, “Television stars are what their roles make them. This is a writer’s medium and a good actor adds to it. The mentioned cases also have much to do with story lines and the stages that the show is in and what it is doing for the channel – not so much about the change in stars.”

While Kapoor believed that celebrities made a big difference to soaps, Katial felt that in the draw they could be in reality. At the same time, Kejriwal throws light on the innumerable successes that the channel has seen in one-off properties with the right mix of celebrities and emotional connect.

Television stars sure are gaining prominence, but the manner in which their utilities are changing indicate the evolution and acceptance of the medium itself.

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