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Family Sagas do not figure too high on English entertainment

13-February-2004
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Family Sagas do not figure too high on English entertainment

What does Doctor Taylor Haze have that other women don’t? What is the extent of Shiela’s insanity? Does Brooke carry a candle for Thorne? Or maybe Ridge? Wasn’t it Eric a while ago?

Bold and the Beautiful is perhaps the only family saga that continues to survive on English entertainment channels. Santa Barbara, Riviera and All of my Children have disappeared, while cheeky sitcoms and short and sweet humor segments continue to rule the roost on Star World and Zee English.

On the other hand, Hindi family soaps (,I>Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kahiin To Hoga) continue to rule the roost and deliver a frenzy of ratings. Are family sagas out of vogue, when it comes to English entertainment channels?

The ratings don’t spell much for the sole survivor, Bold and the Beautiful. According to TAM ratings, C&S 15 plus females, Sec A (last four weeks) in Delhi, the show borders on negatives and manages to see a high of TVR 0.49 on January 19, 2004. In Mumbai, the show again averages on negatives and the only high point received is TVR 1.09 on January 28, 2004. With the same parameters in mind, the show again struggles with negative figures in Bangalore, however it manages to procure a sudden highpoint on TVR 1.18 on January 9.

Sandeep Tarkas, President, MPG believes that family sagas have the capacity to fetch ratings on English entertainment channels, yet the overwhelming presence of Hindi Saas Bahu soaps deter the channels from taking those on. Says Tarkas, “Santa Barbara and Riviera initially found a lot of fans since they were comparatively new entrants and the novelty factor showed. Youngsters and women were completely hooked on to them. The same goes for Bold and the Beautiful. However, most of what is shown in soaps like Santa Barbara represents a western individualistic society and may not be palatable to most Indians.”

He adds, “Soaps like Kkusum are Indianized versions of the same fare, but are made keeping the Indian tastes and mindsets in mind. Which explains the ratings. Add to it, the monotony that shows like Bold and the Beautiful bring after years of run and the reason is more than apparent for more of the same not showing up on Star World and Zee English.”

As per him, comedies like Friends and Everybody Loves Raymond holds universal appeal and are the better option today. However, he states, “As programming goes through a process of steady evolution, we would be seeing a lot more of family sagas on English entertainment channels. Viewers’ tastes would undergo a steady change with time.”

Manas Misra, Associate Vice President (Mumbai), Initiative Media believes, “The crux of the problem is that, the shock value associated with the Santa Barbaras of the world has completely disappeared. There was a time when mush, adultery and steamy scenes on screen would shock the majority of Indian viewers and they would return for more. Today Indian soaps depict the same, just with bindis, silk sarees and bangles in the picture. The strangeness of it all has just withered away. Hence, viewers on English entertainment channels barely demand shows like Santa Barbara.”

He adds, “Star World has had Bold and the Beautiful running for eons now and though its common knowledge that the show is not delivering much, it scarcely makes a difference in the overall scheme of things. For one, the viewer’s level of involvement with English entertainment channels is quite limited and if a particular show tends to drag or is monotonous, the viewer scarcely thinks about it.”

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