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Tuesday, Aug 06, 2002

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Star TV set to launch Pop Idol

Nithya Subramanian


BOLLYWOOD borrows heavily from Hollywood. No surprises when the small screen follows suit.

After `Kaun Banega Crorepati' (KBC) and a host of adaptations, Star India is set to launch another big new show called `Pop Idol'.

Based on an international format quite popular on BBC in the UK and Fox Network in the US, Star is hoping that the show will strike a similar chord with the Indian audiences.

The show, which is described as a mixture of entertainment, reality TV and talent hunt, scouts for a pop idol. Star officials are, however, not willing to divulge details. "The programme is at the conceptual stage," is all that they are willing to say. But if industry insiders are to be believed, the show is set to be on a large scale, with a big budget.

And it's not Star which is relying on imports. Other channels have been doing the same. Sony recently launched an Indianised version of `Russian Roulette' called Bachke Rehna and Zee's Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai is loosely based on BBC's `It's Your Life'. Earlier, `Movers and Shakers' was a take off on NBC's `Jay Leno' show. But what really has been the fate of adaptations from international formats? The strike rate has not been very high.

Barring KBC, which turned the fortunes for Star, others such as Kamzor Kadii Kaun (KKK) and Ji Mantriji have not created magic. Star has given the former a break and has not decided when to launch Ji Pradhan Mantriji, a sequel to the latter. Internationally, `The Weakest Link' and `Yes Minister' were runaway successes.

Media planners say adaptations of international formats are a gamble that channels take. "Especially after the success of KBC, channels are trying out different international formats. But one never knows which show will take off and which will not," said a media planner with Enterprise Nexus.

While channels invest heavily in such shows, they have to plan it with a short shelf line. Viewership fatigue in India is very quick compared to the West.

"Internationally shows like `The Bold and the Beautiful' or `Baywatch' have run for decades without a break. Indian viewers are very different and discerning,'' said the media planner.

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