India Wakes Up to Reality TV

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The young population of India has taken very well to the new phenomenon that has come to dominate primetime television screen. Reality TV shows have burst into the hearts of the TV viewing public.
Considering the slow moving narratives and stale convoluted plots of the melodramatic soaps that ruled the small screen for so long, this trend is hardly surprising. The interest is especially apparent in the younger age groups - of teens and young adults in their twenties, the majority of whom were never really interested in the soaps to begin with.

MTV Roadies, first aired in 2003, was among the first of the reality shows that took the young crowd by storm. Based on the original MTV show Road Rules (1995), the intense auditions and the physically, mentally and emotionally challenging situations that the contestants were put through, as well as the extreme drama that played out in real life attracted the general public to their TV screens like bees to honey. MTV Roadies still runs successfully and continues to notch up points in popularity.

Another hugely popular show is Indian Idol. A syndication of the smash hit series American Idol, the Indian counterpart has managed to garner a huge fan following as well. The temperament and personalities of Indian judges, a formulaic replacement for the acerbic wit of Simon Cowell or the sparkling screen presence of Paula Abdul, have captured the imagination of the Indian public and provided then with much entertainment.

Reality shows on music seem to be the most popular in the country; they are on virtually every available TV channel. The celebrity judges, participants and anchors of these reality shows generate a large fan base. Reality shows are also endorsed by big corporations, and for mobile network companies this is nothing less than the famed gold rush of yore as they just wait for the millions of SMS votes that come in for each participant, per episode for every reality show.

The magnitude of this trend is truly breath-taking.
Just what is it about reality TVshows that has the entire country glued to the television screens watching strangers bicker and fight it out?

Could it be perhaps be the fact that the contestants are ordinary people from among the general population, and the audience is lured by the “one-of us” emotion? This coupled with the glamour and entertainment provided by the celebrity judges push the perceived value of reality TV to dizzying heights.

Author Bio:
Australian author Vaughn Alaine-Marshall releases Überstar from Hendlin Books, an explosive look at the reality television. Based largely on reality shows such as American Idol, India has Talent and other successful reality shows. The author’s research included interviews with participants, producers and insiders from the world’s largest reality television shows. for more:

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