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Unrealistically real: Reality shows' magic potion for survival

Fans who have grown up watching shows like "Roadies", "Bigg Boss" and "Indian Idol" are still hooked on to them as they cross over a decade-long run on the small screen. The journey from plasma TV sets to LED screens has been bumpy but a couple of such reality shows have not only survived the test of time but in fact flourished in these years thanks to their main ingredients reality and relatability.
Unrealistically real: Reality shows' magic potion for survival

Shows like "Roadies", "Splitsvilla", "India's Got Talent", "Bigg Boss", "Indian Idol" and "Kaun Banega Crorepati" among many others have scored up to season 10 and more, leaving many wondering what is the secret formula for their survival.

Dennis Nagpal, who has done casting for MTV shows like "Splitsvilla", "Love School" and "India's Next Top Model" among others, says it's the reactions of people in different situations that catches the eye.

"That is what makes it relatable to the audience," Nagpal told , adding: "In the case of 'Roadies' and 'Splitsvilla', it's the connection with the youth.... Many have grown up watching it, and because of the fondness of the show, they still continue watching it."

"Also, these youth reality shows are high on sex appeal... 'Roadies' and 'Splitsvilla' are not just shows today, they are brand names," added the Founder of Good Vibes Entertainment.

Ferzad Palia, Head - Youth, Music and English Entertainment, Viacom18, believes the success lies in the consistent efforts to stay relevant.

"There is an increased interest for content that is 'real' and 'relatable' and with each passing season, MTV has ensured to relook at formats and have a refreshed approach. This has worked in our favour as 'Roadies' and 'Splitsvilla' have grown enormously as iconic properties and there is an increasing demand in consumer interest even today," Palia told .

Shows like "Kaun Banega Crorepati" and "Indian Idol" have also crossed the decade long run and are now coming up with its 11th season respectively on TV.

Ashish Golwalkar, Head - Programming, Sony Entertainment Television told that these shows have achieved an iconic status and hence are in demand.

Golwalkar said: "They are still in demand because the viewers resonate with the simplicity of the concept. Both the shows have been consistent in delivering their promise. If I were to speak of 'Indian Idol', viewers keep coming back for the journeys of contestants. It's almost as if saying that their aspirations are coming alive through these contestants.

"'KBC', a one of a kind concept, is all about empowerment with knowledge at its core. It celebrates the struggles of the common people and gives them an opportunity to achieve what they aspire for, despite formidable obstacles, on the basis of their knowledge."

Golwalkar agrees that not every reality show is a raging success.

"However, consistency in bringing forth the best of talent and bettering viewer experience with each season is critical... I think the reality shows will continue their hold on the viewers," he added.

COLORS is now gearing up for the 13th season of the controversial reality show "Bigg Boss", hosted by superstar Salman Khan.

Manisha Sharma, Chief Content Officer, Hindi Mass Entertainment at COLORS, says innovation and experimentation in concept woos the audience every year.

How long can these reality shows sustain at a time when a variety of content across different platforms is vying for the audience's attention?

"While the content consumption patterns are evolving, television is still at its core. As broadcasters, we are focusing on the critical factors and presenting content that people love and want to watch. Reality television shows are the principal drivers for any channel and as we address the gaps and co-opt the best practices, we build strong sustainability for the shows," Sharma told .

(Durga Chakravarty can be contacted at durga.c@.in)

( With inputs from IANS )

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