What makes a reality show work?

With so many “Reality” shows in today’s time (both nationally & abroad) it’s very important to understand why and how a reality show clicks. There have been so many mega-successful shows in US/UK and their counterparts in India (and so many flops) that it is necessary to learn what works and what doesn’t. In this post we try to analyze deeply as to what are the different elements of a reality show and what should be taken care of while creating a new reality show.

Almost all of the reality shows in India or elsewhere are localized versions of already popular US or UK shows. Here are some of the shows which have worked (in India) and some which haven’t. We’ll then analyze all the aspects to understand what it takes to make a successful Reality Show:

  • Mega-successful shows-
    • Kaun Banega Crorepati (Who wants to be a millionaire)
    • Indian Idol (American Idol)
    • Dance India Dance (So you think you can dance)
    • Bigg Boss (Big Brother)
  • Successful Shows-
    • Fear Factor India (Fear Factor)
    • Jhalak Dikhla ja (Dancing with the stars)
    • Sa Re Ga Ma Pa
    • Boogie Woogie
    • Masterchef India (Masterchef US/Australia)
  • Flops-
    • Zor Ka Jhatka (Wipeout)
    • India’s Minute to Win it (Minute to Win it)
    • Survivor India

Contestants: No doubt contestants are single biggest asset of a reality show. Wrong selection of contestants can make or break the entire show. Contestants can be broadly categorized as- “Common man” and “Celebrities”. Depending upon the format of show creative team may decide to have common man or celebrities or a mix of both as contestants. For pure talent based shows like KBC, Dance India Dance, Indian Idol etc it’s  imperative to have common people as main contestants otherwise it looks too dramatic and unreal (remember how we feel when a celebrity wins 50 lacs in a KBC episode?). Celebrities as contestants work very well for reality shows in which drama quotient needs to be high. Questions have been raised about such reality shows being truly “real” but now audience have kind of understood that reality shows involve either good “editing” or good “drama” to look exciting on TV. Some such shows are Bigg Boss, Survivor India, Zor Ka Jhatka. Example of shows having combination of both “common man” and “celebrities” as contestants include Fear Factor (India) and Jhalak Dikhlaja.

Drama: Television is all about drama and not having any drama in a reality show is a sure shot way to kill it. An emotional story can become an important part of show’s success. KBC is known for creating dramatic situations based on a contestant’s profile or based on the question “What would you do if you win a Crore?“. Shows like Bigg Boss rely too much on drama which is demanded by its format. “Zor Ka Jhatka” couldn’t impress audience even with Shahrukh Khan because it lacked both good contestants and drama quotient. If you actually see original “Wipeout” it’s one hell of a funny show and it does it without SRK type host.

Host: Even though host is 3rd most important thing it indeed plays an important part in taking the show to next level i.e. from success to mega-success (like Amitabh in case of KBC), Khatron Ke Khiladi (with Akshay Kumar as host) or from utter failure to moderate success (Dus Ka Dum could have bombed badly if Salman wasn’t there). But in case a show lacks above 2 important characteristics chances of it failing increases- SRK could never save Zor Ka Jhatka and even KBC with SRK couldn’t attract audience as much as Big B. My tip: Get a host with good sense of humor or with lot of character- Raghu/Rajiv and Rannvijay are known for their tough/macho characters and they don’t need Akshay Kumar.

Plot: Borrowed or not, plot does play an important part in a reality show’s success. How? Well first thing is it identifies your target audience. KBC had a national appeal, Roadies & Bigg Boss have youth appeal, Dance India Dance is liked by a specific set of audience and so is Masterchef. Plot helps a production house lay its marketing plan and execute it. Beware! If top 3 things are not in place, plot will never help you win your audience.

Editing: Editing is an important part of any reality show, specially of those shows in which cameras roll continuously. In my opinion India’s Minute to Win it suffers from really bad editing as against its US counterpart. Dance India Dance is edited very well despite it being a talent reality show. There is always a connection between the contestants, Mithun da and 3 judges (Remo, Terence and Gita). Good editing is evident from a show which keeps you glued during the program, bad editing gives you enough reasons to switch 🙂

Connection: Well this is second last part of “what it takes to create a good reality show” but trust me, unless your audience feel “connected” with your show, you CAN NOT make it work. Connection happens if you get all of the above things “just” right for your show. There is no formula for this, it just happens!

Audience: Audience may include either studio audience or audience watching at home or both. In KBC, studio audience is well trained before shoot- they are told when to clap, how much to clap, when to laugh, who sits in front, who sits in background, what should be your facial expressions.. everything! It’s like a controlled backdrop scenario which is very important taking into consideration the plot of the show. In case of shows like Minute to Win it studio audience is supposed to be very energetic (which sadly doesn’t happen in Indian version). In talent based shows like DID or Indian Idol studio audience makes singing or dancing more enjoyable by clapping and dancing along with the contestants. Shows like Wipeout expect audience sitting at home to be their real audience and the host directly tries to talk to that audience. Audience is important because it makes or breaks your show- understand your audience!

These are the key elements of a reality show, there are many other like sound, camera, direction which are important but they are common to all TV shows.

Do you think there are other important aspects? Please comment..

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Roadies 9 Journey – The Stunner ?

The word “Roadies” bring out the madness, craziness, enthusiasm, sob stories, fake-ness & a lot more amongst the youth of India. As the auditions for the show begin, people await & prepare for days. The D- Day is jam packed with people which starts with GDs, forms and more & ultimately facing the judges trio – Raghu, Rajiv & Ranvijay.

Roadies 9 Season started on September 16th and the telecast started few weeks back with much ho-la-ho. The auditions went on in major cities , also in Hyderabad from where the maximum number of Roadies got selected. In total, there were 13 people selected, with a majority of girls. In words of Raghu- It’s only getting BIGGER & this is the first time the show is going to USA.  The selected Roadies are :-

1. Diyali Chauhan , Kanaka Raju & Pratima Dagar – Delhi

2. Abhishek P. Shetty- Pune

3. Dimpy Yadav & Himani Sharma- Chandigarh

4. Manali Banerjee- Kolkata

5. Taranjeet Kaur, Vikas, Aarsh Sharif, Vinay Abhishek, Anirudh Sharma & Khushbu Mendoza- Hyderabad

The Roadies journey is about to begin from Tomorrow , i.e March 17th. The interesting part is that for the first time in Indian Television, a show has been premiered on the Big screen. Yes, you heard it right. The premiere was held in Delhi on the March 15th, which showcased the start of journey of Roadies 9. This season promises to be bigger and the start is grand in itself.

And it does not just end here. This is the first Indian reality Tv show to be shot in USA, says Rajiv. He claims that the audience would enjoy new culture since America is a unique place and everything is larger than life in that country. It will have a basketball task at San Francisco and  a man versus wild survival task at the Death Valley of California. The journey of ‘Roadies 9’ will kick start from Jaipur, then Delhi, and finally to the U.S.

This show promises a lot of adventure, back biting, plans & games, group-ism, over-the-top-drama, tasks, immunity, vote-outs, abusing & ultimately a winner with his/her Karizma bike. Ultimately, it will be a masala show ; living upto the name of reality shows. Only difference is that this one has major viewership of youth & children.

Let’s wait and watch if the show lives upto it’s promises of being the most grand season ever. Let’s see if the show makers are able to make it any different after so many seasons.

The episode telecasts on the television sets tomorrow at 7pm. So stay tuned & do let us know what’s your opinion regarding the first look at the journey of Roadies 9. 

Cheers to the spirit of Roadies 9 !!

 

How to get through Roadies auditions – Have an emotional story ready!!

Emotion and Drama sells like hot cakes on Television. You might find this strange but that is the fact. There are number of events which have high voltage drama & the people involved don’t leave any space for over emoting. Sometime back, there was a strange incident on MTV Rodies season 8 that had forced us to think “Want to get through Roadies auditions? You just have to get an emotional story ready”. So what was that emotional story all about? And why are we even talking about last season’s episode? Without any Drama, let’s get down to the point.

MTV Roadies is a youth-based popular reality television show on MTV India.  The selected Roadies are provided with Hero Honda Karizma bikes to travel on a pre-decided route. Each episode features a vote-out at the end in which the Roadies eliminate one of their fellow Roadies by an anonymous vote, thereby decreasing the number of Roadies carrying on with the journey. There have been 8 seasons till date and the auditions 9th season are underway. Let me take you through the Audition Form that might give you an idea about the selection process:

 Question 1 – What is your mantra for success – performance or politics?

Question 2 – One thing that you’re the best at.

Question 3 – Have you ever flirted on the internet?

Question 4 – Would you be a part of Slutwalk / Besharmi morcha? Why / What not?

Question 5 – What is the most adventurous thing you have done?

Question 6 – Is the Jan Lokpal bill a boon or a curse.

Question 7 – Do people audition for reality shows only to get famous?

And finally Question 8 – Tell us why you should NOT be selected.

Once you have submitted the form and if you are lucky / unlucky you will be invited to GD – Group Discussions. And then once you get short listed there, they might call you for an Interview (With the craziest panel –  Raghu – Rajiv duo and Ranvijay). And this is where the use of your emotional story might come in handy. As mentioned earlier in Season 8, Suraj aka Nagesh, the “fake” contestant, claimed that he came from a poor family and was working as a dishwasher in Hyderabad. His tale of hardships and struggle won over the judges viz. Raghu, Rajeev and Ranvijay and he ended up being selected as a contestant on the show and also won the viewers’ sympathy, being tagged as the most inspiring Roadie. But the real truth was that he had studied at IIBT (Indian Institute of Bartending) and was apparently quite successful in the domain of bartending as he even took charge at the Bartending Seminar & Workshop. As mentioned in his profile on the institutes’s website, he even worked in a call centre before joining the institute. Towards the end of the show, the Rodies crew managed to find out that his stories were fake and also called him back on the show and humiliated him in front of the whole crew & cast and also the television audience.

The question that arises after all this controversy is whether the contestant cheated the judges and the channel or was the whole incident scripted to gain more TRPs for the show? Also the people who run the show must try to find of the the real truth and be fair to the contestants as well.

So do you think sad stories will really give you an advantage and make the judges fall for it? No doubt the emotional stories have ruled the reality shows and ended up getting a lot of attention and publicity. Most of them today want to be a ‘crorepati’ that is rich and famous soon, and television provides them the medium for the same. A lot of youngsters may think that they are ‘smart’  and that they could get away by lying their way in front of such a smart panel and hence want to try such ways. Somehow people take advantage of this fact that the Indian Television Audience is totally Emotional about these things, and hence end up doing such acts. But does this mean all stories are fake? Well, not really, there are also some genuine emotional stories that have managed to pull in the audience. So would you like to create a story and get your entry pass in Roadies? Well that depends on which story you want to present – FAKE or GENUINE !!

Do let us know your views on this new trend of Emotional Stories to get into Roadies. Looking forward to your views on this controversial topic.

iDubba gives a review on MTV Roadies 9

Roadies Season 9 will air on MTV from January. Here is a short synopsis of the show for our viewers.

Raghu and Rajiv, these two brothers have changed the face of Roadies in India. With the USA as this season’s destination Roadies have come a long way. According to Raghu, Season 9 theme is ‘Everything or Nothing’ which America stands for. This show aims at youngsters as today’s young generation aged between 18-23 get an adrenal rush out of a high risk, high gain or high loss in life. The show’s format is such that participants are everything but they don’t have much freedom to plan and outrun show’s creative minds. Raghu and Rajiv can change the game and bring on twists whenever they want.

<READ FULL REVIEW HERE>