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It‘s been a carnival of colour, images and good times on the tube this week.


Suddenly, there‘s variety - whether you are a sports buff, a teenager keen on funky programming or part of the upper crust who loves some upmarket stuff on TV.


Cricket turned soap with the Twenty 20 World Cup, and you don‘t need to be a sports lover to be hooked. You have poster boy captains, you have eye candy cheer leaders, you have commentary that isn‘t staid and you have Vir Das and Gaurav Chopra to entertain you with silly jokes in the breaks. General entertainment channels face some serious challenge from this quarter in the coming few days.


UTV‘s Bindass has come knocking at TV screens recently, and by initial looks, seems set to be a winner among the market it targets. It‘s snappy, snazzy and cool.... the pre-requisites of appealing to an audience that has no patience with conventional programming. Obviously, a lot of thought has gone into the exercise - the promos, shows et al are designed to appeal to the youth out there who want to converge all entertainment into the three media - TV, web, mobile. There‘s some imported content with funky videos tailored for Indian tastes, and there are shows like Shakira, which showcases a Lara Croft character out to wreak vengeance. With hardly any precedent in this sphere, there‘s bound to be some trial and error programming till the channel settles down. But the attitude of the channel seems to have its finger on the youth pulse.


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NDTV too has rolled out its Good Times tagged as India‘s ‘first lifestyle channel‘. Uh, hadn‘t someone else used that line earlier? NDTV too has its TG firmly in focus, and its shows are tailored to the class that puts a premium on vanity, good living and fitness. Naturally, there are cookery shows with a difference, health shows with a twist of spiritualism and travel shows with an attitude. Even if some of the talk on the shows sounds a bit trite, especially when a cookery host says, "And I am going to use olive oil, because the Italians use it and I love it....!", it might just appeal to the perennially aspiring Indian. Then there are other shows like No Big Deal, which have the anchor trying to live in different places on a real tight budget which might make for interesting viewing. For the rest, the title of another show, Vanity...No Apologies might just say it all.


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Many of the talent hunts are reaching their finales this week and the frenzy is reaching a crescendo. We still don‘t get a female Idol, but the competition has narrowed down to the two north eastern finalists, each of whose states is apparently going the whole hog in ensuring that the maximum votes go to their respective candidates. In either case, the channel will win in the big SMS fight.


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Star One‘s Laughter Challenge 3 too is reaching its finale this week. As in every season, the quality of comedians the show throws up has been remarkably good, if you discount the many jokes cracked at the female of the species. But then, despite trying to bring in female participants, the show has always been a male bastion. Ladies it seems, still can‘t get us to guffaw with their jokes.

 

Couch potato tip - Next week should bring on a slew of new soaps, including Sahara‘s Main Aisi Kyun Hoon and Sony‘s Amber Dhara, the first time a story will be woven around conjoined twins. If the experiment works, it will be a milestone in TV programming.

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