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"We will be back after a break!"

SEASONAL FARE Amitabh Bachchan in

SEASONAL FARE Amitabh Bachchan in "Kaun Banega Crorepati"  

The concept of seasonal shows, doing the rounds of foreign television with success, is now fast making inroads into Indian TV programming

So how many times have you gnashed your teeth at a comedy sitcom? Better if they take a break, didn't you think?

Have you already started missing the Star World talk shows Rendezvous With Simi Garewal and Koffee With Karan? And how good do you feel now that the phone lines for Kaun Banega Crorepati on Star Plus have re-opened this week? Finally, it is time to make up for last time's lost opportunity.

All these underline the fact that the concept of seasonal shows, doing the rounds of foreign television with success, is now fast making inroads into Indian TV programming. Be it KBC, Rendezvous... , Koffee With Karan, Aahat, Indian Idol, Get Gorgeous, Popstars, all have left the tube with the promise of coming back.

KBC is already on its way back this August. Aahat on Sony TV has done so. Rendezvous... is being canned afresh, the second edition of Indian Idol will hit Sony TV this year-end, the next edition of Get Gorgeous is already on air, Popstars have long done with the next dish-out, and Karan Johar has taken a break from Koffee... for his next film. Only to return, he promises.

An interesting point here is most of them went off air when they were most watched.

Simi Garewal with Kareena Kapoor

Simi Garewal with Kareena Kapoor  

Says Simi Garewal, the hostess of Rendezvous..., "Mine has always been a seasonal show. If you want to keep your viewers, give them quality stuff. One sure way of doing it is to go off air to get back with some subject of value."

Simi feels, this way, viewers think one is serious about entertaining them.

Siddhartha Basu of Synergy Communications, the production house of KBC, sees sense in it. "KBC went off air when it was a hit. Many feared it would lose its bubble once it left TV. We didn't have a choice then, as Amitabh Bachchan couldn't give us shooting dates. On hindsight, I feel we have gained. Now people remember it positively. Good that we went to rejuvenate ourselves, now we have more to offer viewers in terms of money and prizes and even technologically."

The lingering fine taste in the mouth has ensured an audience craving for more of KBC three years after it went off air.

But more than game and talk shows, what TV producer Rajiv Mehra would prefer to see going seasonal are the tele-comedies.

"Often they go on in the name of continuity. More than others, comedy shows need fresh inputs every other day to sustain the rhythm. Shows like Friends go off air to return with new inputs to remain popular. Let's hope we get into this mode quickly, because it works."

Karan Johar in "Koffee With Karan"

Karan Johar in "Koffee With Karan"  

Known for hit comedies like Office Office on Sabe TV, Mehra hopes to try out the seasonal card with his Star Plus comic roll-out, Life Out of Control.

"Since Office Office is continuing, we have to always look for good writers to keep the punch," he adds.

One also realises that TV programming here, specially the kids channels, are getting more seasonal now. With the summer holidays on, they have designed their programming to attract as many kids.

But what surely would go seasonal on the Indian tube are the reality shows. Indian Idol went off air with a bang, and Sony TV Senior Vice President Tarun Katial says, "The show's second edition will be back this year-end."

"The concept of seasonal shows works well with the reality shows while in dailies, you can't think of it. When you are telling a long story, you can't afford to go off air midway. Even in the West, serials like Santa Barbara and The Bold and The Beautiful went on and on and didn't lose any viewers," says Katial.

Deepak Segal, Head of Star Plus, concurs, "Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi has just completed 1000 episodes, yet is going great guns. This reiterates, dailies shouldn't take a break."

But in the age of reality shows, demand would soon mount for seasonal tracks. And evidence shows the show has already begun.

SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY

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