Aside from voyeurism, the casting and novelty of the roles are what drives ‘Bigg Boss’ scores. When new guests are introduced to the house, the reality show reinvents itself.
Viacom18, the company behind Colors, MTV, and Nickelodeon, debuted reality show Bigg Boss on Colors Marathi, its Marathi language platform, on April 15. Come June, you’ll be able to watch the show in Malayalam as well. The Malayalam version, on the other hand, will be released by Star India Pvt. Ltd, which also owns the Tamil and Telugu rights to Bigg Boss. Read about Bigg Boss 15 Mx Player.
And, if Abhishek Rege, the CEO of Endemol Shine, the company that owns the Bigg Boss model in India, has his way, a Bigg Boss edition will soon be broadcast in a couple of neighboring countries. “In 2019, we will expand our presence in Nepal and Bangladesh,” says Rege.
Bigg Boss is a reality show based on the original Dutch series Big Brother, in which a group of contestants (or housemates) are confined to a purpose-built house with little access to the outside world. They are assigned assignments to do every day. They keep being evicted from the house based on their success and behavior. The winner is allowed to remain in the building.
Bigg Boss seems to be the reality show on Indian television with the most language variants at the moment. Apart from Hindi, which has already seen 11 seasons, the format has spawned many vernacular versions. Colors, Viacom18’s general entertainment channel, is currently airing the Hindi version. The show is also produced in Kannada and Bengali by the broadcaster.
So, what makes Bigg Boss one of India’s most successful reality shows?
The most obvious is voyeurism, in which audiences are given a glimpse at the lives and intimate interactions of the housemates.
Kevin Vaz, Star India’s chief executive for the South zone, is swift to point out that Bigg Boss refers to the whole family. “It’s not sleazy at all. The housemates, the majority of whom are celebrities, are the focus of the program. You have the choice of voting for your favorite and forcing them to remain in the house. It all comes down to telling stories.”
To be sure, Bigg Boss has a fly-on-the-wall perspective in which you begin to relate to the housemates.
It’s no wonder, then, that Bigg Boss Telugu on Star Maa premiered with a TVR of 16.2 and had the highest season average on Telugu television at 8.6 TVR in its first season last year, according to Vaz. According to him, the show on Star Vijay drew 7 crore viewers in Tamil Nadu and 1.5 crore viewers across India.
Bigg Boss is a special and unusual style, according to Ravish Kumar, Viacom18’s head of regional entertainment. When you get new guests into the home, it reinvents itself. “The hunger of viewers is fueled by their intimate interactions. But, contrary to popular belief, it is not a scripted drama. We assign jobs, and the show takes on a life of its own,” he explains.
It is habit-forming because the contestants are placed in a pressure cooker setting for nearly three months and the program airs on the television every day. “It’s the IPL (Indian Premier League) of non-fiction series,” Vaz says. It clearly energizes prime time and establishes a slot for the station. It generates both buzz and sampling, and it has the potential to propel a channel to the top of the charts.
Surprisingly, the Hindi edition of Bigg Boss airs at 10.30 p.m. every night, while the regional language versions air at 9.30 p.m. Channels, especially in regional languages, ensure that the show is not too overt for family watching, keeping in mind India’s mostly single TV households. Even scandals are subject to limits in order to avoid alienating family audiences.
Ravish Kumar says the language versions of Bigg Boss are a winning style, which is why Viacom chose them. “In every regional market, it is the most costly and complicated exhibition. He adds, “Besides, it’s a world-class format.” The show benefits from the same instinct and emotion through cultures.