By Radhika Bhirani
New Delhi, Jan 1 (IANS) If last year turned out to be extremely star-studded for the small screen, 2011 is going to be no less! Entertainment channels have lined up innovative reality shows with Bollywood A-listers like Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan as well as Mallika Sherawat to give tough competition to one another.
Television will be quite a battleground in the coming months with innovation and experimentation being the key drivers, say channel spokespersons.
"Playing safe will be the most unsafe thing in 2011," warns Saurabh Tewari, head of programming-Fiction, Imagine TV.
No wonder his channel is bringing King Khan's magic back to the tube with "Zor Ka Jhatka", the Indian version of internationally popular adventure show "WipeOut". And if that wasn't enough, Imagine is also offering "Ratan Ka Rishta" - its next swayamwar -- this time with TV actress Ratan Rajput.
TV will be high on glamour with Bollywood's own Greek god Hrithik Roshan and sultry actress Mallika Sherawat making their debut with STAR Plus' "Dance Olympics" and Colors' "Chak Dhoom Dhoom Team Challenge" respectively.
Even other Bollywood beauties - Preity Zinta and Lara Dutta - have been offered to host Colors' "Guinness World Records, Ab India Todega", but any final announcement is yet to be made.
Tinsel town's original disco dancer Mithun Chakraborty will retain his position as the 'mahaguru' on Zee TV's "Dance India Dance Doubles" show, and supercop Kiran Bedi will return to resolve issues and give justice with the third season of "Aap Ki Kachehri" on STAR Plus.
Another season of "Kaun Banega Crorepati" with megastar Amitabh Bachchan on Sony, and a follow-up to STAR Plus' successful cookery game show "MasterChef India 2" too is in the offing for 2011, apart from the sixth season of Sony TV's hit singing reality show "Indian Idol".
There's an interesting line-up for youth too as the eighth season of MTV's cult show "Roadies" is set to go on the air soon. The year is also expected to see a third season of UTV Bindass' love-based "Emotional Atyachaar" and "Dadagiri 4".
Meanwhile, host Gaurav Kapoor will put his charm and wit to good use on AXN India's "India's Minute To Win It" - which is about completing adventurous tasks within a span of one minute.
Vivek Bahl, executive creative director of STAR India Pvt Ltd, says all channels across all genres are stepping up their programming to combat competition.
"Channels and talent will have to pull up their socks as viewers are just going to get more demanding - they want quality, they want variety and freshness. And channels that are unable to have teams and producers that can deliver all that will fall behind quickly," Bahl told IANS.
Therefore, concepts like STAR Plus' "Wife Bina Life" and Sony TV's "Maa Exchange" will see the light of the day. While "Wife Bina Life" will have 10 women leave their home and children in the hands of their husband, "Maa Exchange" is a twisted version of Western show "Wife Swap", where wives are exchanged. But to suit the Indian sensibilities, the concept has been changed to swap mothers instead.
UTV Bindass will continue to serve the interest of its young audience with a gripping new show "Love Lock Up" - a medium for couples in strained relations to reconcile their relationship before all is lost.
The list doesn't end just there. Writers have been wracking their brain for fresh fictional stories, which will keep coming through the year.
(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at [email protected])