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Soap queen Ekta to make reality shows

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    Wednesday, October 10, 2007

    Reality shows are here to stay. And there's no doubt about it especially when television tycoon Ekta Kapoor bets her money on it. The young businesswoman is now planning to make an acting-based reality show for Sony TV on the lines of Zee's "Cinestar Ki Khoj". She has been taking keen interest in making shows for the channel, especially since Sandeep Sickand quit it. While Balaji serial "Khwaish" is already on air, sources say about three more shows are in the pipeline, one of them being the reality show on acting.

    However, statistics show that only reality shows based on singing and dancing have got the TRPs soaring. The second innings of Zee TV's acting talent hunt "Zee Cinestar Ki Khoj" failed to earn the kind of TRP ratings its debut show did. The response led to Sony and Star steering clear of reality shows based on acting. But all that can change, believe industry insiders, if Ekta puts her mind to it. And when the soap queen makes a plan, usually there is solid conviction behind it.

    Buzz is that the sudden shift of focus towards Sony is because Ekta's top actors like Prachi Desai, Ronit Roy and Jai Bhanushali are participating in "Jhalak Dikhla Jaa", in which papa Jeetendra is also a judge. "With her increased involvement in the channel's programming, Ekta has already occupied the hot seat in the organizational hierarchy. Her serial has pushed up the TRPs of the channel," said a source employed with the channel.

    Another speculation is that her tilt towards Sony is because her serials on Star Plus and Zee are not doing too well these days. However, a creative person associated with Balaji Telefilms is all praise for her boss: "Ekta is the queen of soaps. Whatever be the matter, she is enjoying very good viewership for all her shows. It is just that she is spreading her wings and not limiting herself to a few channels."

    But then, the TRP charts prove otherwise. Even a mythological-historical show like "Prithviraj Chauhan" is enjoying higher TRPs than Balaji's prime-time soaps. Had that not been the truth, why would Ekta sack six of her creative people all at one go. Her rift with her subordinates could also be because of her bossy attitude. Her possessiveness about her actors is a very well-known fact in the television industry.

    At the same time, Ekta also has loyal supporters amongst her actors. Aspiring actor Jai Bhanushali, one of the participants in "Jhalak Dikhla Jaa" and the lead of "Kayamath", says: "Ekta never stops us from doing anything we want. She told us that if we can manage it then we could go ahead and work with other channels and media houses. She said we should just see to it that our work does not get affected. Ekta wants her work to be perfect and that's it." But then, would any actor working for Ekta dare to say a word against her? Wouldn't that be suicidal, especially when one is at the threshold of a career in television? It's only after carving a niche for themselves that Smriti Irani and Cezzane Khan dared to stand up to Ekta.

    A few months back, when Ekta launched Dhoop, she was asked if it were an alternative to her serials just in case they flop. Her reply was much in the face. "Yes, may be you all can consider this as an alternative as my serials are not doing well."

    Well, Ekta we hope that your new experiment of getting into the arena of reality shows saves you the Dhoop of poor TRPs of your soaps. Here's hoping Ekta sets a new trend with her reality show on acting on Sony.

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