It's that time of the year again when you look back at the ups and downs the TV industry went through, the news makers, the spoilsports, the success stories, the flops and duds – in short, everything that made 2009.
Colors: The successful run continued from 2008 for this channel which made soaps dwelling on social issues and reality shows. Their shows fetched them the TRPs and reams of newsprint and air-time. It displaced Star Plus from its No 1 spot, with shows like Uttaran, Na Aana Is Desh Laado, Balika Vadhu and many more!
Star Plus: After a long successful run, the No 1 channel had to make way for Colors. It finally took a call on wrapping up their flagship shows like Kyunki…Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki. It reinvented itself with shows like Kiran Bedi's Aap Ki Kachehri and Sach Ka Saamna. Both got the channel good numbers, a fair amount of publicity (including some negative press) and acclaim, to have tried out something new.
Zee TV: The channel's revamp in terms of content did work, and all their prime time shows have been 'biggies' returning good ratings. Whether it be Ekta's top notcher Pavitra Rishta, or the record breaking Chhoti Bahu or Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo, or the awareness creating Aap Ki Antara, the channel has really made waves, and has come across as a serious competition in year 2010 to the two other top rated channel, COLORS and Star Plus.
Amitabh Bachchan chose Bigg Boss 3 to come back to television after four years and two seasons of Kaun Banega Crorepati. Bachchan's presence took the 'controversial' show several notches higher, kind of made it 'respectable'. Big B tried to get into the contestants' minds and from what we hear, Boss did manage to shake and stir the viewers' palate.
SAB tickled viewers' funny bones with shows like Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma and the newly launched Lapataganj. Ok, the shows may not appeal to all, yet they have given enough reasons for the channel and the producers to smile and cheer about.
It's been a 'you-win-some-you-lose-some' scenario for NDTV Imagine. The channel after a promising start in 2008 did lose some of its sheen this year. But shows like Bandini did help them to cover up. Rakhi Ka Swayamvar was a big gamble which paid off. Unfortunately, Sameer Nair and Imagine couldn't cash in on it. They tried to regain some lost ground with Pati, Patni Aur Woh and hoped to gain some more with the Ravi Kissen hosted Raaz…Pichchle Janam Ka, a show which unlocks secrets of past life and Swayamvar Season 2 with controversy's favorite child, Rahul Mahajan, expected to go on air early next year.
Reality shows on general entertainment channels moved away from the tried and tested song and dance talent hunts as channels took on more greasy stuff as facing your own demons on national television (Sach Ka Saamna) and tying knots too (Swayamvar and Perfect Bride).
Smriti Iraani, Sakshi Tanwar, Kiran Karmarkar, Mohnish Behl – the old guard made way for the newbies. The Bidaai girls, Naitik and Akshara, Anandi and Gehna, the Dill Mill Gaye team, Siya and many more slowly and surely wiped off the old names making a place for them. Yes, Smriti is around as Maniben but it's not the same as Tulsi. Same for Sakshi's Parvati. Shweta Tiwari is the only one perhaps trying her hand wearing itsy bitsy clothes in Comedy Circus 3. Shweta even tried her hand at the grueling Iss Jungle Se Mujhe Bachao, wearing a fetching swimsuit…Alas!
Juhi Parmar chose matrimony and threw her ample weight around in Pati Patni Aur Woh while among the men, except for Ronit Roy who is doing Bandini, the others are out of sight and out of mind!
This will also be the year of big shaadis and big splits. Juhi married baby-face Sachin Shroff, Daljit and Shaleen Bhanot said 'I do' and so did half a dozen television couples but then, Karan Singh Grover allegedly strayed and split from wife Shraddha Nigam. Shocking, but true.
It was also the year when the bad boys behaved worse! Topping the list is Akashdeep Saigal who seems to have gone underground after his chauvinistic act in Jungle. Kamaal Khan almost did an Akashdeep as he picked fights with Poonam Dhillon and threw bottles at Rohit Verma.
Meanwhile, Rakhi Sawant shed her controversial image to play a coy bride first and then a bai-cum-care-taker-cum-mother-to-doting-bahu in Pati Patni. Full paisa vasool makeover, this one.
Bollywood made its presence felt not just by promoting their films incessantly on small screen shows but also in terms of the real biggies descending on the chhota parda. Sony also paid Rani Mukerji in gold to get her going on Dance Premiere League. Amrita Rao made her TV debut as the 'princess-like relationships expert' in Perfect Bride while sweetie-pie Genelia D'Souza agreed to host the Big Switch, another reality show. Akshay Kumar pocketed a few crores more to be part of the Khatron Ke Khiladi, Level 2. There was Bachchan of course and there is Chhota Bachchan too waiting 'lazily' to arrive at a small screen near you while rumours of Preity Zinta and Bipasha Basu nodding to TV shows continue to do the rounds.
Children ruled the small screen big time in 2009. Suddenly there was a rush of kiddie characters like Tapasya, Ichcha, Anandi and Jagdish, of course, Afsha and Dhairya hosting Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, Saloni Daini doing stand-up and last but not the least Antara. There was a court ruling too on how channels and makers were exploiting children by making them work under tough conditions but the bachchalog continue to appear in reality shows and daily soaps!
2009 also saw the producers and broadcasters locking horns. Channels were forced to telecast re-runs as workers and producers' unions refused to toe the line… Precious time was wasted, people lost jobs, actors sat at home and viewers waiting patiently for the dust to settle down. But a dark period in Indian television, nevertheless.
This year also marked Doordarshan's completion of 50 years as people paid a tribute to the golden era of television which marked cult shows like Nukkad, Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, Hum Log, Buniyad and many many more.
2009 has its fair share of ups and downs but the couch potato still had a good time at the small screen as channels jostled for air-space, some fell by the way side even as the toughies survived and how. It was no longer one channel versus another but one show pitted against
the other. TV did attempt to depart from the formulaic soaps, even K-queen Ekta Kapoor had to learn a few new rules and reality TV reached a new high (or low depending on how you see it).
One more year gone by with new promises waiting to unfold on the idiot box…the first being Yash Raj Films making its television foray with five shows (including one non-fiction) on Sony. Bring it on, television 2010, the couch potatoes are waiting for you!