Since its premiere a month ago, Indian Idol has become a ratings monster for the SET channel, with millions tuning in each week. Last Thursday a reported half million viewers tried to register their vote, bringing the phone lines "close to a meltdown."
The show has managed the typical Idol ratings success without the typical 'nastiness' factor from the judges, a role occupied by the acerbic Simon Cowell in the UK and US versions.
"We realised early on that this was an element of the show that would not play well in this country," Andy Kaplan of SET told the Hollywood Reporter. "We have three judges who are honest and direct but never as nasty as the Simon character. They don't go after people on a personal level, which works in the U.S. and in the UK. But we felt that would not work in this territory, where people are by nature very polite."
Commenting on why it was a success, he added: "Indian viewers respond to aspirational programming, and 'Idol' at its very core is about aspiration. That, along with production value, is probably one of the principal reasons that it has adapted so successfully to India."