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Reality TV show is a leap of faith

Wednesday March 18 2020
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Anticipation for Bahati’s new show continues to grow, as many wait to see how he will overcome the rocky past of gospel-themed reality TV shows. PHOTO | FILE

By BONFACE NYAGA

Anticipation for Bahati’s new show continues to grow, as many wait to see how he will overcome the rocky past of gospel-themed reality TV shows. BONIFACE NYAGA looks at the upcoming show and delves into the likely challenges of being Bahati.

 

It is a first for Kenyan television and all eyes are waiting to see what Bahati has to offer. Though we have very popular reality television shows, there has been none that is centred around a specific artiste.

Running a successful TV show is no walk in the park, and many are waiting to see how the popstar will turn his musical fame into a fully-fledged television success.

Of particular interest to fans and analysts alike, is how the show will straddle around a pitfall that has met most gospel-themed reality shows. It is not lost to a casual observer that reality shows centred on gospel figures have faced considerable public disapproval.

CONTROVERSY

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Grammy award-winning gospel group, Mary Mary did six seasons of their self-titled show “Mary Mary” on We TV. Delving deep into their personal lives, the show exposed their inner struggles, exposing infidelity, flaring tempers and many unsavoury things. Inevitably the TV series mired the perfect gospel image that the world had of Mary Mary.

Oxygen’s, “Preachers of LA” is perhaps one of the most criticised reality shows of all times. The show chronicled the lives of three flamboyant bishops and three pastors; from their work within the church to their personal lives at home. Many felt uncomfortable with the way the show paraded the lives of revered men of God for entertainment.

Because reality TV shows thrive on controversy and sometimes salacious content, many find it hard to reconcile that with the upright image of a gospel brand.

“It’s an amazing thing for an entertainment brand to be trusted with a 30-minute show. Bahati has really built an amazing brand over the years and it shows. However, reality shows reveal a side of someone’s life that we haven’t seen and that can be negative. I am really eager to watch it, maybe he has something special for people. I have known Bahati for a long time and he is a go-getter. I am just praying that he goes to the next level with this and God’s name is glorified,” said television and film producer J Blessing.

He admits that putting together a TV show requires discipline and very good management skills to organise all the logistics. It will require a cast and crew of not less than 20 people to follow him around, edit and produce a final product. J Blessing was one of the celebs who came out to show their support during the star-studded premier of the show last week.

Mike Njeru of Tufilamu Pictures, has his own misgivings about reality shows in general because of how they have been done. The actor/producer is recently notable for 1988, a film about the notorious Nyayo torture chambers. He claims that the shows, in an attempt to create drama, tend to over-exaggerate. However, he admits they have a lot of commercial value, judging by the success of previous shows.

Reality stars such as the Kardashians have built massive brands that have had substantial commercial success.

Mike says, “He is already a star and we all know him, but I am hoping to see more genuine moments of his life behind the scenes. Authenticity is the key, and I think there is a lot to explore. He doesn’t have to tap into the kind of controversy we have seen in other shows.”

OPPORTUNITY

Chris Kamau, the chairman of the Kenya Actors Guild, has many years of showbiz experience. He says these kind of shows are a great way of popularising stars. In his view, this is a great opportunity for Bahati to take showbiz to the next level if properly executed.

He said: “This show is really going to give Bahati a lot of mileage; it’s a national platform and it will give him more publicity than anything he has ever done. However, he will have to put in the work. It’s harder to shoot this kind of show because you are not dealing with professional actors. Some people don’t take direction very easily and they make the production process very hard.”

He discloses that a show of this magnitude will require a good scripting team, sound-crew, cameramen, editing professionals and people to score the back-ground music.

“It’s really a great move, and I encourage anyone with progressive ideas like this to go for it,” He adds.

Daniel Ndambuki aka Churchill hosts arguably one of the most successful TV shows in East and central Africa. Having run for over 15 years now, The Churchill Show has weathered the storm that has drowned so many others. He advices the team behind the upcoming show to grab the opportunity they have been given and make the best of it.

“Surprise us… bring something fresh to the market. Everyone is waiting for it,” he says. “It's all in your hands. This is the future and it starts right now; here with Bahati. How lucky can we be to witness all this unfold in our eyes? I just have one word for him… Bahati Tena.”

When he described his then girlfriend as ‘prayer partner’, he single-handedly gave the name a new meaning. Bahati is no doubt not just a great artiste, but also an influential part of pop culture. His every move sparks great interest, with news outlets continuously covering intricacies of personal life.

From deleting his Instagram, drama with his baby mama, his secret wedding, to sitting on the president’s seat, Bahati’s life has provided a lot of fodder for online banter. Whether that can sustain an entire 30-minute show remains to be seen as his show "Being Bahati" premiers today on NTV.

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