Ramazan transmissions have barely begun and within a week PEMRA notices are flying as channels jump into a frenzied competition for ratings.
Putting aside each channel’s so-called game shows, the real games are being played by hosts who use one gimmick after another to retain the public’s interest in what has become the high profit point of the broadcasting season.
Let’s start with a small survey of the current controversies brewing.
PEMRA asked producers of Fahad Mustafa’s show Jeeto Pakistan to explain why the show started an hour early despite a ruling that game shows must start at 9pm, while Sahir Lodhi has been asked to explain his love/hate for Quaid e Azam.
While these might be called major incidents, minor skirmishes with what might be termed the boundaries of good taste and the spirit of the season have also been bubbling away under the surface.
In their Ramazan shows Aamir Liaquat and Fahad Mustafa have now started a supremely tiresome game of taking regular, thinly veiled jibes at each other. All of this might have been mildly amusing if they displayed any wit or eloquence but sadly they don’t.
The man who last Ramazan force-fed a contestant mangoes, simulated a girl killing herself and was only recently banned for accusing liberal activists of blasphemy and anti-Pakistan activities has just resurfaced with a big game show on Bol TV. This would of course be Aamir Liaquat. His new game show on Bol TV is bluntly titled Game Show Aisay Chalay Ga or “this is how you run a game show”, and is a show where he gives away not just any old car but Mercedes Benzes, houses and of all things small aircraft
Liaquat got straight to the point in his opening monologue; he had a few taunting words for PEMRA, some disparaging comments about cricketers Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar (who have replaced him at his old stomping ground Geo TV) and laid down a gauntlet that he would “eat up” all the other shows. If that wasn’t enough, Liaquat and Fahad Mustafa have now started a supremely tiresome game of taking regular, thinly veiled jibes at each other.
All of this might have been mildly amusing if they displayed any wit or eloquence but sadly they don’t.
Meanwhile their numbers grow and so does the line of contestants willing to participate in increasingly humiliating games and exchanges for a Rs10,000 coupon, or the hope that Aamir Bhai, Fahad Bhai, Wasim Bhai or Shoaib Bhai will hand them the keys to a car.