CNN-IBN best on Exit Poll night!

May 13, 2014, 06:43 IST | Pradyuman Maheshwari

I’ve always maintained this in the past, and will do so again. That Times Now and the Arnab Goswami brand of prime time news television doesn’t work on the big election night (and day).

The promos for Times Now are all over. I have heard them on Radio Mirchi and I’ve seen them on Aaj Tak. And, of course, on Times Now. They are focussing more on Arnab, and less on the channel.

But, after all, he has fashioned himself as not just an anchor, but a mega-anchor. His programme is not at prime time, but super prime time. I am surprised his show is still Newshour and not Biggest Newshour.

Okay, let me not joke any further about Mr Goswami overhyping himself. I am sure it’s not just his doing, but also that of the suits managing the channel.

So, why I do say that the Arnab way doesn’t work for election results? Part of the problem is the guests he brings in: save Vinod Mehta, I thought the others he has on the show are no great shakes.

I prefer the people Rajdeep Sardesai has brought on board. Former mid-day editor Aakar Patel, a Narendra Modi specialist, for instance, is so much better than some of the other journos on various channels.

In fact, it’s the panellists that made the CNN-IBN exit poll show, by far, the best across all English news channels. Curiously, the Headlines Today exit poll show last evening wasn’t anchored by Karan Thapar. Editor-at-large Rahul Kanwal presented it instead.

Sadly, the entire package wasn’t half as good as that of CNN-IBN or even Times Now. I am not sure if Thapar would’ve done it better, given that he wasn’t a sensation with an opinion poll at the start of his run on the channel.

I expected the trio of Prannoy Roy, Shekhar Gupta and Dorab Sopariwalla to dominate prime time on NDTV, but, instead, what we had was Barkha Dutt doing her final chai stop on her election trail. I thought it was good to see Barkha introducing the large crew on her criss-cross of the country. Fine gesture by a fine channel.

Pradyuman Maheshwari is a senior journalist and editor. When he’s not chasing news, he’s watching it.
Twitter: @pmahesh

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