You read it here first. Ravi Belagere's nightly superhit ETV serial Crime Diary is coming to an end. Yes, The End.
Episode number 719 was telecast tonight and some 8-10 more episodes are in the can. But, once those episodes are shown, TV viewers will have to go sleep without the hearing trademark voice and his trademark dose of the darker side of life: sleaze, grime and crime.
Part of the reason is that everybody is tired: the host, the channel, maybe even viewers.
For, after all, if you take out extraordinary situations like a Raj Kumar death or a Veerappan kidnapping, how easy is it to get excited by another homicide, another suicide, night after night, week after week, year after year?
Another reason has to be the desire to move on: to something new, to something bigger, to somewhere else.
With lots of new channels opening, Kannada television is in a period of churning, and it would be no surprise if Belagere wants to take his myriad skills and wares elsewhere.
Opinion has always been sharply divided about Crime Diary and its Udaya counterpart, Crime Story.
There were those who accepted such serials as a necessary evil; a mirror of real life, which television couldn't avoid. But there were also those who viewed them as the sign of a powerful medium dumbing down to appeal to the lowest common denominator, in the quest for TRPs.
In between, questions were raised of the cascading effect it could have on people's tastes, instigating instant judgements, possibly even copycat crimes.
But the fact that Belagere's serial has gone on for five days a week, for over 143 weeks—three months short of three years—is proof that television takes all types.
Yes, The End is here for Crime Diary, but it may just be the The End of The Beginning.