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Eko Patrio: (Courtesy of Kapanlagi.com)
During Ramadhan, TV’s prime time also temporarily shifts to the early morning hours, when Muslims nationwide awake to eat their sahur pre-dawn meal.
In a trend dating back to the mid to late 1990s with the rise of commercial TV stations, most channels provide special programming during the month. Some schedule lighthearted skits with groups of celebrities, while others take a more earnest tone through discussions with Muslim clerics.
But it is humor that starts the fasting day for most stations. Indosiar has Sahur Bersama Srimulat (The Pre-dawn Meal with Srimulat), featuring the antics of Srimulat group performers Tessy, Doyok and Nurbuat.
RCTI airs Kampung Sahur beginning at 2:45 a.m. daily. Set in a housing complex, the sitcom-style program has comedian Komeng, Eko Patrio (one of the pioneers of the Ramadhan show format in the late 1990s with Ulfa Dwiyanti), Melaney Ricardo, Ayu Dewi, Oppie Kumis, Vincent and Pricilla Febrita (Pica), a finalist in Miss Indonesia 2010.
There is an international cast of characters on Trans TV’s Waktunya Kita Sahur (Time for the Pre-Dawn Meal), a comedy show about a multiethnic community with people from Japan, England and Australia, broadcast from 2:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. The local celebrities keeping order are Olga Syahputra, Jessica Iskandar, Raffi Ahmad, Adul and Cagur.
Another incentive to tune in is for the program’s quizzes, with attractive prizes ranging from cash to TV sets.
A. Hadiansyah Lubis, head of the marketing department and public relations of Trans TV, told entertainment newsportal kapanlagi.com that besides preparing new shows for Ramadhan, his TV station also reformatted several established shows in the spirit of the holy month.
“We want to offer fresh, innovative and differents show for Ramadhan,” he said.
For viewers wishing for more spiritual sustenance, there is ANTV’s Sahur Bareng Mamah (Pre-dawn Meal with Mamah), airing on ANTV every day from 3 a.m. to 4:30 a.m., with popular Islamic cleric Mamah Dedeh giving words of wisdom.
Known for her blunt opinions that bely her motherly appearance, Mamah listens to the stories of the 10 audience members, and then gives her perspective.
On the lighter and sometimes teary sides, there are giveaways of tickets for the annual mudik (trips home at the end of the fasting month) or the reuniting of a guest with long-lost family members.
Also offering something a bit different from mainstream entertainment is Metro TV, which stays true to its concept of a news station with Sahur Bersama Tokoh (Pre-dawn Meal with Public Figures), airing every day at 3 a.m. Among those featured having their pre-dawn meal in their homes were House Speaker Marzuki Alie and Constitutional Court chief Mahfud MD.