Ricardo and Alicia Powell take Basia to TV

Published: Monday | May 25, 2009

Barbara Ellington, Lifestyle Editor

Jamaican Ricardo Powell and his Trinidadian wife, Alicia, owners/producers of 'Basia Magazine' and television show. - Contributed photos

Following his departure from the cricketing stage, St Elizabeth native Ricardo Powell migrated to Trinidad, the land of his wife, Alicia John Powell's birth. Basia and Basia Sports Magazine were born; the publications which featured mainly sports stars and Caribbean lifestyle issues have now evolved into a television show - The Basia Show.

It began airing in the twin-island state the first week of April, and host, Alicia Powell, interviews the hottest Caribbean celebrities. She told Flair in an exclusive email/telephone interview that she calls them her A-listers.

"To date, I have interviewed the 'royal couple' of soca, Fay-Ann Lyons Alvarez and her husband, Bunji Garlin; Barbadian soca queen Alison Hinds; Destra Garcia; Baby Cham; Tessanne Chin; Tami Chynn among a host of others.

Basia flies the guests into Trinidad for taping to promote their latest albums, among other projects. The show begins airing in Barbados in a few weeks and arrangements are being made to take it to Jamaica soon. Early reviews have been good, Alicia told Flair, and fans have said they have not seen anything like this for Caribbean people and celebrities are loving it too.

Alicia Powell (right) on the set of The Basia Show with guests Tessanne Chin (centre) and Tami Chynn. - Contributed

BE: Who is your target audience and what is viewership looking like so far? What has feedback been to it?

AP: The target audience has no age limit. So far we have had young and old following the programme. At least 200,000 people are watching on a nightly basis. Most of our feedback has been via Facebook and the man on the street, and they are loving it. They find it very refreshing to see top Caribbean celebrities showcased in this manner.

It must be expensive to produce, particularly in the current economic climate, I see where you fly guests to Trinidad; who are the major sponsors, are they on board for the long-term?

Yes, it is expensive, however, we don't fly guests weekly, we also do interviews with celebrities who travel to Trinidad on their own for other major shows. Most of our sponsors came on board for the entire season. We have a great production and our sponsors believe in our vision for the Caribbean. They include: First Citizens, Guardian Holdings Limited, KFC, Pizza Hut, T.G.I. Friday's, Trinidad Hilton and Carib Brewery Limited.

What is the total budget for the 13 episodes?

It varies, as our production and administrative costs are high. It depends on whether we are shooting in the studio or outdoors as well as on a number of other factors. I would have to say upwards of US$50,000 per episode.

Do you feature sports and entertainment personalities only? What other areas of their lives do you cover that are not already commonly known about them?

Primariy, as they are the only group of celebrities whom the entire Caribbean knows and, like our magazine, this is a Caribbean show. We focus on the human side of these personalities; they share their journeys, struggles and there is also a lot of humour, most times they are teaching me how to dance, (I can't dance). We have a live DJ on set with the host and he normally plays all the latest songs for the artistes and we look at their latest music videos, etc. Every episode is different, depending on the celebrity we interview.

First you had the magazines and now a television show, how are the magazines doing now and why a TV show at this time?

Considering the downturn in the economy and our company is still standing, I would have to say our magazines are doing OK. Why not television? It was always on the cards for us. Over the years we established a wide network of celebrities with both our magazines (Basia/Basia Sports Magazine), so doing the television version of our magazines was like putting the icing on the cake. It just felt right.

What other projects are you working on for the future?

We have Basia Sports Foundation that focuses on youth development and cricket. At this time our focus is on the Basia Show and establishing a solid network for publicity management for the people of the Caribbean and then, of course, our two boys who are a handful, so we are focusing on raising them the right way.

What are your plans for Caribbeanwide viewership; is there a timetable for airing in the islands? Can you share those details?

Our immediate focus is for the show to be aired in Trinidad, Barbados and Jamaica. We will take the other islands as the opportunities arise. Our main concern is partnering with national television stations throughout the Caribbean as the majority of people in the Caribbean do not have cable television.

Where to find The Basia Show

The programme airs on CNMG in Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday nights at 8 p.m., with a repeat on Sunday evenings at 6 p.m. The Basia Show also streams live on the Internet at ctntworld.com and sneak previews of the show can be seen at www.basiamagazine.com, where you can also vote for the celebrity whom you would like to see on the show.

Former West Indies cricketer Ricardo Powell with sons Ricardo Jr (left), five years old, and Ross who is 10 months old.