TV18 bids to push programming on other channels, new show on Star launching in July

The Raghav Bahl-promoted Television Eighteen India Ltd, a television software producer and broadcaster which holds 49 per cent stake in CNBC India, has just signed a deal with Star India to produce an entertainment based programme for the channel.

The signing of the show, whose name is still under wraps, marks a fresh phase in the programming thrust of TV18, according to Haresh Chawla, CNBC India CEO. TV18 would now be looking at increasing the number of such shows across channels, Chawla said. While not being entirely invisible outside the CNBC India channel, TV18's presence has been low key for the last five months or so. This was because all available resources for content development were being mopped up by the 24-hour business channel, company officials say. Currently, CNBC India airs an average of 11 hours of India-centric programming a day, all of which is produced by TV18.

The new show is essentially a talent search for people across the whole spectrum of the arts, company officials say. The show, whose name the officials didn't want revealed, is scheduled to launch in July and will be a return of sorts for TV 18 to Star. In fact the company shot into prominence with The India Show (later the Amul India Show) on Star Plus in 1993. India Show went on to become the longest running series on Indian satellite television and won the Asia TV Awards for two years running. Talks are on for two more serials for which pilots have been done, officials say.

While the focus at present was on the Star projects, pitches were also being made to Sony and Zee, company officials said. Sony had expressed interest in a few serial concepts but these were still at the discussion stage, the officials said.

Currently TV18 has two programmes airing on Channel V - Late Night V and Very V - available to viewers in the UK on the BSkyB Network.

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