SET trains its guns on Friday nights; introduces new show 'Dil Se Dosti'

The race to be numero uno among television channels is hotting up what with tumbling TRPs, declining ad revenues and bumbling repetitive programmes. Over the past couple of months Sony Entertainment Television has come under tremendous shelling from its arch rivals Star and Zee

Digest this. 62 of Star Plus' shows figure in The Top 100 Intam ratings chart for the week ended 2 September 2001 as against just 19 shows each for Zee TV and Sony Entertainment.

Now SET is going all out to regain lost ground and is aggressively positioning itself as the channel to be watched on a Friday night. Starting this week (28 September), it will introduce a continuous programming block lasting four-and-a-half hours. The action starts at 7:00 p.m. with its game show Jeeto Chappar Phaad Ke hosted by Govinda. Though the show is nothing to rave about having dropped out of the Top 100, SET is making every possible attempt to revive poor ratings. This Friday it will give lovers of Indipop music a special treat called Music Masti Special. Singers who have made a name for themselves will sing their most popular songs in between winning prizes.

The entertaining vein continues with its long-running popular dance talent show Boogie Woogie which has been pushed forward from its 9:00 PM slot to 8:00 p.m. It comes up against Zee TV's soap Mujhe Dor Koi Khinche, showing at the same time.

However, the real competition is, as expected, on Star Plus. Star started dominating the Friday night slot when it introduced three new one-hour shows - Kya Masti Kya Dhuum, a talent show hosted by filmstar Sonali Bendre; Khullja Sim Sim, a gameshow hosted by popular TV actor Aman Varma; and the horror show, Ssshhhh…Koi Hai - running continuously for three hours from 8:00 PM onwards. All three figure in the Top 30.

SET has a new show of its own which it hopes will make a difference - a weekly drama called Dil Se Dosti at 8:30 PM It follows the trials and tribulations of five collegians - three boys and two girls. Producer-directors Tony and Deeya Singh (Just Mohabbat) wander off the beaten track of abortion and extramarital relationships in the hope of striking a chord with the nation's youth. It remains to be seen how different it will be from Zee TV's programme Hip Hip Hooray-II which has a similar theme but is slotted at 7:30 PM What must be of some relief for SET is that Hip Hip Hooray-II has failed to catch on in its second run and is doing as badly as JCPK.

The 9:00 to 10:00 PM slot seems a safe bet with popular soaps Kkusum and Heena at 9 and 9:30 p.m. respectively. Kkusum has just become the highest rated show on Sony after it surged ahead of CID reaching 10 on the TRP charts while Heena continues to hold its own despite its long run on air. Almost coinciding as it were with its entry into the Top 10, Kkusum becomes a 5-days-a-week show up from its current 4-days-a-week run.

The line-up culminates with the action-packed thriller CID at 10:00 PM and at 10:30 PM Aahat, a supernatural thriller.

All-in-all a lineup that should make the opposition sit up and take note. Especially if the viewer sits back and watches it all.

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