Television

Ten beefs up weekend programming, focuses on Indian sports

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Even as Ten Sports makes hay with World Cup soccer, it is making sure that the fledgling channel does not fade from public memory once soccer mania subsides. 

The Taj Sports promoted channel has announced a new weekend programming line up termed 'Spectacular Sunday' to ensure continued viewer interest. Beginning this Sunday, the channel starts the day with a WWF fight, now rechristened the WWE Judgment Day. At 11 am, soccer dominates with three games - Mexico v Ecuador, Costa Rica v Turkey and Japan v Russia.

The evening's line up includes live coverage of Indian ace driver Narain Karthikeyan in the Motorsports World Series, followed by the World Cup highlights at 9 pm. Formula 1 will be beamed live from Canada at 10.50 pm. 

The decision to telecast Karthikeyan's races live are part of an effort to bring in more of ethnic sporting action from the sub continent, says Ten Sports vice president, programming and events, Peter Hutton. "The idea is to increase the image of Indian sports; while the world cup has a huge following in India, the perception of Indian football is none too great here. That is why we have Indian captain Bhaichung Bhutia our studios during the World Cup too", he says.

There are other proposals for producing shows on ethnic games in the pipeline, but have 'be relevant, look good as well as be cost wise on the production front," he says. While a majority of ad slots for the soccer event have already been sold, there is still some space left in the last couple of weeks, says Hutton. While life for Ten Sports will continue to be event driven post World Cup, Hutton says the channel is trying to build up an audience in the 14 to 35 age group with its regular WWF shows and regulars like the chat show hosted by singer Raageshwari. 

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