Television

Zee English looking to innovate through unusual programming

MUMBAI: A darkly funny drama involving death! A gay man and a straight woman whose relationship constantly blows hot and cold! Sex and married life from the male perspective! These are a few of the unusual programme initiatives that Zee English will unveil over the next few months.

Addressing a press briefing this afternoon, business head Zee English Ajay Trigunayat said that the channel would be launching two new shows on 20 January. Will & Grace will air at 10:30 pm followed by The Mind of the Married Man at 11 pm every Monday. In April the channel will start airing HBO's Six Feet Under and MGM's She Spies.

Trigunayat said: "The channel was conceived with the aim of being the ideal window to the west. We are constantly looking to balance mass and superlative programmes. Of course a programme like Friends crosses that line. We are aiming to reinforce the platform through finest comedy in the form of Will & Grace and finest drama in the form of Six Feet Under.

The Mind of the Married Man is in keeping with our oven fresh approach. In America it has completed just 20 episodes. She Spies and Hidden Hills, which we will kick off in May are still in their first season in the US. We are also aiming to reduce the gestation period between the telecast dates in the US and India."

What gives a new spin to Will & Grace from the NBC stable is that Will played by Eric McCormack is a gay lawyer who came out of the closet in 1985. He is having an emotional relationship with Debra Messing who plays Grace an interior designer who is straight as an arrow. "It deals with imperfect companionship which is valid in this day and age. It gives audiences a break from the relentless fare of women oriented sitcoms and soaps," Trigunayat says. The sitcom has been recognised as a powerful antidote to homophobia. This year the show earned 13 Emmy nominations. It combines the perkiness of Friends with the urbane wit of Seinfeld.

The Mind of the Married Man takes a funny look at the challenges of a modern day marriage from a male perspective. How three married men survive in marriage forms the core of the story. The show stars Mike Binder, M Emmet Walsh, Brigitte Bako.

As for the other programme initiatives are concerned Trigunayat said, "Six Feet Under has plenty of dark situational humour. We had booked the property a while back but were initially hesitant about bringing it into the Indian market. However we are confident that while some people will be turned off others will gradually get hooked into it. It fits in with our aim to offer viewers superlative programmes and not just shows that appeal to a general audience. The show will air once a week and we will have a trial period of six-seven episodes. This will give us an idea as to the kind of feedback the show is receiving."



The show has been written by Alan Ball who won an Oscar three years ago for writing the screenplay of American Beauty. It takes a look at a dysfunctional family who own and operate an independent funeral home. The patriarch Nathaniel Fisher passes away as the show opens. Much like the Oscar winning film what emerges in the show which stars Australian actress Rachel Griffiths is a quirky and at times even disturbing portrait of a resilient American family.

Also present at the briefing was Cutting Edge Media's Rohinton Malloo who said that the channel had managed to pull off a coup. He hinted that HBO (India) may not be aware that Zee English would air its show Six Feet Under. He also said that the channel was using the Internet as a way to spread awareness. Sponsors roped in for the two shows in January include Telco and ITC Foods.

Trigunayat continued elaborating on the programming strategy thus, "She Spies is a blend of masala and action. Since it comes from MGM the company responsible for James Bond one can expect a lot of dry martini wit. It is a spoof on the spy genre and is therefore not merely run of the mill action fare. It stars Natasha Hensridge of Species fame." At the start of the show the three women are criminals. They then work for the FBI which had put them behind bars. 'Bad girls gone good' is theme of this babelicious fare.

" We will continue to build on our existing fare. Seinfeld is currently in its last season. Next month as a tribute we will air The Best of Seinfeld which will be a collection of the most memorable episodes. The third season of The Soprano's and the second season of The West Wing will air from April." Trigunayat said.

On the viewership front Trigunayat said that the channel reaches 45 million people. Besides SEC A A lot of SEC B has started tuning in. Cadbury's had run a campaign for 'Temptations' of unique content channels and the good offtake received would not have been possible without SEC B tuning in.

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/19/BARC.jpg?itok=6hNM0QtI
Four news genres saw no change in BARC week 2

All the four genres apart from Hindi news urban market saw no change in second week of the year. Aaj Tak continued to groove on the same tracks in the rural, urban and U+R genres as it did the previous year. India TV and News18 India interchanged their positions in the Hindi news urban market.

Television TV Channels Viewership
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/19/Kapil_Sharma_Show.jpg?itok=SXRBwXr7
Sony Entertainment Television leads urban areas in week 2 of BARC

Sony Entertainment Television jumped to second position to fifth position as compared to the previous week in the Hindi (U+R) genre in Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) data for week 2 of 2018. Zee Anmol retained its first position in the rural market. Sony Entertainment Television and...

Television TV Channels Viewership
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/18/aaj.jpg?itok=WTXjyKeT
Aaj Tak becomes the world’s first News Channel to be awarded YouTube’s ‘Diamond Play Button’

India’s No.1 news channel Aaj Tak creates history yet again! The prestigious ‘Diamond Play Button’ bestowed by YouTube, recognises Aaj Tak as the global no.1, the first and the only news channel in the world to have crossed the 10 Million Subscriber mark.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/18/news.jpg?itok=PDqQIFhw
News18 India launches campaign; asserts channel’s leadership

News18 India, Network18’s general Hindi news channel, recently launched a campaign with a humorous and quirky film to drive home its leadership position in the crucial primetime band in the highly competitive Hindi TV news segment.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/18/flix.jpg?itok=1RgvxTpA
Join Drac’s Pack on their cruise as &flix presents its next #FlixFirstPremiere ‘Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation’

It is seldom that you get to see the hilarious side to a monster trying to get himself a date with the help of a technological app like Siri! Have you ever seen a monster film that is full of fun, frolic, laughter, romance and adventure?

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/18/9xm.jpg?itok=ZerfjJqA
9XM On Stage with Salim Sulaiman

To celebrate the Republic Day week, 9XM - India’s most popular Bollywood music destination announces the launch of 9XM On Stage a splendid musical night created in honour of the Indian Armed Forces.

Television TV Channels Music and Youth
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/18/pritam.jpg?itok=tVS2_5SL
Prime Focus joins hands with Pritam and Kwan to create JAM8

Integrated media services company Prime Focus Ltd has announced its collaboration with Jam8, a musical platform founded by Indian music composer/director Pritam, and KWAN, a talent management company to serve as a 360-degree creative solution provider for the M&E industry.

Television Production House Film Production
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/18/star.jpg?itok=Xao8ACOH
Star Movies Kids is the new kid on the block

A few years ago Star India decided to hive off some bits of its repertoire and focus exclusively on its main GEC Star Plus and the emerging sports scenario. Surprisingly, the channel is now taking a new turn by targeting the youngest viewers. As per industry sources, the Uday Shankar-led network is...

Television TV Channels Kids
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/17/cn.jpg?itok=BRpRY0Oq
Zapak and Cartoon Network India partner to launch ‘Ben 10 - Alien Run’ mobile game

Anil D. Ambani led Reliance Entertainment’s Zapak, India’s leading Gaming Destination, in association with Cartoon Network India, rings in the New Year with an epic launch for fans and gamers alike, with Ben 10 - Alien Run Mobile Game.

Television TV Channels Kids

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories