Zee English strengthens Sunday lineup with fresh sitcoms

MUMBAI: For the English serial buff craving fare with a difference, Sunday evenings are all set to get juiced courtesy a slew of new initiatives from Zee English.

The channel has announced that it will launch three weekly shows from 22 June. The half-hour sitcom Hidden Hills at 9 pm follows the adventures of two suburban couples -- Doug (Justin Louis) and Janine (Paula Marshall), and Zack (Dondre T Whitfield) and Sarah (Tamara Taylor). The comedy explores the wild, sexy and funny side of the suburbs where apparently everyone has a lot more to reveal than what first meets the eye.

This will be followed by Norm at 9:30 pm. It deals with Norm Henderson, (Norm Macdonald) a professional hockey player who likes to gamble without paying taxes and ends up being thrown out of hockey for life. Facing a possible jail term, Norm was instead sentenced to community service as a social worker. Laurie (Laurie Metcalf) is Norm's co-worker and best friend. With Norm's help, Laurie learns that it's okay to sometimes bend the rules. With Laurie's help, Norm learns that there are actually times that the system does work.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith at 10 pm is about "Mr. Smith" (Scott Bakula) a top industrial espionage agent works for "Mr. Big" out of the Factory in Seattle, a company specialising in detection and protection. "Mr. Smith" teams up with another skilled spy the mysterious and beautiful freelancer "Mrs. Smith" (Maria Bello) who spies for anyone willing to meet her price.

All these initiatives are no doubt aimed at countering Star World's desi strategy. The channel has started airing shows like Kumars at No. 42 on Sunday evenings.

Talking about the logic driving the new content, channel head Ashvini Yardi said: "Till now our weekend programming was driven essentially by our platform drivers on weekdays. However, a large audience that consistently viewed the weekday programming was demanding fresh programming during weekends. The new line-up that we have launched are a mixture of light comedies and are acclaimed for its cast as well as its programming virtues."

The channel has identified younger viewers as a major focus area and will introduce special programming over the course of the year that will cater to this viewer segment. This will also ensure that the channel extends its programming strengths to other time bands as well.

As reported earlier by, the channel has spiced itself up in terms of look, feel. The interstitials are sleek and feature catchy jazz music.

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