Zee's weekend franchise: Reality & Bollywood?

MUMBAI: Reality shows, events and original movies. That's Zee TV's plan of action to buttress its weekend view. Despite vehemently denying that the channel tweaking its fixed point chart to get better results and ratings to ruffled up some competition for Sony's strong weekend franchise, the plans for near future seem to suggest otherwise.

The route that the Subhash Chandra promoted channel is charting is however slightly different. While the channel all geared to debut its original movie fare on Sunday's at 8 PM its 'Premier' band, Saturday is earmarked for reality shows and events.

With the India's Best Cine Star Ki Khoj's grand finale scheduled on 4 December at 9 pm, the slot will be refurbished the 'Sony' way. The channel has snagged the telecast rights for Temptation 2004 concert. Held in the UK and Europe, the concert was hailed a huge hit.

That apart, the channel will also be airing the 'Mrs India 2004' contest on 19 December, Sunday. And the big one for the season, television premier of Mujhse Shaadi Karogi is likely to be planned as the year end special.

Speaking to indiantelevision, Essel Group corporate brand development head Ashish Kaul offered, "Innovation has always been our forte and it is not the case that we have neglected weekends. It is just a coincidence that our next programming launches happen to be for weekend."

So be it a case of sheer coincidence, even the next big reality show, the business entrepreneur hunt, is piped to debut on 1 January --- a Saturday at 8 pm.

Meanwhile, Temptation 2004, touted as the sellout concert featuring the likes of Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan, Arjun Rampal and Priyanka Chopra is currently being built up as the New Year's Eve special.

Despite having met with a lukewarm reception with telefilms genre earlier, Zee is looking at producing 52 original movies in line with the HBO Originals concept.

With the production of 13 movies at an investment of around Rs 80 million, the channel is optimistic about the slot as they are "they are not telefilms but feature film format."

As for the India's Best Cine Star Ki Khoj, which will can its last act on 28 November 2004 at the Goregaon Sports complex, the channel is considering it as an annual property.
"The kind of response that India's Best has received from the 20 cities across the country has strengthened the determination to make this an annual property," Kaul offered.

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