Television

Sony's 'Fame Gurukul' ready to roll

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MUMBAI: The contenders are down to 14 and Sony Entertainment TV India's D Day is 27 June. Which is when the channel will unleash its reality soap offering Fame Gurukul, what it has termed an emotional, entertaining and dramatic roller coaster ride.

Positioning itself as the next level of reality drama after Indian Idol, the show is slotted as a strip show across Monday to Friday. Mondays to Thursday the show will air from 8:30  9 pm, while Fridays it will showcase an hour and a half special from 8  9:30 pm.

The theme is essentially the search of the 'Fame Jodi', which will be a total of a 15-week search on-air. Fourteen contestants will be put to test, allowing the viewers a peepshow into the trials and tribulations of the contestants singing careers that will made or marred on the show.

The launch week (27 June 1 July) will essentially revolve around the introduction of Fame Gurukul to the viewers, the jury, the faculty and presenters as well as showcasing the auditions and the ground excitement to the introduction of the final 14 talented singers.

Every Friday will see a performance by all the dwindling finalists' post which four contestants will be put on probation by the jury and one will rescued by the faculty.

Auditions for the same took place across four cities  Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkatta and Indore. The show is spiced with a lot of play of politics, music and emotions, hence allowing scope for drama. Says SET India creative director Anupama Mandloi, "We are hoping that these 14 contestants will find a home in the hearts of our viewers."

Voting lines will be open from every Friday to Wednesday. Additionally, the show also has a wild card round where any contestant could come back in action to bring in the anxiety factor.

The aim for Sony is essentially to consolidate prime time (8 - 10 pm ). Mandloi points out, "Fame Gurukul will also help consolidate our Friday early slots, as the latter half are already established bands. Strategically speaking, we are using a counter programming strategy from 10 onwards with shows like CID and Crime Patrol."

Sony's 8:30 pm slot has always been weak. One could attribute that to the fact that Star Plus' Kasautii Zindagi Kay (KZK) eats away most of the viewership in that band. Although, Sony may just be getting bold by slotting Fame Gurukul against KZK, attempting to change TV consumption habits.

Mandloi avers, "Television in India has come of age. We will now be seeing a lot of seasonal shows on Indian television. It allows for more variety, past paced entertainment and a finite end which leaves you wanting for more."

Now coming to the marketing blitzkrieg for the show. The on air promos for Fame Gurukul began almost a month back. The campaign for the show is leveraged around the credibility of the jury, which comprises Javed Akhtar, Shankar Mahadevan and Kay Kay.

"Fame Gurukul is an institution for aspiring singers on television. The campaign is aspirational, motivational and exudes positive vibes," says SET India vice president marketing and communications Tushar Shah.

While Indian Idol's tagline was 'Sab Kuch Bhula De' (Makes you forget everything), Fame Gurukul's campaign will be backed by the tagline of 'Iske Liye Kuch Bhi Karega' (Will do anything for this). The tagline lends itself across the channel, the jury and the participants. In other words, the channel will do anything to make the show a success, the jury will do anything to select the best out of the 14 and the contestants will do anything to emerge as the winner!

The theme of the campaign has been synergised with the thought of the show. The campaign will be omnipresent over the print, outdoor and television medium. In smaller towns like Lucknow and Kanpur, autorickshaws have been branded by the show.

STRATEGIC TIE UPS

The channel has tied up with the likes of Aaj Tak, Sify and Fame Adlabs for the show. Aaj Tak, which has a daily show around cinema from 7:30 to 8 pm, will dedicate two-three minutes to Fame Gurukul, wherein the recap of the episodes will be shown.

On the other hand, Sify will be hosting and managing the official website for Fame Gurukul - http://famegurukul.sify.com. The site will have regular updates from the show.

Fame Adlabs will promote the show on their premises and also by airing promos of the show during movies. Also, four of the Cafe episodes of Fame Gurukul will be shot in the multiplex.

The channel is looking at leveraging distribution with sponsors to have an increased retail presence for Fame Gurukul via merchandising. A point in note here is that merchandising was not something that Sony was bullish on during the Indian Idol run.

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