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Hungama TV banks on animation content; Mehta to spearhead programming

MUMBAI: UTV's Hungama TV has acquired a host of new Japanese and French animated series to strengthen its various time bands. The channel has also tweaked some of its existing shows into dailies, feeling that such formats are more successful.

As part of the new plan, UTV creative director Zarina Mehta, who is also its founder director, has taken up as the head of the channel's programming. Mehta took over her new role with effect from 1 March, 2005.

The post of Hungama TV programming head has been lying vacant ever since Shalini Rawla quit in July last year. Recently, Hungama TV COO Purnendu Bose recently quit the company to join SaharaOne as COO. He was handling the programming responsibilities of UTV kid's channel.

 

Speaking exclusively to Indiantelevision.com, Mehta says that there's a whole lot of new programming content lined up on the channel, which will strengthen the critical time bands like the 6 - 8 pm band, the 4 - 6 pm band and also the 10 am to 1 pm time band.

"Our focus will be to position ourselves as a general entertainment (GEC) channel for kids and we will be looking at providing them with what they want," Mehta says.

 
 
 

While earlier the channel had very few animated programmes, it has recently acquired a slew of Japanese animated content. In the 4 - 6 pm band, Hungama TV will have three new shows - Sonic X, Yugi Oh and Doremon. While Sonic X is the story of the fastest hedgehog, Yugi Oh comes from the creators of Pokemon and is currently the number one kids show in the US. Doremon, touted as the Mickey Mouse of Japan, is the story of a 'cute cuddly' cat who is always ready to be of assistance to a young boy.

"The 4 - 6 pm band is when kids from the age of 9 - 13 years have control over the TV remote. These are some of the world's best animation, and we hope to up our ante through these," says Mehta.

Mehta is also looking at strengthening the 6 to 8 pm live action band on the channel by tweaking a couple of shows into dailies. Two of the existing fiction shows and one new fiction show will be turned into dailies, which will have elements of fantasy, comedy and good winning over evil, she informs.

Apart from that, the Sunday programming lineup will see a huge amount of activity on the live action non fiction shows. Ground events and contests circling around the shows Gol Gol Gulam and Full Toss will be the order of the day on Sundays. Towards the end of April, a contest to find the next young cricketing star will take off. The interactive contest built around Full Toss will see its climax in October.

Now coming to the 10.30 am to 1 pm time band on the channel, which is when very young kids monitored by their mothers hook on to the television, Hungama TV has lined up a mix of live action and animated content for this time band. Three times Emmy Award winner for the Best Kids' show Arthur will be brought on. Apart from this, the French animation show Martin Morning will also be aired.

As far as the movie band is concerned, the company has brought on board the Aamir Khan starrer Dil Chahta Hai, which will be aired around the end of April. This movie is part of the 30 movie deal that UTV had entered into with the Star Network.

The much successful Captain's Hunt, which saw participation from almost 1,500,000 kids last time round, will be initiated again towards the end of April.

Mehta also informs that Hungama TV will be planning a whole lot of promotional activities in the near future to promote their new programming line up, on-ground activities and contests.

Over the last 15 years, Mehta has been responsible for the start-up and creation of some of UTV’s major divisions and has produced over 3500 hours television programming including Shanti, Saaya, Style!, Sea Hawks and Shagun. She has also been instrumental in introducing and conceptualising some landmark shows for children including: The Mathemagic Show and Amar Chitra Katha on Doordarshan; Snakes and Ladders, Junglee Toofan Tyre Puncture and Hip Hip Hurray on Zee TV; Shaka Laka Boom Boom and Shararat on Star Plus.

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