Zee Cafe looks to broaden lifestyle genre with cooking

MUMBAI: English general entertainment channel, Zee Cafe is in a full revamp mode. It will kick off its first locally produced soap Bombay Talking on 19 November 2005.

On the western front, it will look to introduce at least five shows in the coming three months.

One of its headliner shows to be launched next month will be Oliver's Twist. A channel source says, that Zee Cafe is looking at being a 360 degree entertainment channel that is connected with lifestyle. The show is hosted by celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, who is very famous in the UK and Europe.

This show promises a fun dining experience. It shows viewers how preparing food can help them get more out of life which is what activities like yoga do. As the channel source says, cooking as an experience is underrated in India.

This show, the source says, is interactive in nature. For instance, if Oliver is making a pasta he will not just show viewers how to cook it. He goes out into the market place and picks out the right ingredients like basil. He gives viewers tips on how to shop for the right ingredients and how one can tell what will work the best. If he sees attractive grapes then he tells viewers what dessert can be made out of it.

In fact, Oliver has just released a DVD, Jaime's Christmas ,abroad. This shows how one can prepare a Christmas dinner in advance and then how to cook everything on the day so that you get it all on the table, piping hot, at the same time.

The source also infroms, that Zee Cafe has changed its look and feel. This was a three month process and was done with the help of Singapore's Brandspeed. The music for instance that accompanies the promos is more peppy to appeal to a younger demographic. The graphics, slate boards have a lot more zip. "One can say that the channel has undergone cosmetic surgery. It was expensive to hire an outside firm but we feel that the investment has been worth it. The whole aim is to remove the image of Zee Cafe being a rerun and feeling dated by giving a more contemporary look and feel" adds the source.

The source adds, that one local show which was recently launched, After Hours ,has received a positive response. Infact, the scene now is that the channel has to refuse requests to cover some parties. It is a question of prioritising. That is because the show's host, Nina Manuel, already visits seven to eight parties four times a week. The source says that for the likes of socialite, Ramona Garware, getting their parties covered is a matter of prestige.

The channel will also air a music special later this month. This will feature the pop group, Invivo The group perfromed in Hong Kong recently and the channel got up close and personal with the band.

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