Sony set for 'Indian Idol' action; 2 other shows launching in its wake

MUMBAI: A new season, a new schedule, and expectations of a far, far greater impact! The last is the least of what Indian Idol, Sony Entertainment Television India's biggest show by far, has to live up to when it kicks off its second season from 21 November.

And if all the activity on the channel in the lead up first time round was to build awareness around its hot new property, season two will witness the launch of two new shows --- Ek Ladki Anjani Si and Deal Ya No Deal --- in Idol's wake.

As regards Indian Idol, the auditions are over and the 172 shortlisted candidates are in for the show that is scheduled to go on air from 21 November at 8:30 pm.

While Indian Idol will air Mondays and Tuesdays; the format game show Deal Ya No Deal will air in the same time slot Wednesday to Friday.

Acting as the lead out show for Indian Idol will be Ek Ladki Anjani Si, which is based on RCTV International's telenovela Juana's Miracle, which will air in the 9:30 pm slot currently occupied by Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahi. While Jassi... shifts to the 10 pm slot, Ye Meri Life Hai, which airs at 10 pm, will meet its logical end.

That's not all. Expected to launch in December is Dulhan, followed by two more that will make up a total of five new shows debuting on Hindi entertainment's number two channel in this season of Idol.

Post the name and fame that Abhijeet Sawant received on being crowned the first Indian Idol, Sony has seen a clear increase in the number of registrations this time round. Close to one million people registered at the four cities of Mumbai, Kolkatta, Lucknow and Delhi where the auditions were held this year. Out of these one million; 30,000 were auditioned.

The launch of the second season kicks off with four episodes that showcase the aspirations of all those who auditioned. These will be aired on 21, 22, 28 and 29 November from 8:30 - 9:30 pm.

On 5 December, the viewers will come face to face with the 172 finalists. Following that, on 6 December the final 28 will be revealed from which the Indian Idol will be chosen.

This time round, informs Sony business head and executive vice president Tarun Katial, the 28 finalists will have an equal male - female ratio (14 boys and 14 girls). Also, the male - female ratio will further be maintained when these 28 will be shortlisted to 12 through the course of the show.

"This has been done so that there is an equal amount of representation among the girls and boys. It was seen last time that the boys outnumbered the girls. India is the second country after the US where this practice will be followed from now onwards," says Katial.

Says Miditech president Niret Alva, "Effort has been made to target the Indian heartland this time and we have had a large amount of representation from small towns in Uttar Pardesh, Orissa and other states."

FremantleMedia head of production Gavin Wood said, "The second series of Idol has always seen massive success in each of the countries where it has been run, because it is a show where viewers will play a key role in deciding how the story develops and how it ends. We are sure that the second season of Indian Idol will be a unique showcase for the best of India's budding singing talent.

This time round too, the Indian Idol will bag a Rs 10 million contract with Sony and a recording contract with Sony BMG.

Sony has already roped in Airtel, Asian Paints, Nokia, Marico, Maruti and Pepsi as the sponsors for Indian Idol.

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