Cable TV

Sony strengthens Fridays; adds new shows, reshuffles programming

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MUMBAI: A couple of new shows, reshuffling, revamping and even canning some existing shows It's all happening at Sony. This time the spotlight is on Fridays. Come 10 March and two new shows - Fear Factor and Kandy Floss will launch on the channel in the 9 pm and 11 pm slot respectively. While Fear Factor will be a one hour weekly show, Kandy Floss will be half hourly.

On the other hand, Deal Ya No Deal, which airs from Wednesday to Friday and was recently shifted from the 8:30 pm slot to the 9 pm slot, has been repositioned in the 8 pm slot. But the time change stands true only for Fridays. On Wednesday and Thursday, the show will continue in the 9 pm slot.

Apart from that, CID has been revamped and will now become an hourly show at 10 pm on Fridays. "CID will have one story that will start and finish in one episode unlike the earlier half hourly format," informs Sony Entertainment Television (Set) India chief operating officer N P Singh.

All these four shows are being packaged under 'Shukra Hai Shukravaar Hai' tag line.
With this new Friday lineup, what happens to the three shows - Kaisa Ye Pyar Hai (8 pm) Kudkudiya House No. 43 (8:30 pm) and Crime Patrol (10:30 pm) that air on Fridays? "Kudkudiya House No. 43 and Crime Patrol will end on the channel whereas Kaisa Ye Pyar Hai (KYPH) will be pulled out on Fridays. From 10 March, KYPH will only air from Monday - Thursday instead of Monday - Friday," informs Singh.

"This is the first step that we are taking in implementing a fresh new programming strategy for the channel. We thought we would start with Fridays as they have always been our strong day in terms of programming. The 'Shukra Hai Shukravaar Hai' time band will run from 8 pm to 11:30 pm, which is something that we are doing for the first time," said Singh.

While Fear Factor is an Indian adaptation of the Endemol show by the same name, Kandy Floss is a television magazine show that will encompass gossip, behind the scenes and chats with celebrities.

When queried as to whether there were any other shows lined up for the week apart from the Friday programming, Singh informs that new weekday shows will be launched in April and it would be premature to talk about them now since they were all under development. "As far as our prime time on weekdays is concerned, we will be looking at offering viewers with a strong mix of fiction and non-fiction programming encompassing multitude of genres like drama, comedy, love stories, thriller, reality and maybe even horror!" said Singh.

Briefly speaking on the dramas that one might get to watch on the channel in the near future, Singh said that they were in the process of creating "high quality progressive stories that will be in line with our unique positioning of bringing new innovative programming to the viewers."

Throwing light on Sony's programming strategy for the year ahead, Singh said, "As far as the programming is concerned, we are building our strategy on three pillars if you look at the day parts. We are starting with strengthening our core strength - Fridays; consolidating on our success in the prime time by launching new shows and retaining some of our successful properties like Kaisa Ye Pyaar Hai and Ek Ladki Anjaani Si. The third priority is to build the afternoon band."

New shows will be introduced in the afternoon band, which essentially has re-runs of old shows presently. Singh said, "The new shows will be introduced in the afternoon band in the first quarter of the next fiscal year," he said.

Coming to Saturdays and Sundays, Singh said that the strategy of airing movies and events had worked for the channel until now and hence there will be no changes there.

Talking about Indian Idol, Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahi and CID, which have not had any ratings shine for some time now, Singh said, "There are certain aberrations in ratings now and then. In the last four weeks, our ratings have started to pick up. There is seasonal programming on competing channels and when those reach its crescendo, it has an impact on other channels. One can't get away from the seasonal programming phenomenon. If we had to look at the performance without that, the channel has grown from where it was earlier. If we had to talk about Idol, there has been a gradual uptake and changing the time from 8.30 pm to 9 pm has substantially helped us."

"Our aim is to consolidate our second position," Singh said.

Other shows that are scheduled to launch on Sony through the year are the Indian versions of Extreme Makeover and Big Brother and also Paisa Bhaari Padega. "We will continue to get good nonfiction properties on air. However, the timings of these shows are not yet decided," Singh said.

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