Zee TV to launch 'Johny Aala Re' on 5 June

MUMBAI: After establishing its second position in the Hindi general entertainment (GEC) space, Subhash Chandra's Zee TV is now trying to replace a weak link in its scheme of things - the Monday to Wednesday 10 pm slot earlier occupied by Kam Ya Zyaada.

The Manoj Bajpai-hosted game show, which has been taken off air due to its failure on the ratings front, is being replaced by a comedy programme, driven by none other than the much sought after Bollywood comedian Johny Lever.

To be aired three days a week from Monday to Wednesday at 10 pm, the half an hour show Johny Aala Re is packaged with segments such as stand up comedy, spoofs and mimicry performed by Lever, as well as celebrity guests and outside talent making brief appearances.

A tough fight is awaiting Johny Lever in the 10 pm slot, as Johny Aala Re will be locking horns with Star Plus' seasoned player Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii and also two new shows from the Sony stable. Aroona Irani's Vaidehi, which will air on Mondays at 10 pm will launch on 5 June and Man Main Hai Vishwas, which is reportedly being launched on 13 June, will be telecast on Tuesdays at 10 pm.

"We will introduce new one hour weeklies in the 10 to 11 pm band in June. That will culminate our initiative of providing new and fresh programming for our viewers," SET India COO NP Singh had told some time back.

Commenting on the launch of the new family entertainment show, Zee TV programming head Ashvini Yardi said, "Johny Aala Re is laughter personified. Johny Lever is a comedian par excellence. We have also lined up some lively celebrities that go with the flavour of the show. Johny will meet them in his own comical manner, ensuring that the audiences are in splits, rolling in the aisles."

Zee TV will be putting big efforts to promote the big ticket show, says Zee TV marketing head Tarun Mehra. The channel has made a programming association with MTV, apart from banking on its news channel Zee News to promote the property on air.

"As part of the promotions, we have tied up with MTV Networks to invite Johny Lever as the first star on their newly launched show TV Star of the Month. Apart from this, Zee News will also do an extensive interview with the star," says Mehra.

In tune with the show, another marketing strategy adopted by the channel is the distribution of joke books. The books will be distributed through on-ground activities starting 3 June.

On the lines of a drive-in movie, the sets have an on-street ambience with a live audience casually sitting on the tops of cars. Besides the stand up comedy segment, Johny most often takes the guise of popular personalities, from politicians to film stars. In a separate segment titled, Main Bhi Johny, the common man is selected to showcase his talent in booths set up on the streets. Besides, fixed segments such as these, there are a few floating segments such as a parody of songs
and topical spoofs.

On completion of 25 years in the film industry and currently, taking a break from films, this is Johny Lever's first TV show and several inputs for the script come directly from him, to add his own personal touch, states an official release. Produced by Akashdeep and Sheeba's Cinetek Telefilms Private Limited, this is King-Com's first ever series on television.

When queried about the number of episodes shot, Akashdeep stated that only a few had been shot, in order to keep to more contemporary issues.

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