Sony has a slate of new soaps ready to roll

MUMBAI: Sony Entertainment Television India's ratings starved flagship channel Set is going in for a heavy dose of soaps in the coming months as compared to reality shows. The channel has lined up a slew of shows that it will be rolling out in the next five to six months.

The shows are aimed at strengthening its 8 pm to 11 pm band and attracting a new set of eyeballs and building up its viewer base.

For starters there is Jeetiya Hai Jis Ki Liye, produced by Tony and Diya Singh whose earlier Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin has been the only significant ratings success that Set has enjoyed on the soaps front in the recent past. The show will star Renuka Shahane, who will be making a comeback after her success as anchor on the popular cultural tele-magazine Surabhi.

The channel has also tied up with the Anuj Saxena’s Maverick productions for a drama titled Akhand Sau Bhagyawati, says Sony's chief creative director Sandiip Sikcand.

The channel is also working with actress turned politician turned producer Smriti Irani aka Tulsi Virani for Viruddh. Irani had recently tied up with Kumarmangalam Birla's media house Applause Entertainment. She is at the moment co-producing along with Balaji Telefilms for Thodi Si Zameen Thoda Sa Aasmaan (Star Plus).

As far as the channel think tank is concerned, the programming overhaul is necessary if the third-placed network is to be able to face the stiff competition from its rivals. Reality shows will be relegated to Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, while the rest of the week will see soapy dramas taking centrestage.

That's not to say reality shows will do the vanishing act from Sony's weekday prime time.The third season of Indian Idol will make its comeback in May, Sikcand points out.

“Sony is also devising its own little reality show, which will be aired twice a week which we are targeting to launch in February or March,” Sikcand says. Without offering much by way of detail, Sikcand adds that the channel was yet to finalise on certain aspects of the show.

“A variety talk show is also being designed, for which the channel has roped in Anupam Kher as anchor. This one hour weekend show will basically deal with hopes and aspirations," he explains.

Getting back to the soap train, Sikcand say Set has in its kitty Khamoshi as well. Additionally, there is also a show that Sony has commissioned Film Farm to do, he adds.

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