Television

Sony to launch 'Kaajjal' on 9 Oct; 'Bigg Boss' coming mid-November

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MUMBAI: The channel may have dropped out of the ratings reckoning, but Sony Entertainment India is now making its best efforts to make a comeback.

Sony will unleash its big ticket soap Kaajjal, produced by K Sera Sera's Twenty Twenty TV, on 9 October, whereas the much-awaited Bigg Boss, the Indianised version of Big Brother, is targeting a mid-November launch.

"We are planning to launch Kaajjal, a daily soap, on 9 October. The schedule and slot details for this soap are yet to be finalised," Sony COO NP Singh tells indiantelevision.com, while not revealing his plans for Bigg Boss.

However, market sources inform that Bigg Boss will hit the airwaves by mid-November - immediately after the Champions Trophy gets over. "Bigg Boss will be a prime time show, running Monday through Friday. The show will feature about 15 celebrities and the participants will include Bollywood stars, cricketers and politicians. Bigg Boss will get over by January 2007," says a source.

According to Singh, Sony will kick off the Bigg Boss promotions by the second week of October. "The on-air promotions are already on. Now we will be looking at outdoors and the other media platforms in a big way for the second phase of the campaign," he says.

The Indian version of Bigg Brother will be Sony's fourth Endemol acquisition after Indian Idol, Fame Gurukul and Fear Factor India. Reportedly, Big Brother contributes to over 25 per cent of the format owner Endemol's revenues internationally.

The Big Brother (Bigg Boss) format requires 10 - 15 contestants living in a house rigged with cameras recording every moment of their lives. The contestants are deprived of contact with the outside world except those allowed by the editorial team. Every week there are tasks to perform, which test their community spirit and team-work. Throughout the series, the contestants are required to nominate two of their number to be voted out of the house.

Bigg Boss acquires a crucial place in Sony's gameplan for the coming days as nearest rivals Star and Zee have also unveiled big projects to sustain their performance. To boost is daily 8 pm slot, Star Plus has opted for a sci-fi series, Antariksh. Zee has launched its mega soap project Ghar Ki Lakshmi Betiyann for the crucial 10 pm slot and has Antakshari and Cine Star Ki Khoj coming up next in the pipeline.

Star One is gunning for huge jump in channel shares with Nach Baliye 2, the celebrity dance show that propelled the channel's performance in 2005, and a brand new soap Betiyaan apni yaa…Paraaya Dhan. Countering the Star property on the reality front is Sony's Jhalak Dikhla Ja, the Indian adaptation of the ABC reality show Dancing with the Stars.

For the time being, Sony's gameplan has a lot to do with these well acclaimed international formats. It remains to be seen, whether these international properties will be able to drive Sony to a position of strength in the coming days.

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