Sony beefs up 10 to 11 band with new soaps

MUMBAI: Two new shows Durgesh Nandini and Jeete Hain Jiske Liye from the Sony stable will hit the small screen starting 5 February. The two soaps have been clubbed in the 10 to 11 pm band and will air from Monday to Thursday.

While Durgesh Nandini replaces the recently concluded reality television series Bigg Boss slotted from 10 to 10:30 pm. The 10:30 to 11 pm slot was reserved for repeats of various shows on the channel. This slot will now air Jeete Hain Jiske Liye.

According to the recently released TAM data for the last six months (15 July '06 to 13 Jan '07) - Sony is facing a long, hard climb at number three with its relative channel share at 12 to 13 per cent compared to Star Plus now at 40 per cent relative share and Zee hovering around 23 (Hindi GEC / TG CS 4+/ HSM Market).

The two shows have been positioned to compete with Star's K-sagas, especially the predominant players Star's Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki and Kyunki Saas Bhi Bahu Thi that airs within the same time band.

Sony Entertainment Television chief creative director Sandiip Sikcand said, "It's clear that Indian audiences will watch shows that bring out their best emotions. So Durgesh Nandini has a subtle tone of humour while Jeete Hain Jiske Liye is more intense. But both are essentially stories of women with grit and determination."

While the channel claims that its immediate focus is to spruce up this band, it has also revealed that it is planning to beef up its 9 to 10 prime time slot with new programming. Without giving out details, the channel is all set to look at a sitcom and even a game show.

Sony Entertainment Television COO NP Singh says, "Around March-April 2006, we decided to take stock of our programming and come up with a healthy mix of fiction and non fiction programming. Reality series like Fear Factor, Jhalak Dikhla Jaa and Bigg Boss were results of that. While a third season of Indian Idols is already on the cards, we also wanted to get back to daily soaps."

While Durgesh Nandini is a comedy/drama loosely based on Bankim Chandra Chatterjee's novel, SET India CEO Kunal Dasgupta revealed that Jeete Hai Jiske Liye has been adapted from an international telenovella. Both of them have women as their main protagonists. No surprises there. But Jeete Hain Jiske Liye star cast includes Renuka Shahane who will make a return to television after a five-year gap. Her popularity among television viewers should prove to be a huge factor in roping viewership for the show.

Talking about bringing back some of the old shows in an attempt to garner viewership Singh says, "We believe that old brands which we have invested in and have been successful should be revived and made best use of. We decided to go back to shows like Boogie Woogie, CID, Aahaat and now Karamchand."

Sony made cricket and entertainment synonymous and the network is all geared up for World Cup 2007. While Max, Sab and Pix will air matches and shows around it , the channel is determined to keep Set cricket free and provide more entertainment for those taking a break from the game.

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