The svelte cricket-loving Mandira Bedi has replaced bubbly
Ruby Bhatia in MAX's Extraaa Innings during the forthcoming
World Cup Cricket 2003. Bedi's inclusion is targetted at attracting
women viewers during the early afternoon slots when the World Cup
commences early February . Extraaa Innings will spearhead
the entertainment segment of the two-hour pre-match programming
and post-match programming on MAX, the sports and movie channel
The reasoning being that Bedi, unlike Bhatia, could relate better
with women viewers with her Indian looks and wholesome appeal, feel
industry sources. MAX had claimed an increase in female viewership
for cricket and cricket-related programming during the Champion's
Trophy held in September 2002.
The cricket programming had drawn criticism from some quarters
for the dumbing down of the game it entailed. The channel had however
insisted that ratings for Extraaa Innings proved otherwise.
Bedi was first noticed by a UTV director, Adi Pocha who cast
her as Shanti in 1994. Bedi has also acted in Kyunki
Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi.. as a character with grey shades.
Bedi is currently acting in a sitcom Papa Baan Gaye Hero
for Sony. Bedi was present at the press conference arranged by
SET MAX on 9 January 2003 to announce their mega plans for the forthcoming
World Cup and had a brief tete-a-tete with indiantelevision.com.