MUMBAI: The viewers of Zee Café will become a witness to three of America’s highest rated reality series. The channel has signed an exclusive deal with Freemantle Media to bring the latest and multiple seasons of American Idol, America’s Got Talent and The X Factor to India.
Come 19 March, Zee Café will air the 13th season of American Idol that starts in the US from 15 January with a revamped judging panel. While Keith Urban will return for the second time on the judging panel; Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson have been replaced by Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Lopez. Ryan Seacrest will return as the host. The last edition of the show was often in the midst of controversies because of the constant cold war between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj.
Interestingly, the finale of the show will be aired live on the channel along with US (Zee Café plans to catch up with US by airing the show on weekdays regularly) and soon after that the channel will air the 8th season of America’s Got Talent. Joining actor Howie Mendel and radio personality Howard Stern at the judges panel this year would be supermodel and host of Project Runway, Heidi Klum, along with former Spice Girls member Melanie Brown (aka Mel B), replacing Sharon Osbourne.
And that’s not all! Following America’s Got Talent would be airing of The X Factor towards the end of the year. The X Factor judges panel will include Simon Cowell, singer and actress Paulina Rubio, former Destiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland and songstress Demi Lovato.
Zee Café EVP and business head Anurag Bedi, said, “We believe in bringing the best and the latest content to our viewers. These shows are synonymous with entertainment and unarguably amongst the biggest reality shows on television. Having seen the affinity the audience here has for reality shows, we are confident that these shows will be amongst the biggest shows of 2014 and will strengthen Zee Cafe’s leadership position in the English entertainment genre”.
Bedi thinks that these shows already have a huge fan following in India, considering the local adaptations on Hindi GECs have worked really well. However, it’s the channel’s marketing initiatives that would work in its favour, says Bedi, who is undeterred by the fact that the previous seasons of these shows were aired on different networks. While American Idol previously aired on two different channels in India – Star World (2004-2011) and Big CBS channels (2012-2013), X Factor aired on the Big CBS channels and America’s Got Talent was aired on VH1. Bedi said, “How a show does on one platform may be very different from how it will perform on another. The content itself is of par excellence and the buzz that we create will definitely bring in viewership. We will bring in appointment viewing with these shows.”
Fremantle Media EVP of sales & distribution Asia Ganesh Rajaram, said: “These shows have become a global phenomenon, engaging audiences all over the world because of its ability to attract amazingly talented hopefuls with brilliant stories to tell. We’re delighted that Indian audiences will get to enjoy these shows on Zee Café.”
Given the magnanimous reach of these shows already all around the world, the marketing strategies have been decisively planned. “Considering that these shows will be amongst our tent pole properties for this year, we will take an aggressive 360 degree marketing approach to promote them,” says Bedi, also adding that the shows will be aired in the prime-time slot and will target the young urban youth. “9 pm has a very high PUT among the TG 15-24 who is the viewer of this content. We are confident it will do well at this time band,” he remarks.
While Bedi didn’t divulge any details about the sponsors on board for the shows, considering the popularity of the shows some interesting deals are to be finalised.
The fans of these English reality shows have seriously something interesting to look forward to!