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Sony on correction course; set to launch 4 new shows

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MUMBAI: 2014 was a middling year for Sony Entertainment Television (SET). Though the audience saw the channel experimenting with new concepts and shows, a few earned some fame, while the others failed to grab eyeballs.

SET made some smart moves, whether it was getting out of the studio and moving closer to the audiences in season eight of Kaun Banega Crorepati or Amitabh Bachchan's television debut in the fiction format - Yudh, which was touted to be India's most expensive show in that segment (Rs 3 crore per episode). While the channel’s hopes were riding high on the latter, the dark content was unpalatable for the audience.

On the fiction soap front, the channel’s high bet with Itna Karo Na Mujhe Pyaar starring Ronit Roy did not do as well as expected. Other fiction series like Humsafars, Hum Hai Na and Tum Aise Hi Rehna only saw a glimmer of hope.

Reason: Female audiences didn’t stick on and male audiences continued to come on to the channel’s popular shows like CID, Aahat, Crime Patrol and Bhanwar.

However, now the channel is on a correction course and is all set to woo its existing audiences once again as well as rope in new viewers. SET SVP and business head Nachiket Pantvaidya revealed that in order to up the channel’s entertainment quotient, five new shows will go on air over the next two - three months.

Not just to intrigue the audience but to also provoke thought and reactions from them, the channel aims to attract newer audiences (mainly female) with high-concept shows backed by a powerful star cast.

First up, starting 13 April, the channel will launch Reporters, revealing the challenging world of news in a contemporary way. As reported earlier by Indiantelevision.com, the show, produced by Rose Audio Visuals, revolves around the life of journalists with an intense underlying love story.

It will air every Monday-Thursday at 9 pm competing with shows like Diya Aur Baati Hum (Star Plus), Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat (Colors), Laut Aao Trisha (Life OK), Chidiya Ghar (Sab) and Kumkum Bhagya (Zee TV).

Second up, the channel kicked-off auditions for its singing reality show, Indian Idol Junior 2 in Kolkata on 4 April. After Kolkata, the audition process will move to Delhi, Chandigarh and Mumbai on 11 April, 18 April and 25 April respectively. The show is expected to go live in the month of May.

The third new show from SET’s stable is the mythological show titled Sankat Mochan Mahabali Hanuman. Produced by Contiloe Productions, it will depict the life of Lord Hanuman. The series is set to hit television screens from 4 May. For the record, Contiloe Pictures is currently producing Maharana PratapAdaalat and Bhanwar on Sony.

With growing popularity of the mythological genre, Sony will add yet another show to its kitty titled Suryaputra Karn. The show is produced by Swastik Pictures, which had also produced Mahabharat for Star Plus.

Suryaputra Karn will cover life journey of the Great Archer of Indian history Karna, who always craved for legitimacy, had been extremely loyal to his friend and the only one who could defeat Arjun. The promos for the same have already created a buzz. Sources close to the channel say that the show will hit airwaves in May.

Last but not the least, the channel is set to further awaken the masses with period drama called Rani Mahal. Produced by Lost Boy Productions, it stars Sakshi Tanwar in a leading role and will hit television screens in June.

Rubbishing media reports of it being a remake of Game Of Thrones, producer Vikas Gupta said, “This is nowhere close to Game of Thrones.”

It may be recalled that as its first step towards a revamped programming strategy, Sony launched the Ram Kapoor starrer Dil Ki Baatein on 23 March, which is telecast from Monday to Thursday at 9:30 pm.

It remains to be seen whether Sony's fresh line-up of shows manages to propel the channel up on the ratings chart.

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