CNN-News 18 to telecast engaging stories of 'aam aadmi', others

MUMBAI: In a move to stand out in this cluttered Indian news television industry, CNN-News18 is all geared up to launch a new interview show, Off-Centre.

Differentiator: It will not just feature mainstream personalities, but will also feature unconventional people from all walks of life. The channel aims to bring back the art of interviewing with this programme.

Slated to go on air from tomorrow (10 September), the show will air every Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 9:30 pm. The half-hour episode will be telecast every week.

The show is aimed at broadening the viewers’ horizons by bringing forth the pioneering work, unconventional and inspiring ideas of the multifaceted personalities that appear on the show.

The channel hopes to reach thoughtful viewers looking for meaningful, rich ideas on the human experience. It is aimed at people who seek food for thought while relaxing at home on weekends, at people who appreciate design aesthetics.

The first episode will kick-start with the host Anuradha Sengupta interviewing the Iron Lady a.k.a Irom Chanu Sharmila. The first episode in Imphal has been shot with HD cameras in locations that are germane to the guest. The show will have a strong graphic and visual design to stand out from the crowd that telecasts news and views only.

“The idea is to visually depict the closeness that is generated during a conversation. In 17 years of my career, everyone used to compliment me on my conversational skills. We brainstormed for quite some time before launching. Through this show, the viewers will see me having a close and private conversation with a guest every week. We will talk to people who do not give us breaking news, who are less or not at all featured in news. Compelling and fascinating stories on their work, life experiences, etc will be highlighted in the show which the viewers will enjoy,” says CNN News18 consulting editor Sengupta.

Through candid one-on-one conversations, the veteran journalist will interview guests with a high degree of individuality, offering to viewers an inside view of the guest’s life through interesting anecdotes, and much more. The show will use a narrative style of interview with a casual ambience in contextual locations to create memorable dialogue with guests from the world of entertainment, politics, books, government, sports and beyond.

“Guests will be people who have compelling stories to narrate. It’s not necessarily the aam aadmi and it’s not necessarily the celebrity. But yes, I may be partial to people who are overlooked during the mainstream news programmes. You will be quite surprised by who you will meet here,” adds Sengupta.

It was clear from their research that news channels in the compulsion to seek headlines and breaking news are missing out on thoughtful programming with depth. "Off Centre" is one of the new shows on the weekend that aims to fill this vacuum.

Says Sengupta, “We launched Virtuosity, stories from the news anchored by Vir Sanghvi, etc. This is the next programme on the slate. More stuff is lined up.”

She is of the opinion that news TV as a category seems to be losing the interest of the viewers. The power of the medium is undeniable time for the channel to reclaim its rightful place as storytellers and is committed to that.

“It’s imperative to experiment, innovate and find new ways to engage with them,” she further adds.

The show will be effectively utilized and leveraged on their network which will help establish the show. Additionally, the show will be promoted with the use of an effective mix of print, OOH and other media to maximize the reach.

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