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Sony set to sport a new look

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MUMBAI: The number two Hindi entertainment channel is going in for a makeover.

Although Sony Entertainment Television isn't looking at changing its logo, what it will be unveiling this Sunday is new packaging, promos and sharper picture quality. SET has been working on building a new look for almost a year now.

Additionally, the channel is also all keen on emphasizing on its youthful image and will be focussing on its C&S 15-34 audience further.

Speaking to indiantelevision.com, Sony Entertainment Television executive vice president - programming & response Tarun Katial says, "Although we have been a very good looking channel. The need of the time is to keep reinventing. What we are essentially looking at is highly stylized packaging and promo concept. That, in addition to the fresher and youth appealing programming, is what is in store."

The change in look will happen in tandem with the premiere of the channel's "high reach" blockbuster of the season Koi Mil Gaya on Sunday, 24 October.

SET's makeover will precede the channel's most anticipated launch of 2005 --- its musical talent hunt Indian Idol. Sony's "big one" makes its on-screen debut next Thursday, 28 October at 9:30 pm.

PRIME TIME FPC TO BE TWEAKED

However, it is not just a new look that SET will sport alongside Indian Idol's launch. There will be a tweaking of the channel's prime time FPC as well. Dailies like Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahi and Yeh Meri Life Hai will become thrice-a-week shows from their present four days a week sceduling.

In its debut week, Idol will air thrice (Thursday to Saturday). While on Thursday the programme will air from 9:30 to 10:30, on Friday and Saturday it will air from 9 to 9:30 pm. In the second and third week, Idol will air on Thursdays for an hour. And from week four of launch, a half-hour 'Winners Special' will air Fridays at 9.

Another scheduling change this will entail is that from Idol's fourth week on, mytho-drama Devi reverts back to a half an hour weekly format (Friday's 9:30 to 10 pm from it's present 9 to 10 pm schedule).

Although Katial refuses to confirm this, sources say that the channel is looking at reviving some its former best sellers like the horror-based Aahat and reality based Bhanwar. That apart, the long running CID and Boogie Woogie are in for some revamp and the channel will be pumping in some freshness to these long running shows. In addition to that the channel will be winding its latest thriller show Saakshi. "The show will reach to its natural climax and end," says Katial.

"We are very keen on building a very youthful image. What we are essentially going to look at is infusing some youth appeal," Katial asserts. Whether it is a strategy to counter the crowding of the "youth and life style" space is something he is loathe to offer his view on, but what Katial is forthcoming on is the channel's interest in the reality genre. "We will be looking at some small and big budget reality shows in the near future. They will be a mix of talent hunts and action reality," he says.

Coming back to the show that started Sony's climb back into the reckoning --- Jassi, Katial offers that a makeover is in store in the near future and that the show will complete its run in May-June next year. "Since it is a format show, there really isn't a scope of doing a 20-year leap," Katial elucidates. For those who need any reminding, the 20-year leap formula is a favourite with soap queen Ekta Kapoor to extend the lifespan of her shows.

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