NASRIN SULTANA & GAURAV LAGHATE
MUMBAI: As Hindi general entertainment channels (GECs) are heading towards a zero-hour of fresh programming from 10 November, programming heads are cracking brains to exploit the best of what they have.
Though re-runs is what all GECs are playing this week (until producers and workers reach a consensus), channels are using different strategies to introduce variation in their programming schedule.
Market leader Star Plus has decided to package the old episodes of a particular show during the 7-10 pm prime time band. Bidaai gets the first chance to creep into that three-hour time band. The next in line is Kish Desh Me Hain Mera Dil, to be followed on Wednesday by Hamari Devrani and Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat on Thursday.
The rest of the prime time plan is to have half-hour slots on weekdays. Occupying the 10 pm slot will be repeats of the newly launched Balaji show Tujh Sang Preet Lagai Sajna. At 10.30 pm, Star Plus will air Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat.
Star Plus is banking heavily on its top-rated show Bidaai, evident from the fact that it will also occupy the 11 pm slot on weekdays.
Star's weekend strategy will be to rely on dance-based reality show Nach Baliye 4 which will run between 7-10 pm. This will be followed by Voice of India at 10 pm, and Tujh Se … at 11:30 pm.
“The timings of these shows, however, could change," says a source in Star.
The channel to gain from this "fresh programming blackout" could be the second most-watched GEC Colors as it is allowed to do original content for its popular reality show Bigg Boss. Colors will not change its programming grid, airing re-runs of shows in their old time slots.
Zee TV, fighting to regain its second spot, has decided to keep its programming strategy under wraps. “We have a plan but are not going to reveal it now," says Zee TV business head Tarun Mehra.
Sony Entertainment Television (Set) will air repeats of its old shows as per their fixed point chart (FPC). Newly launched daily soaps Hum Ladhkiyan and Meet Milla De Rabba, running in the 8-9 pm band, will go off air as they do not have a long library of old episodes.
9X will bring back re-run of its old shows which were off air like Mere Apne, Jiya Jale and Chak De Bacche. Viewers will get to see Balaji's mytho Kahani Hamari Mahabharat Ki, which has been struggling to earn ratings, right from the start.
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