Dec 4, 2008

Entertainment - India;Senior level exits at 9X

Noor Fathima Warsia

The Hindi general entertainment channel from INX Media, 9X, is seeing a significant share of action on its programming front. Kumud Chaudhary, Head of Fiction, for the channel resigned yesterday and Vikas Varma, Content and Business Head, 9XM has replaced her. This is in addition to his role at 9XM. INX Media’s VP, Corporate and Channel PR, Pavan Chawla confirmed the development to exchange4media.

Chaudhary has still not announced her destination next. At INX Media, she was also assigned the duties of the regional general entertainment channels that included Punjabi, Bengali and Marathi. The recruitments for the Punjabi channel and the Bengali channel are already made. However, the plans for these channels slowed down in the last few months. INX Media, even now, has not spoken on any of these channels.

As far as 9X is concerned, as is known, the channel had not begun shooting for any of its shows, even after the workers’ strike was over. The only exception was Hatsoff Production’s ‘Remote Control’ that had a few episodes left for the show to be completed. INX Media’s Founder and CEO, Indrani Mukerjea had said to exchange4media at the time that the channel was in the process of revisiting it programming and would commission new shows once things fructified on that front. Industry insiders inform exchange4media that it is difficult for 9X to see any fresh programming until mid-January 2009.

Kumud Chaudhary was one of the first names to have joined the channel in 2007, as its Head of Fiction. At that time, she was working with Dilip Ghosh, who had come as the overall Content Head for INX Media but lasted a very short term. Indrani Mukerjea herself has been involved with the programming decisions of the channel since. While Chaudhary was heading fiction, Sharmistha Gupta was brought in as the non-fiction head of the channel. Gupta too did not stay for long with 9X.

Vikas Varma had begun looking after the non-fiction for 9X after Gupta’s exit. He was also involved with some of the fiction shows of the channel like ‘Ajeeb’ and ‘Kismet ka Khel’. Both are Bonnie Jain produced shows.

In addition to Chaudhary, Kevin Darcy, who was working in the Operations department at INX Media too has moved back to Australia. It is understood that Richard Platt, who was in a programming role at INX Media too is not coming back. Channel officials however have informed that Platt is still working with the organisation.

INX sources say that these are just some of the names that are exiting the channel, and that there are more exits in the pipeline. INX officials however have rubbished these speculations, and have said that this was not true. However, it does appear that this is not the last of what we hear from 9X on this front.

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