Post-IPL, channels vie to get back viewers!

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By Radhika Bhirani

New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) With the Indian Premier League (IPL) frenzy over, Hindi entertainment channels are seeking to woo back audiences with a variety of new programmes - game shows, stand-up comedies and women-oriented serials.

While the sports-cum-entertainment factor of IPL had viewers hooked to Set Max, the official broadcaster of the series, it beat all Hindi general entertainment channels as far as viewer ratings go.

Now most channels are vying to get their positions back.

Winds of change are certainly blowing on Sony Entertainment Television, which has seven new shows lined up. Besides bringing back Bollywood star Salman Khan to host the second season of game show "10 Ka Dum", the channel will launch another reality show "Entertainment Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega".

In terms of revamping their fiction content, it will showcase four new shows - "Ladies Special", "Bhaskar Bharti", "Palampur Express", "Chittod Ki Rani Padmini Ka Johur" - all with different themes.

"We have tried to give the viewers a perfect blend of shows that will resonate with families of today's India. Each programme or show has a distinct identity. The overall programme line-up is going to be uniquely different from what you have seen so far," Gurdip Bhangoo, programming head of Sony channel, was quoted as saying.

Even Colors is geared up with two big ticket reality shows - "India's Got Talent", based on British reality show "Britain's Got Talent", as well as the second edition of kids' comedy show "Chhote Miyan".

During the IPL too, the channel launched a show titled "Sabki Jodi Wohi Banata Bhagyavidhaata", which is based on the unique Bihar practice of 'pakraua vivaah', where grooms are abducted and married off.

Not to be left behind, channels like Zee TV, NDTV Imagine, SAB TV, STAR One and the fairly new Real are also looking at improving their content.

"Entertainment is a continued business and so events like the IPL as well as the elections, which were being considered a blockbuster, keep coming and going. You have to keep refreshing your channel from time to time," Sunil Lulla, CEO of Real, told IANS.

The channel that currently boasts of reality shows like "Sarkaar Ki Duniya" and "Sitaron Ko Choona Hai" will roll out fresh fiction and non-fiction content after July.

While Zee TV will offer shows like "Aapki Antara" and "Jhansi ki Rani Laxmibai", NDTV Imagine is expected to witness a rise in TRPs thanks to controversy queen Rakhi Sawant's much-awaited show "Rakhi ka Swayamvar" starting mid-June.

Sab TV's new offering "Moneyben.com", which goes on the air June 1, is set to bring back the small screen's favourite bahu (daughter-in-law) Smriti Irani albeit in a different avatar.

Having gained popularity with youthful shows like "Dill Mill Gaye" and "Miley Jab Hum Tum", STAR One is looking at adding another serial to the list titled "Hum Dono Hain Alag Alag".

"Hans Baliye", a stand-up comedy show with eight celebrity couples as participants and Bollywood actress Karisma Kapoor and director David Dhawan as judges, too will hit TV screens May 30.

Apart from introducing "Star Vivaah", a matrimonial show that went on air May 13, STAR Plus also has shows like "Mitwa-Phool Kamal Ke", "Shraddha" and the second season of "Aap Ki Kachehri" on the anvil.

Anupama Mandloi, senior creative director at STAR Plus, said fiction content on Hindi entertainment channels had little or no impact due to the IPL and that's why they launched new shows even during the cricket series.

"The intent is to keep the line-up refreshed and exciting. We have just been through a phase of launching a varied line-up of shows and as we go forward there will be a lot of new shows and time bands that will open up," Mandloi told IANS.

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